As the NHL season marches closer and closer towards the month of April, fantasy owners know what holes need to be filled in order for their team to reach the playoffs. If your team is already out of contention, then you are hopefully making a strategy towards acquiring keepers. While trades with other fantasy general managers are one way to fill holes on your team, the players listed below will also provide relief at a cheap cost. During last week’s Crashing the Net, we hit on players such as Rich Peverley, Jose Theodore, and Michael Ryder. Let’s take a look at this week’s pickups.
Marcus Johansson – C, Washington Capitals
Johansson, 20, has been given a great opportunity in Washington, as he’s been able to play on the top line with players such as Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. When I asked Capitals blogger and friend Eric Rigsby of Puck ‘N Hockey to describe Johansson’s ability and skill set, he described Marcus as having “World class speed, great vision, and strong on the puck skills a la Nicklas Backstrom”. Those are some strong skills to have at just 20-years old, but anyone who has watched him play, will relate the same skills. There is no doubt that the Capitals have the ability to score, regardless of their current “funk”. Johansson seems to be a favorite on the first line and has already taken advantage of his ice time by posting three goals and four points over his last seven games. With Marcus being owned in less than five percent of leagues, he’s worth a look if you are dealing with injuries at the center position.
Scott Clemmensen – G, Florida Panthers
With Tomas Vokoun seeing less and less starts, Clemmensen not only becomes a handcuff for Vokoun owners, but a nice play in daily leagues. Coach Pete DeBoer is rolling with Clemmensen, as he’ll make his third consecutive start tonight and has won his last three of four starts. Regardless of his 5-5-1 record this season, his peripheral numbers have been solid, posting a 2.39 GAA and a .924 SV% on the year. Who knows how long Clemmensen will continue to see starts, but with ownership at less five percent of Yahoo! leagues, he’s worth a shot for owners looking for goaltending help. With the Panthers having four games on the schedule this week, Clemmensen could see an extensive look.
Wojtek Wolski – LW, New York Rangers
Wolski started the season with 16 points over 36 games for the Phoenix Coyotes, before finding himself a new home for the new year after being traded to the Rangers for defenseman Michal Rozsival. The 24-year old has flashed talent at times, but has lacked consistency to sustain any type of long term fantasy value. We’ve all heard the expression “Maybe a change of scenery is just what he needed”, which is maybe just what Wolski needed to jump start his season. At the very least, Wolski will be given plenty of opportunity to share the ice with players such as Brandon Dubinsky and Marian Gaborik. In four games with Rangers thus far, Wojtek has collected two goals and posted a plus-minus of plus-one.
Tuomo Ruutu – LW, Carolina Hurricanes
After posting 54 points during the 2008-2009 season, fantasy owners were expecting similar results from Ruutu last season. With just 35 points over 54 games last season, Ruutu’s future looked clouded for fantasy owners. Fast forward to the 2010-2011 season, and Ruttu is currently on pace for career high in points. Most of his value can be credited to his recent sizzling play, as he’s posted five goals and 16 points over his last eleven games played. Ruutu currently finds himself on the second line with Chad LaRose and Jeff Skinner, which isn’t bad company at all. While regression is certainly expected, Ruutu’s history has proven he’s capable of putting together 50 point seasons and certainly appears to be headed down that road again. Ownership numbers for Ruutu are less than 40% in Yahoo! leagues, so while owners in deeper leagues may have missed their opportunity to acquire him, he’s still available in most shallow leagues.
Others to Monitor
Jamie Benn – LW, Dallas Stars
Over his last three games, Benn has tallied three goals and and a total of five points. Listed as a winger, Benn has found himself centering the third line for Starts between Steve Ott and Adam Burish for the time being. He’s currently fourth on the Stars among total shots with 105, which has resulted in 11.4 shooting percentage. The 21-year old is currently at 16:31 of ice time per game, but is on a pace for a career year in the points, assists, and penalty minutes department.