Since the Olympics and Trade Deadline have passed, individual NHL teams have started, or in some cases remained idle, in their efforts to secure seeding in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. As the NHL playoff scenario unfolds, player production will continue to impact your run in Fantasy Hockey Playoffs. Injuries, suspensions, trades, and both player and team streaks have changed the fantasy hockey landscape in the last week or two. The second edition of The Value 25 will help you identify undervalued talent that, most notably in deep fantasy leagues, could replace underachieving players on your current roster.
1. Matt Duchene (34%) Since the first edition of The Value 25, Duchene has been claimed by an additional 2% of fantasy owners. Still too low! The Avalanche rookie is a 23 goal, 26 assist, 49 point performer with a +5 rating and 18 power play points. He’s also on the Av’s first PP unit. Do the right thing and grab him.
2. Lee Stempniak (18%) People are taking notice! Stempniak went from 6% ownership to 18% ownership in about one week. Why? Since his trade to Phoenix from Toronto, he has 7 goals and 2 assists in 7 games with the Coyotes. The Yotes have looked solid recently; Stempniak has indicated he feels that he fits well in their organization and that he is feeling positive about the team’s potential. I would be too given those numbers.
3. Nicklas Bergfors (15%) Bergfors served primarily as trade bait for Ilya Kovalchuk to move to Atlanta. Since the trade to Atlanta, Bergfors production is nearly equivalent to Kovalchuk’s numbers in New Jersey. He has put up 6 goals and 5 assists for 11 points in 16 games with the Thrashers. He is currently playing on both their top line and top PP unit. How has Bergfors fantasy ownership actually decreased? Unbelievable.
4. Patrice Bergeron (26%) With Marc Savard possibly out for the season with a concussion, Bergeron will have to step in as the Bruins’ top center. In the last five games, he has produced 3 goals and 2 assists, filling Savard’s role on the first line quite nicely. If you lost Savy, Patrice isn’t a bad wire pickup.
5. Peter Mueller (25%) Ahhhh, the classic underachiever. Big things were expected in Phoenix from Mueller after his stellar rookie campaign. He never panned out for the Yotes. The trade to Colorado could have big time implications: in 8 games since the trade, he has 4 goals and 7 assists — nearly one-third of his total yearly production. Fantasy owners have responded with a 10% increase in ownership. He also receives dual-positionship (yes, a term I just coined) which never hurts and always helps.
6. Jack Johnson (17%) Since Brian Campbell’s injury, fantasy owners have been scrambling to replace the Hawks vet. One option is Jack Johnson. Everyone has expected Los Angeles to fade, but they have not. Johnson supports Drew Doughty on the Kings’ first PP unit (12 power play points) and has 6 goals and 24 assists on the season. While he is in a bit of a slump now, I expect him to breakout. He’s kinda good, everyone.
7. Alexander Steen (12%) In the last 13 games for the Blues, Steen has put up 13 points while playing with Jay McClement and Brad Boyes. Overall, he is an 20-19-39 performer, so he is streaky but could be worth the investment if his production remains consistent for the remainder of the season.
8. Tyler Bozak (4%) Over the last five games, Bozak has been good for 6 points. In 22 games since his call-up to the Leafs, Bozak has popped in 6 goals while adding 19 helpers. He is also playing with Phil Kessel. Risky, as Kessel goes, so does Bozak. But thus far, its been producing magic.
9. Dennis Seidenberg (7%) Since his trade to Boston, Seidenburg has 5 points in 9 games and is a +6 while paired with Zdeno Chara on the B’s top D and PP unit.
10. Kari Lehtonen (25%) Lehtonen looks like he could steal the number one job in Dallas from free agent to be Marty Turco. He has started Dallas’ last two games, allowing 2 and 3 goals respectively, posted one win while stopping 73 out of 78 shots for a .935 Save %. It looks like the Stars are no longer invested in Turco and Lehtonen has been playing strong in net.
11. Wayne Simmonds (25%) The poor man’s Steve Downie, Simmonds provides a combination of points and PIMs for fantasy owners. Now healthy, Simmonds has posted 15 goals, 21 points for 36 points, carries a +19 rating and 104 PIMs. If you want Downie and can’t grab him, get Simmonds instead.
12a. Antoine Vermette (24%) Rich Nash’s center has produced 22 goals, 33 assists, and 55 points. In the last week, he has improved upon his -5 rating (now -1). How is he still available?
12b. R.J. Umberger (22%) His -16 rating hurts, but playing alongside Rick Nash doesn’t. Umberger has 46 points on the season, via 20 goals and 26 assists. He also has 17 power play points. Pick him up, unless you are worried about his plus/minus rating hurting your squad.
