GOALIE HOT SEAT
FLORIDA PANTHERS RED HOT
1st Chair: Craig Anderson
2nd Chair: Tomas Vokoun
Skinny: Anderson makes his third consecutive start Tuesday and coach Peter DeBoer says if he wins, he stays in. So there's your formula. Manage your goalie starts accordingly.
DETROIT RED WINGS RED HOT
1st Chair: Ty Conklin
2nd Chair: Chris Osgood
Skinny: These two are flip-flopped this week, but only because Detroit has a few days off and coach Mike Babcock already announced that Conklin will go Thursday against St. Louis. The coach wouldn't reveal his plans beyond that, which at least leaves the door open for Conklin to get a stretch of games.
COLORADO AVALANCHE RED HOT
1st Chair: Peter Budaj
2nd Chair: Andrew Raycroft
Skinny: Looks like what you see is what you get the rest of the way for the Avs. Colorado will not dip into its system for goalie help for the final days of the season. Raycroft has lost seven straight starts; Budaj four. There's nothing to see here.
ANAHEIM DUCKS RED HOT
1st Chair: Jonas Hiller
2nd Chair: Jean-Sebastien Giguere
Skinny: Anaheim fans have turned on Giguere. Thanks for that Stanley Cup, Jiggy, now stay out of the way. Coach Randy Carlyle is not of the same mind, stating that goalie decisions would be made on a game-by-game basis. Hiller has made seven March starts to Giguere's five, and if you need to know who has been more effective, ask a Ducks fan.
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS HOT
1st Chair: Nikolai Khabibulin
2nd Chair: Cristobal Huet
Skinny: Huet gets the start Tuesday, likely to get him some work (and a start against a former team) rather than signaling a change in policy in net. Coach Joel Quenneville had previously stated that he wanted Khabibulin to get the bulk of the work leading into the playoffs.
MONTREAL CANADIENS HOT
1st Chair: Carey Price
2nd Chair: Jaroslav Halak
Skinny: Price gets his fourth straight start Tuesday after helping the Habs claim five of a possible six points in his last three. It's clear who Montreal wants between the pipes for this playoff push. Now if Price can stay in a confident grove …
LOS ANGELES KINGS HOT
1st Chair: Jon Quick
2nd Chair: Erik Ersberg
Skinny: Quick has just one win in five starts, but you can't fault him for the paltry five goals of support he received in those five. The lone win was a 1-0 shootout victory against the Stars. Dallas is in town Tuesday and it's a possible elimination game for LA, so it's likely Quick gets the chance to keep the team's faint playoff hopes alive.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING BLACKHAWKS HOT
1st Chair: Karri Ramo
2nd Chair: Mike McKenna, Mike Smith
Skinny: Overtime hasn't been kind to Ramo, but he is earning points when he starts (only one regulation loss in last seven) and his ratios have been bad (at least a .915 save percentage in five of seven). If you're juggling, McKenna gets the start Tuesday against Boston.
OTTAWA SENATORS LUKEWARM
1st Chair: Brian Elliott
2nd Chair: Alex Auld
Skinny: There really isn't much of a battle here, but this seems like a good place to mention that Elliott, fresh off his first shutout, is just 35 percent owned despite winning nine of his 12 March starts.
PHILADELPHIA FLYERS LUKEWARM
1st Chair: Martin Biron
2nd Chair: Antero Niittymaki
Skinny: Niittymaki hasn't been very active lately, and the rust was evident in Sunday's 4-3 loss to the Bruins. Philly has two sets of back-to-backs remaining on the schedule, which is just about all that keeps Niitty rosterable.
Barring breaking news, this will be the last NHL Skinny of the 2008-09 season. The most actionable information this time of year will be goalie starts, so we'll cover any developments in that universe over in the Roto Arcade blog.
We'll be back next year, this time with a full season of this column with the added bonus of (perhaps semi-regular) Big Board updates. I don't know about you, but I cannot wait until the first overtime game of the postseason. Enjoy the last few days of the fantasy hockey season, the playoffs, and, of course, have a great offseason.
Let's get to the rundown …
• The biggest news coming out of the weekend also leads our goalie hot seat section. Florida coach Pete DeBoer has basically said the 23-percent owned Craig Anderson will start every game until he loses. After a nice hot streak earlier in the season, Anderson settled back into that pack of moderately owned backups. Now he's been handed a chance to help lead the Panthers into the playoffs. Of course an early loss here could make this move a bit of a non-story in fantasy circles. Vokoun hasn't been terrible, posting a .919 save percentage in 11 March starts.
