Welcome to this week’s edition of Crashing the Net. For this 16th 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.
Cody Hodgson, Center, Vancouver Canucks
With Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on the IR list, Canucks forward Cody Hodgson is starting to hear his name being attached to the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie. Hodgson did appear in 8 games with the Canucks last season including another 12 games in the playoffs. That long playoff run has clearly helped the 21 year old develop into an everyday NHL player. Hodgson has been getting mostly third line minutes with the Canucks; however, he’s been putting up first line numbers over the last month. During the month of January, Hodgson has 9 points in 9 games. Hodgson also see’s just under 2 minutes of power-play time every game including just under 13 minutes of ice time. He’s currently fourth in rookie scoring and is only 6 points behind the Oilers Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Hodgson is currently owned in 16% of all Yahoo! leagues and that number will rise if he can continue to put up impressive numbers.
Francois Beauchemin, Defenceman, Anaheim Ducks
How about those Ducks lately? Before heading into Sunday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche, they had won 4 straight and were 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. Helping lead the charge for the Ducks is veteran defenceman Francois Beauchemin. Not only was the 31 year old blueliner signed to a 3 year contract extension but he’s been a real force on a team that at times hasn’t been all that good defensively. Beauchemin has 18 points on the season but has really started to put up some impressive figures in January. So far in 9 games this month he has an impressive 7 points and a +10 rating. Beauchemin’s previous career high in points was 34 during his first tour of duty with the Ducks in 2005-2006 season. Based on the number of games remaining and his strong play in January he could come close to that total. If you’re needing a defenceman he’s probably your best free agent option, Beauchemin is only owned in 18% of all Yahoo! leagues.
Tyler Bozak, Center, Toronto Maple Leafs
You can never go wrong by paying attention to different team’s line combinations. If you’re a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs then you probably know about Tyler Bozak taking over duties as the Leafs top centerman. Even though Joffrey Lupul has been removed from the Leafs top line, Bozak is still in good company playing alongside Phil Kessell and Matthew Lombardi. Since returning from a shoulder injury on January 17, Bozak has 1 point in his last 3 games while playing on the top line. Now, those aren’t exactly great numbers; however, with the Leafs only scoring 7 goals in their last 4 games it wouldn’t be surprising to see Lupul back on the top line with Bozak and Kessell. Bozak is currently on pace for a 50 point season and if he can continue to stay on the top line those numbers can only go up.
Martin Erat, Right Wing, Nashville Predators
Erat might just be the Rodney Dangerfield of fantasy hockey. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of respect for this 10 year veteran. Over the last few weeks a couple of readers in the comments section have recommended adding Erat because of his obvious great numbers. It’s not surprising that Erat is having a great season but for whatever reason he’s only owned in 23% of Yahoo! leagues even though he currently has 33 points and is on pace for a career high 60 points. Perhaps it has to do with the lack of Nashville Predators games on national TV, but Erat is one of the safest bets that you can make right now. Not only is he on pace for 60 points but he’s also second in Predators scoring only behind Shea Weber. The fact that he’s having a great season shouldn’t be surprising, he’s averaged 50 points over the last 7 seasons.
Jimmy Hayes, Right Wing, Chicago Blackhawks
Are you a Patrick Sharp owner looking for a replacement? You don’t have to look to far as the Blackhawks have a dependable option in rookie Jimmy Hayes. Hayes who was a second round pick of the Maple Leafs in 2008 before being traded to the Blackhawks in 2010. Hayes has put some decent points since being recalled from Rockford of the AHL. In 11 games this month he has 7 points and even better news is that Joel Quenville has some faith in the young forward. Hayes has been seeing third line minutes with Dave Bolland and Andrew Brunette and has been averaging just under 12 minutes of ice time each game including 1 minute on the power-play. Hayes is obviously a short-term option if you’re in a deep league; however, you should at least monitor his play over the next few weeks to see if he can put up some numbers with a strong Blackhawks lineup.