Week 16 - Free Agents and Trade Targets

For week 16, we return our focus to ESPN leagues. Let's take a look at who might bolster your lineup this week...

Left Wings

Variously owned LWs worth adding (depending on the size of your league) or worth targeting via trade:
Tuomo Ruutu (51%), Jussi Jokinen (36%), Viktor Stalberg (33%), Todd Bertuzzi (23%), Ryan Malone (23%).

Vancouver Canucks David Booth, LW

After missing 18 games with a knee injury, Booth returned to the Canucks lineup last Sunday. He's playing primarily with Ryan Kesler, and has 3 points in the 3 games since his return (2 goals, 1 assist). On the PP, the only Canuck forwards receiving more ATOI are Kesler and the Sedins.

Availability: Owned in 16% of leagues.
Forecast: Booth is being treated as a bust or near-bust by most owners, however, even dealing with a significant injury and transition issues, he's scored 15 points in 22 games in Vancouver. Not bad. And odds are that his rate of production will increase going forward (injuries and transition being in the rear view), in which case Booth may score at a 60-point pace from here on out.

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

Anaheim DucksJason Blake, LW

The missing ingredient in Anaheim's Duck Soup? Who knew. Since Blake returned on January 13th, Anaheim has strung together four consecutive wins. In those games, Blake has 6 points (4 goals, 2 assists), a +4 rating, 2 PPP, and 18 SOGs.

Availability: Owned in 6% of leagues.
Forecast: So far, Blake has done his damage primarily from the 3rd line and on the 2nd PP unit. Watch to see if he's elevated. In the meantime, ride him while's hot.


Variously owned Cs worth adding (depending on the size of your league) or worth targeting via trade:
Dave Bolland (71%), Kyle Turris (38%), Andrew Shaw (10%), Sean Couturier (5%)

Nashville PredatorsMike Fisher, C

Sweet music being made by Mike Fisher and Martin Erat (rec'd in RW section) in Music City. In Fisher's last 8 games he has 9 points (2 goals, 7 assists), a +4 rating, 5 PPP, and 17 SOGs. He's been rec'd in this column before, so his output is not a surprise.

Availability: Owned in 31% of leagues.
Forecast: Don't expect the point-per-game pace to continue, but Fisher has the potential to close out the year on a 60-point pace with solid contributions to PPP and your plus-minus rating.

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

Vancouver CanucksCody Hodgson, C

Hodgson has been productive centering Vancouver's third line. He has 9 points in his last 9 games (5 goals, 4 assists), 4 PPP, and 18 SOG.

Availability: Owned in 4% of leagues.
Forecast: As a 3C his upside is capped, however, he has been seeing a good amount of PP time.

Right Wings

Variously owned RWs worth adding (depending on the size of your league) or worth targeting via trade:
Martin Erat (82%), Matt Read (71%), Wayne Simmonds (27%)

New York IslandersKyle Okposo, RW

Finally. Everyone knows that Okposo possesses talent, it has just taken a while to translate to the score sheet. Over the past 12 games, KO has scored 11 points (5 goals, 6 assists)--ALL at ES. He clearly enjoys being elevated to the #1 line with Tavares and Moulson.

Availability: Owned in 23% of leagues.
Forecast: KO is 6th among Islander forwards in PP ATOI (ie, 2nd unit). Look for a 50-60 point pace going forward, and perhaps a bit more if he finds himself on the #1 PP unit and/or cashes in more on his opportunities on the #2 unit.

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

Chicago BlackhawksTomas Kopecky, RW

Over his last 7 games, Kopecky has 5 points (1 goal, 4 assists), a +4 rating, 2 PPP, and 19 SOGs. He's been playing primarily on the Panthers #2 line with Goc and Samuelson -- two players who missed extended action due to injury and both returned when the calendar flipped to 2012. That may at least partially explain Kopecky's recent spike in output.

Availability: Owned in 0.7% of leagues.
Forecast: You won't find better production out of a player owned in less than 1% of ESPN leagues. Just be sure to temper your expectations.


Variously owned D-men worth adding (depending on the size of your league) or worth targeting via trade:
Alex Goligoski (88%), Francois Beauchemin (71%), Mark Giordano (39%), Oliver Ekman-Larsson (38%), Justin Faulk (19%)

Carolina HurricanesJay Harrison, D

Almost featured here last week, I decided to go with Francois Beauchemin instead as he needed the pub for his contract negotiations. Harrison, however, has been nearly just as strong. In his last 11 games, he has 8 points (5 goals, 3 assists), 9 PIMs, 3 PPP, and 28 SOGs. What's more, his minutes are up considerably. Over his last 5 games, he's seen a bump of anywhere from 2 to 7 minutes of ice time. The Hurricanes coaching staff has noticed his improved play, and is rewarding him accordingly.

Availability: Owned in 51% of leagues.
Forecast: Harrison is not likely to sustain this scoring pace, although the increase in ATOI is encouraging in that regard. For those in leagues that score hits and blocks, Harrison is a must-own.

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

Nashville PredatorsRyan Ellis, D

Drafted 11th overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Ellis subsequently put together back-to-back sensational seasons in the OHL culminating last year in his being named a 1st team All-Star as well as the CHL Defenceman of the Year and the CHL Player of the Year. Although playing 3rd pair minutes, he is seeing some time on the #2 PP unit and over his last 8 games has 6 points (2 goals, 4 assists) a +4 rating and 4 PPP.

Availability: Owned in 6% of leagues.
Forecast: As long as Weber and Suter are in Nashville--and healthy--his upside is limited. Suter has missed the past few games, but is expected back after the ASG.


Variously owned Gs worth adding (depending on the size of your league) or worth targeting via trade:
Cam Ward (96%), Tuukka Rask (94%), Jonas Hiller (92%), Sergei Bobrovsky (68%), Jonas Gustavsson (67%), Evgeni Nabokov (37%)

Chicago BlackhawksRay Emery, G

One of the better back-ups, Emery sports an excellent 11-4-2 record along with decent peripherals: 2.57 GAA and .907 Save%. He's been mentioned in this space before because he's outplaying Crawford (2.88 GAA and .902 Save%). He'll be a UFA this summer, so he is abundantly motivated.

Availability: Owned in 24% of leagues.
Forecast: Emery will get more starts as long as he continues to outshine Crawford, however, as he is not considered the long-term answer between the pipes for the Blackhawks he is not likely to flat-out steal the show.

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

Washington CapitalsMichal Neuvirth, G

The stars lined up for Neuvy recently. After his 31-save shutout of Montreal on Wednesday, Tomas Vokoun proceeded to lose two in a row, and he got the call for today's matinee in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, he ran into a red-hot Penguins team, and lost in OT on a marker by Evgeni Malkin.

Availability: Owned in 5% of leagues.
Forecast: A talented player backing up a star who has been erratic this season, he may get more chances during the second half.

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

*Availability data from ESPN 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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