13. Jochen Hecht (10%) Frequently playing wing alongside Tim Connolly, the Sabres veteran has quietly posted 16 goals and 20 assists. He is also frequently listed in fantasy leagues as a C/LW (for those who value dual position players). He fires the puck, with 203 shots on goal, and posts a +13 rating.
14. T.J. Galiardi (4%) T.J. who?!?! There is another T.J. besides Oshie? Yes, and this one is playing wingman for Olympic Silver Medalist Paul Statsny and Chris Stewart on the Avalanche’s top line. He also gets penalty kill points (4) and receives some power play time. Since joining Statsny on the top line, he has 6 points in his last 6 games.
15. Steve Sullivan (12%) 40 points and a 12% ownership percentage. Those are the perks of playing in a low market like Nashville. 14 goals, 29 assists and 43 points (with 12 coming on the power play). Value pick at its finest.
16. Derek Morris (10%) Since his trade to Phoenix, his production has dropped off slightly, only posting 2 assists in 9 games. However, his +5 rating with the Yotes is a positive, as his potential offensive upside (3-24-27 on the year).
17. Troy Brouwer (12%) Sometimes he is non-existent, other times he rides Marian Hossa’s coat tails, and at other times he is a gritty performer. He’s a 20-17-37 performer, a +10, and has 13 PPP. Check him out.
18. Matt Stajan (26%) Since his trade to Calgary, Stajan is on the Flames’ top line and has produced 9 points in 15 games since being moved out of Toronto. I’d like to expect more, especially given Calgary’s recent success, but Iggy seems like the only one capable of consistently producing.
19. T.J. Oshie (12%) In his last 6 games, he only has two points. Prior to that, Oshie was on a tear, producing 14 points in 14 games. He’s a streaker, capable of putting up huge numbers or being non-existent. Lately its been the latter, thus his drop from 5 to 17 in The Value 25.
20. Tom Poti (13%) Although it pains me to write this, as I feel Poti has been overvalued in every city he has stopped at during his NHL career, he has 4 goals and 18 assists for 22 points. The big perk with Poti is a nice +19 rating (thank you high flying, prolific Caps offense).
21. Jeff Schultz (14%) In Washington, Jeff Schultz does nothing noteworthy. He doesn’t doing anything great, he doesn’t do anything poorly. Except he does find himself reaping the benefits of the Caps prolific offense and enjoys a nice +37 rating. And he’s not a terrible offensive performer from the point (3-16-19), just don’t expect him to contribute on the reg. Like I said, he reaps the benefits of Ovie, Backstrom, Greenie and Semin. Kudos to Schultz for riding their coat tails. Value pick, baby!
22. Matthew Lombardi (12%) A first line center for a Phoenix team no one expected anything from initially, then expected to fade, they have refused. The trade dealine pickup for Wolski should boost Lombardi’s performance. 16 goals, 30 assists, 46 points and 15 coming on the power play. The Coyotes aren’t going away, and neither is Lombardi.
23. Brandon Dubinsky (20%) While not racking up PIMs like in the past, Dubinsky has once again contributed to the streaky Rangers offense. After enduring an injury to his hand (broken bone), playing with a hard cast, and now has it removed, his production has once again come along. 16-20-36 overall, he occasionally packs some scoring punch. Like the Rangers offense, with the exception of Marian Gaborik, he is streaky..
24. Filip Kuba (17%) For Ottawa, Kuba, now healthy again, has 3 goals and 25 assists for 28 points. 11 of his points have come on the power play. I would rank him higher, however it remains to be seen how he will perform after coming back from injury.
Big Movers (Up): Stempniak, Mueller, Steen, Bozak
Big Movers (Down): Oshie, Stajan
Added to list: Lehtonen, Morris, Poti, Kuba, Seidenburg
Off List: Wisniewski (8 game suspension), Caputi (no longer playing with Kessell and Bozak), Mancari (sent back down to minors after Drew Stafford returned to the Sabres lineup), Handzus (center position is already deep), Downie (too high of an ownership percentage)
Notable names to dump: Anyone on Edmonton (Dustin Penner, Ryan Whitney, Patrick O’Sullivan, Sam Gagner), Jay Bouwmeester, James Wisniewski (NHL chose to make an example out of him, not Ovechkin, in their punishment for illegal hits — 8 game suspension should effectively remove him from all fantasy team rosters for the remainder of the year), Marc Savard (looks like he will be out for the remainder of the season with a concussion), Devin Setoguchi (what have you done for me lately?), Jeff Blake (it’s not like anyone besides Getzlaf, Ryan, or Perry can score for Anaheim), Marty Turco (looks like the Stars are no longer invested in him)
But the list is The Value 25? See 12a and 12b. 25=25 players. Deal with it.
***All ownership percentages based on Yahoo! fantasy hockey ownership as of 3/19/10.