November 05, 2011
Today we go shopping for forwards, with the normal "50 percent" rule in effect (no one owned in more than half of the Yahoo! world makes our list). We've got something for every budget, and we welcome your suggestions in the comments.
Chris Kunitz(notes) (35 percent), LW, Penguins: He's quietly tallied four goals in his last seven games, and he's getting time with Sidney Crosby(notes) in practice (look for Crosby to play with Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis(notes) when he returns, whenever that happens to be). Kunitz likes to shoot the puck as well, collecting 41 shots over 14 starts. Never flashy, but you need some working-class heroes as well in our make-believe hockey game.
Michael Grabner(notes) (42 percent), RW, Islanders: He hasn't gone anywhere through ten games (3-0-3, 15 shots) and the Islanders have also hit an iceberg after a fast start. But perhaps Grabner can get started Saturday against the Caps, as he's getting a chance on the John Tavares-Matt Moulson line. If someone made a quick drop on Grabner, now's your chance to swoop in.
Chris Neil(notes) (30 percent), RW, Senators: Neil recently got picked up in one of my leagues that doesn't use penalty minutes, which is saying a lot. He's a goon you can respect in the morning: a handy 3-4-7 offensive line, 31 shots, and 52 minutes of penance in the sin bin. He's going to be the PIM play of the season.
Brad Boyes(notes) (48 percent), C/RW, Sabres: He woke up with a three-point streak at the end of October and he had six shots in the victory over Calgary on Friday, so maybe Boyes is starting to find his stride. He's still essentially on Buffalo's third line, but he's treated as a primary forward on the power play. The Sabres will give him a chance to return to the 60-point level.
Clarke MacArthur(notes) (30 percent), LW, Maple Leafs: He was invisible for the opening two weeks but that's a forgotten story now: C-Mac has six goals in his last five starts. There's been a little luck to that run — the goals have come on a modest 11 shots — but we'll run with him while he's hot. Don't forget his under-the-radar 21-41-62 season out of nowhere last winter; this is someone the Leafs trust on a nightly basis.
Nik Antropov(notes) (14 percent), C, Jets: Toronto fans can tell you all about Antropov's act — now you see him, now you don't — but this was a handy 67-point man with the Thrashers back in 2009-10, and he's off to a 3-8-11 push in Winnipeg, settling in with the top power-play unit. He's firing about two shots a game (not bad for a pass-first pivot) and he's plus-one for the year. Still a useful player. Antropov is also dealing with a hand injury suffered Thursday, but he's a hockey player: I doubt this keeps him out long, if at all.
Ryan O'Reilly(notes) (8 percent), C, Avalanche: He's a third-line center on the sheet, but only two Colorado forwards have more power-play time over the last two weeks. With 10 points through a month and four power-play points, O'Reilly is the type of player you look for on a short night, a plug-and-play, temp-to-perm option. Colorado starts a four-game week on Sunday, with three of the matches coming at home.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard(notes) (6 percent), LW/RW, Wild: Two easy selling points on PMB: he's tallied four points in his last two starts, and he's sidled up to Matt Cullen(notes) and Devin Setoguchi(notes) on Minnesota's second line. If the diminutive winger can stay in one piece for a change — something he really hasn't done since 2008 — we could be looking at a 55-65 point season without any great difficulty.
Image courtesy of US Presswire