PICKUP OF THE WEEK:
Adam Henrique - NJ - C - 27% owned with 23+15=38
Okay, I admit that I didn’t include Henrique in my list last week (when he very well could have held his own as the Pickup of the Week) because I didn’t think he would keep it up. I’m sorry, but also don’t go and blame me because some chump and/or your most vocal friend snatched him up before you thought to. I know I’m not your only one. But now, in the extended evening light of our Oh My God Is It Spring? clock change, there’s no denying that Adam Henrique has been the best pickup you could have hoped for this week. I don’t know whose bed he’s sleeping in, but his active 6 game, 9 goal and 11 point streak is something that can’t be stashed under the rug any longer (it’d glow right through). Quickly here because I’m sure you’ve been gawking at his stats board yourself: during Henny’s unbelievable 6 game streak, he has collected 9 goals!!, 2 assists, a +7 rating, and 20 shots on goal. His .450 FO% for the season isn’t anything to call your mum about, and if you did call her and complain about that then she’d probably tell you that she’s no longer your mother. At this point, it seems almost like it doesn’t even matter whether or not Henrique is the "Real Deal," you should add him regardless. There’s always the chance, and it’s wild how quickly his ownership is spiking. Do your part.
SHALLOW LEAGUE FREE AGENTS and TRADE TARGETS (owned in over 50% of Yahoo! leagues)
Johan Franzen - Det - LW,RW - 74% owned with 15+19=34
Hey guys, just dropping this name in here to let 26% of Yahoo! users know that there’s something wrong with them. I mean, the guy has 12 points in the 6 games he’s played since returning on February 27 after some time off, making him one of the most productive players in the whole league. Oh yeah, and good peripherals too: +4, 19 SOG, 14 PIMs, and 7 hits while soaring on that top line. I know he's not going to reach 100% owned and probably shouldn't, but some leagues are sleeping. I'm sure of it.
Mark Giordano - Cal - D - 57% owned with 10+24=34
Giordano has been quietly putting up a great season on a poor team. Despite only playing 46 games this season, Gio is edging the top 100 overall rankings. With 34 points, 129 SOG, and 81 blocked shots in 46 games, Giordano has been producing at a pace that outdoes many other household blueliners, and his recent play has been a real help to those 57% of people who know what’s up in Calgary. In his last 5 games, Giordano has notched 6 points, 18 shots, 6 blocks, and 7 hits. Most surprising is the dogpile of 17 PIMs over that span and the fact that he’s been able to tread water with a positive plus-minus rating in the Calgary sinkhole.
MEDIUM-DEPTH FREE AGENTS and TRADE TARGETS (25-50% ownership in Yahoo! leagues)
Adam Henrique - NJ - C - 27% owned with 23+15=38
(I’m still surprised he’s in this section too.) See above ∆∆∆.
Erik Johnson - Col - D - 36% owned with 8+22=30
Erik Johnson is an all-category contributor who also happens to have 30 points on the season and 6 in his last 4 games. Colorado is showing themselves to be a really solid team, and strong play on their blue line is a distinct part of their success. Johnson is showing himself to be pretty valuable in points leagues, and that value is boosted further in leagues that count PIMS (45), hits (109) and blocks (106).
Tim Thomas - Dal - G - 32% owned with 17 W, 2.85 GAA, and .909 SV%
This is a really big heads up and shh, I won’t tell anyone else. I don’t know if you were watching the Dallas game last night, but Kari Lehtonen was quite possibly concussed, and badly. The good thing for Dallas is that they don’t have to rely on a mediocre Dan Ellis anymore now that the pedigreed ex-Panthers starter Tim Thomas is in town and ready to go. That makes Thomas a very strong option for people in need of a starter, and his value increases alongside the extent of Kari’s injury (sometimes this game is really gross). Dallas is fighting for the playoffs and is being led by Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, who happen to be the NHL’s hottest players over the last 7 days. Look for Dallas to win some big games with Thomas, or else try really, really hard to. Make your move. Right now. Go. He won’t be available for long.
