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Posted On Saturday, 02.09.2013 / 10:57 AM

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

Fantasy Spin: Worth taking chance on Visnovsky

Lubomir Visnovsky
Defense - NYI
If your fantasy blue line could use a spark, this may be your lucky day.

Lubomir Visnovsky, the high-scoring defenseman who was traded by the Anaheim Ducks to the New York Islanders on the night of the 2012 NHL Draft, has finally arrived on Long Island. The Isles had suspended Visnovsky after he failed to report to the team, but they lifted the ban on Thursday to activate the defenseman.

Reports are even indicating that the 36-year-old, who practiced Friday, could make his debut for New York as early as Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres, raising questions about his potential fantasy value.

Owned in only 29 percent of Yahoo! leagues entering the day, Visnovsky is far from a sure thing. But for fantasy owners to ignore what he was capable of only two seasons ago is just foolish.

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Posted On Thursday, 02.07.2013 / 5:00 PM

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

Fantasy Spin: Five candidates for 10-point game

Thirty-seven years ago, Darryl Sittler's earth-shattering 10-point night for the Toronto Maple Leafs set a single-game NHL record that still stands.

The dynamic of the sport has changed significantly since Feb. 7, 1976, but that doesn't mean fantasy owners around the world aren't imagining the potential impact of a double-digit point effort. Considering how far a single multi-point game goes in determining head-to-head league results, a 10-point effort from a single fantasy player would almost certainly lead to a matchup victory during a particular week -- especially if it came in such balanced fashion as Sittler's (6 G, 4 A).

This brings us into the discussion of which players, based on both single-game and career point-production, would be most likely to challenge Sittler's seemingly untouchable mark. While one can make a case for many players around the League as candidates to reach that plateau in one game, here are five active players who could treat their fantasy owners to such a performance for the ages.

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Posted On Wednesday, 02.06.2013 / 1:30 PM

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

Fantasy Spin: Clarkson now offensive juggernaut

The days of David Clarkson being regarded as a PIMs-only fantasy asset are long gone.

David Clarkson
Right Wing - NJD
GOALS: 7 | ASST: 5 | PTS: 12
SOG: 38 | +/-: 2
Clarkson still has accumulated 11 PIMs through his first nine games, but his ability to produce at least a point in eight of those games has taken the fantasy world by storm. The 28-year-old right wing came into his own offensively last season for the New Jersey Devils, and Tuesday night was another example of the fantasy difference-maker he has become.

Operating alongside veteran Patrik Elias and sophomore Adam Henrique, who returned to the lineup last week after being sidelined due to injury, Clarkson reeled off two goals and an assist in the Devils' 3-1 victory over the rival New York Rangers. Clarkson and Elias (10 points in nine games), a duo that has vastly outperformed New Jersey's top line tandem of Ilya Kovalchuk and Travis Zajac this season, fueled the Devils' offense again by having a hand in all three of the team's goals.

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.05.2013 / 1:18 PM

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

Fantasy Spin: Fasth can steal time from Hiller

Viktor Fasth may be a newcomer to North America, but he's quickly found his niche with the Anaheim Ducks.

Viktor Fasth
Goalie - ANA
RECORD: 3-0-0
GAA: 1.30 | SVP: 0.946
The Swedish Elite League standout signed with the Ducks in May and has made an immediate impact through his first three games at the NHL level. The 30-year-old improved to 3-0-0 on the young season after handing the San Jose Sharks their first regulation loss of the season on Monday.

Fasth's 25-save performance in that victory, coupled with strong showings in his debut vs. Nashville on Jan. 26 and his encore against the Minnesota Wild on Feb. 1, gives him a combined 70 saves on 74 shots faced to kick off this new chapter of his career in style. His stingy goals-against average (1.30) and save percentage (.946) trail only Craig Anderson for the League lead in both categories.

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Posted On Monday, 02.04.2013 / 2:46 PM

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

Fantasy Spin: Luongo excels; time to sell high?

Roberto Luongo may have returned to the forefront of the fantasy goalie landscape, but predicting the next twist or turn of the Vancouver Canucks' goalie conundrum is still anybody's guess.

Set to make his fourth consecutive start Monday for the Canucks, Luongo has temporarily re-affirmed his status as the team's No. 1 goaltender after stopping a combined 51 of 52 shots in consecutive victories over the Colorado Avalanche and Chicago Blackhawks.

