NHL Skinny: Buying Byfuglien

Matt Romig
1st Chair: Ray Emery
2nd Chair: Martin Gerber
Skinny: Gerber was pulled early for the second time in three games Saturday and, frankly, had nothing to complain about this time. After allowing three Rangers goals in 20 minutes – a couple of the soft variety – Gerber admitted to a crisis of confidence. Emery hasn't won in over a month, but I'd expect to see him in goal Tuesday in Tampa Bay.
1st Chair: Dwayne Roloson
2nd Chair: Mathieu Garon
Skinny: Garon tossed a few logs on the fire by blanking Anaheim Sunday for his second shutout of the season. Roloson, thankfully, has cleaned up his act after a miserable stretch with wins in three of his last four starts. With six games in 10 days to open the month, both figure to stay busy.
1st Chair: Chris Osgood
2nd Chair: Dominik Hasek
Skinny: "We're riding the hot goalie," is how coach Mike Babcock explains his distributions of starts between his two proven veterans. The hot guy? It's Osgood, who leads in the league in GAA and is second in wins. All that said, the Detroit News reports that Hasek will get the start Tuesday against Montreal.
1st Chair: Marty Turco
2nd Chair: Mike Smith
Skinny: Turco got the start Monday to make it four starts in five games. After a tough road stretch in early November, he's allowed only 10 goals in his last five starts. Smith remains a usable fantasy No. 3, but for now his challenge to Turco's reign appears to have cooled.
1st Chair: Cristobal Huet
2nd Chair: Carey Price, Jaroslav Halak
Skinny: Price (available in 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues) will likely start Montreal's next two games while Huet nurses a groin pull. Huet is considered day-to-day. Just another reason why everyone who owns Huet should have Price as insurance.
1st Chair: Kari Lehtonen
2nd Chair: Johan Hedberg
Skinny: Lehtonen (available in 30 percent of Yahoo! leagues) followed up a near-shutout in an AHL rehab start with an honest-to-goodness shutout in his return to the lineup Saturday. So it's Lehtonen in, Hedberg out and Ondrej Pavelec back to Chicago. Short term, Lehtonen may not play on back-to-back nights, so it was no surprise that Hedberg backstopped Sunday's loss.
1st Chair: Marc-Andre Fleury
2nd Chair: Dany Sabourin
Skinny: Sabourin hung tough against Toronto Saturday, but finished on the wrong side of the decision despite stopping 37 of the 40 shots he faced. Fleury closed the month with a pair of wins, blanking Atlanta, then allowing a lone goal in a win over Dallas.

Roberto Luongo has recovered from a slow start to rank third among goalies in default rankings. Martin Brodeur has assumed his post in the top 10. Now that the season's quarter pole has come and gone, it's nice to see order restored, to an extent, in fantasy leagues. There is one glaring exception, of course. Nobody is shocked to see Mike Keenan in a public tiff with one of his star players, but did anyone see a Keenan-Kipper dust-up coming? Keenan called out Miikka Kiprusoff publicly following Saturday's loss. What do you say, Kiprusoff owners? A longer than usual slow start, or signs this is a lost season or a system clash? Think it over while we recap the weekend:

WEEKEND UPDATE: Need-to-know info from the past few days
Things to do Monday: You don't have to pronounce it – by the way, it's "Buff-linn" – all you have to do is type Byfuglien in the player search field. The player you'll find is Blackhawks defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, who recorded a natural hat trick in a five-plus minute span on Friday. Not likely a repeatable output, but the kid now has four goals and an assist in Chicago's last three games. The 2003 8th-round draft pick is a physical defenseman with a big shot and enough skill to see time at forward this season. Only an injury to James Wisniewski prevented him from playing up front Friday. Sign and start Byfuglien with confidence as a No. 2 or 3 defenseman.

Also on the blueline, might as well see if fellow owners are asleep at the wheel on Tobias Entrom, the Atlanta defenseman who now has 12 points in his last 14 games. He's still on the wire in about 18 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

Forget what I said about: Defenseman Cory Murphy not only didn't return to Florida's lineup Wednesday, he quit skating altogether. The folks at the Palm Beach Post are calling the shoulder injury "baffling." Too bad, since Murphy was one of the best fantasy stories of the young season.

