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Posted On Thursday, 02.02.2012 / 2:42 AM

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

Fantasy Spin: Samuelsson returning to form

If your fantasy squad is in the thick of a playoff push and in need of a spark on the wing, Mikael Samuelsson is knocking on your door.

Mikael Samuelsson
Right Wing - FLA
GOALS: 5 | ASST: 8 | PTS: 13
SOG: 51 | +/-: 1
The Swedish-born forward reeled off two goals on Wednesday as the Florida Panthers held off the Washington Capitals to move into first place in the Southeast Division. With three goals and an assist in his last five games, Samuelsson is finally healthy and producing for a team that appears to be in the postseason hunt with just over two months to go in the regular season.

During a time when injuries are decimating fantasy teams around the world, this 35-year-old is skating on the second line for the Panthers and making a sizable impact after an injury-plagued first half of his own. With Kris Versteeg out with flu-like symptoms on Wednesday, Samuelsson (5 goals, 8 assists, plus-1, 10 PIM, 5 PPP, 51 SOG) notched a power-play goal and will be a sure-fire contributor moving forward as the Panthers continue to play meaningful hockey.

Samuelsson was in the midst of a six-game goalless drought from Jan. 9 to Jan. 21, but has responded nicely and has compiled four goals and six assists overall in 16 games since being traded to Florida. With Samuelsson owned in only seven percent of Yahoo! leagues, he is certainly worth taking a chance on. His 30-goal, 53-point season in 2009-10 is evidence that he has the capability of producing points at a high level.

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Posted On Friday, 01.20.2012 / 2:15 AM

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

Fantasy Spin: Turris finding rhythm in Ottawa

Nearly five weeks after being shipped out of the desert, Kyle Turris is producing points in droves for the Ottawa Senators.

Turris, operating on the Senators' second line with All-Star forward Daniel Alfredsson, is playing the best hockey of his career with 3 goals, 2 assists and a plus-4 rating over his last four games. He scored a goal and added an assist in Thursday's 4-1 road triumph in San Jose.

Kyle Turris
Center - OTT
GOALS: 4 | ASST: 9 | PTS: 13
SOG: 45 | +/-: 11
It's been a refreshing turnaround for the former No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 NHL Draft, who was still seeking an identity following a contract dispute with the Phoenix Coyotes earlier this season. The 22-year-old center signed a two-year deal with the Coyotes on Nov. 22, and made his season debut with the club on Dec. 1. After going pointless with a minus-2 rating in six games, Turris has become a diversified fantasy option for deep leagues with 13 points in 16 games since the trade to Ottawa on Dec. 17.

He has provided the Senators with added depth at his position behind top-liner Jason Spezza, and is also touching on valuable categories with 15 PIMs and a plus-13 rating since the move to Ontario. While he's seen minimal ice time on the man advantage and has not registered a power-play point this season, that doesn't mean Turris (owned in 14 percent of Yahoo! leagues) can't give fantasy owners an offensive spark via free agency.

Turris' stock is rising by the day for the surging Senators, so the time is now for fantasy owners to get on board as the forward approaches point-per-game territory. Whether or not Turris can stick with his current pace is uncertain, but with consecutive multi-point outings, this youngster's game is evolving right before our eyes.
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Posted On Wednesday, 01.18.2012 / 1:43 AM

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

Fantasy Spin: Anderson becoming fantasy workhorse

Last February, the Ottawa Senators acquired goaltender Craig Anderson from the Colorado Avalanche. Ever since, Anderson has taken his game to another level.

Craig Anderson
Goalie - OTT
RECORD: 24-13-4
GAA: 2.91 | SVP: 0.910
After posting an 11-5-1 mark during his stint with the Sens last season, Anderson has carried over the positive momentum to this campaign, where he leads the NHL in games played, time on ice, shots allowed and saves. Despite the heavy workload, he has been the stable foundation behind Ottawa's resurgence in the Eastern Conference.

The most impressive stretch of the Anderson's season is ongoing, as he held down the fort Tuesday with 37 saves as Ottawa rallied past the Toronto Maple Leafs, 3-2, to improve to 9-1-1 in his last 11 outings.

