Mueller

 

If ice-time and SOG are any indicators of fantasy success, this week’s column will be a good accompaniment in identifying a few trends moving forward. We’ll examine several advancers and decliners out West to help you get through that mid-season lull. Remember, we’re now in the portion of the season where it’s win and move on or lose and go home. So when it comes down to making the tough decisions, think of the “here and now” implications rather than the “what could possibly happen” two weeks down the road.

 

Advancers

 

Matt Stajan – C – Calgary – 3% Yahoo! owned

Stajan has been blazing hot while recording 10 points and 26 SOG during the last 13 contests. Much of that production has been spurred on by him being re-united with Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay on the Flames’ top-line. Surprise, surprise the Flames are also 6-3-4 during that span. The trio had similar chemistry last season, but the Calgary coaching staff always seems to want to try fitting a round peg in a square hole while continuing to experiment with Olli Jokinen alongside Iggy and Tanguay instead. Here’s a hint to GM Jay Feaster and coach Brent Sutter, if the trio has chemistry and thing are working, keep them together rather than ****ing around with your lines and wasting half a season. Perhaps then you might actually make the playoffs instead of finishing ninth. Hmmmm there’s a novel idea…

 

Peter Mueller – C/LW – Colorado – 8% Yahoo! owned

Mueller has also been red-hot with seven points and 23 SOG during the last eight contests. On Saturday night I started a thread on the forums (although it’s turned into a grammar debate), commenting on how surprisingly deep the Avs’ offense actually looks now that Matt Duchene has returned from his ankle injury. All my flashbacks are coming back to me from two seasons ago when Phoenix traded Mueller for Wojtek Wolski at the trade deadline. The trio of Mueller, Duchene and Milan Hejduk combined for a whopping 48 points in the final 20 contests of that campaign, which just demonstrates the serious chemistry that they had together. Now that all three are back and healthy, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them display an encore performance during the final eight contests of this season.

 

Jamie McGinn – LW – Colorado - 14% Yahoo! owned

I mentioned McGinn in last week’s column, but I have to keep him in based on his low Yahoo! owned percentage in addition to the production that he’s displayed since the deadline. Since joining the Avs, he’s posted 10 points, three of which have come on the PP, a plus three rating, as well as 32 SOG, while spending significant time alongside Paul Stastny and David Jones on the Avs’ third-line. The PP TOI is a bit low as he garners less than 40 percent of Colorado’s PP opportunities, but he sees enough ES TOI to certainly make him fantasy worthy. With three key games against playoff contenders, that should be enough drive to help him put up some nice stats this week.

 

Alex Radulov – RW/LW –Nashville – Not available on Yahoo! yet

If you haven’t caught the news from the last few days, Radulov is potentially returning back to the Preds for their playoff run. With the top-six (Martin Erat, Mike Fisher, Patric Hornqvist, Andrei Kostitsyn, Sergei Kostitsyn and David Legwand), essentially locked, it’ll be interesting to see where Radulov fits into the equation. My initial estimation would be between Craig Smith and Brandon Yip on the third line for even strength, then maybe with the second Kostitsyn unit on the PP. Either way, a game-breaking player is essentially what the doctor ordered to help push the Preds over the edge as the favourite to beat out West.

 

Patrick Berglund - C –St. Louis Blues – 21% Yahoo! owned

I’ve never been a fan of the Blues’ depth chart, but if you’re after short offensive bursts then they probably aren’t bad options to consider during the next few weeks. Over the last six contests, Berglund has fired off a point-per-game pace as well as registering 15 SOG all while averaging 18:02 overall and 2:32 on the PP. Last season, he finished with 11 points in the final 19 contests, which could very well resemble how he finishes off this campaign. Plus the Blues have a bit of luxury playing in a couple of “special” Wednesday and Sunday games, which could certainly help for H2H scheduling during playoff time.

 

Matt Hunwick – D –Colorado – 6% Yahoo! owned

Hunwick was a healthy scratch for the Avs in 49 of the season’s first 61 contests, but has found his way back to become an NHL regular during the last few weeks. Although his offensive numbers haven’t really been there, the potential certainly is. He was once a 0.51 point-per-gamer back in 2009-09 with the Bruins, so the major question that remains is whether or not he can put it back together for the stretch run and possibly the playoffs. Over the course of the last two weeks, he’s averaged 20:21 overall with 1:05 of which coming on the PP. As mentioned before, the Avs’ offensive depth looks decent which could result in Hunwick seeing a spike in production during the final eight contests.

 

Johnny Oduya – D – Chicago – 1% Yahoo! owned

The Hawks needed some vital defensive depth for the stretch run, which is why they acquired Oduya from the Jets at the trade deadline. So far, it’s proving to be a genius move as he sports a line of one goal, three assists, a plus five rating, along with 17 SOG all while averaging 20:48 and 2:03 in nine contests. Chicago is also 7-1-1 since the acquisition as well. If you’re looking for a cheap option to bolster your roster during the final weeks, look no further than Oduya.