One-timers: Looks like Edmonton winger Ales Hemsky will miss the next two games with a leg contusion. … Miroslav Satan has joined Mike Comrie and Ruslan Fedotenko on the Islanders' No. 1 power play unit, which doesn't have a ton of fantasy significance but is an excuse to point out that Satan needs seven points to reach 666 on his career. … Martin Havlat scored a goal 43 seconds into his return to the Chicago lineup. … Avs prospect T.J. Hensick scored a goal Saturday in his second NHL game.

BARGAIN BIN: Top player available in 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues
Colby Armstrong, LW, Pit – Armstrong's four-game point streak includes a goal and five assists and no doubt is directly tied to his insertion on Pittsburgh's No. 1 line alongside Sidney Crosby. These guys just like each other. One of the most electric moments of the 2006-07 season was Crosby's reaction to his buddy snapping a 22-game goal-scoring drought. The disclaimer, of course, is that coach Michel Therrien loves to shuffle lines, so you just never know how long the Ryan Malone-Crosby-Armstrong trio will stay together.

MARKET MOVERS: Charting player values

Mark Bell, LW, Tor – Bell, at least for now, has been elevated to Toronto's No. 1 line alongside Mats Sundin. Strong play got him there, and the lineup change might just stick after Bell registered a goal in a 4-2 win over Pittsburgh Saturday.

Tom Gilbert, D, Edm – A blueliner to keep an eye on, Gilbert has points in back-to-back games and four points in his last seven. Anything at or above a point every-other game pace puts you on the defensemen radar. Fellow Oiler Joni Pitkanen scored his first goal since opening week Sunday.

Jaroslav Spacek, D, Buf – Only available in about 20 percent of Yahoo! leagues, Spacek has two goals and four assists in Buffalo's last four games.

Jarrett Stoll, C, Edm – That 68-point, 74-PIM post-lockout season seems like a decent memory, but Stoll displayed a pulse last week with five assists, two PPP and a plus-2 rating in three games. Still a depth, injury plug-in guy at best.

Guillaume Latendresse, RW, Mon – Latendresse played left wing on Montreal's No. 1 line with Saku Koivu and Christopher Higgins on Tuesday. In three games since the bump, Latendresse has three goals (one on the power play) and eight penalty minutes.

Aaron Voros, LW, Min – Not a bad points-PIM option of you lost Sean Avery to injury or missed the boat on Coyotes tough guy Daniel Carcillo. Voros has two goals, two assists and 11 penalty minutes in his last four games. He was a 30-point, 180-PIM guy back in 2005-06 in the AHL.

Shawn Horcoff, C, Edm – Curiously a free agent in 80 percent of Yahoo! leagues, Horcoff closed his week with a goal and two assists Friday, then another two-point effort Sunday, all at the expense of the Ducks. He ranks 10th among fantasy centers in default rankings over the last month.

Scott Walker, RW, Car – His long injury absence over, Walker returned to the Carolina lineup with an assist in his second game back. With 50-point upside, he only registers as relevant in the deepest of leagues.

Devin Setoguchi, RW, SJ – A three-game losing streak led to a reunion of Joe Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo on San Jose's top line. Setoguchi tumbled to Patrick Marleau's wing, and failed to spark the Sharks' slumbering center in a 3-2 win.

Kristian Huselius, LW, Cal – The Calgary Sun reported last week that Huselius has been all but removed from the Flames' top power-play unit, stirring up speculation that he's not on the same page with Mike Keenan. Huselius has just one point on the power play in his last nine games.

Yahoo! Friends and Family League
Another week perched atop the lead for FHC-Ryan. Nice week from Joe Thornton and a typical contribution from Henrik Lundqvist. Team Romig has some issues in goal with Dwayne Roloson and Martin Biron struggling to maintain their holds on No.1 jobs. Recent transactions involve Daniel Girardi, Dan Ellis, Dennis Wideman and Michael Nylander.