Fantasy: Power-play defensemen and Forsberg's possible return

(Note: Our friends at Dobber Hockey are back for some fantasy fun. All stats are through Wednesday night's games; this feature will be found on Thursdays here on Puck Daddy.)

How important is power-play ice time for production from defensemen?

Among the top 15 defensive point producers, only John-Michael Liles(notes) and Brent Burns(notes) aren't in the top 30 for power play ice time. Liles is just outside the top 30 with 3:25 of man advantage ice time per game, but Burns is all the way back in 61st with only 2:48 per game.

What does this mean for poolies? First of all, Burns is having a tremendous season. He has completely recovered from the injuries (concussion, hip) that dogged him over the past two campaigns. Another - look for defensemen who are producing without power play time and you are bound to find a sleeper or two in the mix (every single one of Matt Carle's(notes) 24 points has come at even strength).

Tune in to the next Minnesota Wild game available in your area (no, not to help you sleep). Burns is a fantastic player and deserves a ton of credit for the strong season he is having.

Goals (with Yahoo! percent owned)

Brandon Sutter(notes), C, Carolina (4%)

After scoring 21 goals last year, many were expecting Sutter to emerge as a 25-to-30-goal scorer. However, with only 10 goals through 49 games, he has been a disappointment in his third season. The Hurricanes as a team are climbing up the Eastern Conference standings (not exactly the hardest thing to do considering six of the seven worst NHL clubs reside there), and Sutter looks poised for a big second half. He has three goals in his last three games.

Patrik Berglund(notes), C, St. Louis (7%)

Berglund's offensive skill set is impressive. His lanky Sheldon Cooper-like frame still has some room to grow, as well. He didn't exactly step up his game once the injuries hit in St. Louis (he recorded one measly assist during an eight-game stretch at the end of December/early January), but he does have points in six straight games. He probably isn't available in many keeper leagues, though.

Max Pacioretty(notes), LW, Montreal (3%)

After scoring six goals through his first 86 NHL games, many in Montreal were left wondering if "MaxPac" was simply a one-trick pony. He could skate, but was easily knocked off the puck and didn't seem to have a clue what to do when he did manage to hold onto it. This season, Pacioretty looks bigger, stronger, and more confident in his decision-making. He still creates offense with his speed, but he's scoring goals in a variety of ways now. Montreal's lack of size up front his well documented (Travis Moen(notes) knew what he was doing when he signed with the Habs two years ago), and the 6-2 Pacioretty is able to create space for his linemates. He has three goals in his last three games.


Kyle Brodziak, C, Minnesota (1%)

Trading Brodziak for a couple of draft picks was a terrible move by Edmonton GM Steve Tambellini. At the time, Brodziak was the best face-off man for the Oilers, and he brought size and grit to the bottom six. Tambellini's reign of error has allowed him to stumble into drafting some fine young players, but the Oilers clearly lack a big checking center. The players Edmonton used the picks on? Defenseman Kyle Bigos (zero goals in 19 games at Merrimack College) and goaltender Olivier Roy, who Vesa Toskala'd(notes) his way out of the starting job for Team Canada at the 2011 World Juniors. Although Brodziak is a 30-point player, he does have the upside for 40 and his six assists in the last five games could potentially continue for a while, as he is lining up with Martin Havlat(notes).

Matt Stajan(notes), C, Calgary (4%)

Stajan is earning $1.5 million per goal so far, but he does have 20 assists. The Flames have turned their season around recently and they will need secondary scoring from players like Stajan to have any hope in earning a playoff spot in the Western Conference. With three assists in his last two games, the streaky 27-year-old could be a nice add as a No.4 center in your league for the short term.


Jeff Schultz(notes), D, Washington (6%)

Don't look now, but the reigning plus-minus champion is plus-4 over Washington's last four contests. Schultz has had an inconsistent season to say the least, and picking a player solely for the plus-minus statistic is a very tricky (or impossible) strategy to implement. Still, it is hard to believe that he is on pace to finish with a goal differential worse than last season by 48. Next you'll be telling us that Ilya Kovalchuk(notes) is on pace for fewer than 25 goals.


Theo Peckham(notes),D, Edmonton (4%)

Peckham will never display any sort of offense at the professional level (eight goals in 162 AHL and NHL games). What he brings (especially this year) is a ton of grit and snarl to a team that desperately needs it. Peckham is on pace for over 200 PIM, which is impressive considering he averages almost 20 minutes of ice time per game. The fact that he is a defenseman makes it easier to own him solely for his pugilistic ways. He has 25 penalty minutes in his last seven games.


Anton Khudobin(notes), G, Minnesota (1%)

To say that Khudobin is an unorthodox goalie is an understatement to say the least. Michael Russo likened his style to a game of "dance dance revolution." Square to the shooter? Please. Playing the angles? Khudobin's lucky if he is facing the right direction when the puck hits him. So far, though, it has worked. He'll get spot starting duty down the stretch, but he looks like the long-term back up option behind Niklas Backstrom(notes) (apologies - and sympathies - to Josh Harding(notes) owners).

Middle-of-the-Pack Jack says ...

Peter Forsberg's coming back? I'm on it. Gold. The guy is fantasy gold. Time to blow the last of my waiver-wire budget, I can't let this stud slip through to my competitor.

Relax Jack. Don't blow your brains out over this strategy.

While the 37-year-old Forsberg still has enough gas in the tank to post a point-per-game or better, he'll hurt a fantasy team more than he helps, especially those with daily transactions. Remember his last tenure in 2008? There were at least two occasions where he wasn't expected to play and he ended up playing. By the same token there were a handful of occasions where he was expected in the lineup but was a last-minute scratch. You're liable to pull something keeping up with the hourly Forsberg foot updates, working your mouse trying to put him in and out of the lineup as per the latest.

Let him go. Or if you already own him, sell to the highest bidder.

Jeff Angus is the manager and senior writer over on DobberHockey. Follow him on Twitter at @angus_j.

Dobber can be criticized and ridiculed over at his own site, as well as at You can follow him on Twitter (@DobberHockey), but only if you like cool tidbits on player trends.

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