Chris Pronger gets banned for essentially the rest of the season and Rick DiPietro picks this time of year to go under the knife. What, you thought the stretch run was going to be easy? Never mind those guys, how about making your push without Sidney Crosby, Mats Sundin or Zdeno Chara? These last few days are starting to look like Week 17 of a fantasy football league. Erik Ersberg, anyone? All I can do is wish everyone luck (and health, I suppose). Here's the latest weekly update …
MID-WEEK UPDATE: Need-to-know info from the past few days
Things to do ASAP: If you're in an active league, New York Islanders backup goalie Wade Dubielewicz has probably already been claimed. That's how it goes in active leagues. But if things are a bit more recreational in your pool, news that Rick DiPietro is having season-ending surgery may not have filtered down yet. Dubielewicz has been sound in four March starts, posting a 2.23 GAA and a .920 save percentage. And this is, in theory, when he does his best work. Who will ever forget his four-game winning streak to finish the 2006-07 season that ended in a playoff-clinching, heart-stopping shootout win over the Devils? This season won't end in a playoff berth. In fact the Islanders have their hands full with two each against the Flyers, Pens, Devils and Rangers. Dubie is still a solid option for owners well behind the goalie games pace in roto leagues.
Missing that boat, there's also Blue Jackets backup Fredrik Norrena, who followed up a 43-save win over Detroit with a shutout of Calgary Tuesday. He's shown the ability to produce over stretches and it's unclear exactly how much time starter Pascal Leclaire will miss after having his bell rung during warmups on Sunday. Columbus has three against the Red Wings remaining, but the rest of the schedule is loaded with non-playoff foes. The Jackets aren't likely to take chances with Leclaire.
One-timers: Right wing Kyle Okposo, the top prospect in the Islanders organization, made his NHL debut Tuesday. He was held pointless in 14:45 of ice time. … Kings defenseman Jack Johnson is out for the season with a broken foot suffered Tuesday against San Jose. … Manny Malhotra has four goals in two games, likely thanks in large part to playing on a line with Rick Nash. …
BARGAIN BIN: Top player available in 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues
Michel Ouellet, RW, TB – Whether you're in a roto or head-to-head league, you need consistency this time of year. So why then roll the dice on a yo-yo like Ouellet? Well, there's something to be said for gambling, too. Since the Lightning shipped Brad Richards out of town at the trade deadline, Ouellet has 11 points in 10 games and has been held off the scoresheet only twice. At plus-11, he's one of four plus players on the Tampa Bay roster. That's no easy feat in itself.
MARKET MOVERS: Charting player values
Marc-Andre Bergeron, D, Ana – The suspension of Chris Pronger puts Bergeron back in the power-play picture for the Ducks. He logged 3:04 of man-advantage time Saturday against St. Louis, but registered only one shot and no points. Hey, beats getting scratched.
Alexander Steen, LW, Tor – With the Leafs dealing with some injuries up front, Steen has responded with nine assist in his last six games, four coming on the power play.
Brett McLean, C, Fla – Charging toward a career-high in points, this former 10th-round draft pick has four goals and six assists during a five-game point streak. Linemate Rostislav Olesz gets an upgrade with three goals and five points in five games.
Pascal Dupuis, LW, Pit – While Sidney Crosby is out, Pittsburgh is going with Dupuis on a line with Marian Hossa and Jordan Staal. The pairing agrees with Dupuis, who has six assists in the Pens' last three games.
Johan Franzen, LW, Det – Franzen scored twice Sunday to run his point streak to seven games. He has eight goals in that span to reach the 20-goal mark for the first time in his three-year career.
Brooks Laich, C, Was – Like Franzen, Laich is on the verge of becoming a surprise 20-goal scorer. Since the NHL trade deadline, he has eight goals and 12 points in 11 games.
Sam Gagner, C, Edm – Not budging from his spot here last week, Gagner now has multi-point games in half of his last six efforts. He ranks as a top 20 fantasy center over the last month.
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The Rotoboys remain atop the standings, as Maingot holds a two-point lead over McLarney. Of note, Maingot was the second-to-last manager to draft a goalie, holding off until the 6th round to draft Vesa Toskala. Of course, McLarney is right there and he went goalies 1-2, so there's more than one way to build a winner. This week's transactions include Wade Dubielewicz, Sami Salo, Joni Pitkanen and Francois Beauchemin, among others.