#1 Give 'em a Look
The plan heading into this season was to have Olli Jokinen be the Flames #1C between Iginla and Tanguay but things haven’t gone as planned in Calgary this year and Jokinen has bounced around the lineup putting up only 2+8=10 over his first 25 games. Well he’s found his way back to the top line and #1PP unit lately and has 6+3=9 with 31 shots over his last nine games while playing over 20 minutes most nights. He’s struggled over the past few years with 50 & 57 points but remember that he put up 71, 91 & 89 points the three seasons prior to that.
Others worth a look: Brian Boyle (NYR – C), Derek Stepan (NYR - C), Mikhail Grabovski (Tor – C) and Jeff Tambellini (Van – W)#2 Give 'em the Boot
This is one that I’m hesitant to recommend but I suppose a lot of you should be considering dropping PK Subban given his situation right now. He’s been scratched in five of the Habs last 12 games and isn’t seeing a lot of ice-time when he plays. His production has been weak lately with only two points and a minus-8 over his last 10 games and the kicker came when the Habs traded for James Wisniewski this week, as he’s expected to eat up some big minutes and PP time, so that will make it even harder for Subban to re-gain his confidence.
Others worth a boot: Jason Arnott (NJ – C), Daniel Alfredsson (Ott – RW), Lee Stempniak (Phx – RW) and Marty Brodeur (NJ – G)#3 Injury Concerns
Some big names have been dropping like flies lately as Pavel Datsyuk (hand), Derek Roy (leg) and Jason Spezza (shoulder) have all been knocked out long-term and then we had a scare when Jonathan Toews hurt his shoulder on Tuesday… but he’s only expected to miss two weeks.#4 Crease Conflicts
The Sharks are digging out of an early season hole, going 8-5-1 in December to pull themselves into a playoff spot but they’ve been doing it in spite of their goaltending this year. You may point to the fact that Antero Niittymaki is 4-1-0 in December while Antti Niemi is 4-4-1 and think that Niittymaki is the better bet here but Niemi has been much more solid with a 2.32 gaa & .921 sv% this month compared with Niittymaki’s 2.76 & .889. We don’t think Niemi’s done enough to take hold of the #1 job outright but he’s earned the additional starts he’s seen lately and maybe he’ll go on a late season run like his did last year.#5 Hit the Links
For great coverage of the World Junior Championships, and all international hockey for that matter, you should all be checking out the Puck Worlds blog. Their WJC team previews were the best of the many that we saw.
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