 

Steve Mason – G – Columbus – 29% Yahoo! owned

There’s been a bit of talk regarding the whole Mason situation, where he didn’t know, but more importantly, that no one told him that he was allowed to wear “bigger pads”. Surely they could have just fired an e-mail to Justin Goldman, and he would have sorted that out in an hour. I mean really, no one took the time to actually sit down and have a chat with him about what’s going on between the ears all this time? No one in a professional organization sat down next to him and ask; “Hey, what’s wrong?” The Jackets are becoming more of a joke of an organization than I initially thought. Anyways, enough of my ranting, since changing to his “new equipment”, Mason is sporting an 8-4-1 record, along with a 2.69 GAA and .922 SP.

 

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If you’re desperately looking for help between the pipes, definitely give Mason a shot, as Sanford looks to be down and out for the remainder of this season.

 

Trending: Martin Havlat, Curtis Glencross, Sergei Kostitsyn, Martin Erat, Kyle Brodziak, David Perron, Antoine Vermette, Viktor Stalberg, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Ryan Wilson, James Wisniewski and Barret Jackman.

 

Decliners


Note: Suggestions are based on one-year H2H leagues with playoffs occurring this week.


The biggest question that’s being littered on the boards at the moment is, “What to do with __________?” or “When is ________ going to turn it around?” My simplest answer to those questions is to drop them and never look back. Now before you jump on my back about it, here’s why. 1) It doesn’t matter who’s on your roster when you lose. If you lose, you’re done anyways, so why have both Sedins on your roster to finish in fifth place? And 2) It’s the easiest “BS” excuse to come up with if you lose with an underperforming player. “If so and so decided to play this week, I would have won…” my response, “I’m sorry you but made the decision of keeping the underperforming player, you made the bed, now you have to lie in it. So live with the consequences of the decisions that you made.”

 

The following table is my opinion of what to do with the current under-performing players, and are based only on this week (March 19-25).

 

Under-Performing Player

Keep/Drop

Daniel Sedin

Keep

Henrik Sedin

Keep

Corey Perry

Drop

Pavel Datsyuk

Keep

Patrick Kane

Keep

Jonathan Toews

Drop (YCCL)

Rick Nash

Drop

Dany Heatley

Drop

Shea Weber

Drop (YCCL)

Drew Doughty

Drop

Joe Pavelski

Keep

Mike Richards

Drop (YCCL)

Lubomir Visnovsky

Drop

Ryan Clowe

Keep

Nicklas Lidstrom

Drop (YCCL)

Johan Franzen

Drop (YCCL)

Duncan Keith

Keep

Brent Burns

Keep

Alex Burrows

Keep

Mike Cammalleri

Drop

Brendan Morrow

Drop

Alex Goligoski

Drop

Ryan Whitney

Keep

Ryan Suter

Drop

R.J. Umberger

Drop

Erik Johnson

Drop

Milan Hejduk

Keep

Ales Hemsky

Drop

Andy McDonald

Drop

Brent Seabrook

Drop

Ian White

Drop

 

(YCCL) – Yahoo! can’t cut list.

 

I don’t have enough room to provide an explanation for each of the players above, so I’ll have to lump them into general categories and just provide a brief general statement.

 

Unfavourable Schedule

Injured

Toews, Lidstrom, Franzen, Cammalleri and McDonald (DTD status, uncertain return date)

 

General sucky-ness

Nash and Umberger (just three points in last nine games despite CLB going 5-4-0)

Heatley (just one point in last 11 games and riding an eight-game goose-egg streak)

Weber (just two points in last 10 games, four games this week, but @Pit and @Chi scares me)

Morrow and Goligoski (two points in four and 13 respectively just won’t cut it)

Johnson (one point in last 14 games, seriously beginning to remind me of Jay Bouwmeester)

White (just two points in 10 games since Lidstrom’s injury, a sign of the future of the Red Wings?)

 

Unfavourable Schedule plus general sucky-ness

Perry, Visnovsky (six and three points in last 10 respectively, faces three very defensive teams SJ, STL and BOS this week)

Richards (two points in last seven, faces three very defensive teams SJ, STL and BOS)

Hemsky (two points in last 10, four road games this week where he has a 0.55 point-per-game average)

 

Favourable Schedule

Sedins and Burrows (four-game week)

Pavelski, Clowe, Burns (four-game week, plus Sharks starting to turn it around since Havlat’s return)

 

Favourable Depth Chart

Datsyuk (scored an absolutely filthy goal on Saturday night, he’s back)

Kane and Keith (Hawks are hot, bit tough with CLB, NSH and Van, but should be alright for this week)

Hejduk (re-united with Duchene and Mueller should get the offense started)

 

Questions or comments? As always I’ll discuss them in the section below.

 

Should you be so inclined, follow me on Twitter if you think that my article/posts are useful.

 


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