Monday, January 7, 2008

The Puck Stops Here: The "Hot in Winter" Edition

Welcome back to The Puck Stops Here, I hope everyone enjoyed the Winter Classic. It was an incredible event for the NHL, boasting more excitement than a hockey event has had in a long time. To become a "Big 4" sport again the NHL needs to continue to produce these high caliber and exciting events. With that said, here are a few players I have been keeping an eye on lately.

Andrei Kostitsyn, W, Montreal: There are few who have been hotter than Kostitsyn since the start of December. In the 16 game stretch he has accumulated 8 goals, 7 assists, 4 power play points and is a +2. He also boasts a 5, 4 and a 3 game scoring streak over that stretch. He is very raw and should be viewed as a rookie, but there is tremendous upside and he is getting plenty of ice time to show what he can do. Rookie risks aside, if he is available in your league, go get him.

Marek Svatos, W, and Jaroslov Hlinka, W, Colorado: Ryan Smyth is out for about 3 months with a broken ankle and both players look to profit from the injury. Both have increased their numbers since getting more ice time and working with better talent. If you were hit by the Smyth injury, both players should be looked at as possible replacements. Both players are more of the wait and see variety, however if you are in need, it may be worth while to pull the trigger. Personally, I like Svatos more because of his experience, however Hlinka has tremendous potential to go along with the rookie risks.

Colby Armstrong, W, Pittsburgh: Let me begin this with the "Crosby Warning." When Colby stops playing with Sid he isn't worth owning. However, he is currently playing with Sid and Malkin as linemates and must be owned until this changes. He has 10 points over the last 8 games and has been averaging 1 PIM per game over the same stretch. Armstrong has very strong value while playing with the top unit, however when this changes, and it will change, he won't be worth owning.

Ty Conklin, G, Pittsburgh: The Pens are riding a 7 game winning streak and Conklin has be a major reason for the win streak. He has earned the starting job and Fleury isn't due back for another month. Conklin began his career with promise but has fizzled until now. He is sporting a 1.88 GAA and a 94% save percentage. If the Pens stay hot, Conklin should be rewarded with many wins and if his numbers can remain strong Conklin is a must start and a definite handcuff for Fleury owners.

Teemu Selanne, W, Anaheim: Selanne is currently working out and skating everyday. This is the exact same situation as Roger Clemens in MLB, minus the steroid allegations. While Selanne has not committed to playing again, early indications point to a return. The best place to get the most recent updates on Selanne is an Anaheim newspaper. Keep an eye on the situation and pull the trigger when you feel like it. Remember, your not the only owner thinking about him.

Niklas Kronwall, D, Detroit: Over the last month, Kronwall has been posting solid stats across the board. He doesn't take a lot of penalties, but he is tops among all defenseman in most other categories. His +11 over the last month should not be ignored. Normally, I do not put much value in plus-minus, but the Red Wings are so good it will be difficult for him not to remain in the positives. Kronwall may experience some drop off, however he should remain in the top 15-20 defenseman for the remainder of the year.

Rob Blake, D, Los Angeles: I'll keep this short because I mentioned him two weeks ago. Go pick up Rob Blake, he has continued to post good numbers over the last two weeks and will continue to do so. He gets plenty of ice time and constantly shoots the puck. In his last game, Blake took 10 shots. That is a number even Alexander Ovechkin can be jealous of. Pick him up.

Have a great week, I'll see you back here next Thursday.

Related Posts by Subject


Anonymous said...

I have been enjoying your writing, thank god for consistent hockey writing. Keep it up.