Anderson (owned in 72 percent of Yahoo! leagues) is tied for second in the League in wins (24), and the Senators are a mere four points behind the New York Rangers for the NHL lead in points. Quietly, he has been one of the most intriguing stories past the midpoint of the fantasy season.

While Anderson is likely nowhere to be found on the free agent wire of most leagues, he is flying under the radar as one of the most durable goaltenders in the League. The fantasy world was probably not convinced that the 30-year-old netminder was a difference-maker coming into 2011-12, but Anderson has used an elite statistical season through 43 appearances to instill nothing but confidence in his owners.
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Posted On Friday, 01.13.2012 / 2:58 AM

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

Fantasy Spin: Trade should spark Cammy, Bourque

Mike Cammalleri and Rene Bourque have yet to emerge as true fantasy difference-makers for their respective clubs this season. Thursday's trade provides each with a change of scenery that could ultimately turn over a new leaf.

Cammalleri (9 G, 13 A, minus-6, 10 PIM, 6 PPP, 111 SOG) had only three goals in his last 17 games for the Montreal Canadiens before being shipped to the Calgary Flames after playing in the first two periods of the Habs' loss to the Boston Bruins on Thursday. Bourque (13 G, 3 A, minus-3, 41 PIM, 5 PPP, 91 SOG), who is nearing the end of his
Michael Cammalleri
Left Wing - CGY
GOALS: 9 | ASST: 13 | PTS: 22
SOG: 111 | +/-: -6
five-game suspension for elbowing Nicklas Backstrom of the Washington Capitals on Jan. 3, has averaged three minutes of power-play time per game this season, but has struggled mightily on the man advantage.

This trade comes at a make-or-break juncture of the campaign for both squads. A return to Calgary is a breath of fresh air for Cammalleri (owned in 62 percent of Yahoo! leagues), who notched career-highs in goals (39) and points (82) for the Flames during the 2008-09 season. Despite missing a total of 32 games due to injury over the last two seasons and seeing his numbers dip through 38 games this season, Cammy was a proven playoff point-producer in Montreal and could be an asset for the Flames -- who find themselves only three points out of the final playoff spot in the West.

Bourque (owned in 38 percent of leagues), on the other hand, brings size, physicality and goal-scoring to Montreal's lineup and is on pace to challenge for a career-high in goals this season. While the 30-year-old forward has only compiled 5 PPP through 38 games and has been one-dimensional from a point-production standpoint with only three assists, he brings experience and goal-scoring potential to a lineup in desperate need of an offensive spark. Montreal is seven points out of the final playoff spot in the East.
Rene Bourque
Left Wing - MTL
GOALS: 13 | ASST: 3 | PTS: 16
SOG: 91 | +/-: -3

It's been a bumpy ride for Bourque, Cammalleri and their respective teams this season, but each should be an intriguing fantasy story in his new home. Bourque has posted 27 goals and 50-plus points in each of his last two seasons, while Cammalleri is a two-time 80-point scorer. Both are expected to be utilized in new roles with their new teams to cater to their strengths, which is promising news for fantasy owners.

While Cammalleri is likely nowhere to be found on the free-agent wire in most leagues, now is an opportune time to grab Bourque if he's available. Although Bourque faces a tremendous challenge in turning around the League's second-worst power-play unit, his tenacity, along with his knack for finding the back of the net, could provide a new element to the Habs' offensive initiative.

And as far as Cammy, his return to Calgary warrants more patience moving forward from his fantasy owners.
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Posted On Friday, 12.30.2011 / 2:21 AM

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

Fantasy Spin: Wheeler emerges as distributor for Jets

The wheels keep turning in the right direction for the Winnipeg Jets, and Blake Wheeler's consistency is a major reason why.

Blake Wheeler
Right Wing - WPG
GOALS: 5 | ASST: 22 | PTS: 27
SOG: 79 | +/-: 11
Wheeler extended his point streak to four games by assisting on Evander Kane's overtime winner as Winnipeg blanked the Los Angeles Kings 1-0 on Thursday night at a raucous MTS Centre. With Dustin Byfuglien and Bryan Little again out of the lineup for the Jets, Little continues to shine as a distributor alongside Kane on Winnipeg's top line. The 25-year-old notched his team-high 22nd assist of the season and also leads the club with a plus-11 rating.

