Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Puck Stops Here: Holiday Edition

It has been a bit of a slow week in the NHL because of the holiday, but this is a great time to take a deep breath, evaluate your team and decide what you need to do to win your league. You need to determine your strengths and weaknesses, choose which players are expendable, target players on other teams or on the waiver wire and make a plan of attack. If you are in first place, don’t sit tight, you are always one or two injuries away from losing your lead.

Here are some players that may be available on the waiver wire that you should be targeting. Remember, reading this is the first step; you should still research and decide if a player fits your needs.

Karri Ramo, G, Tampa Bay: Tampa Bay’s biggest question still remains their goaltending. However, Johan Holmqvist and Marc Denis are not the answer; Karri Ramo is. Ramo has recently been given two starts in a row and has done everything to show he deserves to be the number one in Tampa. Although it is a small sample, Ramo has a 1.51 GAA and a save percentage of 95.5%. At the very least, if you own Holmqvist, you should also own Ramo. I picked him up, so should you.

Dustin Byfuglien, D, Chicago: Although Byfuglien has defense eligibility in fantasy leagues he has been playing forward and getting serious minutes with Chicago’s young studs. This is a positional rarity in the NHL and should be taken advantage of. He finds regular minutes in the penalty box and has a scoring touch, including a hat trick at the turn of the month. Byfuglien is worth a look for any team, and a definite add for any team searching for help with their 3rd or 4th defenseman spot.

Aaron Voros, W, Minnesota: Voros is doing his best impression of Sean Avery from last season. Voros is providing more than ample PIM while still providing decent offensive production. He is getting enough ice time to continue being productive across the board. He is no where near a point per game type of player, but as long as he keeps the PIM stockpiled he is worthy of a roster spot.

Andy McDonald, C, St. Louis: McDonald has yet to live up to expectations this year after a strong campaign last season, but this is because he did not have Teemu Selanne on his wing. Now, McDonald has been paired with Paul Kariya in St. Louis and has the prolific winger he has been missing all year. He has 5 points in his last 4 games with St. Louis and he should be one of the top centers throughout the rest of the season.

Dennis Wideman, D, Boston: There are few defensemen over the last month who have been more valuable than Wideman. Wideman will provide consistent help with PIM, but he has also been scoring at almost a point per game clip over the last month. He is getting plenty of ice time and has 8 power play points over the last month. Wideman has been playing very well and has been rewarded with solid ice time as well as the precious power play minutes at the blue line.

Rob Blake, D, Los Angeles: Let me make this clear, Blake is on the down swing of his career and his PIM over the last month are misleading. However, he has 6 points in his last 8 games and is shooting the puck more. Blake is still an integral part of the Kings and during his prime he was a top tier defenseman. If you have space, he may be worth a move. However, don’t base the move on PIM, 38 of his 48 PIM over the last month came in two games.

I wish everyone a happy and safe New Year’s celebration. The best way to kick off 2008 is by enjoying the Penguins vs. Sabres in the NHL’s first outdoor game since the Canadiens beat the Oilers 4 years ago. I will see you back here next Thursday.b

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Squeak said...

Very interesting picks and strategies....Keep them coming