Week 13 - Free Agents and Trade Targets

Welcome to 2012, Puckheads!

To celebrate the new year, we are changing things up a bit and sharing the love with the Yahoo! faithful. This week, instead of perusing the ESPN wire, I will be culling through options on Y!

Right Wings

Commonly owned RWs worth adding or worth targeting via trade: Patrick Kane (100%), David Backes (92%), Dustin Brown (84%), Jordan Eberle (79%), Ryan Callahan (75%), Justin Williams (53%), T.J. Oshie (43%), P.A. Parenteau (36%), Blake Wheeler (27%).

<a class='sbn-auto-link' href= Steve Downie, RW

Back on the #1 line with Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis. Is there a better situation in the entire NHL? With his new assignment, Downie has really picked it up the last 3 games with 2 goals, 5 assists, 4 PIMs, a +5 rating, and 8 SOGs. And, perhaps even more noteworthy, Stamkos is absolutely tearing it up. A happier more prolific superstar indicates that Downie will be riding shotgun for the forseeable future.

Availability: Owned in 33% of leagues.
Forecast: Always one of the top PIM monsters in the league, he can also contribute on the scoresheet--esp. when drawing his current assignment. Should be owned in virtually all leagues.

Deep league specials (owned in a small % of leagues):

<a class='sbn-auto-link' href=Jannik Hansen, RW

Hansen is enjoying a breakout season in his 4th year in the NHL. He's bounced around, including time on the #1 line with the Sedins, and currently finds himself on the #2 line with Kesler and Raymond. Hansen's 11 goals, already a career-high, indicate there are more where they came from, however, his shooting pecentage of 17.5% is reason to temper expectations somewhat.

Availability: Owned in 7% of leagues.
Forecast: Hansen has an excellent chance to stay in Vancouver's Top 6 over the next month plus -- at least as long as David Booth is on the shelf.

Centres

Commonly owned Cs worth adding or worth targeting via trade: Mike Richards (91%), Eric Staal (91%), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (83%), Stephen Weiss (80%)

<a class='sbn-auto-link' href=Mikko Koivu, C

Koivu's ownership dipped due to a LBI that caused him to missed nearly 2 weeks. Although interrupted by said LBI, he has posted 11 points in his last 9 games (5 goals, 6 assists), a +5 rating, 6 PIMs, 3 PPPs, and 26 SOGs. Although Mikko was held off the scoresheet last night, he continued his dominant play by winning 23 faceoffs (74%).

Availability: Owned in 77% of leagues.
Forecast: Playing in a small market on a team that hasn't seen much success for some time, Koivu is one of the most underrated players in the NHL. Should be owned in all but the very shallowest of leagues.

Deep league specials (owned in a small % of leagues):
As the number of C-only players, esp. on Y!, is remarkably small, I am reiterating last week's recommendations of Derick Brassard (11%) and Kyle Turris (4%).

Left Wings

Commonly owned LWs worth adding or worth targeting via trade: Zach Parise (98%), Logan Couture (85%), Taylor Hall (81%), Brad Marchand (80%), Milan Michalek (71%), Patrik Elias (71%), Chris Kunitz (52%), Max Pacioretty (48%), Steve Ott (31%).

<a class='sbn-auto-link' href=R.J. Umberger, LW

One of the hottest left wingers in the NHL over the past couple weeks, Umberger has 7 points in his last 7 games (1 goal, 6 assists) and he's contributed in several other categories as well over that timeframe with 4 PPPs, 6 PIMs, and 22 SOGs. Remarkably, even on a dismal Columbus squad, he's also managed an even plus/minus rating.

Availability: Owned in 29% of leagues.
Forecast: Ride him while he's hot, but without a regular Top 6 role and relegated to a cellar dwelling team, do not expect it to last very long.

Deep league specials (owned in a small % of leagues):

<a class='sbn-auto-link' href=Carl Hagelin, LW

My vote for Rookie Fantasy Star of the Week, this guy just keeps exceeding expectations. You'd figure that at some point he would demonstrate the inconsistency typical of rookies, however, over the last 10 games he's been seeing two-thirds of his ES time with Brad Richards and Ryan Callahan-->>and that is a recipe for continued success.

