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Posted On Tuesday, 03.19.2013 / 11:45 AM

By Pete Jensen -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Sharks' rookie Irwin picking up steam

The San Jose Sharks, after a 7-0-0 start, have only won five times in their last 21 games. But despite their recent struggles, a bright spot has emerged in rookie defenseman Matt Irwin.

Matt Irwin
Defense - SJS
GOALS: 5 | ASST: 3 | PTS: 8
SOG: 44 | +/-: -6
Irwin is riding a four-game point streak -- the longest of his career -- and has totaled four goals and two assists over his last six games. With the fantasy defenseman waiver-wire pool being especially thin these days, the 25-year-old defenseman's recent stretch of production has made him a commodity in deep leagues -- especially since Brent Burns moved from defenseman to wing on a line with Logan Couture and Joe Thornton.

The 6-foot-2 defenseman is operating on the team's top pairing with veteran Dan Boyle and is learning on the fly as the Sharks try to navigate through their struggles. Owned in only two percent of Yahoo! leagues, Irwin was instrumental in the Sharks' third period onslaught Monday after falling behind 4-1 to the Anaheim Ducks on the road.

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Posted On Friday, 03.08.2013 / 11:15 AM

By Pete Jensen -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Replacing tri-eligible forward Sharp

The Chicago Blackhawks' point streak lives on for yet another day, but fantasy owners of Patrick Sharp suddenly have a problem on their hands.

Sharp left Wednesday's game against the Colorado Avalanche in the third period after sustaining an upper-body injury when he was hit into the boards by Ryan O'Byrne. The No. 28 forward in NHL.com's most recent rankings, Sharp is the only player League-wide with tri-eligibility (LW/C/RW) in Yahoo fantasy leagues.

Patrick Sharp
Left Wing - CHI
GOALS: 5 | ASST: 13 | PTS: 18
SOG: 78 | +/-: 7

For that reason alone, it's impossible to replace the position flexibility he brings to the table. Sharp is also in the top 20 League-wide in shots on goal (78) with a plus-7 rating and 18 points (7 PPP) in 24 games. But despite injuries continuing to pile up on fantasy rosters around the world, owners must continue to keep a pulse on the waiver wire to stay afloat until Sharp returns.

On Friday, a report indicated that Sharp has a shoulder separation that could potentially keep him out of the lineup anywhere from three weeks to a month.

If you own Sharp in fantasy leagues, be sure to monitor his status over the coming days to see if he's placed on injured reserve. If that's the route Chicago takes, store him there and consider short-term replacements. For now, here's a trending player at each of the three forward positions to eye in the coming days.

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Posted On Friday, 03.01.2013 / 4:57 PM

By Pete Jensen -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: O'Reilly can be difference-maker

With contract negotiations now in his rearview mirror, forward Ryan O'Reilly can be a key piece to the puzzle for fantasy owners around the world.

The Colorado Avalanche matched a two-year offer sheet to the forward tendered by the Calgary Flames on Thursday, meaning the team's leading scorer from a season ago is back in the fold and could return as early as Sunday.

Most fantasy owners who drafted O'Reilly (center eligible in Yahoo leagues) could not afford to store him on their benches for the first five-plus weeks of the regular season, so it's important for all owners to consider what this 22-year-old can bring to the table from a fantasy standpoint.

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Posted On Wednesday, 02.27.2013 / 2:08 PM

By Pete Jensen -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Dillon among top rookie defensemen

With so many first-year players thriving from a fantasy standpoint this season, it's easy for Brenden Dillon's name to get lost in the shuffle.

Brenden Dillon
Defense - DAL
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 3 | PTS: 6
SOG: 37 | +/-: 5
But if you're in a deep league looking for a defenseman who provides category coverage to fill a roster spot, there are not many better options than the Dallas Stars rookie.

An undrafted prospect who was signed by the Stars in March of 2011, Dillon has emerged as a full-time defenseman for Dallas. The 22-year-old picked up his second multi-point game of the season Tuesday, posting two helpers in the Stars' overtime triumph over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Dillon was credited with the secondary assist on Loui Eriksson's overtime winner, displaying tremendous poise in the offensive zone to set up the game-winning sequence.

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Posted On Monday, 02.25.2013 / 4:20 PM

By Pete Jensen -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Sources of power on waiver wire

To say the injury bug has ravaged fantasy rosters around the world in recent weeks would be an understatement.

High-profile fantasy forwards (i.e. Evgeni Malkin, Vladimir Tarasenko, Rick Nash) have been placed on injured reserve by their respective teams in recent days, meaning many owners are on the lookout for help in a number of offensive categories. Most notably, there's a high demand for power-play productivity from available waiver wire assets.

It goes without saying that it will be difficult to replace the fantasy impact of a player like Malkin, who leads the NHL with 14 PPP this season, but the players below could at least keep your team afloat with consistent production with the man advantage -- as well as in other stat categories.

Troy Brouwer (RW, Washington Capitals)

Troy Brouwer
Right Wing - WSH
GOALS: 8 | ASST: 4 | PTS: 12
SOG: 38 | +/-: -5
Brouwer has seen a heightened power-play role following the offseason departure of Alexander Semin, and the results have been better than anyone expected.

