Welcome to this week’s edition of Crashing the Net. For this fourth week of the season we’re going to take a look at each position and some of the players you might want to add to your roster. We hope you will be able to utilize this article in order to gain a competitive advantage over your opponents throughout the season. Feel free to add omissions and critique our current choices in the comments section as we welcome an open discussion at DailyFaceoff.com.
Ray Whitney, Left Wing, Phoenix Coyotes
There’s a good chance that in your league the only Coyotes taken are Shane Doan and Keith Yandle. This is too bad since the Coyotes have proven to be one of the leagues most underrated teams the last few years. It doesn’t help that if you don’t live in the Phoenix area you probably don’t get to see them play on TV too much. If you’ve had a chance to watch any Coyotes hockey lately you would’ve noticed that Ray Whitney is off to a hot start. The 39 year old veteran is currently tied with Shane Doan for team lead in points with 10 in the Coyotes first ten games. Whitney has been getting plenty of playing time on the team’s top line with Martin Hanzel and Radim Vrbata and has been playing on the Coyotes top power play unit. The surprising part is that Whitney is only owned in 26% of all Yahoo! leagues. If you’re worried about his age it’s important to note that he’s played in at least 65 games nine years in a row and has scored at least 50 points per season over the last six years.
Craig Smith, Center, Nashville Predators
Everyone has been talking quite a bit about rookies like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Sean Couturier, and Gabriel Landskog. One rookie that everyone seems to be overlooking though is Predators freshman, Craig Smith. Smith who was the 98th overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft has been quietly putting together an impressive start to the season. He’s currently second in rookie scoring and second on the Predators with 8 points in ten games. With the Predators lacking in the scoring department Smith has been a nice addition to the team. He’s currently averages just over 15 minutes of playing time each game and that includes just over 3 minutes on the power-play. There’s a good chance that he’s available in most leagues.
Andrew Brunette, Right Wing, Chicago Blackhawks
The same information written above for Ray Whitney could also be applied to Andrew Brunette. For the last decade Brunette has continued to be one of the most underrated players in the NHL. The 38 year old has played in at least 77 games each season since 1998-1999 and has at least 46 points each season since 1999-2000. Last year saw him score 46 points with an offensively challenged Minnesota Wild lineup. This past summer he signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Chicago Blackhawks. Since the start of the season he’s scored 5 points in ten games and is playing on the Hawks top line with Jonathan Toews. While there may be other right wingers available that have more points you should consider adding Brunette based on his consitent past. Brunette is owned in only 9% of all Yahoo! leagues and if you’re looking to add an extra body you can’t go wrong with Mr. Consistency.
Brian Campbell, Defence, Florida Panthers
It’s been easy to overlook Brian Campbell the last few seasons. After being one of the most highly regarded defenceman in the league he ended up signing a huge 8 year contract with the Blackhawks in the summer of 2008 and was never really able to live up to his contract. Campbell was shipped off to the Florida Panthers this summer after the Blackhawks needed to shed some salary. Everything has seemed to have worked out for Campbell though as he’s the power-play quarterback on a surprisingly good Panthers team. Campbell’s currently tied for third for points among all NHL defenceman and is tied for second in Panthers scoring. He’s currently owned in 58% of all Yahoo! leagues so if you’re looking for a new defenceman you might want to look at acquiring Campbell before it’s too late.
Brian Elliott, Goaltender, St. Louis Blues
Editor-in-chier Alexander Monaghan posted a great story a few days ago on the hot start of Blues goaltender Brian Elliott. It’s hard to imagine that Elliott could become the Blues number one goaltender but you have to give him credit because if you were Blues coach Davis Payne you would probably feel safer starting him over Jaroslav Halak right now. In his last four games, Elliott has only allowed in 6 goals and currently has an impressive 4-1 record with a .942 save percentage and a 1.67 gaa. Halak will be starting Sunday night against a hot Oilers lineup though. If Halak can’t improve on his 3.47 gaa then the Blues will have no other options but to go back to Elliot. If things don’t go well for the Blues against the Oilers you might want to look at adding Elliott.