PICKUP OF THE WEEK:
Alexandre Burrows - Van - LW,RW - 9% owned with 3+8=11
Vancouver’s got one of their big guns back. On Wednesday, Burrows ended his debilitating 41 game goal-scoring slump with 2 markers, and it seems like that might be a glimpse of what he’s actually capable of. Burrows is known as a player who can pile in some PIMs (56 in 38 games) and hits (65) alongside point-scoring abilities, but until this week, his points game was way off. This week, however, Burrows collected 3 goals and 3 assists (2 PPP) in Vancouver’s 4 games. He was also good for a +3 rating, 6 PIMs, 12 hits, and 11 shots on goal. Sunday’s game against Luongo and the Panthers was particularly gigantic for the multi-category, dual-eligible power forward as Burrows put up 1 goal, 2 assists, +2, 2 PIMs, 1PPP, 3 shots, and 3 hits. I’m probably not the only one starting to wonder if it’s time to replace the nearly irreplaceable but long-ailing Martin Hanzal. The good news is that the revitalized Burrows (Henrik Sedin's new right hand man), who is only owned in 9% of leagues, might be the one to help fill that hole.
SHALLOW LEAGUE FREE AGENTS and TRADE TARGETS (owned in over 50% of Yahoo! leagues)
Sergei Bobrovsky - Cls - G - 92% owned with 26W, 2.46 GAA, and .920 SV%
Bob has become one of the best goalies in the league again. Just saying. I’m aware that your trade deadline is likely in the rear-view.
Mark Giordano - Cgy - D - 61% owned with 11+28=39
I’m not going to say very much about Gio because because I gushed a bit in last week’s edition, but I do want to keep him in the mix here as a d-man that people must be overlooking for the wrong reason—namely, that he is on Calgary. After all, Giordano’s just about to reach the 40 point mark and, according to Yahoo! player-rank algorithms, has been the hottest player in the whole league over the last 7 days. Just go and have a look at his last 10 games; first you’ll be surprised, and then you’ll add him if you can. 11 points in 10 games and great peripherals, including 9 shots in Saturday’s game in Phoenix alone. I said I wouldn’t say much, so I’ll stop it there. It’d be your loss.
MEDIUM-DEPTH FREE AGENTS and TRADE TARGETS (25-50% ownership in Yahoo! leagues)
Jordan Staal - Car - C,LW - 43% owned with 13+22=35
Jordan Staal wasn’t doing very much for his owners for a while. That’s changed, however, because Staal was a great fantasy performer this week. In his 4 games, Jordan had 2 goals, 4 assists (1 PPP), a +4 rating, 12 shots, and 12 hits. But it goes back a little further than that: in the last 6 games, Staal owns 3 goals and 9 points, added to by the good peripherals you can count on him for. The spark that ignited this recent production was his lining up in Big Brother Eric’s old spot alongside the very hot Alexander Semin and healthy Jiri Tlusty, and it’s clear Carolina has found something that works amidst a team that doesn’t have the biggest pile of things to be proud of. Jordan has proved himself to be a good guy to own right now, with a very big emphasis on those leagues that count hits (155 on the season). And even for many of those leagues that don’t. He’s been playing that well.
Michael Cammalleri - Cgy - C,LW - 31% owned with 19+11=30
If the Pickup of the Week was for points alone, then with 4 big goals and 6 points (4 PPP) this week alone, Cammalleri would have likely taken Burrows’ spot. Cammalleri is an interesting add right now. He’s been scoring goals like a demon lately (6 in 10 games with 3 assists besides), and should continue to do so as long as Calgary is getting the puck to him. What makes the risk a little easier on a person is how often he shoots. In 51 games, he’s put 156 shots on goal, which is roughly 3 shots a game. It’s not mind-blowing, but he won’t sink you as quickly as some other streaking guys if his points drop off a little. He gets top PP time in Calgary, and his dual-eligibility along with his points-potential and SOG numbers make him a pretty good stop-gap if you’ve got a hole going into your league’s playoffs.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - SJ - D - 37% owned with 5+18=23
There aren’t many defensemen with under 40% ownership who is as worth owning right now as the Canadian Gold Medalist, Marc-Edouard Vlasic. He only has 23 points on the season, but in his last 10 games Vlasic’s put up 6 points to go along with 27 shots, 18 blocks, and 14 penalty minutes. Soaring over all these stats, though, is the +15 rating he holds across those games. Vlasic now owns a +30 on the season, which is third-best in the league and shows how defensively responsible he is. He wasn’t chosen for Team Canada as a goal guy, and more people could benefit from looking beyond blueliner points columns. Vlasic could do a real nice job for you in plus-minus battles among other peripherals, and his recent points are a bonus.
DEEPER LEAGUE FREE AGENTS (25% ownership or less in Yahoo! leagues)
Lee Stempniak - Pit - LW,RW - 17% owned with 8+18=26
The Penguins staff has been trying to fill the hole next to Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz ever since Pascal Dupuis’ season ended, and it looks like somebody may have finally won that lottery in a lasting way. In the 5 games since hopping on the Pens’ roster, Stempy’s produced 3 assists and should be seen for what he is: a player on the NHL’s best line with the NHL’s best player. And the kicker is that Beau Bennett’s recovery has been much slower than expected and that reports say his chances of being set up next to Crosby are dwindling.
Carl Soderberg - Bos - C,LW - 10% owned with 12+26=38
When Loui Eriksson was traded to Boston, I don’t think many people would have projected him to be a 3rd line player, and recently, while that line has been producing beyond expectations, Eriksson hasn’t even been its leader. Here steps in another Swede, Carl Soderberg, who’s put up a relatively impressive 38 points on the season, notching 3 goals and 8 points in his last 10 games. He’s also got 23 pucks to the net over that period, which can add a bumper to the risk of adding him. Boston has topped Pittsburgh for the number one spot in the Eastern Conference with 8 straight wins, and here might be your opportunity to ride some of their success.
Alexandre Burrows - Van - LW,RW - 9% owned with 2+6=8
See above ∆∆∆
THE MIDNIGHT SPECIALS (5% ownership or less in Yahoo! leagues)
Tuomo Ruutu - NJ - C,LW - 3% owned with 6+14=20
Anybody’s value would see a boost after being put on a line with Jaromir Jagr, but it seems that Ruutu’s case is something special. In the 5 games since joining the Devils, Ruutu’s put up 1 goal and 4 points. That’s not gold-studded headline material, but Ruutu is a physical player that is suddenly playing big minutes on a big line. He’s capable of a pile hits and a scatter of PIMs, which is valuable in many leagues, and this kind of second lease should create some decent point production. At the least, I feel like he’s a player that should be watched. Ruutu will play as hard as he can in his new role.