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NHL Skinny: Wing for Thanksgiving

Matt Romig
Yahoo Sports

GOALIE HOT SEAT
ATLANTA THRASHERS RED HOT
1st Chair: Ondrej Pavelec
2nd Chair: Kari Lehtonen, Johan Hedberg
Skinny: The ugly truth here is that if you own one, you need to own all three – at least for now. Pavelec has won three of his last four starts and has some saying he's the team's goalie of the future. Hedberg, the veteran, delivered Atlanta's first shutout of the season in spectacular fashion Friday. Then there's Lehtonen, injury-prone and inconsistent yet still the guy in the eyes of the franchise. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Lehtonen has been pain free for more than a week and is very close to a return. Atlanta's hot streak means getting this one right is critical in fantasy leagues.
OTTAWA SENATORS HOT
1st Chair: Martin Gerber
2nd Chair: Ray Emery
Skinny: Emery sat for four straight, in part due to a minor back injury but more so because Gerber is a ball of fire. According to the Ottawa Sun, Emery will start Monday (Montreal) or Wednesday (Buffalo). Make no mistake: Gerber is the No. 1 for now. He's the hottest goalie in the NHL and coach John Paddock has been critical of Emery's work ethic of late.
EDMONTON OILERS HOT
1st Chair: Dwayne Roloson
2nd Chair: Mathieu Garon
Skinny: Garon has appeared in five of seven, starting four. Two landed in the win column, including one shutout. Roloson, meanwhile, hasn't won since Oct. 25. Expect to see a win-and-stay-in pattern here until someone develops some consistency.
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS HOT
1st Chair: Marc-Andre Fleury
2nd Chair: Dany Sabourin
Skinny: While acknowledging that Fleury's confidence is in a "fragile" state, Pens coach Michel Therrien says the team hasn't lost any faith in its goalie. The good news: Fleury has started four of five. The bad news: only one win and 14 goals allowed. Sabourin hasn't allowed more than three goals in any of his seven starts. Fleury has yielded four-plus in more than half his 13 starts.
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS HOT
1st Chair: Nikolai Khabibulin
2nd Chair: Patrick Lalime
Skinny: After spending four of five games in baseball-cap mode, Khabibulin started back-to-back games to close the week. Saturday he beat the Red Wings to improve to 4-0 with a .926 save percentage against Detroit. Lalime, while things are still going well, is a legit No. 3 in most fantasy formats.
NASHVILLE PREDATORS LUKEWARM
1st Chair: Chris Mason
2nd Chair: Dan Ellis
Skinny: Make it six straight starts now for Mason, who has solid numbers (2.24 GAA, .929 save pct.) in November. Particularly impressive, a 5-4 win over Chicago Thursday in which the Preds trailed 3-1 after two periods.
PHOENIX COYOTES LUKEWARM
1st Chair: Ilya Bryzgalov
2nd Chair: Mikael Tellqvist, Alex Auld
Skinny: GM Don Maloney told the Arizona Republic that the team will not carry three goalies long-term. Look for a move early this week. Also look for Bryzgalov, fresh off a shutout in his debut, to carry the load.
MONTREAL CANADIENS LUKEWARM
1st Chair: Cristobal Huet
2nd Chair: Carey Price
Skinny: Had to do a double-take here when I discovered that Price is owned in only 41 percent of Yahoo! leagues. He has started three of five games for the Canadiens, winning all three with a .924 save percentage. He's a mandatory insurance-add for Huet owners, and a decent No. 3 for fantasy owners willing to cut loose a struggling starter.
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS LUKEWARM
1st Chair: Vesa Toskala
2nd Chair: Andrew Raycroft
Skinny: Raycroft followed up a shutout of Buffalo by allowing nine goals in his next two starts. Toskala just can't land the knockout punch, however, winning back-to-back starts only once on the season.
Martin Gerber in the 10th round. Ryan Getzlaf in the eighth. Dany Heatley being Dany Heatley and Martin Biron helping the Flyers rebound. It's Thanksgiving week here in the States, which means I'm counting my blessings, even if there are a few Viktor Kozlovs and Alexander Semins in there for every pick that worked out. Here's hoping everyone enjoys a safe and enjoyable holiday. Let loose, release your inner-Tkachuk at the dinner table. In the meantime, here's a quick survey of the landscape.

WEEKEND UPDATE: Need-to-know info from the past few days
Things to do Monday: Can't wait much longer to secure the services of Rangers left wing Martin Straka, who as of Sunday remained available in about 48 percent of Yahoo! leagues. I'll venture a guess and say a good number of those leagues are less than active. Straka, you may remember, averaged 30.5 power play points per season in his first two years with the Rangers. For a left wing, 73 points and a plus-15 – also two-year averages – are not too shabby. For what it's worth, the New York Daily News is forecasting a Straka-Brandon Dubinski-Jaromir Jagr line when Straka (finger) rejoins the lineup. Right wing Ryan Callahan (knee) may land on a line with Chris Drury.

