For the second time in three weeks you guys get me and not our good pal Reggie Yinger. Hopefully, you don’t mind although I must warn you I tend to go a bit deeper than he does as my leagues are somewhat… deeper. Feel free to harass him for his picks for the week or check out what he really has going on over at BaseballPress.com while the hot stove keeps on churning. Getting back onto the subject, this week’s Crashing the Net focuses on some hot plays, top line players and those who might be turning the corner. Last week, Reggie went after players like Ryan Malone, Sergei Kostitsyn and Andrej Meszaros.
Anthony Stewart, RW, Atlanta Thrashers
Stewart recently received a promotion to the top line and is slated to play alongside Rich Peverley and captain Andrew Ladd tonight. If his bloodlines are any indication, you can continue to expect big things from the older of the power forward brothers. Playing for GM Rick Dudley, the same man who drafted him in the first round back in 2003, Stewart is becoming an NHL player with two goals and eight points over his last six games and 10 goals and 24 points on the season. Playing on some poor Florida Panthers teams made the Quebec native never eclipse two goals or seven points over a full season which is somewhat similar to his brother Chris, who looked lost while the Avs struggled before exploding offensively the last two years.
Evgeni Dadonov, RW, Florida Panthers
Dadonov has been playing on the top line in Florida with pretty decent results. Prior to last night’s loss, he had two goals and eight points in as many games. Even more impressive is his lack of powerplay time, which should change once coach Pete DeBoer inevitably loses faith in Christopher Higgins. In deeper leagues you should find Dadonov useful for at least the time being as he continues to spark the Panthers and be an actually consistent part of their offense.
Matt Beleskey, LW, Anaheim Ducks
Beleskey received a promotion from the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL and immediately was placed on the top line alongside Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. According to the OC Register Ducks Blog, playing the winger on the top line was the plan all along. “With 11 goals in 60 games during his rookie season, Beleskey raised the hope that he could serve as a crash-and-bang forward who could become a decent finisher for plays set up by Getzlaf and Perry or at least become a third-line checker with some offensive upside.” At the very least he should continue to put home some garbage goals while the Ducks tryout three scoring lines.
Marco Sturm, LW, Los Angeles Kings
With Sturm on the top line, it becomes much clearer exactly why the Kings acquired the German winger as they now have a solid option next to Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown without effecting their other three lines. His last two games have yielded a goal and an assist with the talented duo, which is more impressive considering he barely plays with the man advantage. Coach Terry Murray is still easing him back from his yearlong injury so expect some growing pains and a prorated 20-25 goal pace.
Peter Regin, C, Ottawa Senators
Jason Spezza should miss significant time and the main beneficiary for now is Regin, who slots into the second line center role. While time will tell whether he actually succeeds, he has much more talented linemates than Ryan Shannon and Jesse Winchester. He also should see extended time on the powerplay with the giant hole that is Spezza. The fact that the team recalled Zach Smith to play their fourth line opposed to Corey Locke, who would play the second line, means they have enough confidence in Regin to bounce back– which should bring him closer to last year’s 13 goals opposed to this year’s projection of two.
Stephen Kampfer, D, Boston Bruins
A quick glance at Kampfer’s stats would tell you he has one assist in eight games for the B’s with a minus-1 rating. However, his statistics would not tell you that he plays more powerplay minutes than Johnny Boychuk or that he is paired with Zdeno Chara on their first PP unit. In addition, his even strength partner Dennis Seidenberg is the only other d-man to have more time with the man advantage not named Chara. With three goals and 16 points in only 20 games with Providence of the AHL, it will only be a matter of time until his playing time translates to the box score.
Others to Monitor
Dwayne Roloson, G, New York Islanders
By no means can we fully endorse Roloson considering the porous defense he plays behind. Nevertheless, he has managed excellent statistics in spite of his surroundings and won three in a row before allowing seven to the rival New York Rangers last night. In his defense, he faced an overwhelming 52 shots and kept the Isles in the game for most of the first two periods before eventually giving into the barrage. His save percentage of .915 is more than adequate for a team that has allowed the most goals in the League. If you desperately need another goaltender, there are probably no better options.
JP Dumont, LW, Nashville Predators
With Steve Sullivan expected to miss around two weeks, Dumont moves up to the top line left wing position for now. The Preds definitely need him to step up as he has only nine points on the season and is projected to finish with 21 on the year– his lowest totals since his first two seasons with Chicago. If you are in need of an extra left wing, take a flier on him in deeper leagues but keep in mind his endorsement is more based on his current line change than his production as he has no points in his last eight games.
David Schlemko, D, Phoenix Coyotes
In deeper leagues, Schlemko deserves a look. Recently he was promoted to the second powerplay unit, over Ed Jovanovski and Adrian Aucoin. At one point this season he had points in four consecutive games while playing on the bottom pairing. There is value here as the Coyotes are a good defensive team and have only two of their six defensemen in the minus category, including Keith Yandle who sits at a poor minus-9.
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