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Week 16's Free Agents and Trade Targets

Sunday Night Lookers to help you get ahead in your league.

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

Today is very, very Sunday, and sometimes it’s best to let a little girl express what you can’t seem to find the way of expressing yourself.


Ryane Clowe - NJ - LW,RW - 13% owned with 2+9=11
So I just happened to notice that Ryane’s name isn’t spelled "Ryan," but whatever, he can keep adding whichever letters he wants if he keeps on with the way he’s been playing. The big Newfoundlander has been moved around a lot in the last two seasons, and fantasy owners have been sneakily waiting to make bank on his points-PIMs combo potential after a disappointing first part of the season in San Jose last year. It turns out that the Eastern Seaboard is close enough to home that Clowe, after missing a concussed couple of months and 32 games, has found his groove and maybe even a few Jigg’s Dinners with resparked linemate Michael Ryder, too*. In his 3 games this week, Clowe has 1 goal and 4 points, 6 shots, and 12 hits. In Saturday’s loss in Phoenix, Clowe registered 1 power play goal, 1 assist, 3 shots, and a huge 6 hits. This week has been a continuation of a hot 7 games, in which Clowe found 2 goals and 9 points, 19 shots, and 16 hits. He’s only received 2 penalty minutes over that span, but he has had a couple fighting majors since returning, and those who know Clowe know that he stands up for his team, even if he’s a brand new addition to it. He’s a great guy to have on your side in PIMs- and hits-valuing leagues of various depths, and poolers are obviously taking notice as his ownership rate has spiked dramatically. Still, Clowe’s gone widely unnoticed this season so far because of that injury, but he’s been playing like golden horse these past two weeks and if he stays healthy and distances himself from the concussion, you can expect Clowe to become even more comfortable with the play he’s mostly been showing gritty glimpses of recently.

* I realize that probably none of you will get that reference, but I’m not sorry. And if you did, do a pal a favour and look at the sky with me at exactly midnight tonight. That’s when the salt beef jumps over the moon.

SHALLOW LEAGUE FREE AGENTS and TRADE TARGETS (owned in >50% in Yahoo! leagues)

Wayne Simmonds - Phi - RW - 73% owned with 16+20=36
If I were to not take into account the rate of ownership spikes and the availability of my Pickup of the Week, then Simmonds would have probably been the guy graced with his own section up there. In his three games this week, Simmonds has a scary 6 points (3PPP) to go along with a +3 rating and 7 shots. He has come out as one of Philly’s more consistent players (excusing the first part of the season as you’re going to have to do with anyone of the team), and when he’s on, he’s flying. After such a wonky start, Simmonds has gotten it together with 36 points in 49 games. He’s also put up 77 PIMs over that time already, and has gotten 117 shots on goal. Decent. If for some reason he’s still out there in your league and you value penalty minutes, give yourself a charlie horse. But only after you go and grab him, like, now.

Rick Nash - NYR - LW,RW - 95% owned with 12+9=21
Nash could prove to be a good trade target now that he’s tightening up the old bootstraps and becoming a producing player once again because he’s still stained with a brutal start to the season. Even recently, he hasn’t been quite the force he’s expected to be, but he has 5 goals for 5 points in 7 games. Even more promising, Nash has thrown 23 shots on net in his last 4 games. Those are only good for 2 goals, but the rising number of opportunities is a good sign for things to come, and sleepy owners might be looking at his overall rank/numbers and therefore willing to let him go at such a buy-low moment. Don’t rip anyone off, though, because that’s no fun and other people in the league will notice and you’ll acquire your own kind of stain, but this superfine Nash window is likely on its way to being shut.

Scott Hartnell - Phi - LW - 52% owned with 11+17=28
Hartnell looks like the kind of guy who would show up at your casual game of pond hockey, shotgun a six pack, and shove your head in a snowbank. In terms of hockey pools, that means that Hartnell could possibly be an asset in many PIMs and hits leagues. Even though he hasn’t been the absolute Grit Reaper that he used to be, Hartnell still has a respectable 35 penalty minutes and 84 hits so far this season, which is more than a lot of guys can say for themselves. On top of that, Hartnell owns 5 goals and 13 points in his last 12 games and has fit in well on Philly’s hot second line alongside Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds. At only 53% ownership, people must have something against him personally. Maybe he reminds them of the rowdy uncle that used to put them in full nelsons.

Henrik Lundqvist - NYR - G - 99% owned with 16W, 2.58GAA, and .914SV%
Lundqvist’s ownership went from 98% to 99% in the last day, and that remaining gap will close, especially after a newsreel wonder of a 38-save shutout against Detroit on Thursday. If you can acquire him in a trade of some kind, then you probably should, even though his early struggles are probably already too distanced to work in your favour. He’s back.

