NHL Fantasy Files: The All-Star Edition
Welcome to the NHL Fantasy Files All-Star Edition.
The All-Stars were all snapped up in the first five rounds of your league’s draft. And if they were not, can I join your league and can we play for cash?
There is a way, however, that you can still capitalize on the All-Star action without giving up the farm to trade for Alexander Ovechkin.
In previous weeks I recommended picking up Nicklas Backstrom, Tobias Enstrom, and Peter Mueller—all who went absolutely gangbusters since my recommendations.
This week I will recommend some more players who played in this year’s Young Guns game, as well as a few who appeared in last year’s game...
Jordan Staal (PIT – C)
Jordan Staal entered the season with the highest of expectations. Last season he came out of the gates strong with 29 goals as a rookie, but this year he’s far behind that pace. The sophomore slump has bitten Staal hard as he’s only scored five times this season.
With Pittsburgh under pressure to resign Evgeni Malkin, Colby Armstrong, and Ryan Malone in the comings seasons, Staal may be a player they’ll look to shop in order to help acquire a top-six forward while Sidney Crosby is on the shelf.
With a change of scenery and emergence from the shadows of Crosby and Malkin, Staal may be able to reclaim the game his displayed last season.
Cliff Fletcher, are you listening?
Shea Weber (NSH - D)
Shea Weber is one of the best defensive players in the game. Many pundits rank him up with Dion Phaneuf’s abilities. However, like Phaneuf he can also put the puck in the net.
In his first full season in the NHL last year he collected 40 points despite playing on a crowded Nashville blueline.
An injury held Weber out through much of the early season. Since his return he has not lit up the scoreboard, so the bluechip prospect is still available in many leagues.
The All-Star break may be just what the doctor ordered to rejuvenate the talented rearguard.
Take a chance on him in a single season league, and pick him up immediately in keeper leagues.
Matt Niskanen (DAL – D)
A name not familiar to most of you, Matt Niskanen has quietly been stringing together a solid season down in the heart of Texas.
The 21-year-old first round draft pick has played every game for the new-look Dallas Stars this season and logs more than 20 minutes of ice time per game playing against opposing team’s top lines.
Not only is he gifted offensively, but he also has one of the best plus/minus records on the team proving that he is defensively responsible as well.
Niskanen will eventually replace Sergei Zubov as the Stars power-play quarterback once Zubov retires.
David Clarkson (NJ – RW)
David Clarkson was named to the Young Stars game to replace injured forward Tyler Kennedy.
Clarkson has 13 points so far this season, but has shown flashes of promise on the ice, in fact, he netted the first goal in the Young Guns game!
Most of Clarkson’s value comes in the penalty box—Clarkson is currently ranked sixth in the NHL with 114 penalty minutes.
In 2005-2006 Clarkson amassed a whopping 233 penalty minutes for the Albany River Rats of the AHL while collecting 34 points in 56 games.
Pick him up if your league rewards PIMs.
Milan Lucic (BOS – LW)
The bruising rookie has been a surprise addition to the Boston roster this season. The 19-year-old second round draft pick has become a fan favorite in Beantown.
With only nine points on the season thus far he is not likely active in most leagues, but is a decent acquisition if you are in a keeper league.
His value comes from playing at a scarce position, and that in addition to having the scoring touch, he also can rack up the penalty minutes.
Last season with the Vancouver Giants of the WHL, despite sitting in the penalty box for 147 minutes, Lucic still managed to get 68 points in 70 games.
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