At the forefront of Claude Noel's offensive system, Wheeler is certainly emerging as a breakout fantasy asset. While he is far off the goal-scoring pace of his career-best rookie campaign (21 goals), Wheeler is among the League leaders in helpers and quietly one of the most impactful players in Winnipeg's lineup. Wheeler (owned in 24 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) has played in all 37 games for the Jets and even touches on categories such as hits (52), power-play points (5) and shots on goal (79).

With the Jets suddenly in the thick of the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference as December comes to a close, Wheeler may not be available much longer in deep fantasy leagues. Thus, the time is now to catch on to Manitoba's hottest fantasy hockey commodity.
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Posted On Friday, 12.23.2011 / 3:45 AM

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

Fantasy Spin: B's second-liners paying dividends



While Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron may operate on the second line of the defending champion Boston Bruins, there's nothing secondary about their production as of late.

Marchand (15 G, 14 A, plus-25, 58 PIM, 3 PPP, 78 SOG) and Bergeron (7 G, 21 A, plus-21, 12 PIM, 7 PPP, 86 SOG) were a two-man wrecking crew on Friday night, combining for eight points and a plus-7 rating in the Bruins' 8-0 rout of the
Patrice Bergeron
Center - BOS
GOALS: 7 | ASST: 21 | PTS: 28
SOG: 86 | +/-: 21
Southeast division-leading Florida Panthers. Marchand notched a shorthanded goal and ultimately his first career hat trick, while Bergeron tallied two points on the power-play and three overall to keep the Bruins rolling into the holiday break.

With Boston sporting a 20-2-1 mark in its last 23 games, the team's secondary unit continues to make an impact in a number of different areas on a regular basis. Both Marchand and Bergeron are among the League's top-10 in plus-minus and rank second and third, respectively, on the team in points. On Wednesday, Bergeron (3:00 PP ice time per game) and Marchand (2:36) even produced on special teams.

Marchand (owned in 76 percent of leagues) and Bergeron (67 percent), despite their place in the League's deepest lineup, are proving to be premier all-around options with the Bruins surging over the last two months.
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Posted On Friday, 12.23.2011 / 3:27 AM

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

Fantasy Spin: Carter finally breaks out for Jackets


Despite another late lead gone to waste for the Columbus Blue Jackets, Jeff Carter delivered the club's most promising individual effort of the season.

Carter notched a first period hat trick in Tuesday's 6-5 road loss to the Nashville Predators.  With a streak of three-straight 30-plus goal, 60-plus point campaigns on the line, the 26-year-old forward has finally reassured panicking fantasy owners by scoring seven goals in his last seven games.

Jeff Carter
Center - CBJ
GOALS: 10 | ASST: 6 | PTS: 16
SOG: 78 | +/-: -9
While Carter is playing for a team that is currently last in the League standings, he picked up steam as a power-play threat against the Predators. Carter has averaged 3:54 of power-play ice time this season, and finally broke through with a pair of goals on the man advantage on Thursday.

Operating on Columbus' top line with Rick Nash and Vinny Prospal, Carter has seen his team's struggles take a toll on his fantasy showing through 23 games this season. His minus-9 rating is evidence of that.  But despite missing time due to injury this season, Carter is beginning to show chemistry with Nash, who assisted on two of his three goals on Thursday.

Carter (owned in 94 percent of Yahoo! leagues) appears to be turning the corner after a slow start in Columbus, so the time has finally come for his fantasy owners to ride the wave of success.
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Posted On Wednesday, 12.21.2011 / 1:58 AM

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

Fantasy Spin: Time is now to act on Giroux

Reports state that Claude Giroux could return to the Philadelphia Flyers' lineup on Wednesday. For his fantasy owners, this should be enough of a cue to take action.

Claude Giroux
Right Wing - PHI
GOALS: 16 | ASST: 23 | PTS: 39
SOG: 81 | +/-: 7
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said Giroux has made "positive strides," which is a reason in itself for fantasy owners to remove him from Injured Reserve immediately and make room on their rosters. When dealing with Giroux (concussion) who is tied for the League lead in points, despite missing his team's last four games, the reward outweighs the risk.

