#1 Give 'em a Look
After James Neal came out of nowhere last year to tally 24 goals in his first season (2nd highest among rookies) we should have learned that doubting him doesn't do you any good as he's one of those players that always seems to exceed expectations. But we had doubts that he could build on his rookie season... then he started this year on fire with 32 points in his first 33 games. Then he came back down to earth with only 1+3=4 in a 12 game stretch and we thought we were so smart cause he couldn't keep up that pace from the start of the year... well he's picked it up again with 5+4=9 in his last 10 and you should snap him up quick before people start to learn that he's not one to underestimate.
Others worth a look: Valtteri Filppula (Det – C), Brandon Yip (Col - W), Kyle Cumiskey (Col – D) and Steve Mason (Clb – G)#2 Give 'em the Boot
This is strictly for you one-year poolies as keeper league GMs will want to show a little more patience but John Tavares is worthy of a drop in most leagues... he's only managed 2+4=6 in his last 28 games to go along with a chilly minus-15 during that stretch. We could get into all the reasons why his game has gone south lately but lets just sum it up by saying that he plays for the Islanders.
Others worth a boot: Paul Kariya (StL – W), Miroslav Satan (Bos – W), Andy Greene (NJ – D) and Alex Auld (Dal – G)#3 Injury Concerns
Well the big concern for fans in Canada is that Ryan Getzlaf's sprained ankle could keep him out of the Olympics. He's expected to try to make a return this weekend and then it will be Steve Yzerman's call. A little more relevant to fantasy players is the injury to Ray Emery as he's been having his hip injury evaluated and there are rumours that he'll need surgery, which would put him out for a while. Mike Leighton is a solid short-term add for fantasy GMs while this gets sorted out but long-term the Flyers could be looking for some outside help.#4 Crease Conflicts
An unexpected situation is brewing in Boston as Tim Thomas has been flopping his way into the toilet this year while rookie Tuukka Rask sits second in the league in gaa (2.01) and tied for first in sv% (.931). Thomas is winless with a 3.46 gaa & .861 sv% in his last five games whereas Rask has started the past four games, hasn't allowed more than two in any game and hasn't lost in regulation. Speculation has begun that the Bruins are trying to move Thomas, which could be difficult, but regardless it looks like they're entertaining the idea of handing the #1 job to Rask.#5 Hit the Links
Chris Nichols takes a look at whether or not the Sophomore Slump is for real... at least this year. While guys like Calder Trophy winner Steve Mason are in some kinda funk (until lately), there's a lot of 2nd year players that are having breakout seasons and there's just as many players in their 3rd, 4th or later years that are having rough seasons, that it's unfair to say that this is a Sophomore phenomenon.
We'll be taking a little break as the NHL shuts down for two weeks... enjoy the Olympics!
Fantasy Hockey Scouts