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Week 24 - Free Agents and Trade Targets

Tonight is the moment of Truth. A lot of us are in matchups that are going down to the wire. Good luck to us! Hopefully, we will survive and be looking to load up for our league's championships. There is some talent on the wire, and this week we are back to scouring ESPN pools.

Left Wings

Variously owned LWs worth adding (depending on the size of your league) or worth targeting via trade:
Mike Cammalleri (55%), Jussi Jokinen (47%), Jamie McGinn (45%), Andy McDonald (44%), Chad LaRose (29%), R.J. Umberger (29%), Marcus Foligno (7%), Brian Rolston (4%), Raffi Torres (0.1%)

Buffalo Sabres Tyler Ennis, LW

Since being moved to Centre, Ennis has responded in spades. The Sabres are hot. Ryan Miller is playing like a Vezina winner again, and everything in Buffalo is coming up aces. They have moved into 8th spot in the East, and will be playing the rest of their slate of games with desperation.

Availability: Owned in 41% of leagues.
Over his last 8 games, Ennis has 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists), a whopping +11 rating, and 14 SOGs. Going back even further, he has 17 points in his last 16 games. If you need help in the scoring cats, consider adding Ennis for your stretch run.

Pittsburgh Penguins Matt Cooke, LW

One of the hottest goal scorers in the league not named Stamkos or Ovechkin? How about Matt Cooke. Since Crosby's return, Cooke has been a fixture on 87's LW. That includes tonight's game where Bylsma juggled lines to account for Steve Sullivan's injury. In those 7 games, Cooke has 7 goals, 2 assists, a +6 rating, and 12 SOGs.

Availability: Owned in 6% of leagues.
Forecast: As long as Kunitz stays on the Malkin line (which he probably will for the rest of this season and playoffs), Cooke is likely to remain paired with Crosby--esp. in light of their instant chemistry. That's good for business.


Variously owned Cs worth adding (depending on the size of your league) or worth targeting via trade:
Derek Roy (84%), David Legwand (82%), Mikko Koivu (63%), Brooks Laich (57%), Mark Letestu (3%), Jaden Schwartz (0.4%)

Minnesota Wild Kyle Brodziak, C

I realize this isn't an exciting pick-up. David Legwand and his shiny new toy imported from the KHL is a lot more exciting, but I'm assuming since that's old news you guys are on that already. Digging deeper, Brodziak makes a solid if unspectacular add. Over his last 8 games, he has 9 points (3 goals, 6 assists), a +2 rating, 2 PPPs and 17 SOG.

Availability: Owned in 21% of leagues.
Forecast: A decent add in deeper leagues or a plug-n-play for shallower leagues as long as he stays hot.

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

Chicago Blackhawks Andrew Shaw, C

With Jonathan Toews still on the shelf due to a concussion, Shaw will continue to see increased opportunities. Over his last 4 games, he's shredding it to the tune of 4 goals, 3 assists, a +4 rating, 2 PIMs, 1 PPP, and 8 SOGs.

Availability: Owned in 3% of leagues.
Forecast: Toews is not expected back any time real soon, so ride Shaw while he's hot and playing a lot.

Right Wings

Variously owned RWs worth adding (depending on the size of your league) or worth targeting via trade:
Drew Stafford (82%), Martin Havlat (80%), Ales Hemsky (36%), Alexander Radulov (36%), Chris Neil (5%)

Nashville Predators Patric Hornqvist, RW

While Radulov garnered much of the attention last week, and rightly so, Hornqvist also benefits from his return as they are playing on the same line. The numbers say that Rad is more available, however, I am guessing that in the more competitive pools you have a better chance of adding Hornqvist.

Availability: Owned in 54% of leagues.
Forecast: He should maintain his Top 6 role, and as long as he does, he's a valuable commodity. Over his last 10 games, Hornqvist has 6 goals, 2 assists, a +1 rating, 2 PPPs, and a very healthy 37 SOGs.

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

Pittsburgh Penguins Tyler Kennedy, RW

Another beneficiary of Sidney Crosby's return. Crosby hasn't been filling the net (yet), but he is making those who get to play with him better. In Kennedy's last 6 games (all w/ Crosby) he has 7 points (3 goals, 4 assists), a +6 rating, and 20 SOGs.

Availability: Owned in 3% of leagues.
Forecast: Should be owned in medium to deep leagues, and in shallow ones, too, as long as he is playing with Crosby. Watch this closely though. Ultimately, TK will probably end up back on Staal's line and in more of a checking role.


Variously owned D-men worth adding (depending on the size of your league) or worth targeting via trade:
Oliver Ekman-Larsson (87%), Lubomir Visnovsky (65%), Marek Zidlicky (61%), Travis Hamonic (56%), Victor Hedman (23%), Jake Gardiner (19%)

Florida Panthers Dmitry Kulikov, D

Since returning 5 games ago, Kulikov has zero points. Hey, the guy was out for nearly 2 months with a knee, so give him a bit of time to adjust. Prior to the injury, he was scoring at a 40+ point pace (24 points in 46 games). Defencemen like that do not grow on trees.

Availability: Owned in 59% of leagues.
Forecast: Solid add in almost any league. A bit of risk since he hasn't produced yet in his return, but there is a good chance that he's had enough time to shake the rust and his talent will take over from here.

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

Edmonton Oilers Jeff Petry, D

Petry's ice time and responsibilities continue to increase. Over his last 6 games he has 5 points (all assists) a +2 rating, 6 PIMs, 1 PPP, and 13 SOGs. That's pretty solid production for a player that is available in >90% of leagues.

Availability: Owned in 9% of leagues.
Forecast: A cheap source of assists (+ some PIMs) for those in deeper leagues.


Variously owned Gs worth adding (depending on the size of your league) or worth targeting via trade:
Cory Schneider (67%), Johan Hedberg (19%), Josh Harding (18%)

Edmonton Oilers Devan Dubnyk, G

The Oilers still are not a good team. I get that. And apologies for writing about D-squared again, but he's the most widely available starting goaltender in both Y! and ESPN leagues. He's improved on last year's Save%: .910 last season to .914% this campaign, and the Oilers improved defensively with the Schultz trade.

Availability: Owned in 47% of leagues.
Forecast: Dubnyk has won 4 of his 6 last six starts while posting sterling ratios: 1.63 GAA and .947 Save%.

Washington Capitals Braden Holtby, G

Vokoun is still out with a groin, and Neuvirth has underwhelmed this season (2.89 GAA and .900 Save%), which has opened the door for Holtby to start 3 of the last 4 games for the Capitals. He's won 2 and put up excellent ratios: 1.92 GAA and .934 Save%.

Availability: Owned in 4% of leagues.
Forecast: Vokoun is scheduled to return at some point this week, however, groin injuries can be tricky--especially for goaltenders. Holtby makes a good plug-n-play and possibly more depending on Vokoun's return.

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.