It is now All-Star week and there will be lots of talk about the Ovechkins and the Iginlas of the world. But chances are the All-Stars in your fantasy league have already been picked up. Who can help your fantasy squad this week?
Last week I recommended five non-All-Stars to round out your roster. And how did they perform?
I recommended Philly as a team on the rise. Scott Hartnell lit up the net with 5 goals, and superpest Steve Downie chipped in with 3 points. Almost any Flyer is a decent play right now. The team is superhot, having won 7 of 9 games this month.
Sophomore Joel Perrault had a goal and an assist, lifting his season total to 9 points.
Robert Lang was my least productive pick of the week with only 1 assist, but I have faith that he will still be an asset.
Dan Boyle remains injured, but could come back this week and will be a big contributor to any team that acquires him.
Like always, if you have questions about a player I did not mention, that's what the comments section is for. And without further adieu, this week I recommend...
Antero Niittymaki (PHI – G)
It was the 1990s when the Flyers last had a regular starting goaltender. Since Jon Vanbiesbrouck left the net for the Flyers they have gone through a turnstile of back-stoppers including Boucher, Cechmanek, Burke, Esche, and Niittymaki.
So when Martin Biron was signed to be the primary goalie in Philly I was skeptical. Rarely does a Philly goalie start more than 60 games this season.
The 07-08 season began and it appeared that Biron might do it. But then out of nowhere Antero Niitymaki emerged. Having been written off by both critics and fans, Nittymaki fought back.
Since Christmas he has been unbeatable, posting a record of 6-0-1 and sparking the goaltender duel that Philly is famous for. Most recently he held the mighty Senators to a single tally. Look to him to continue getting starts for the red hot Flyers squad.
Todd Bertuzzi (ANA - RW)
It was November 27th when I last recommended picking up this veteran winger. In November he had 4 points, in December 8 points, and so far in January he’s tallied 13 points in 10 games.
The power forward approached coach Randy Carlyle to request switching from the right wing to the left side. Since the switch he’s been on a point-per-game tear, playing alongside Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf.
Once he qualifies at both LW and RW his value will skyrocket. Go ahead and claim Bertuzzi if he is still available in your league.
Jason Blake (TOR – LW)
With the fans in Toronto calling for change, the move of captain Mats Sundin seems almost inevitable.
When and if Mats is traded, much of the offensive load will fall on the shoulders of the newly acquired Jason Blake.
But Blake has not lived up to expectations in Hogtown. After netting 40 goals last season and only notching 9 so far this year, he should be available for a bargain from a frustrated manager in your league. Point to the fact that the Leafs are rebuilding and that he won’t have any teammates to support him. But the fact is, he hasn’t all season.
Pick him up now, because when Sundin is gone, someone is going to have to score for the blue shirts, and it will probably be Jason Blake.
Sergei Samsonov (CAR – RW)
Sergei Samsonov was written off by the Montreal Canadiens, and then again by the Chicago Blackhawks.
He has played for 5 teams in the past 3 years, but you cannot blame the Blackhawks for waiving the diminutive Russian. He had only chipped in with 4 points in 23 games. However he has been rejuvenated in the South. In only 6 games with the Hurricanes he has already doubled his season total and now has 10 points this year.
Samsonov clicked immediately with NHL iron man Rod Brind’Amour and the speedy Erik Cole, and thus has seen his icetime jump to 18 minutes per game (as opposed to the five minutes per game he was getting in Chicago).
As long as he keeps up his point-per-game average with the Hurricanes, he should be on your fantasy roster.
Cory Murphy (FLA – D)
If you missed out on Dan Boyle, there’s another stud defenseman coming off the long-term injury reserve. Cory Murphy has been on the shelf since November with a bruised shoulder.
Murphy is the Panther’s powerplay quarterback and the team in anxious to get him back. Before he was injured he had 9 points in 12 October games.
Because Murphy’s injury was to his shoulder he should be able to return to the ice problem free and not miss a beat.
He had 50 points in 45 games playing in Finland last year and was a sleeper coming into the season. Now that two months have passed he qualifies again at sleeper status.