But if Anderson (3-0 with a .937 save percentage this month) can stay hot, there are favorable matchups ahead. Florida starts the week with two non-playoff teams at home (Ottawa, Atlanta) and has a road tilt in Atlanta on the 9th. Nobody is expecting the Panthers to win out, but if Anderson can start his trial with back-to-back wins, that could be enough to earn him a reprieve once the inevitable loss does come. At the very least Vokoun owners need to jump on board here. Anyone else chasing wins or save pct. points should take notice as well.
One-timers: Brandon Bochenski is up with the Lightning and skating on Steven Stamkos' wing. He recorded no points and three shots in his season debut. … Alexei Ponikarovsky is a top 20 forward over the last month with six goals and a league-high 13 assists. … Thirty-nine percent owned blueliner Tobias Enstrom has 14 points in 13 March games. … Scottie Upshall has been a nice points (9), PIM (18) guy in 13 games with Phoenix.
BARGAIN BIN: Top player available in 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues
Rod Brind'Amour, C, Car (24-percent owned) – I know, I know – everyone has two or more productive centers, right? Not so fast. Brind'Amour is outperforming the bulk of the center pool over the last month, and by a comfortable margin. If you're an owner of Patrick Marleau (dinged and a minus-7 in the last 31 days), Derek Roy (minus-9 in same span), David Kreji (slumping but showing signs of life), Olli Jokinen (one point in five), or any number of centers merely chipping in these days, you need to take a gander at Rod's recent body of work. He ranks 10th among all skaters in monthly stats with six goals, 10 assists, a plus-9 rating, 10 penalty minutes and seven points on the power-play. The return of Erik Cole appears to have agreed with him, and the Canes as a whole. I'm not saying I'd cut all of the above to sign Brind'Amour, but certainly if you have another spare part to cut loose, you could give yourself a chance to field the best possible lineup in these critical days. Yes, that could (and in many cases should) mean benching someone who got you here.
MARKET MOVERS: Charting player values
Jason Williams, RW, Cls – Williams is back on the Jackets' No. 2 line, reuniting with linemates Antoine Vermette and R.J. Umberger according to the Columbus Dispatch. He has 13 points in 14 March games, so he didn't exactly disappear when moved away from Vermette, but coach Ken Hitchcock is shuffling lines hoping this trio can rekindle some of its old magic.
David Krejci, C, Bos – In Boston they are hailing the return of Krejci's swagger. He's still 72 percent owned, but that figure has been on a steady decline since late January. Krejci has five points in two games and points in four of five, so there could be something to this comeback story.
Alex Burrows, LW, Van – Position scarcity? Check (he's a left wing). Red hot? Check (11 goals in 14 March games). Productive linemates? Check (Sedin twins). Multi-category force? Check (plus-13, 27 PIM in March). If you're trying to talk yourself out of Burrows, what exactly is your argument? Let's get that check mark next to universal ownership (he's still only 58-percent owned in Yahoo! leagues). By the way, he's done all of the above without any power-play time. That could be changing.
Justin Williams, RW, LA – The two-time 30-goal scorer hasn't registered a point yet since being acquired by the Kings. Not much of an endorsement there, but the Kings seem to like what they see and they've recently elevated him to top line duty with Anze Kopitar and Michal Handzus. Worth monitoring.
Matt Lashoff, D, TB – He seems to contribute a little something in every game, which for fantasy purposes is really all you can ask out of a D3 or D4 in 12-team or deeper leagues. Since joining the Lightning he has five points, three power-play assists and 10 penalty minutes in seven games. He figures to continue playing a significant role on special teams with Cory Murphy out with a foot injury.
Ryan Callahan, RW, NY – John Tortorella likes him, the Rangers faithful embraces him and fantasy owners are starting to come around (4-percent owned) after a stretch of eight goals in 14 games. He ranks just outside the top 25 among right wings over the past month, but if goals are your thing only three RW-eligible players have more in the same span.
Cal O'Reilly, C, Nas – More of a deep-league advisory here. The Preds are short on healthy bodies up the middle, so O'Reilly is getting a look as a top six forward. He has three points in five games and a league-leading shooting percentage (1 shot, 1 goal).
Mikhail Grabovski, C, Tor – Nice pile of points lately: 10 in his last five and 14 in nine going back a little further.
Daniel Carcillo, LW, Phi – Rostering a player for penalty minute purposes only is a risky proposition. And if you're acquiring Carcillo right now, that's what you are doing. All that offensive upside we hoped for entering this season – forget it. He's been demoted to Philadelphia's fourth line. He does have a major penalty in three straight, though.
Yahoo! Friends and Family League update
It's still Matt Buser from busersports.com atop the standings. For a basketball guy, he sure must have drafted well – among the eight teams in the league, he has the fewest add/drops. Recent transactions involved Braydon Coburn, Steve Ott, Mark Recchi, T.J. Oshie, Alexei Ponikarovsky and Craig Anderson among others.