A new ownership cap number goes into effect with this edition of the swap meet; no one over 25 percent Yahoo! owned is allowed in the standard section of the piece, and the majority of pickup names are far under that number. Season to taste; one size never fits all in this type of exercise (we'll tack on some obvious plays for the shallow leaguers at the bottom, but those players are not the primary thrust here). Let's find some hidden value.
Corey Potter, D, Oilers (4 percent): You'll have to deal with some hiccups in his own end (minus-8 rating), but if it's a puck-mover you want, Potter can help you (2-11-13 line through 24 games, along with 42 shots). He's been receiving regular power-play time in Edmonton, and that role might increase after Tom Gilbert suffered a knee injury Monday night. Eight of Potter's 13 points have come on the man advantage.
Jordan Leopold, D, Sabres (22 percent): He was an easy regression call before the season and the naysayers had the early laugh; Leopold wasn't scoring much overall and he was nowhere to be seen on special teams. But he's back in the power-play swing with the Sabres, collecting four speciality points along a 1-4-5 run over the last two weeks. Maybe last year's 35-point showing wasn't really a fluke after all.
Carl Hagelin, LW, Rangers (3 percent): I'll admit to some hometown bias with this pick; I watched Hagelin for his entire career at Michigan (bless you, Yost Arena) and I loved his two-way game. He's skating on the top New York line and hasn't looked out of place (seven goals, 49 shots, plus-10 rating). The hockey IQ is off the charts here, which is why the adjustment has been so smooth.
Jamie McBain, D, Hurricanes (19 percent): The Canes are finally starting to play some respectable hockey, stringing together a 5-4-2 run, and McBain has been part of the improvement. He's notched 10 points since the beginning of December, including two power-play assists in his last two starts. The Eden Prairie, MN native is no cake eater: he's probably going to sneak into the 35-40 point range before the year is through. You won't get a lot of sin-bin visits from this youngster, but the rest of the profile looks solid.
Chris Neil, RW, Senators (13 percent): Rough stuff is the first thing that comes to mind with Neil, but he's a more capable forward than you might think. He's collected 32 shots over the last month, along with a 2-3-5 line and three power-play points. This is always the best way to get your PIM category addressed; see if you can find the goon points tied to someone who's also an offensive contributor. When in doubt, go well-rounded.
Jason Arnott, C, Blues (14 percent): Here's one of those players who will probably be productive until the day he decides to retire. Arnott is getting plenty of power-play run in St. Louis (six speciality points over the last month) and he's never been shy about firing the puck (29 shots over the last month, including seven in Saturday's loss at Detroit). Ken Hitchcock needs a few reliable veterans to stabilize things in St. Louis, and he knows he has one in Arnott.
Marc Staal, D, Rangers (19 percent): His much-awaited return to action came at Monday's Winter Classic, as Staal logged about 12 minutes in his first start off a post-concussion injury. This is a former first-round pick still in his mid-20s — he turns 25 in the middle of January — so we can still chase some growth potential here. Staal was ownable in deeper pools last year (29 points, 50 PIMs, 116 shots) and we haven't seen his best season yet. If nothing else, keep an eye on him. Matt Romig added Staal in the Friends & Family League this week, another point in the blueliner's favor.
Erik Condra, RW, Senators (1 percent): He's getting some run on the second line in Ottawa, tied to the surging Daniel Alfredsson and the reborn Kyle Turris (you might want to look into Turris, as well). Condra hasn't gone ballistic on the scoresheet yet, but he's posted three goals and two assists over his last seven games, along with a solid 22 shots. So long as he keeps firing the biscuit on the goal, he'll probably stick with this scoring line.
Captain Obvious (heavy-ownership guys): Make sure Kyle Quincey (57 percent) isn't sitting on your wire; he's finally been released from purgatory in Colorado after a handful of healthy scratches, and he's always known what to do with the puck. … Steve Downie (38 percent) is another power forward who can score as well as punish; he's on a 2-5-7 binge in his last three starts. … Evgeni Nabokov (23 percent) can get hurt brushing his teeth, but he looked sharp in two victories at the end of the month, stopping 57 of 59 shots. … Matt Carle (50 percent) never turned into the superstar we expected a few years back, but he's settled into a nice career in Philly. We'll find room for 21 points, 59 shots, and a plus-6 rating (it was plus-30 last year).
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