Buy, Sell or Hold - looking at Kadri, Ladd, Voracek, Moulson and more...
In less than two weeks, this condensed season will at the mid-point. If you are still hanging on to some traditional top performers who are not giving you the returns you thought or are debating dropping one for a seemingly lesser-like who may be having a good run, this week is dedicated to you. All of the verdicts below are based on one year leagues only. Keeper league value can be a whole other kettle of fish. This article will cover a dozen players from only the Eastern Conference.
Nazem Kadri, Toronto Maple Leafs
Funny what a coaching change can do for a player's outlook; Kadri has 18 points in 22 games since Carlyle was installed as Toronto's bench boss. He had 18 points in 49 previous NHL contests. It's not all coaching, as Kadri has matured as a player, but comments from the player himself credit Carlyle with helping him play with confidence. That makes all the difference at this level. Kadri impressed again last night with two neat backhand assists.
Andrew Ladd, Winnipeg Jets
Tied for 17th in the NHL in points scored over the last calendar month (not including last night's games) with 15 points. Players who also had 15 points over the past month included Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, Henrik Sedin, Damien Brunner and David Clarkson. Ladd is also durable, missing only one game over his last four NHL campaigns.
Evander Kane, Winnipeg Jets
Kane is currently on a seven game point streak and is on pace for 68 points in a full season. His career high of 57 points was set last season. His pace is not a mirage in what is his fourth NHL season. This guy is going to be a fantasy monster once he realizes his full potential.
Verdict: Buy, but don't pay keeper league prices in one year leagues.
James van Riemsdyk, Toronto Maple Leafs
JVR has 10 points in his last 11 games and is scoring at a 62 point pace (pro-rated for 82 games). Last season, he scored at a 46 point pace recording 24 points in 43 games. He is finding some chemistry with fellow American Phil Kessel. Van Riemsdyk is averaging the third most time on ice after Kessel and Bozak and receives top unit power play minutes.
Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia Flyers
Voracek is smoking hot, recording a searing 13 points in his last five games, including six power play points. After opening the season with three points in eight games, he has 21 points in 13 games. Voracek is on pace for 55 points, which would better his career high of 50 points even in this abbreviated campaign. Tied for sixth most points over the last calendar month (not counting last night's multi-point effort).
Matt Moulson, New York Islanders
Moulson is tied with Voracek for the sixth most points over the last month with 20 points. Even after losing P.A. Parenteau, Moulson hasn't skipped a beat in recording 23 points in 19 games this season. Moulson is coming off of three consecutive 30 goal campaigns. Playing with John Tavares certainly helps, but not everyone can play with elite level players. Moulson doesn't get enough credit.
Verdict: Hold or Buy if his current owner doesn't respect his true value.
Patrik Elias, New Jersey Devils
You wouldn't expect the soon to be 37-year-old to be mentioned in the same breath as Sidney Crosby (25), Steven Stamkos (24), Henrik Zetterberg (23) and John Tavares (21), but Elias is tied for fourth in points scored over the last calendar month with JT. Elias had 78 points last season and has 22 in 19 games so far this season.
Cody Franson, Toronto Maple Leafs
Franson has 11 points in 17 games this season, a 53 point full-season pace. He's playing slightly better than 16 minutes per game and receives second unit power play duties. The problem is that the Buds blueline is more crowded than Eaton Centre on Boxing Day and Jake Gardiner has yet to get back in the mix.
Verdict: Sell fast, before Gardiner makes his eventual return.
Paul Martin, Pittsburgh Penguins
In his first two seasons with the Pens, Martin recorded 24 and 27 points. So far this year, he has 14 points in 19 games, including eight over the past six matches. Five of his 14 points this year have come via the man advantage. Martin plays over 25 minutes per game and receives second power play unit time. The problem is that his career high in points came way back in 2005-06, when he scored 37 points with the Devils.
Verdict: Sell before the well runs dry.
Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens
Pacioretty is coming off a career best 33 goal, 65 point effort last season. He is heating up with eight points in his last six games to bring his season total to 14 points in 15 games. While he is averaging only 15:35 minutes of ice time per game, more importantly, he receives top power play minutes and has six points with the man advantage.
Stephen Weiss, Florida Panthers
Weiss plays 19 minutes per game, tops amongst Panther forwards, but there are seven players who receive more power play ice time. After recording 57 points last season, the pending unrestricted free agent has only four points in 14 games this season. He's better than he's shown and has plenty of motivation to put up bigger numbers over the final half of the season.
Verdict: Buy low.
Olli Jokinen, Winnipeg Jets
Jokinen has been snake bitten this season, recording five points in 18 games. He has a single lonely point in the month of February, spanning an incredible 11 games. Last season, OJ had 61 points. The Juice is squeezed for top six minutes and first unit power play time.
Any Ottawa Senator
The Senators are defying the odds and winning despite significant injuries to their two top forwards from last year, Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek, their (and the league's) top defenseman, Erik Karlsson, who was arguably the best player in the NHL at the time of his injury, and now goaltender Craig Anderson, who had insane numbers before he went down. Ottawa has won their last five contests. At least Spezza might be back soon, but his track record suggests that he is a candidate to end up back on the Injured Reserve before season's end.
Verdict: Sell. This collection of gutsy prospects and suspects will come crashing back down to ice at some point this season and when they do, you don't want to be left holding the bag.
Are there any players from the Eastern Conference that weren't covered? Feel free to ask or comment below.