Welcome to this week’s edition of Crashing the Net. For this 15th week of the season we’re going to take a look at the top five players that you might want to add to your roster this week. 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 comments section as we welcome an open discussion at DailyFaceoff.com.
Mark Giordano, Defenceman, Calgary Flames
I have a confession to make; I dropped Mark Giordano from my fantasy team when he got hurt back in late November. I remember reading about how serious his injury was and since it sounded like he was going to be out for the year and I had no IR spots available I had to make the tough decision to drop him. Obviously that was a big mistake as the Flames best defenceman returned to the lineup January 12 to record an assist in a 1-0 Flames victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Before Giordano went down with the injury in November, he was off to a bit of a slow start offensively but was still a key component of the Flames blue line. Giordano is second in average ice time for the Flames only trailing Jay Bouwmeester and leads all Flames defenders in power-play ice time with an average of 3:22 per game. Last season Giordano had a 43 point season and while there’s probably no way he matches that total now, he can still put up some decent numbers before the end of the season. He’s currently owned in 44% of all Yahoo! leagues and it’s highly recommended that you pick him up if he’s available.
Ryan Ellis, Defenceman, Nashville Predators
I typically wouldn’t recommend adding a rookie defenceman to your fantasy team but in some cases it can make sense. This season there’s been some solid rookie fantasy defenceman options like Adam Larsson and Jared Cowan. One more to add to that list is Ryan Ellis. The rookie defenceman seemed like a lock to make the Predators opening night roster back in October but found himself suiting up for the Milwaukee Admirals instead. Ellis was recalled on Boxing Day while he was doing some Muay Thai Training and so far has put up solid numbers for the Predators. In his first 8 NHL games he has 4 points and has played a major role in the Predators power-play. So far he’s been averaging 3 minutes on the power-play and plays just over 15 minutes per night. Ellis is no stranger to putting up big numbers, in his last year of junior hockey playing for the Windsor Spitfires he scored 101 points in 58 games. Putting up big numbers in junior hockey doesn’t always mean a player will put up big numbers in the NHL but if you’re in any kind of keeper league you’d be smart to add Ellis if you can.
Derek Stepan, Center, New York Rangers
It’s been scoring by committee for the Rangers with 7 players scoring at least 20 points. Marian Gaborik leads the Rangers in scoring; however, linemate Derek Stepan isn’t that far behind him. In his sophomore season, Stepan has 29 points in 42 games this season including 17 points in his last 21 games. Stepan is only 5 points behind Gaborik and it looks like he’ll stay close to his totals for the rest of the season. In his rookie campaign last year, Stepan finished the season with 45 points. He’s currently on pace for a 56 point season and is one of the many reasons why that the Rangers are one of the top teams in the league this season. Stepan is surprisingly only owned in 27% of all Yahoo! leagues and could be a dependable addition to your team.
Jason Arnott, Center, St. Louis Blues
Add Jason Arnott to the list of players over the age of 35 that are having fantastic seasons. Arnott along with Daniel Afredsson, Teemu Selanne, and Jaromir Jagr are all having great seasons for players that are supposed to be in the twilight of their careers. Arnott is having a career resurgence in St.Louis this season. After signing as a free agent with the Blues this summer, Arnott has thrived in a third line role scoring 24 points in 43 games this season. Last season he had 31 points playing with both the Devils and Capitals. As long as he stays healthy he could flirt with the 50 point mark this season. Arnott has 4 points in his last 5 games and seems to be heating up for the Central Division leading Blues.
Peter Mueller, Left Wing, Colorado Avalanche
You could sadly make a huge list of players that have missed significant playing time this season due to concussions. After suffering a concussion during a regular season game on April 6, 2010, Peter Mueller ended up missing all of the 2010/2011 season. It looked like he had recovered from his injuries and played the first 3 games of the season before missing the last 3 months recovering from another concussion. Mueller finally returned to the Avs lineup on January 12; unfortunately, he doesn’t have any points yet but based on his previous seasons the points aren’t that far away. Before he suffered his first concussion he had 20 points in 15 games for the Avs after being traded by the Phoenix Coyotes. So far, Mueller has been playing on the Avs second line with T.J. Galiardi and Paul Stastny. The Avs have been slowly easing him back into their lineup with giving him just over 13 minutes of ice time in each of his first two games. The upside is that he’s been seeing quality time on their power-play. You might want to watch Mueller’s performance over the next few games before deciding to add him to your team. If he starts putting the puck in the net he’s going to be a valuable pick-up for the second half of the season.