Roberto Luongo
Goalie - VAN
RECORD: 2-0-2
GAA: 1.46 | SVP: 0.944
The 33-year-old netminder has already registered a shutout this season and is second in the NHL in both goals-against average (1.46) and save percentage (.944). He's appeared in five games thus far, allowing two goals or less in each of those outings.

But as promising as his play has been over the past few days, fantasy owners must take it with a grain of salt because of how dicey the Canucks' goalie situation has proved to be in recent memory.

Cory Schneider appeared in 25 games (compared to Luongo's 60 appearances) during the 2010-11 season before seeing action in 33 games (compared to Luongo's 55) in 2011-12. Last postseason, the top-seeded Canucks flamed out in the first round against the eventual Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, and the team's goaltending situation officially became a dilemma. Luongo surrendered seven goals in the first two games of the series before Schneider found more success in the three games in which he appeared with only four goals allowed in that span.

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Posted On Friday, 02.01.2013 / 4:00 PM

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

Gagner, Hodgson among trending waiver wire targets

The waiver wire is an ever-changing medium that gives fantasy owners a chance to bolster their rosters at any time. Last Friday, Michael Grabner led the list of key names for owners to consider, but as we close in on the two-week mark since the season began, there an entirely new batch of trending players to take note of.

Sam Gagner
Center - EDM
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 5 | PTS: 8
SOG: 19 | +/-: -3
More injuries have piled up over the past few days (Jason Spezza, Ryan Callahan, etc.), so here's an updated list of 10 fantasy assets floating around in both deep and shallow leagues that can pay dividends moving forward.

Sam Gagner (C/RW, Edmonton Oilers)

-Often overlooked because he's situated amongst an array of emerging young forwards in Edmonton, Gagner has made an early statement from a fantasy standpoint with eight points, 10 PIMs and 19 SOG in seven games. The 23-year-old has also logged nearly four minutes per game with the man advantage, displaying proficiency in those situations (5 PPP) for a power-play unit that sports the NHL's third-best conversion percentage (31.4). The dual-eligible forward has been the trendiest fantasy player in the League over the past two days in Yahoo! leagues (over 5,000 adds during that span), so be sure to snatch him while you still can.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.29.2013 / 4:13 PM

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

Fantasy Spin: Subban return only a matter of time

With contract negotiations finally in his rearview mirror, P.K. Subban is gearing up for his long-awaited return to the Montreal Canadiens' lineup -- something that brings music to the ears of his fantasy owners.

And remember, this isn't just any young defenseman with fantasy potential. After scoring 14 goals as a rookie in 2010-11, Subban still provided his owners with rare category coverage despite falling into a so-called "sophomore slump" when the Habs missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs a season ago.

P.K. Subban is gearing up for his return to the Montreal Canadiens' lineup -- something that brings music to the ears of his fantasy owners. (Photo: Getty Images)

Last year, Subban finished with 36 points (T-26th among defenseman), 205 shots on goal (7th), 119 PIMs (1st) & 14 power-play points (T-20th), but never truly found his groove offensively. This season, Subban finds himself in a promising situation upon his return, as the Canadiens are off to a 3-1-0 start riding the hot hand of blueliner Andrei Markov (4G, 1A, plus-2, 5 PPP in 4 games). If Subban meshes well with Markov, we could be talking about the younger of the two being a top-10 fantasy defenseman when it's all said and done.

But on the flip side, what will happen to Subban's value if he disrupts the flow of a power-play unit currently tied for the sixth-best conversion rate in the NHL? What if it takes a while for him to acclimate himself to new coach Michel Therrien's system at both ends of the ice?

These are valid areas of concern for fantasy owners, but the most important thing to note is that Subban will be back on the ice in the near future -- something that was far from a given for the past few weeks.

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Posted On Monday, 01.28.2013 / 3:30 PM

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

Fantasy Spin: Clowe, Simmonds top point/PIM assets

We're now one week into the 2012-13 NHL season and it's very clear which players have risen to the occasion from a point-production standpoint. Between Patrick Marleau's historic goal-scoring start, Martin St. Louis' distributing prowess and Zach Parise's immediate splash with the Minnesota Wild, these names are widely recognized and owned throughout the fantasy landscape.

