Week 18 - Free Agents and Trade Targets

We're back in Yahoo!Land for this week's edition of Free Agents and Trade Targets. Yahoo! always conjures visions of Gulliver's Travels (or Burning Man) for me, and it definitely feels like an adventure to be prospecting for players in that strange, strange land. The most exciting aspect of journeying to Yahoo!Land is that there are inevitably bounteous nuggets of pure gold just laying about for the taking...

Left Wings

Variously owned LWs worth adding (depending on the size of your league) or worth targeting via trade:
James Neal (94%), Patrik Elias (80%), Evander Kane (66%), Ray Whitney (66%), Max Pacioretty (58%), Alex Tanguay (46%) Clarke MacArthur (24%), Ryan Malone (9%).

Colorado Avalanche Gabriel Landeskog, LW

Landeskog may already be the Avs MVP. The rookie is clutch and he puts forth a superb effort each and every night. I know you guys don't care much about effort, but he also puts up pretty prolific #s. On the Avs, Landeskog is 3rd in goals (13), 1st in plus-minus (+15), 8th in PIMs (30), 3rd in ATOI among Fs (18:15 -- and rising), 1st in GP (1 of 4 who have played ALL 56 games), and 1st in SOGs (172). For those of you in advanced formats, Landeskog is also 1st in Hits (169), 1st among Fs in Blocks (37), 2nd in Takeaways (46), and 1st in GWGs (3). Wow. Calder, anyone?

Availability: Owned in 37% of leagues.
Forecast: He's improving and being rewarded for it. Landeskog's ice time has crested above the 20 minute mark in 4 of his last 6 games. Over his last 9 games, he's put up 8 points (4 goals, 4 assists), a +4 rating, 3 PPPs, and a Brobdingnagian 29 SOGs.

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

St Louis BluesDavid Perron, LW

Since his return on December 5th, after missing over a year and nearly 100 regular season games due to a serious concussion, "Frenchie" has scored a very respectable 23 points in 29 games; however, the best may be yet to come. "Before the (All Star) break, I was still thinking about my injury a lot," said Perron. "Not that I'm not anymore, but I think I kind of turned the page a little bit there. That break was really good for me. I'm going out there and thinking about hockey more than anything else."

Availability: Owned in 15% of leagues.
Forecast: Perron is heating up. With 6 points (5 goals, 1 assist) in his last 3 games, a +4 rating, 4 PIMs, 2 PPGs and 7 SOGs, he's a prime candidate to be among the strongest finishers in the league.

Centres

Variously owned Cs worth adding (depending on the size of your league) or worth targeting via trade:
Patrice Bergeron (83%), Mikko Koivu (66%), Jordan Staal (55%), Sam Gagner (44%), Ryan O'Reilly (29%), Mike Fisher (26%), Brian Boyle (5%)

Colorado Avalanche Paul Stastny, C

Stastny has been playing some inspired hockey as of late.
Over the last 12 games, Stastny has 13 points (3 goals, 10 assists), 8 PIMs, 4 PPPs, and 36 SOGs.

Availability: Owned in 68% of leagues.
Forecast: Although for the season he is on pace for just 55 points, his recent point-per-game pace is not unprecedented as he posted 79 points in 81 games in 2009-10.

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

Philadelphia Flyers Brayden Schenn, C

The prized prospect missed half the season due to injuries (foot and concussion), however, he's healthy now and increasingly productive. Over his last 8 games, Schenn has scored 5 points (4 goals, 1 assist), a +2 rating, 11 PIMs, and 2 PPPs (he's seeing time on the second unit).

Availability: Owned in 7% of leagues.
Forecast: Obviously, Schenn's value is higher in keeper leagues, but he could also provide some oomph to teams in deep redraft leagues. As a result of his recent uptick in output, his ATOI has increased nearly 20% over the last 8 games (16:13) versus his season average (13:52).

Right Wings

Variously owned RWs worth adding (depending on the size of your league) or worth targeting via trade:
Teemu Selanne (90%), Jason Pominville (86%), Ryan Callahan (78%), Shane Doan (67%), David Clarkson (33%)

Nashville Predators Martin Erat, RW

The line of Erat-Fisher-Kostitsyn is firing on all cylinders for the Predators and that's music to the ears of Erat owners. Over his last 16 games, he's produced 19 points (5 goals + 14 assists), a +9 rating, 10 PIMs, and 7 PPPs.
With #s like this, you can understand how he's 100% owned in ESPN leagues, however, you cannot understand how he's owned in just 1 of every 3 Y! leagues.