MEDIUM-DEPTH FREE AGENTS and TRADE TARGETS (25-50% ownership in Yahoo! leagues)

Chris Kreider - NYR - C,LW - 43% owned with 12+15=27
Kreider doesn’t have a point in his last 3 games, and he’s the kind of guy who will do that. But he’s also the kind of guy who puts up healthy numbers of shots, hits, and penalty minutes along solid scoring potential. In 43 games, Kreider has posted 27 points, a sweet +13 rating, 58 PIMs, 10 PPP, 95 shots, and a gritty 108 hits. His ice time has been boosted over the last week, and if you watch a game, you can understand why. He plays hard with his 6’3", 226lb frame. Of all rookies, Kreider is 3rd in the scoring race and 5th for penalty minutes.

Tyler Ennis - Buf - C,LW - 32% owned with 10+11=21
Tyler Ennis is a short, thin dude who has lots of potential, and this week has been a great week for him. In 4 games, Ennis has built a fine nest of 2 goals and 5 points for Buffalo. Over that period, he also contributed 16 shots (easy math: average of 4 shots per game) and 9 hits (do it yourself). In a 4-3 shootout loss to the recently snazzy Blue Jackets, Ennis showed his potential worth with 2 assists, a +2 rating, 7 shots, and 3 hits. Cool.

(Note: by the laws of everything wholesome and good, I can only rep one Buffalo Sabre per week, but consider this a secret head nod toward Cody Hodgson (also 32% owned), who has collected a point each game since his return from injury on January 12. Worth looking at.)

Tim Thomas - Fla - G - 42% owned with 12W, 2.58GAA, and .917SV%
Just here to say that Tim Thomas is still putting up fine numbers even if his team isn’t winning many games. If you already have a goalie who slides around behind a good defensive core with a low GAA and an accompanying low number of SA/saves per game, Thomas could be your low-cost balancer. In his 8 games since returning from injury, Thomas has faced an average of 32 shots per game and has not once posted a SV% below .905%. You can’t always have it all.

DEEPER LEAGUE FREE AGENTS (<25% ownership in Yahoo! leagues)

Ryane Clowe - NJ - LW,RW - 13% owned with 2+9=11
See above.

David Legwand - Nsh - C - 10% owned with 8+26=34
Legwand, which is one of the weirdest names in the league, has 6 points, a +3, and 8 shots in his last 3 games. As a fringe guy, he’s not going to present you plattered piles of shots and hits, but he plays top minutes and is a constant on the Predators’ top power play unit. Could be worth a ride-along if you are hurting for a short-term fix.

Hampus Lindholm - Anh - D - 16% owned with 5+12=17
Hampus Lindholm, a 1994 baby (like, what year is it even?), is tied for 2nd overall for plus-minus with a +25 rating on the season. As half of Anaheim’s top-two pairing with Francois Beauchemin, Lindholm is proving himself to be a great add in deeper leagues. Even though he only sees time on the second power play unit, the Ducks’ second is better than many’s firsts, and there aren’t many better jobs in the NHL than the one that receives passes from Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry on the five-on-five. Plus-minus is a finicky category that I mostly hate, but guys like The Hamper can ease a little of the frustration that comes with it.

THE MIDNIGHT SPECIALS (<5% owned in Yahoo! leagues)

Andrej Meszaros - Phi - D - 3% owned with 4+10=14
Nobody knows where it’s coming from, but Andrej Meszaros has found something recently, along with 3 goals and 11 points in his last 10 games. That gives him a healthy 14 points in 29 games. His shot totals are improving, too (10 in his last 3 games). It’s anyone’s guess whether this charge lasts in the revitalized Czech veteran, but if you have the room for him, Meszaros is worth a look right now.

Mark Letestu - Cls - C - 1% owned with 6+15 = 21
The Blue Jackets have been something else lately, which is to say something other than the 2013/14 Columbus Blue Jackets. Sergei Bobrovsky’s goaltending is improving toward more what it looked like in his Vezina-winning season last year, and all of the team’s lines are showing themselves capable of producing. A part of this recent surge is Mark Letestu, who has played recent games as a fourth line centre. The Elk Point, Alberta native (two hollers come soaring across the internet) owns 5 goals and 7 points in his last 7 games despite more or less middling ice time.

Pat Maroon - Anh - LW - 1% owned with 3+8=11
At this point, even the Ducks’ waterboy and road omelette chef is worth owning in many formats. Even moreso, however, it’s worth mentioning that in his last six games, Maroon has 4 assists, a +2 rating, and, most importantly, 27 penalty minutes. He might not keep it up, but Pat’s been dropping his gloves in most of  his recent games, as well as putting up the more than occasional helper on a team that’s looking less like the team from which their name comes and more like the black uniforms they were always knocking their knees about in the movies. And so despite his low ice time, even a high-performing deeper forward like Maroon is worth a look right now in those leagues where only him and those egg-scramblers are still available. You’ll just have to excuse his recent game of all zeroes. It happens.

Tom Sestito - Van -  LW - 2% owned with 4+1=5
Okay, listen, I’m not going to rep this guy very much or anything, but with 64 penalty minutes in his last 3 games, it seems as if Vancouver winger Tom Sestito has been eating steel wool and the worst moments of MTV’s Jersey Shorefor breakfast. If he continues this, which who knows, then he alone could decide a week’s PIMs category for you, bro.