Week 21 - Free Agents and Trade Targets

Nikita Nikitin #6 is playing at a 40-point pace. He's also quite fond of Rick Nash.

We are back in Yahoo! leagues this week. Scour the wire with me below...

Left Wings

Variously owned LWs worth adding (depending on the size of your league) or worth targeting via trade:
Taylor Hall (84%), Patrik Elias (79%), Matt Moulson (79%), Evander Kane (73%), Milan Michalek (71%), Ray Whitney (70%), Max Pacioretty (62%), Andrew Ladd (56%), Gabriel Landeskog (54%), Steve Ott (35%), Andy McDonald (26%), David Booth (22%), Ryan Malone (10%).

Buffalo Sabres Tyler Ennis, LW

It took him only a few games to shake the rust after missing some time due to injury, and over his last 9 games, Ennis has 8 points (3 goals, 5 assists) and a +7 rating.

Availability: Owned in 29% of leagues.
Forecast: Ennis is better in leagues that weight towards scoring as he doesn't provide much by way of peripherals. He and Drew Stafford look to be the primary beneficiaries of the trade that brought Cody Hodgson to Buffalo. Ville Leino was brutal and has been mercifully relegated to 3rd line duties, so the upgrade to the Sabres' 2nd line looks to be substantial.

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

Pittsburgh PenguinsSteve Sullivan, LW

Since February 18th, Sullivan has been riding a 7-game point streak during which time he's posted 11 points (3 goals, 8 assists), a +3 rating, 5 PPPs and 12 SOGs.

Availability: Owned in 8% of leagues.
Forecast: Sullivan does a lot of his damage on the PP, and will have an expanded role with the man advantage now that Kris Letang is out indefinitely. In his first game sans Letang, he produced 2 points (1 + 1) and a +2 rating, so he appears to be up to the challenge.

Centres

Variously owned Cs worth adding (depending on the size of your league) or worth targeting via trade:
Jeff Carter (87%), Mike Richards (85%), Patrice Bergeron (82%), Stephen Weiss (71%), Jordan Staal (66%), Mike Ribeiro (66%), David Krejci (65%), Valtteri Filppula (64%), Mikhail Grabovski (60%), Derek Roy (54%), Mike Fisher (28%), Bryan Little (26%), Patrik Berglund (19%), Martin Hanzal (13%), Saku Koivu (9%)

Montreal Canadiens David Desharnais, C

Desharnais is reaping the rewards of playing centre with the Canadiens' best set of wingers: Erik Cole and Max Pacioretty. Over his last 12 games, "Da-veed" has 15 points (4 goals, 11 assists) a +2 rating, and 7 PPPs.

Availability: Owned in 26% of leagues.
Forecast: Similar to Ennis, Desharnias is a scorer who won't help much in peripheral categories, but his line assignment and prolific point production make him an attractive add in many formats.

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

Columbus Blue Jackets Derick Brassard, C

The 24 year old former 6th overall pick has had his ups and downs in Columbus. One of the biggest beneficiaries of Jeff Carter being traded out of town, Brassard finds himself the de facto 1st line centre. He is most frequently playing with Rick Nash and R.J. Umberger. That's good for business. His PP time has also increased, and he now has Jack Johnson manning the point. Definitely an "up" cycle for Brass.

Availability: Owned in 13% of leagues.
Forecast: Over the first 45 games of the season, Brassard produced just 0.42 points per game. Over his last 12 games, however, that number is up a full half-point to 0.92 points per game as he's posted 11 points (3 goals, 8 assists), 7 PIMs and 4 PPPs.

Right Wings

Variously owned RWs worth adding (depending on the size of your league) or worth targeting via trade:
Tyler Seguin (89%), Dustin Brown (83%), P.A. Parenteau (66%), Shane Doan (65%), Blake Wheeler (53%), Michael Ryder (47%), David Clarkson (39%), Drew Stafford (37%), Devin Setoguchi (19%), Mikael Samuelsson (9%), Zack Kassian (2%).

Tampa Bay LightningTeddy Purcell, RW

Wow. Over his last 14 games, TP has 24 points (6 goals, 18 points), a +5 rating, 8 PPPs, and 26 SOGs. You can wipe your ass with that. How is this guy available in nearly 2 of 3 of Y! leagues?