After only seeing 2:08 per game with the man advantage last season, the 27-year-old has seen nearly four minutes of power-play ice time per game through 17 games. He has already reeled off eight power-play points (T-18th in NHL) this season, nearly doubling his output a season ago (5 PPP in 82 games).

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Posted On Thursday, 02.21.2013 / 12:30 PM

By Pete Jensen -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Penguins' Sutter viable replacement

Brandon Sutter has had his share of ups and downs in his first season with the Pittsburgh Penguins, but Wednesday could prove to be the start of his next point-production surge.

Sutter (owned in only 6 percent of Yahoo! leagues) scored the game-tying goal late in the third period against the Philadelphia Flyers to snap his four-game pointless streak. That slump was preceded by a five-game point streak from Feb. 2-9. Prior to that stretch, Sutter had only one assist to show for himself over his first seven games of the season.

Brandon Sutter
Center - PIT
GOALS: 4 | ASST: 3 | PTS: 7
SOG: 31 | +/-: 4
Judging by the peaks and valleys he's experienced so far in 2012-13, Sutter, 24, is not quite a center you can lean on for consistent point production. That being said, he still holds value in deep leagues -- especially as a temporary injury replacement on your roster.

If your lineup has been affected by recent injuries to center-eligible assets (Jeff Skinner, Brandon Dubinsky, etc.), Sutter is a short-term option worth pursuing. He had season-highs in shots on goal (5) and rating (plus-2) in Wednesday's loss to the Flyers, centering the Penguins' third line with Tyler Kennedy and rookie Beau Bennett since he was recalled last week.

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Posted On Wednesday, 02.20.2013 / 1:15 PM

By Pete Jensen -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Preds' Wilson flying under radar

If you're a fantasy owner who would gladly welcome a dual-eligible forward who is putting up nearly a point per game, then look no further than Colin Wilson.

Colin Wilson
Center - NSH
GOALS: 5 | ASST: 9 | PTS: 14
SOG: 21 | +/-: 0
Wilson (owned in only 15 percent of Yahoo! leagues) leads the Predators in scoring with 14 points in 17 games this season despite a widespread perception that he's a fantasy afterthought. The C/LW eligibile forward had a pair of assists in the Nashville Predators' 4-3 overtime win over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday, extending his point streak to five games (2 G, 5 A) -- the most balanced scoring stretch of his career.

The 23-year-old had his share of critics after failing to emerge as a top-tier point producter after being selected with the seventh pick in the 2008 NHL Draft, but he is finally finding his rhythm in the Music City. Wilson did produce 30-plus points in each of the past two seasons, but -- outside of deep leagues -- has never been considered a viable fantasy option until now.

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Posted On Thursday, 02.14.2013 / 10:59 AM

By Pete Jensen -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Loss of Karlsson tough to overcome

Erik Karlsson altered the perception surrounding fantasy defensemen last season. That's one of many reasons why his injury will be so tough for fantasy owners to endure.

Karlsson had 78 points, the most by a defenseman since Nicklas Lidstrom had 80 in 2005-06. He also led all players at his position in shots on goal (261).

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.12.2013 / 11:45 AM

By Pete Jensen -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Voynov outperforming Doughty early on

Slava Voynov
Defense - LAK
GOALS: 2 | ASST: 4 | PTS: 6
SOG: 22 | +/-: 7
After a brief Stanley Cup hangover, the Los Angeles Kings are back on their feet. Much of that improvement can be credited to an emerging young defenseman.

And to everyone's surprise, that player is not named Drew Doughty.

While Doughty, taken on average in the seventh round of Yahoo! Fantasy Hockey drafts, has stumbled out of the gate with no goals, four assists and a minus-10 rating through 11 games, Slava Voynov has emerged as the team's most productive player on the blue line.

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Posted On Monday, 02.11.2013 / 3:20 PM

By Pete Jensen -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Chicago's Kane re-discovers elite form

Leading up to the 2012-13 season, Patrick Kane was simply an enigma from a fantasy standpoint.

Patrick Kane
Right Wing - CHI
GOALS: 9 | ASST: 10 | PTS: 19
SOG: 33 | +/-: 7
In four of his first five NHL seasons, Kane has played in 80-plus games. In all but one of those five seasons, he's mustered 200-plus shots on goal. He's never had fewer than 66 points in a season and is regarded as one of the most talented forwards League-wide. In only his third NHL season, he fueled a Stanley Cup championship run for the Chicago Blackhawks in 2009-10 with 28 points in 22 postseason games.

At that time, Kane was on the fast track to stardom. So why was he selected on average in the third round of fantasy drafts entering this season with an average position of 32.8 in Yahoo leagues?

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Quote of the Day

Great players need great players to play with. That's why we'll have a training camp and we'll find who the best two guys are suited to play with Stamkos.

— Tampa Bay Lightning associate coach Rick Bowness on Steven Stamkos' potential linemates for the 2014-15 season