Welcome to this week’s edition of Crashing the Net. For this sixth 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.
Matt Cooke, Left Wing, Pittsburgh Penguins
It’s hard to say what’s more surprising this season, the fact that Matt Cooke has 10 points and is a major contributor to the Penguins lineup, or that he only has 4 penalty minutes so far. Some teams might have picked up Cooke earlier just for the potential of penalty minutes; however, he’s been turning heads by being a major offensive threat while playing on the Pens second line with Jordan Staal. Cooke has points in three of the Penguins last five games and is showing no signs of slowing down. He’s clearly changed his game this season to avoid taking a hit in the pocket book from Brendan Shanahan. For those questioning whether this start is just a fluke, it’s important to take a look at his career stats. He doesn’t just put up big penalty minutes but he’s been a consistant 30 point scorer in each of his last three seasons. His career high in points was 42 during the 2002-2003 season while a member with the Vancouver Canucks and he’s currently on pace for 48 points this season. It’s hard to say if hit that mark but even if he can match his career high he could be worth the pick up.
T.J. Oshie, Center, St. Louis Blues
The season didn’t start off great for T.J. Oshie. The fourth year pro only had 2 assists through the Blues first six games and ended being benched at times by former coach Davis Payne. Things have turned around for the 25 year-old as he currently sits tied with Kevin Shattenkirk for most points on the Blues with eleven and has six points in the last six games. He netted a short handed goal on Saturday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning and has been a force on the Blues power play along with David Backes. Oshie is currently owned in only 27% of all Yahoo! leagues. His career high for points is 48 and if he can stay healthy this season it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get close to 60 points this season. It’s highly recommended that you pick him up if he’s still available in your league.
Michael Ryder, Right Wing, Dallas Stars
It’s hard to say whether the Dallas Stars are for real this season. They currently sit second in the Western Conference and have been slowly turning heads with some of their moves this off-season like signing Sheldon Souray and Michael Ryder. The Ryder deal was scoffed at by quite a few hockey experts since it was felt that the two year, $7million deal was a steep over payment for a player who had just won the Stanley Cup in a supporting role with the Boston Bruins. So far Ryder has been proving all those experts wrong though as he currently has 11 points this season. He’s been putting up these numbers by averaging just over 16 minutes of ice time each night which also includes just over 3 minutes on the Stars top power play unit. Ryder is only three years removed from a 53 point season with the Bruins. Based on his current scoring pace it wouldn’t be surprising to see him return to those numbers once again this season.
Corey Potter, Defenceman, Edmonton Oilers
One of the biggest question marks about the Oilers this season was around their defence. Most experts picked them to finish near the basement once again due to their lack of quality defenceman. Besides Ryan Whitney, the Oilers didn’t have a lot going for them. One of the bigger surprises of the young season has been the emergence of Oilers defenceman Corey Potter. Before this season Potter was seen as mostly a career AHL defenceman. He was originally drafted by the Rangers in 2003 and only appeared in 8 games for the Rangers before joining the Penguins organization last season before signing with the young Oilers this summer. Potter has seemed to resurrect his career has he has 8 points and leads all Oilers defenceman in scoring. Oilers coach Tim Renney has Potter playing a major role in the team’s power-play as well. Potter averages over three and a half minutes of power-play time each game. Potter’s only owned in 25% of all Yahoo! leagues so if you’re in need of a defenceman Potter could be a great under the radar pick for your team.
Jhonas Enroth, Goaltender, Buffalo Sabres
Even before Ryan Miller got run over by Milan Lucic on Saturday night, it looked like Sabres goaltender Jhonas Enroth was going to be seeing a few more starts. Enroth had started in three of the Sabres last four games and has quietly helped turn the Sabres ship around. So far this season, Enroth has posted a 5-0-0 record which includes a 1.75gaa and a .944 save percentage. Miller is only listed as day-to-day but based on the way that Enroth has been playing the Sabres will be in no rush to bring Miller back to their lineup. Ryan Miller is without a doubt the team’s number one goalie; however, for now the Sabres have no problems playing their young backup goalie. Coach Lindy Ruff will ride Enroth’s hot hand as long as he can.