Availability: Owned in 33% of leagues.
Forecast: Erat is having a career year. With 42 points in 48 games, he's on pace for 73 points, whereas his career-high is 57 points. He and Fisher have excellent chemistry and his role on the PP is secure, however, some reversion to his career mean is to be expected.

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

Philadelphia Flyers Wayne Simmonds, RW

Another Flyer, another player having a career season. Simmonds has been on a point-(and PIM)-per-game pace over his last 14 games: 14 points (8 goals, 6 assists), 14 PIMs, 4 PPPs, and 40 SOGs. He's a multi-cat stud in the making. And, although he's bouncing around the Top 9 at ES, Simmonds is seeing copious time on the #1 PP unit.

Availability: Owned in 28% of leagues.
Forecast: I expect him to finish with 50+ points (career-high is 41 points) and approximately 100 PIMs (career-high is 116 PIMs). The number of players last season who posted 50+ points and 100+ PIMs: 5
(Corey Perry, Milan Lucic, Ryane Clowe, Brandon Dubinsky, and Kris Letang).

Defencemen

Variously owned D-men worth adding (depending on the size of your league) or worth targeting via trade:
Brent Burns (91%), Mark Streit (86%), Dennis Wideman (85%), Kevin Bieksa (81%), Ryan Whitney (42%), Mark Giordano (39%), James Wisniewski (36%), Ryan McDonagh (25%), Marc Staal (14%), Jake Gardiner (10%)

Dallas Stars Alex Goligoski, D

One of Cam's Second Half Stars. Goligoski's career point per games #s: .49 pre versus .62 post (a 27% boost in production). Last season, after being dealt to Big D in February, Goose put up 15 points in 23 games.
Over his last 14 games, Goligoski has produced 12 points (3 goals, 9 assists), 6 PPPs, and 32 SOGs.

Availability: Owned in 67% of leagues.
Forecast: The Stars have aligned for a big finish for Goose. My confidence in him is even higher given that I recently traded him to Bla Razor in our International Hockey Association league.

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

Dallas Stars Stephane Robidas, D

Robidas's production has increased lately. Over his last 11 games he has 6 points (2 goals, 4 assists), 8 PIMs, and 3 PPPs. What makes him somewhat more intriguing is that Sheldon Souray is being mentioned in multiple trade rumors. If Souray gets dealt, Robidas's ice time and PP time will get a boost.

Availability: Owned in 9% of leagues.
Forecast: On pace for 29 points. Not bad in deep leagues. A couple years ago, however, he scored 41 points, and if Souray is moved, he should easily score 30+.

Goaltenders

Variously owned Gs worth adding (depending on the size of your league) or worth targeting via trade:
Ryan Miller (94%), Miikka Kiprusoff (90%), Jaroslav Halak (80%), James Reimer (62%), Jean-Sebastien Giguere (40%).

Carolina Hurricanes Cam Ward, G

2012 has been good to Cam Ward. Since the calendar flipped to 2012, he's 7-3-3 with 2 shutouts, a 1.83 GAA, and a .944 Save%. Impressive #s on their own right and even more so given that he's got the worst team in the Eastern Conference in front of him.

Availability: Owned in 82% of leagues.
Forecast: Should be owned in all but the shallowest of leagues. Another of Cam's Second Half Stars. Over the last four seasons: 2.75 GAA & .911 Save% pre AS break (pretty mediocre) versus 2.37 GAA & .922 Save% post AS break (stout). Additionally, his #s have improved post break in each of the past four seasons which lends credence to the notion that his current trend has traction.

New York Islanders Evgeni Nabokov, G

I keep recommending this guy, he keeps producing, and is even improving as the season rolls along, yet his ownership #s are still far too low (just 79% in ESPN). Among goaltenders with a minimum of 25 GP, Nabokov is 8th in GAA with a 2.19 (Tim Thomas is 7th with a 2.18) and 5th in Save% with a .927 (Jimmy Howard is 6th with a .924). The difference between Nabokov and Thomas or Howard is, of course, the quality of the team in front of him; however the Isles are playing better lately and he has won 6 of his last 8 starts.

Availability: Owned in 45% of leagues.
Forecast: Should be owned in virtually all leagues.
Nabokov's doing it on the Island, and rumors abound that he may be traded to a contender within the next 2 weeks.

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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