Availability: Owned in 3% of leagues.
Forecast: Over the past 6 games, Hagelin has notched 5 points (4 goals, 1 assist), a +4 rating, and 14 SOGs. He's a good add in medium to deep leagues. Just monitor his ice time and line assignment.


Defencemen

Commonly owned Ds worth adding or worth targeting via trade: Alexander Edler (94%), Brent Burns (89%), Lubomir Visnovsky (87%), Kevin Shattenkirk (76%), Dennis Wideman (74%), Kevin Bieksa (72%), Ian White (71%), Tobias Enstrom (68%), Matt Niskanen (36%), Dennis Seidenberg (29%).

New York Rangers Michael Del Zotto, D

Do not walk, run to your wire. Why is this guy available in 30% of Y! leagues? (Sorry ESPN-ers, he's 100% owned in your leagues, however, he does make an excellent trade target). MDZ is averaging a point per game over his last 12 (3 goals, 9 assists) with 2 PPPs, 10 PIMs, a +17 rating, and 25 SOGs.

Availability: Owned in 70% of leagues.
Forecast: To say he's corrected the mental lapses on D is a vast understatement. This season, MDZ leads the Blueshirts with a +25 rating. Second on the team is a distant +13. Even though most of his recent scoring has been at ES, he's also #1 in average PP ice time per game, and that bodes well for his future production.

Deep league specials (owned in a small % of leagues):

New York Rangers Marc Staal, D

It was a Merry Christmas for Marc Staal as he was cleared to participate in contact drills from that point on. Staal took part in battle drills the very next day. Like any player working on returning from a concussion, much will depend on how he responds, but so far so good.

Availability: Owned in 15% of leagues.
Forecast: When healthy, Staal is a 30-point player with about 1/3 of his point production coming on the PP. Those are not elite #s, but this late into the season it is rare for a player of his caliber to be this widely available.

Goaltenders

Commonly owned LWs worth adding or worth targeting via trade: Jonathan Quick (97%), Corey Crawford (91%), Kari Lehtonen (83%)

<a class='sbn-auto-link' href=Tuukka Rask, G

Rask is putting up sick #s. In 13 starts he's earned 8 wins (62%) while posting the following peripherals: 1.61 GAA and .945 Save%. Wow. Both ratios, by the way, are better even than Thomas's sparkling numbers. While he is a backup, he's still managed more wins than more widely owned Jaroslav Halak and has only one win less than the universally-owned Ryan Miller.

Availability: Owned in 51% of leagues.
Forecast: Add him while the adding is good. There is no telling if and/or when the 37 year-old Tim Thomas will want or need a break before gearing up for a run at back-to-back Cups.

Deep league specials (owned in a small % of leagues):

<a class='sbn-auto-link' href=Sergei Bobrovsky, G

Let's face it, the Philadelphia Flyers are winning games not because of but in spite of Ilya Bryzgalov. He's been absolutely dreadful this year with a GAA >3.00 and a Save% under .900. The Flyers ridonkulous offence is the reason they are 4th in the conference. If they had better goaltending, they could easily could be in 1st. That's where Bobrovsky comes in. He's clearly outplayed Bryz. His GAA is a very significant half point better and his Save% of .914 is nearly 25 points higher.

Availability: Owned in 18% of leagues.
Forecast: Bobrovsky has started 4 of Philadelphia's last 7 games, winning 3, and posting a 1.75 GAA and .933 Save%. Earlier today, Ilya Bryzgalov spilled the beans by announcing that Bobrovsky will start in tomorrow's Winter Classic. Hop on board, this could be a good, long ride.

Now check your wire, good luck, and enjoy the games!

NOTES:
*Availability data from Y! leagues.
**
Player analyses are based on their projected value in standard scoring categories: Goals, Assists, Power Play Points, Shots on Goal, Plus/Minus, Penalty Minutes, and Average Time on Ice.

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