WEEKEND UPDATE: Need-to-know info from the past few days
Is Jeremy Roenick worth owning in your fantasy league? How about Luc Robitaille? Historically, both players could be counted on for scoring, particularly on the power play. This year has been another story. Roenick has only one point since opening night and Robitaille has three points with the man advantage all season. It's a numbers game, really. While these guys have recently been placed on a line together for the first time, it's not the team's top scoring line. When it's time for a Los Angeles power play, it's the line of Pavol Demitra, Alexander Frolov and Michael Cammalleri that gets first crack at scoring. Friday Roenick and Robitaille both got less than a minute of ice time on the power play. The duo saw increased time Saturday, but could manage only three shots combined in 32 minutes of action. If you own either player, now is the time to move on. Sure, Roenick is still shaking off the effects of a hard lick he took earlier in the season, but even at full speed he won't out produce the likes of Frolov, Demitra or Craig Conroy.
It was back to normal for the Penguins Saturday. After a brief sojourn in the win column, Pittsburgh returned to its losing ways in familiar fashion – by blowing a two-goal lead and taking costly penalties in a 5-3 loss at Carolina. Change is on the way. But for now, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, those changes won't involve ousting Coach Ed Olczyk. Rather, help may arrive soon. The Pens are reportedly set to recall defenseman Ryan Whitney and center Erik Christensen from Wilkes-Barre of the AHL, perhaps as early as Monday. Whitney, the 5th overall pick in the 2002 draft, scored 41 points as an AHL rookie last season and was out of the gate strong with five goals and nine assist in the early going this year. Through Sunday, Christensen ranked third in the AHL in points with nine goals and 10 assists in nine games. Both players have the talent to see action with a top line or defense pairing once they join the fold. These players won't land in the fantasy pool until after their NHL debuts, which gives Yahoo! owners a chance to scout Tuesday's game at New Jersey, assuming they play. Needless to say, power play time for Whitney and a line pairing with Sidney Crosby or Mario Lemieux for Christensen would make both players intriguing prospects.
Seems nobody can stay healthy these days, and that includes goalies. While their long-term values are minimal with an established No. 1 in place, several backups can provide a short-term boost for fantasy owners in need of goalie help. Alexander Auld should get a few starts with Vancouver goalie Dan Cloutier sidelined with a concussion. Auld won all three of his starts earlier in the season with solid numbers across all categories. Another rookie, Boston's Hannu Toivonen, will get a couple of starts while Andrew Raycroft rests with a strained hamstring. Toivonen made 36 saves in a 2-1 win over Toronto Thursday, but dropped an overtime decision against New Jersey Saturday. Speaking of those Devils, Scott Clemmensen may only get one more start with Martin Brodeur talking comeback, but it's an advantageous matchup at home against the Penguins. And in San Jose, third-string netminder Nolan Schaefer stood tall for the Sharks in a shootout win over Calgary Saturday. Evgeni Nabokov may be back Wednesday against Nashville, but San Jose won't rush him with Schaefer coming off back-to-back wins.
BARGAIN BIN: Top players available in 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues
- Mike Comrie, C, Pho
On Oct. 23 Comrie was a healthy scratch for the first time since his rookie season. At the time he was riding a nine-game goalless streak, and his minus-3 rating was poor enough to force Coach Wayne Gretzky to sit him out. He responded with a goal and two assists in his return to the lineup, then tallied two more Thursday against Calgary. His benching well behind him, Comrie led all Phoenix forwards with 6:21 of power-play ice time Sunday. The 25-year-old now has seven points in his past five games.
MARKET MOVERS: Charting player values
Olaf Kolzig, G, Was – After four games of allowing 40-plus shots against, the Caps finally said enough is enough. According to the Washington Post, a new forechecking system was implemented before Wednesday's game at Buffalo. The result: Kolzig faced a season-low 17 shots in the team's first road win.
Kristian Huselius, LW, Fla – The Palm Beach Post speculates that Huselius' modest two-game point streak may be a sign of more dramatic production to come. He had two assists against Pittsburgh and a goal Thursday at Philadelphia. Teammates have singled him out as a guy with skills to thrive in the new NHL.
Ian Laperriere, C, Col – Well on his way to a career high in points, Laperriere has tallied seven points in his last six games. His plus-9 rating and 27 penalty minutes are a welcome bonus.
Sean Brown, D, NH ‐ Initially expected to be a short-term injury replacement for Colin White, Brown has blossomed into one of New Jersey's most productive defensemen. He had two assists Saturday, one on the power play, and has six points in his past five games.
Andy McDonald, C, Ana – The Ducks are injury-riddled, which is why McDonald's production has been so critical. Playing on a line with rejuvenated winger Teemu Selanne and Todd Fedoruk, McDonald scored twice Sunday and now has five goals in his past five games.
Milan Michalek, RW, SJ – He logged nearly 20 minutes of ice time Friday, recording a goal and an assist against Los Angeles. His modest point streak continued Saturday, and the winger now has four points in his last three games.
Ales Hemsky, RW, Edm – Hemsky showed some great improvement in international play during the lockout. Not much yet on the goal-scoring front, but the speedy winger has a goal and six assists in Edmonton's past four games.
Jon Sim, LW, Phi – Sim was a bust out of the gate after putting up huge scoring numbers in the preseason. Lately, he's rediscovered that scoring touch. He found the net twice Friday and beat Dominik Hasek Sunday for his fourth of the year.
Martin Rucinsky, LW, NYR – He'll miss two to four weeks after injuring his knee in the third period of Saturday's game. Expect rookie Petr Prucha to see more ice time while Rucinsky in on the mend.
Tomas Vokoun, G, Nas – He lost back-to-back starts, then lost his cool. After Saturday's 5-1 loss against Edmonton, he blasted some teammates for their poor play.
Bill Guerin, RW, Dal – It just keeps getting worse for Guerin. Benched last week for taking stupid penalties, he left Saturday's game in the first period with back spasms. Guerin has one point in his last six games.