Availability: Owned in 38% of leagues.
Forecast: Should be owned in nearly all leagues. Playing with Stamkos and St. Louis (even more now that Steve Downie was traded to the Avs) is probably the best line assignment a forward can have in the entire NHL.

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

Carolina Hurricanes Anthony Stewart, RW

This is an uber, extra, super deep cut. Stewart isn't the most talented player, but recently he's been on a line with Eric Staal, and over the last 6 games he's produced 5 points (3 goals, 2 assists), a +1 rating, 1 PPP, and 14 SOGs.

Availability: Owned in 1% of leagues.
Forecast: A short-term add only. If he cools off OR gets dropped into the bottom 6, he's back on the wire.

Defencemen

Variously owned D-men worth adding (depending on the size of your league) or worth targeting via trade:
Niklas Kronwall (83%), Christian Ehrhoff (77%), Tyler Myers (57%), Jason Garrison (55%), Mark Giordano (40%), Sami Salo (35%), Francois Beauchemin (11%), Justin Faulk (8%), Roman Josi (1%), David Rundblad (1%), Alec Martinez (0%)

St Louis BluesKevin Shattenkirk, D

Alex Pietrangelo seems to get all the love, but Kevin Shattenkirk is producing almost identical numbers this season. Moreover, of the two, he is the one who is hot at present. Over his last 10 games, "Shattdueces" has 10 points (3 goals, 7 assists), a +4 rating, 8 PIMs, 5 PPPs, and 29 SOGs.

Availability: Owned in 80% of leagues.
Forecast: Should be owned in virtually all formats. Shattenkirk is on pace for a 42-point season and he is 5th in the NHL in plus-minus with a +25 rating.

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

Columbus Blue Jackets Nikita Nikitin, D

Nikitin missed 12 games this winter due to a knee injury. In the 6 games since his return on February 21st, he's contributed 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists), a +2 rating, 4 PIMs, 2 PPPs, and 10 SOGs. For the season, he has 22 points in 44 games -- a 41-point pace!

Availability: Owned in 2% of leagues.
Forecast: The recent return of James Wisniewski and acquisition of Jack Johnson appears to have many shying away from Nikitin, however, in recent games he is still seeing approximately 50% of available PP time. That bodes well for his future production.

Goaltenders

Variously owned Gs worth adding (depending on the size of your league) or worth targeting via trade:
Kari Lehtonen (84%), Jonas Hiller (84%), Jaroslav Halak (82%), Brian Elliott (81%), Semyon Varlamov (57%), Josh Harding (23%), Joey MacDonald (15%), Matt Hackett (5%), Ben Bishop (3%)

Ottawa Senators Robin Lehner, G

Craig Anderson nearly sliced his finger off while preparing a meal. Crazy. It's been a week and a half and he still can't hold his stick. That has opened the door for Robin Lehner. Lehner has high upside. Although he hasn't fared well in the "A" this season: 8-16-1, 3.38 GAA, and .905 Save%, he has been handicapped by being on the worst team in the league.

Availability: Owned in 26% of leagues.
Forecast: Those who know rank Lehner as a Top 10 goaltending prospect. In his 4 appearances in the NHL, he has 3 wins, a 1.50 GAA, and .952 Save%. He makes a solid short/intermediate term fill in, and an excellent keeper option. Also keep an eye on the Sens' trade deadline acquistion, Ben Bishop.

Chicago Blackhawks Ray Emery, G

Corey Crawford is in a major sophomore slump. Ray Emery is the grizzled veteran who has overcome severe physical adversity and handled the pressure of taking a team all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. This was a crease conflict for most of the season, but I expect the Hawks to ride Ray from here on out.

Availability: Owned in 17% of leagues.
Forecast: Over his last 4 appearances, Emery has picked up 2 wins while allowing just 5 goals on 108 shots -- a .954 Save%. Chicago added Johnny Oduya at the trade deadline and he should help stabilize their blueline. Emery will have plenty of opportunity and plenty of goal support. He makes for an excellent 3rd goaltender in virtually all formats.
UPDATE: Emery got the win on Sunday afternoon, beating the Red Wings 2-1, stopping 23 of 24 shots.

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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