Roster spots are important on a fantasy team; this week we will look at some fringe players that are struggling early and whether they should continue to take an important place on our teams or enter the waiver wire.
Ryane Clowe, LW, Sharks
The big forward broke out last season with 22 goals and 52 points and helped many fantasy teams with an amazing 24 power-play points and 51 penalty minutes. This season he lost his linemates (Milan Michalek to the Dany Heatley trade and Joe Pavelski to early injury) but was supposed to bring secondary scoring.
So far he has been a fantasy disappointment, recording just one assist in the first eight games; he still has been getting some penalty minutes, though, with 27.
I think the 27-year-old, 6'2" forward is worth the roster spot. He still plays big-time minutes, including on the second power-play unit (2:49 PP TOI/G), and he is just felling the pressure to live up to his new four-year contract but will break out of this slump.
Jason Blake, LW, Maple Leafs
This guy is owned in 65 percent of leagues and still living off his 40-goal season in 2006-07 with the Islanders. Yes, he did bounce back and score 25 goals in his second year in Toronto, including five power-play goals.
This season, Blake and the whole Maple Leafs team are struggling defensively, as he is a minus-7, and he is not scoring at the same pace to make that worth a roster spot. The Maple Leafs are rebuilding and will start to give his important minutes to younger players; therefore, he is not worth a roster spot in fantasy.
T.J. Oshie, C, Blues
A former first-round pick out of North Dakota, Oshie had an up-and-down rookie year but was primed to be a fantasy stud in his sophomore season. So far he is a fantasy dud, scoring only one goal and assisting on two others; even worse, he is getting minimal power-play time.
This is a tough call to make as the Blues have both Andy McDonald and Paul Kariya healthy this season and both seeing significant minutes. If you are in a 12-team league, he might be worth to stash for safe keeping, but in a 10-team league I would say drop him and keep him on your watch list.
Waiver-Wire Pickup of the Week: Matt Moulson or Kyle Okposo, F, Islanders
If one or both of these talented young Islanders forwards are available, jump on the claim.
Moulson is available in more leagues than Okposo (owned only 20 percent vs. 70 percent), but both have been scoring at a fast pace (Moulson with seven points and Okposo with six points in the first six games).
The Islanders will struggle on the ice, but that should not discount them from being fantasy options. Okposo and Moulson were both big-time college scorers and are playing on a line together with John Tavares at both regular strength and on the power play (Moulson with four power-play goals and Okposo with three).
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