During the All-Star break, fantasy owners should not be resting. Many relevant skaters are coming off the injured reserve next week when ice action resumes. Act now and pick up these players before someone else nabs them.
Andy McDonald - St. Louis Blues
On the injured reserve because of a broken ankle, the widely available McDonald can be a fantastic number two center for any fantasy team. Before suffering his injury McDonald was averaging nearly 20 minutes of ice time and over a point per game. Furthermore, eleven of his 18 points have come on the power play.
Be advised, though. McDonald has not played for two months. He also comes with a negative 12 plus/minus rating which could fall even lower because he plays for the abysmal Blues.
Pavel Demitra - Vancouver Canucks
Pavel Demitra is brittle. A stiff breeze could send him packing for the IR. In fact, in his ten year career, Demitra has only played two full seasons.
However, when he is healthy there is a great offensive upside. Earlier this season the thirty eight year old Czech winger had a seven game point streak.
When Vancouver goalie Robert Luongo returns to Vezina candidate form and Mats Sundin reacclimates himself after a stint of semi retirement, everything should come up sunshine and lollipops for Demitra. A 30 point second half effort is not out of the question if his balsa wood frame holds up.
Andrew Ference - Boston Bruins
Slated to return to the rink last Wednesday, the extra few days off the all star break affords will only benefit the full recovery of Andrew Ference.
The Boston defenseman has been out since November 18th with a fractured tibia. Before being placed on the injured reserve he was averaging over 20 minutes of ice time per game.
Ference has never been known for his offensive prowess. On the other hand, he does play for the Eastern Conference leading Bruins and is therefore worth a third or fourth defenseman roster spot.
Jason Chimera - Columbus Blue Jackets
Out for a month with a groin injury, Columbus forward Jason Chimera has resumed practicing and is expected to return next week.
The universally unowned Chimera set a career high of 36 points in 2006-2007. This year, however, he is halfway to that total in only 31 games played.
Chimera is also a good source of penalty minutes at the wing position. Since joining the Blue Jackets, he has averaged 95 penalty minutes per season.
While his overall numbers aren't going to set the fantasy world on fire, Chimera is an excellent add when he is on a hot streak or as a stop gap solution.
Teemu Selanne - Anaheim Ducks
Teemu Selanne is not coming back immediately after the all star break, but very soon afterwards. This is not good news for rookie Bobby Ryan owners, but great news for those participating in the approximately 25 percent of leagues that Selanne is on waivers.
In his second stint with the Ducks, the Finnish forward has 27 points in 33 games, 18 of those coming on the power play.
If he is available and you have the roster space, pick him up. Selanne is expected to regain his position on the first power play unit upon his return to Anaheim.
Daniel Briere - Philadelphia Flyers
This space was reserved for the news of the return of Flyer center Daniel Briere. However, after recent reports that he will be out at least another month. I will not waste your time. Avoid him on waivers.
It is too late in the season to waste roster space on someone who has only played in nine games this year.
Sorry about the tirade but I am a frustrated Briere owner finally pushed over the edge.
Martin Brodeur - New Jersey Devils
During the initial research for this article, I was aghast to learn that superstud goaltender Martin Brodeur is owned in only 54 percent of CBS leagues.
If you belong to a Sportsline supported fantasy hockey league, stop reading now and go check your waiver wire.
Certain players are worth rostering no matter the injury if a return that season is probable. Brodeur is definitely one of those players.
Out since November because of left elbow surgery, Brodeur has been cleared to begin skating soon meaning the future hall of famer could return sometime in February.