Then there's the matter of Ilya Bryzgalov. When he was placed on waivers by the Ducks Friday, there was hope in fantasy circles that he could help clear up goalie situations in Los Angeles, Tampa Bay or even Pittsburgh. Instead he was claimed by the Coyotes. On the surface, not the best thing for Bryzgalov owners (he's available in 62 percent of Yahoo! leagues). But while the Coyotes do rank near the bottom of the NHL in goals-against average, they allow fewer shots on goal than most. The bottom line: They claimed Bryzgalov because he's better than their current options. Bryz, by the way, pitched a shutout Saturday in his first Phoenix start. Not a bad No. 3 fantasy option if you're not currently carrying two undisputed No. 1s. Given that Anaheim may soon have Chris Pronger, Francois Beauchemin, Mathieu Schneider and Scott Niedermayer healthy on the blueline, new Ducks backup Jonas Hiller is also relevant in fantasy leagues.

Forget what I said about: Nothing like having to print a correction for a retraction. Last week I mentioned that I overlooked Henrik Lundqvist as a goalie who had started each of his team's games, all the while overlooking Miikka Kiprusoff, who had and still has started every game for Calgary.

One-timers: Canucks defenseman Mattias Ohlund earned a four-game suspension for his slash on Minnesota's Mikko Koivu … According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Blackhawks coach Denis Savard expects to see winger Martin Havlat give it a go Thursday in Calgary … Coors Field effect? Colorado center Paul Stastny is averaging 2.0 points per game at home and 0.25 per game on the road … Despite talk he may stick with Heatley and Alfie, Mike Fisher was in fact bumped off Ottawa's No. 1 line when Jason Spezza returned … With Dan Boyle out again, Tampa Bay defenseman Paul Ranger (88 percent owned) is on a three-game goal streak.

BARGAIN BIN: Top player available in 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues
Devin Setoguchi, RW, SJ – If you remember Jan Caloun's debut with the San Jose Sharks (8 goals in first 11 NHL games in 1995), you know to take a hot start with a grain of salt. However, Sharks rookie Devin Setoguchi has a couple things on Caloun. For starters, he's a first-round draft pick selected to do exactly what he's doing now (7 goals in first 10 games). Second, his linemate is Joe Thornton. Setoguchi did see a four-game goal streak snapped Saturday, but he did have eight shots against the Ducks that night. Available in about 85 percent of leagues, Setoguchi is a solid No. 2 right wing, particularly for teams looking to make a push in the goals department.

MARKET MOVERS: Charting player values

Mark Parrish, RW, Min – You've got Pavol Demitra and now Mikko Koivu banged up in Minnesota, which leaves Parrish to shoulder some of the scoring load. He has three goals and three assists in his last five and has seen time on a line with Marian Gaborik and Eric Belanger.

Sean Hill, D, Min – Hill ranked in the top 10 in the NHL last season in hits and blocked shots. Neither skill will help you in fantasy leagues, but on the defense-first Wild, they'll buy him ice time. His 20-game steroid suspension is over, allowing Hill to make his season debut Sunday.

Nicklas Backstrom, C, Was – Washington's rookie center was a bright spot in a 5-2 loss to Tampa Bay Friday. He picked up an assist and was a plus-1. For now he'll remain on the Caps' top line with Chris Clark and the other guy Alexander Ovechkin.

Marc Staal, D, NYR – A 10-15 minute guy in October, Staal is now logging minutes in the 18-20 per-game range. He played almost 24 minutes in an OT win over the Flyers Wednesday. Staal has a goal and an assist in his last three games.

Torrey Mitchell, C, SJ – He'll need to gain wing eligibility (deservingly) to truly pique interest in shallow leagues, but the numbers are eye-opening just the same: 4 goals, 1 assist, plus-4 and 6 PIM in his last six games. You'll want to eye two things: his position eligibility and his ice time/line assignment once Milan Michalek (elbow) returns to the lineup.

Todd White, C, Atl – He's been seeing time between Ilya Kovalchuk and Marian Hossa, so naturally White has a goal and four assists in his last three games.

Patrick Sharp, RW, Chi – His natural hat trick Saturday gave him seven goals and two assists in eight November games.

Kris Letang, D, Pit – More a guy to keep an eye on than anything. Letang is an offensive-minded defenseman who was recalled by the Penguins last week. Ryan Whitney isn't doing much, so Letang could grab some PP time with strong play.

David Perron, LW, Stl – Five goals and six points in his last six games, all while playing only 12-15 minutes per game most nights.

Shea Weber, D, Nas – Available in about half of Yahoo! leagues, Weber is returning 40-point scorer coming back from a knee injury suffered on opening night. He picked up an assist in almost 20 minutes of ice time in his Saturday return.

Alexander Semin, LW, Was – More of an advisory here than a long-term downgrade. According to the Washington Post, Semin will play Monday, but will see time on the Caps' third line to keep his minutes down. Consider reserving him for the next 2-3 games while he works the kinks out.

Yahoo! Friends and Family League
Rotowire's McLarney ends FHC Ryan's two-week hold on the top spot. Two shutouts from Evgeni Nabokov and a four-goal week from Devin Setoguchi powered the move. A Rick Nash-Martin St. Louis trade went down and Steve Wagner, Brett Lebda, Anton Volchenkov and Randy Jones are all involved in transactions. Nobody is ever satisfied on the blueline, I guess.

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