October 29, 2011
The assignment today is to help you on the blue line, making sure none of our recommendations are over the 50-percent mark. Get fresh batteries in the cordless mouse; it's time to do some pointing and clicking. Feel free to suggest other blueline pickups in the comments, so long as they're under the 50 mark. Game on.
Matt Carle(notes) (47 percent), Flyers: Don't let the minus-3 rating fool you – Carle isn't going to be stuck there for long playing on this loaded Philly club. Carle has a piece of the power play rotation, which is why he has two PPGs along with five assists so far. He's not going to dominate in any area – unless last year's plus-minus comes back to roost – but he should contribute across the board. Carle never developed into the star many expected when he came out of college (Hobey Baker Award under his arm), but he's a reliable veteran.
Sergei Gonchar(notes) (44 percent), Senators: He's going to be a viable power-play weapon until the day he retires, and his defensive liabilities haven't bitten the Senators yet this year. What's wrong with seven points and a minus-1 rating through nine games? Gonchar isn't built for a full 82-game season, but we should get 60-70 starts out of him.
Ian White(notes) (43 percent), Red Wings: He's on a winning club and he has 27 shots in eight games; that should be enough to make you immediately grab him. White is also getting some power-play run, and we saw his offensive potential flash in his limited San Jose time last year (2-8-10 over 23 games). If it all clicks, White turns into a poor man's version of Brian Rafalski(notes).
Kyle Quincey(notes) (34 percent), Avalanche: We talked about The Q in the last blueline update, but he's still out there for two thirds of you. Quincey is putting up points (1-4-6 in 10 games), knocking people around (14 PIMs), and as we love to see, shooting the biscuit (30 SOG). He was a 38-point man back with the Kings in 2008-09, and I wouldn't be shocked if he raced by that total this year.
Dan Girardi(notes) (15 percent), Rangers: The Blueshirts are still in the process of figuring out their rotations, and of late Girardi has been a key member; he had two power-play assists in the win at Winnipeg, then a goal in Thursday's loss to Toronto. Lats year's 4-27-31 was a career best for Girardi, but he has the potential to chase 35-40 points given the Manhattan teammates he's tied to. Better days are ahead for the Rangers as well; keep in mind they had that hellish road schedule to open the year.
Dmitry Kulikov(notes) (12 percent), Panthers: A first-round pedigree and six assists through October, not a bad start. The kid just turned 21 this week; he could be a 40-50 point player later in his career. For now, we'll take the regular scoring production and marvel at how he's a cumulative minus-3 over his last 81 games despite playing in Florida.
Corey Potter(notes) (9 percent), Oilers: It's easy for the non-stars in Edmonton to get lost in the shuffle; they play at odd times and don't get a lot of headlines. Potter doesn't have a pedigree but the stats are just fine through a month: 1-5-6 over eight games, with five of those points coming on the power play. And at 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, the Lansing product can throw his weight around. If Potter played for an East Coast club, his ownership level would probably be three times the current number.
Jason Garrison(notes) (2 percent), Panthers: It's odd to a see a blueliner with three goals and no assists through a month of play, but we like Garrison because he's playing on the power play (two markers) and he's active shooting the puck (23 SOG). He was a 5-13-18 player in 73 games last year but with less responsibility; there's an upside for 30 or more points here given the expanded role.
Image courtesy Associated Press