The best way to describe this list is if you go to the waiver wire in your individual fantasy league (personally, I use Yahoo!) and find that Alexei Ponikarovsky, Tim Connolly, or Ryan Clowe are all available, this list is not for you. The Value 25 is a watch list intended for deep fantasy league participants to utilize in particular scenarios. Players included in The Value 25 may excel in only two or three categories; they may have a general consistency that has been overlooked or undervalued, find themselves with linemates who elevate their performance, trade scenarios which cater to their strengths, or they might just be riding a hot streak. The idea is if you have a underperforming player on your roster, long-term injury to fill, or make a 2-for-1 trade and need to pick someone up, or (as much leagues currently are) past the trade deadline and you need to make waiver moves. The Value 25 also applies to anyone who did not move Dustin Penner at the trade deadline, or has not currently dropped him from their roster and replaced him on the waiver wire.
Who, in deep leagues, could contribute to your squad? Who could contribute in what categories? The Value 25 will give you candidates to consider and track their progress. In any given week, any player in this group could enhance your team’s overall performance. Keep in mind, in head-to-head playoff scenarios, you only need to win one more category than your opponent — not dominate every category! So choose your roster wisely….
1. Steve Downie (57% ownership) — Doesn’t really count. Other than Ryan called him a clown and compared him to Carcillo (who Ryan thinks is overvalued and I have a bone to pick with) his stock, relative to the rest of the list, is already valued too greatly. Downie has 17 goals, 23 assists, 40 points, +18 and has 190 PIMS. If you’re reading this and saying to yourself, “Who is Steve Downie?” this may be another indication you’re not worthy of this list. He’s currently playing with Marty St. Louis and Steven Stamkos (currently 5th and 6th in the Show in individual scoring) and is on the Lightning’s first PP unit. Pick him up! NOW. (Contrary to what Ryan might advise).
2. Matt Duchene (32%) How does Matt Duchene only have 32% ownership? The rookie is a 23 goal, 24 assist, 47 point performer with a +2 rating and 18 power play points. He’s also on the Av’s first PP unit. Do the right thing and grab him. He’s not stopping now, or anytime in the future.
3. Niklas Bergfors (16%) Bergfors served primarily as trade bait for Ilya Kovalchuk to move to Atlanta. Since the trade to Atlanta, Bergfors has only outperformed Kovalchuk in New Jersey, grabbing 8 points in 11 games while playing on the Thrasher’s top line and top PP unit. Overall, he has 19 goals and 16 assists for 35 points. Tremendous upside if he is available.
4. Matt Stajan (26%) Since his trade to Calgary, Stajan is on the Flames’ top line with Jerome Iginla and has produced 8 points in 12 games since being moved out of Toronto. Overall, he has 19 goals, 30 assists and has a better supporting cast than in hockey’s mecca (sorry Montreal fans).
5. T.J. Oshie (13%) In his last 14 games, Oshie has 14 points and has 15 goals and 25 assists for 40 points, including 14 on the power play, for the Blues. If you’re looking to grab a hot player, Oshie could be your pick.
6. Patrice Bergeron (25%) With Marc Savard possibly out for the season with a concussion, Bergeron will have to step in as the Bruins’ top center. In his first game as the B’s number one man, he had a goal and two assists. Overall, he is a 14-29-43 guy but he has traditionally underperformed relative to expectations. If he fulfills his potential, he is a no-brainer.
7. Alex Steen (9%) In the last 11 games for the Blues, Steen has put up 11 points while playing with Jay McClement and Brad Boyes. Overall, he is an 18-17-35 performer, so he is streaky but could be worth the investment if his production remains consistent for the remainder of the season.
8a. Antoine Vermette (22%) While he is hurt by his -5 rating, Rich Nash’s center has produced 21 goals, 31 assists, and 52 points. How is he still available?
8b. R.J. Umberger (22%) His -15 rating hurts, but playing alongsie Rick Nash doesn’t. Umberger has 45 points on the season, via 20 goals and 25 assists. He has 17 power play points. Pick him up, unless you are worried about his plus/minus rating.
9. Jack Johnson (19%) Everyone has expected Los Angeles to fade, and they have not. Johnson supports Drew Doughty on the Kings’ first PP unit (12 power play points) and has 6 goals and 24 assists on the season. He’s kinda good, everyone.
10. Peter Mueller (15%) Ahhhh, the classic underachiever. Big things were expected in Phoenix from Mueller after his stellar rookie campaign. He never panned out for the Yotes. The trade to Colorado could have big time implications: in 5 games since the trade, he has 7 points — nearly one-third of his total yearly production. He is playing with Duchene on the Av’s second line and first PP unit. If he finally fulfills his promise, this trade could provide huge dividends for the Avs and fantasy owners who have traditionally expected more of Mueller than they received.