DEEPER LEAGUE FREE AGENTS (25% ownership or less in Yahoo! leagues)
Ales Hemsky - Ott - RW - 12% owned with 9+20=29
In Ottawa’s Saturday game against Winnipeg, it was apparent that Hemsky and Jason Spezza found the chemistry that everyone was hoping for. Both players assisted on 3 goals (2 on the man advantage). Both players finished with a +2 rating, and Hemsky further contributed with 3 shots and 3 hits. Jason Spezza is an elite hockey player somewhat shrouded this season behind an injured past, a -22 rating, and, most importantly, a former lack of talented, synergizing linemates. I think Ottawa’s acquisition of Hemsky solved that last problem and the shared skill was apparent in yesterday’s game. I’m betting that both players receive a big boost as long as they’re on the same line and punching in good power play minutes. I’d still like to see how they look together next game, but the outlook is very good.
Johnny Boychuk - Bos - D - 16% owned with 3+16=19
I’m mentioning Johnny Boy here because he might not get much mention anywhere else. He’s not flashy by any means, but he is certainly one of those peripheral-boosting safeguards that work can work so well on deep-league blue lines where you won’t find a waiver-pile of scorers. In 59 games this season, JB has 19 points, 39 PIMs, and 115 shots, and 118 hits, but the real juice is that his +31 rating is the best in the NHL (tied with Matt Niskanen). Also, 5 of Boychuk’s points have come in the last 9 games. Think of your team as a boat for a minute: if you have a hole, a guy like Boychuk is a plug that will fill that hole and help you stay afloat. You don’t always have to add a gun; some guns will leak.
Jhonas Enroth - Buf - G - 9% owned with 4W, 2.82GAA, and .911 SV%
I’m not going to get his name done up in neon and put it on the side of any building or anything, but Enroth is looking like he at least might not be the worst option for those in need of a starter who only have guys like him, Joni Ortio, and/or Eddie Lack to choose from. (Yeah, Lack too; I personally think Roberto Luongo received a boost by getting out of Vancouver’s mess). Buffalo has won 3 of the 4 games Enroth has played after stepping up as #1. This doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but it’s happening and Buffalo is finding ways to score (3 goals, 2 goals, 4 goals, 5 goals, going back). In those 4 games alone, Enroth has faced 154 shots (average of 38.5 each game) and only allowed 10 goals, holding up a .932 SV% since his role changed. There's nobody in line waiting for him to fail, and Enroth is looking more and more like a poor man’s saves pig now that the old #1 hog has been shipped out to St. Louis.
THE MIDNIGHT SPECIALS (5% ownership or less in Yahoo! leagues)
Sean Bergenheim - Fla - LW - 3% owned with 14+9=23
I’ve been maybe half-following what Florida’s 29 year old Finlander has been up to this season after surprising me in the boxscore a few times early on. I’ve even mentioned him down here before, and what has me doing it again is the Panthers’ Friday night game against Buffalo. Bergy didn’t get a single point, not even a hit, but he did something else, and he did it real good. That night, Bergenheim collected 12 SOG. That’s astounding, and when you look at his contributions over many games, you can see that his compete-level is on another level. If he doesn’t score a point (like on Friday), he might clock 4 PIMs, 3 hits, and 1 SOG, as he did on March 2. Or 5 hits and 3 shots, as he did on February 4. Bergenheim has 23 points in 48 games, which isn’t spectacular in itself, but he also owns a respectable 91 hits and 146 SOG, which calculate into an average of 2 hits and 3 shots per game. That’s pretty consistent for a 3% guy. Before Friday’s pointless game, Berg had 4 points in 4 games, and what’s important is that that pointless 12 shot effor shows us just how hard Florida’s top-line LWer was gunning for one.