Week 17 - Free Agents and Trade Targets

Preparing for Week 17, after the extended matchup for the All-Star break, we will again focus on ESPN leagues. For some reason, most of this week's recommendations (7 of 10) are affiliated with Canadian teams.

Left Wings

Variously owned LWs worth adding (depending on the size of your league) or worth targeting via trade:
Steve Ott (82%), Rene Bourque (48%), David Booth (18%).

<a class='sbn-auto-link' href= Clarke MacArthur, LW

Recently reunited with his usual linemates, Grabovski and Kulemin, and seeing time on the #2 PP unit, MacArthur has turned up the volume. In his last 4 games he has 7 points (4 goals, 3 assists) a +5 rating, and 9 SOGs.

Availability: Owned in 16% of leagues.
Forecast: Watch his assignments. So long as he stays in the Top 6, he will produce. A 50-point pace from here on out would not be a shock, and he provides a bit of upside from there.

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

<a class='sbn-auto-link' href=Sean Bergenheim, LW

After missing 12 games with an LBI, Bergenheim's returned to the lineup with a bang. Playing on Florida's #2 line--primarily w/ Marcel Goc and Mikael Samuelsson--Bergenheim has packed a productive punch in his last 3 games: 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists) a +2 rating, 4 PIMs, and 10 SOGs.

Availability: Owned in 0.1% of leagues.
Forecast: A streaky player, Bergenheim is "on" right now. He has a Top 6 role with generous PP opportunities and is worthy of being owned in more than 0.1% of leagues.

Centres

Variously owned Cs worth adding (depending on the size of your league) or worth targeting via trade:
Mike Fisher (80%), Dave Bolland (62%), Marcel Goc (0.3%).

<a class='sbn-auto-link' href= Sam Gagner, C

The Man of the Hour! Gagner did, however, start the season quite differently. In the first 43 games of the season, he netted 5 goals (and a total of 22 points -- 0.51 points per game). In his last 2 games, he scored more goals than he had all year to date (6), and a total of 11 points -- fully 1/3 of his season's output.

Availability: Owned in 25% of leagues.
Forecast: Recommended here when RNH went down. The Lemieux-esque numbers cannot continue, however, so long as he lines up with Hall and Eberle he will contribute.

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

<a class='sbn-auto-link' href= Martin Hanzal, C

Another player recently returning from injury (face). After a few games to shake the rust, Hanzal has put up 3 points in his last 2 games (1 goal, 2 assists).

Availability: Owned in 6% of leagues.
Forecast: He's centering the #1 line for the Coyotes and, at times, working on both PP units. Hanzal's ATOI is up considerably over the last 2 weeks. He has talent, and could be in line for a strong second half.

Right Wings

Variously owned RWs worth adding (depending on the size of your league) or worth targeting via trade:
Martin Erat (96%), Wayne Simmonds (68%), Kyle Okposo (40%), Patric Hornqvist (38%), Mikael Samuelsson (31%).

<a class='sbn-auto-link' href= David Clarkson, RW

Clarkson has been recommended in this space several times this season. His ownership is finally up over 50%, but it really ought to be even higher. He's playing primarily on the Elias line and he's seeing duty on the #1 PP unit. Over his last 8 games, Clarkson has tallied 10 points (5 goals, 5 assists), a +3 rating, 16 PIMs, 20 SOGs and 4 PPPs.

Availability: Owned in 59% of leagues.
Forecast: Should be owned in virtually all formats. Clarkson doesn't stand out in any one particular category, but the multi-cat stud contributes meaningfully across the board.

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


<a class='sbn-auto-link' href=Chris Neil, RW

Neil is on pace for close to 200 PIMs and >30 points. That's a heckuva lot more offense than from your garden variety goon.

Availability: Owned in 4% of leagues.
Forecast: Neil is the poor man's David Clarkson. More PIMs, less in other categories, but does provides some scoring to go along with his truculence.

Defencemen

Variously owned D-men worth adding (depending on the size of your league) or worth targeting via trade:
Alex Goligoski (95%), Jake Gardiner (19%), Stephane Robidas (11%).

Edmonton Oilers Ryan Whitney, D

Whitney was off to a fast start last season: 27 points in 35 games (a 60+ point pace) to go along with a +13 rating, 33 PIMs, and 7 PPPs until his campaign was derailed by foot/ankle issues. He's struggled with similar injuries again this season, and just returned to action on January 24th. In his last 3 games, however, Whitney has a very solid 5 points (1 goal, 4 assists), 2 PIMs, and 4 PPPs.

Availability: Owned in 27% of leagues.
Forecast: Whitney represents the most upside of any blueliner at this ownership percentage. He has the talent and the opportunity to play at or near a 60 point pace. Just pray his wheels remain stable.

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

Toronto Maple Leafs Cody Franson, D

Franson's poise with the puck has led to more chances on the Leafs #2 PP unit. He has 16 points in 37 games this season (a 35 point pace), including two points (1 goal, 1 assist) in his last outing.

Availability: Owned in 1.4% of leagues.
Forecast: You usually don't find 35-point rearguards available in close to 99% of leagues. If you are in a medium-sized or deep league and are searching for scoring depth along your blueline, Franson could be your guy.

Goaltenders

Variously owned Gs worth adding (depending on the size of your league) or worth targeting via trade:
Evgeni Nabokov (67%), Thomas Greiss (5%)--for daily leagues, only.

Toronto Maple Leafs James Reimer, G

Recommended in this space a couple weeks ago as much for his stout play in 2010-2011 as for lack of confidence that Gustavsson could sustain his level play, Reimer has not disappointed. With back-to-back shutouts of the Penguins and the Senators in which he stopped all 74 shots he faced, Reimer has once again laid claim to the #1 role in Toronto.

Availability: Owned in 55% of leagues.
Forecast: Should be owned in all but the shallowest of leagues.

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

Edmonton Oilers Devan Dubnyk, G

My pre-season pick to win the #1 role in Edmonton, it has taken some time for Dubnyk to assert himself but assert himself he has. Double-D has started the last 5 games in a row for the Oilers, posting a 4-1 record, a 2.60 GAA, and a sparkling .934 Save%.

Availability: Owned in 16% of leagues.
Forecast: A former 1st round pick (2004) with the massive frame coveted in today's game (6'6", 200+ lbs), the 25 year old Dubnyk looks to be coming into his own in synch with the rest of his rapidly improving team.

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

NOTES:
*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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