11a. Tyler Bozak (3%) In 22 games since his call-up to the Leafs, Bozak has popped in 5 goals while adding 10 helpers. He is also playing with Phil Kessel. Risky, as Kessel goes, so could Bozak. Risky, but the potential is definitely there.
11b. Luca Caputi (1%) In a small sample size, three games, Caputi has 2 assists playing alongside Bozak and Kessel. See above.
12. T.J. Galiardi (4%) T.J. who?!?! There is another T.J. besides Oshie? Yes, and this one is playing wingman for Olympic Silver Medalist Paul Statsny and Chris Stewart on the Avalanche’s top line. He also gets penalty kill points (4) and receives some power play time. Since joining Statsny on the top line, he has 6 points in 6 games.
13. Troy Brouwer (12%) Sometimes he is non-existent, other times he rides Marian Hossa’s coat tails, and at other times he is a gritty performer. He’s a 19-14-33 performer, a +10, and has 12 PPP. Check him out.
14. Johen Hecht (8%) Frequently playing wing alongside Tim Connolly, the Sabres veteran has quietly posted 14 goals and 18 assists. He is also frequently listed in fantasy leagues as a C/LW (for those who value dual position players).
15. Steve Sullivan (12%) 40 points and a 12% ownership percentage. Those are the perks of playing in a low market like Nashville. 12 goals, 28 assists and 40 points (with 12 coming on the power play). Value pick at its finest.
16. Wayne Simmonds (27%) The poor man’s Steve Downie (Ryan probably hates Simmonds too), Simmonds provides a combination of points and PIMs. Now healthy, Simmonds has posted 15 goals, 21 points for 36 points, carries a + 21 rating and 104 PIMs. If you want Downie and can’t grab him, get Simmonds instead.
17. Matthew Lombardi (12%) A first line center for a Phoenix team no one expected anything from initially, then expected to fade, they have refused. The trade dealine pickup for Wolski should boost Lombardi’s performance. 14 goals, 29 assists, 43 points and 15 coming on the power play. The Coyotes aren’t going away, and neither is Lombardi.
18. Lee Stempniak (6%) Since his trade to Phoenix fro Toronto, in only a three game sample size (I know, its small) Stempniak has four points. Overall, he is a 17-17-34 guy but his move to a playoff contender from the basement of the league could enhance his profile.
19. Jeff Schultz (15%) In Washington, Jeff Schultz does nothing noteworthy. He doesn’t doing anything great, he doesn’t do anything poorly. Except he does find himself reaping the benefits of the Caps prolific offense in his +37 rating. And he’s not a terrible defensive performer, 3-16-19, just as long as you don’t expect it to happen. Like I said, he reaps the benefits of Ovie, Backstrom, Greenie and Semin. Kudos to Schultz for riding their coat tails. Value pick, baby!
20. James Wisniewski (16%) I felt I needed to add a few D, and Wisniewski is one of them. Playing on a poor Anaheim squad, he does benefit from his PP time with Getlaf, Ryan, and Perry (though that trio seems to accumulate the majority of PPPs). 3-23-26 on the year. Not a bad choice if you need to find a late replacement defenseman who does play on his team’s first power play unit.
21. Brandon Dubinsky (20%) While not racking up PIMs like in the past, Dubinsky has once again contributed to the streaky Rangers offense. After enduring an injury to his hand (broken bone), playing with a hard cast, and now has it removed, his production has once again come along. 16-18-35 overall, he has 5 points in his last 7 games. Like the Rangers offense, with the exception of Marian Gaborik, he is streaky.
22. Michal Handzus (7%) A decent 16-21-37 campaign for the Kings center. Other options are available, but the streaky Handzus is still capable of putting up 3 point nights (several this year). High risk, high reward. Depends on the game/week.
23. Mark Mancari (0%) This is my favorite value pick. 0% ownership. Mark WHO?!?! Mancari was called up to replace the injured Drew Stafford in Buffalo. He filled Stafford’s exact role: playing alongside Thomas Vanek and Derek Roy. In his three games since being called up, he has two points and is a +2. Stafford is expected to miss “an extended period of time.” Expect Mancari to provide numbers similar to Stafford (about 30 points, 10 on the PP).
24. and 25. But the list only goes to 23! It is The Value 25. 25 = 25 players. See 8a/b and 11a/b. Then deal with it.
***All ownership percentages based on Yahoo! fantasy hockey ownership as of 3/12/10.