Even if Giroux does not end up playing Wednesday against the Dallas Stars, it's simply a more logical move to have him in your lineup. Wednesday is only a six-game night, so your team doesn't have to worry about losing production from elsewhere as you would by benching a healthy player on a 13-game night. If you elect to leave one of the game's most potent point-producers in the IR slot of your lineup, you could potentially miss out on an impactful performance.  A recent example was Taylor Hall's two-goal night upon his return from injury on Dec. 15 against the Phoenix Coyotes.

Plus, taking a casual approach and waiting another day or two could cost your team precious goals or assists during a shortened fantasy week. Since there are no NHL games scheduled for Dec. 24 and Dec. 25, any points that Giroux provides could go a long way in helping you win your matchup this week.

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.20.2011 / 2:30 AM

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

Fantasy Spin: Stars aligning for Morrow



The concern surrounding Brenden Morrow is diminishing by the day, as the Dallas Stars' captain has returned to his goal-scoring ways.

Since returning to the lineup from an upper-body injury on Dec. 8, Morrow has compiled 4 goals and 3 assists in six games. Despite a minus-2 rating during that stretch, the 32-year-old winger has excelled on the man advantage with 3 power-play points, while racking up 17 shots on goal and 6 PIMs as well during that span.

Brenden Morrow
Left Wing - DAL
GOALS: 7 | ASST: 9 | PTS: 16
SOG: 42 | +/-: -1
But, beyond his stellar production, Morrow has shown tremendous chemistry on the Stars' secondary line with Mike Ribeiro and Steve Ott. That trio was in full swing Monday night with two of the team's first three goals, as Morrow's linemates assisted on his opening goal before he returned the favor on Ribeiro's strike early in the second period en route to a 5-3 win against Anaheim.

For a guy who seemed on pace for an underachieving season when he went down with an injury on Nov. 21, this recent development is huge for fantasy owners who stuck with Dallas' captain, and is also relevant for owners seeking an experienced forward on the free agent wire.

Morrow, in his 12th NHL season, has never posted a 40-goal season, but set a career high with 33 goals last year. Despite missing six games due to his injury this season, Morrow's recent stretch indicates he could still be in position to build off his 2010-11 campaign. While he may not be available in deeper pools, he is owned in only 64 percent of Yahoo! leagues and could be a timely fantasy squad addition for a team in need of goal-scoring help.
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Posted On Friday, 12.16.2011 / 2:10 AM

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

Fantasy Spin: Adequate Pronger replacement

Fantasy owners of Chris Pronger are searching for answers after news broke Thursday that the Philadelphia Flyers' defenseman will miss the rest of the season due to post-concussion syndrome.

While there's no doubt that the news comes as a road block to fantasy owners who hoped this elite blueliner would be a significant piece to their championship puzzle, Pronger's teammate, Matt Carle, has proved he can be an adequate replacement for any fantasy lineup.

Carle (4 G, 14 A, plus-8, 18 PIM, 3 PPP, 46 SOG, 14 hits) may not match the point-per-game production of Pronger this season (1 G, 11 A, 8 PPP in 13 games), but the 27-year-old blueliner could step in for the Flyers' captain and emerge as a factor on the power play. With three power-play goals already this season, there could be more on the way in that department.

His average of just over three minutes per game on the man advantage should increase, and his superb plus-minus only adds to his upside. His recent stretch of a goal and six assists in his last four games is certainly noteworthy production from a fantasy standpoint.

Philadelphia has won seven straight games to kick off the month of December, and Carle registered a season-high three-point outing (all assists) with a plus-2 rating in the Flyers' 4-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday. Owned in only 41 percent of Yahoo! leagues, Carle will quickly become a commodity in leagues around the world.
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There's no discouragement in that room. There's no issues there at all to be honest with you. It's more about, 'Hey, it's opportunities for players.' And if we become that bad of a team because of one player, it's not a real good sign for our hockey club. So this is part of sports. It's part of hockey.

— Bruins coach Claude Julien on the loss of Zdeno Chara to injury
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