But while the players who have racked up goals and assists are integral pieces to a championship squad, it's also worth noting which players have provided noteworthy category coverage so far. Specifically, players who put forth a combination of points and PIMs can lift your fantasy team to new heights.

While most of the players mentioned below are owned in the majority of fantasy leagues, putting together a package to acquire these assets can be a worthwhile initiative.

NOTE: "Penalties in Minutes" is a default category in Yahoo! Fantasy Hockey Leagues

Ryane Clowe
Left Wing - SJS
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 3 | PTS: 3
SOG: 10 | +/-: 1
1. Ryane Clowe (LW/RW, San Jose Sharks)

2012-13 production: 3 points, 37 PIMs in 5 games

- The League-leader in PIMs may only find himself in that spot after a 35-PIM outburst Sunday against the Vancouver Canucks, but his total is far from a fluke. Clowe has been a reliable points/PIMs producer in each of the past three seasons. He's played in 75-plus in each of those campaigns, racking up an average of 55 points and 109 PIMs per season during that span. Most of the Sharks' scoring has come from the likes of Marleau, Joe Thornton, Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski through five games, but Clowe remains a fixture on the team's second line -- meaning he's in great position to produce points every night.

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Posted On Saturday, 01.26.2013 / 2:44 PM

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

Fantasy Spin: Kovalchuk surpasses Ovechkin in value

The final sequence of the New Jersey Devils' overtime win over the Washington Capitals Friday night was a microcosm of where forwards Alex Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk stand in the fantasy landscape at this stage in their careers.

Ovechkin, trying to create a scoring chance in transition, lost his footing before losing the puck, causing an odd-man rush in the opposite direction.

Alex Ovechkin
Left Wing - WSH
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 1 | PTS: 1
SOG: 13 | +/-: -1
Then, despite his teammate fanning on the ensuing shot, Kovalchuk didn't give up on the play. The Devils' sniper swooped around the Capitals' net, parked himself on the left wing and cashed in on a feed from Marek Zidlicky to win the game and keep Washington winless this season.

While it may only be a single play in a 48-game season, it really represented what has been a contrasting opening week for fantasy owners who spent first-round draft picks on either Kovalchuk or Ovechkin. Kovalchuk, 29, has fully lived up to fantasy expectations (2 G, 2 A, plus-5, 6 PIM, 1 PPP, 13 SOG), but Ovechkin is off to the least productive four-game start of his NHL career (0 G, 1 A, minus-1, 4 PIM, 0 PPP, 13 SOG). Both averaged better than a point per game playing in the Kontinental Hockey League during the work stoppage, but only Kovalchuk has risen to the occasion since returning to NHL action.

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Posted On Friday, 01.25.2013 / 12:00 PM

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

Fantasy Spin: Grabner among sizzling waiver options

Many fantasy owners have already reaped the benefits of waiver wire pickups less than a week into the young season. With injuries piling up (Scott Hartnell, Joffrey Lupul, etc.) and a jam-packed Thursday night of NHL action now in the books, here are three forwards that fantasy owners should be conscious of based on their consistent production during the opening week of the NHL season.

ALEXANDER STEEN (C/LW, St. Louis Blues)

Alexander Steen
Left Wing - STL
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 4 | PTS: 4
SOG: 14 | +/-: 4
The offensive clinic that rookie Vladimir Tarasenko and Andy McDonald have put on in the early going can be attributed to the stellar play of Steen (owned in 14 percent of Yahoo! leagues), St. Louis' second-line center. Through four games, Steen has assisted on four goals and seen nearly two and a half minutes per game on the man advantage (1 PPP). He also sports a plus-4 rating and is second on the team in shots on goal (14), behind only Tarasenko (16). After playing in only 43 games last season for the Blues due to recovering from a concussion, the dual-eligible forward has returned to form in a hurry -- a trend that fantasy owners searching for offense should latch onto.

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Quote of the Day

You don't see many. The [Drew] Doughtys, the [P.K.] Subbans, those are guys that create offense from the back and then on top of that ability, the size that he has. In the West you play against some pretty big players, and being able to clear the crease and contain the [Ryan] Getzlafs and the [Corey] Perrys and [Anze] Kopitars and players like that, we're excited about him going back there.

— Sharks general manager Doug Wilson on Brent Burns returning back to defense