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Posted On Saturday, 04.20.2013 / 1:30 PM

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

Fantasy Spin: Big steals based on ADP, ownership

By nature, fantasy hockey can be very unpredictable. And this year has been no exception.

Many players drafted low on average in Yahoo! leagues (P.K. Subban, Alexander Semin, Jakub Voracek, Antti Niemi) have turned out to be some of the most valuable fantasy assets in the game. For owners, bold draft choices like these often lead to fantasy championships.

Average draft position in standard Yahoo! leagues provides a strong indication of the fantasy expectations surrounding a particular player coming into the season. When comparing ADPs with current ownership numbers, it's becomes quite clear which players have been the biggest "steals" from a fantasy standpoint.

With only a week to go in the regular season, let's take a look at five players who were taken on average with the 150th pick or later in Yahoo! drafts and are now owned in at least 70 percent of leagues. These are five of the biggest fantasy steals League-wide because they have produced at an elite level despite being passed over in drafts. They have played in the vast majority of their team's games to this point as well, allowing their fantasy owners to reap the benefits all season long.

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.17.2013 / 1:35 PM

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

Fantasy Spin: Don't sleep on Michalek's value

The Ottawa Senators' injury problems have been well documented this season, and Milan Michalek has found himself on that laundry list more often than not.

That said, there's still time for Michalek to boost your fantasy squad in a big way down the stretch.

Milan Michalek
Left Wing - OTT
GOALS: 4 | ASST: 8 | PTS: 12
SOG: 38 | +/-: 6
After finishing tied for 11th in the NHL last season with a career-high 35 goals, the Senators forward has seen action in only 17 of his team's 42 games during this shortened season. But while it's been a lost season in that regard for fantasy owners who drafted him, his effectiveness when in good health should not be questioned by owners looking to add him on the waiver wire.

Michalek was recently sidelined for 15 games following knee surgery, but returned last Friday and has recorded a goal in each of his first two games back. He also missed nearly a month due to the same injury before a brief return on March 6 for two games, after which he required surgery. Despite his knee issues, Michalek has tallied at least a point in his past five games overall. It's his second five-game point streak this season, an impressive feat that proves he has displayed offensive flair when in the lineup.

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.10.2013 / 10:00 AM

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

Fantasy Spin: Chiasson transitioning well on top line

Do you find your deep-league fantasy squad in dire need of a goal-scoring boost from a top-line winger?

It might be a stretch, but Dallas Stars rookie Alex Chiasson could be that shot-in-the-dark fantasy pickup that can pay off in the midst of a playoff run.

The Boston University product was inserted into the Stars lineup on April 3 in the aftermath of the team's deals sending Jaromir Jagr to the Boston Bruins and Derek Roy to the Vancouver Canucks. Slotted on the team's top line with Jamie Benn and Ray Whitney, the rookie had big shoes to fill. So far, he's made a smooth transition and has already grabbed the attention of fantasy owners in deep leagues.

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Posted On Saturday, 04.06.2013 / 11:38 AM

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

Fantasy Spin: Niemi making case for goalie MVP

When fantasy owners invest in a goalie, they want nothing more than job security, category coverage and consistency.

Antti Niemi
Goalie - SJS
RECORD: 19-8-5
GAA: 2.09 | SVP: 0.926
San Jose Sharks netminder Antti Niemi has covered each of those bases.

Niemi has put the Sharks on his back during the team's current seven-game win streak, picking up victories in each game with only 10 combined goals allowed over that stretch. The 29-year-old stopped 23 of 24 shots to defeat the Calgary Flames on Friday and earn his 19th win of the season, tying him with Marc-Andre Fleury of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Niklas Backstrom of the Minnesota Wild for the NHL lead.

But this Finnish-born goalie's success hasn't just been limited to this streak. He's held the opposition to one goal or less in 11 of his 33 games this season and has allowed three goals or fewer 29 times.

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Posted On Friday, 04.05.2013 / 3:54 PM

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

Fantasy Spin: Saad is best-kept secret on map

Brandon Saad
Left Wing - CHI
GOALS: 8 | ASST: 13 | PTS: 21
SOG: 75 | +/-: 13
With the fantasy hockey playoffs in full swing, owners find themselves eyeing the waiver wire for anything resembling a player with consistent category coverage.

At this time of year, it's even more rare to find such a readily available asset who is also worthy of keeper consideration in such leagues.

That's why Chicago Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad may be the best-kept secret on the fantasy landscape.

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Posted On Thursday, 03.28.2013 / 1:15 PM

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

Fantasy Spin: Impact of Iginla trade to Penguins

Jarome Iginla is joining forces with the hottest team in the NHL. To say that's a dream scenario for his fantasy owners would be an understatement.

Jarome Iginla
Right Wing - PIT
GOALS: 9 | ASST: 13 | PTS: 22
SOG: 100 | +/-: -7
The Pittsburgh Penguins, who are already locked in a 13-game win streak, landed the longtime Calgary Flames captain in a monumental deal that became official early Thursday morning. This should be viewed as a best-case scenario for his fantasy owners, as the 35-year-old forward is added to the League's highest scoring offense (3.38 goals per game) and second-best power-play unit (23.8 percent).

If those numbers are any indication of what's to come, Iginla is likely to see a complete turnaround in the plus-minus category to close out the season. He's a combined minus-17 over his last 113 games with Calgary, but has a legitimate chance of finishing the season with a positive rating. The Penguins have 14 games remaining on their schedule, and Iginla should be in the lineup for the vast majority of those.

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Posted On Wednesday, 03.27.2013 / 3:45 PM

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

Fantasy Spin: Rangers' Stepan suddenly a 'must-own'

Derek Stepan
Center - NYR
GOALS: 10 | ASST: 15 | PTS: 25
SOG: 67 | +/-: 12
A month ago, New York Rangers forward Derek Stepan was a shot in the dark from a fantasy standpoint.

How things have changed.

After registering nine points in his first 18 games this season, Stepan has had points in 11 of his next 14 -- totaling 16 during that stretch. On Tuesday, the damage was done at the expense of the division rival Philadelphia Flyers, as the 22-year-old reeled off the first four-point game (1G, 3A, plus-3) of his three-year National Hockey League career.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.26.2013 / 12:40 PM

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

Fantasy Spin: Can't deny Bergeron's consistency

It's no surprise that Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron has had another season of top-notch category coverage for fantasy owners.

Bergeron is one of only five NHL players in 2012-13 with at least a plus-15 rating, 25-plus points and 85-plus shots on goal, putting him in the elite company of Sidney Crosby, Eric Staal, Alexander Semin and Jonathan Toews. Bergeron has posted a positive rating in 17 of his 31 games this season, tied for the second-most in the NHL behind only Pascal Dupuis (19).

Patrice Bergeron
Center - BOS
GOALS: 9 | ASST: 18 | PTS: 27
SOG: 85 | +/-: 21
It's not surprising -- based on recent and career production -- to see the 27-year-old produce at such a high rate in major offensive categories. What's shocking is that so many owners passed on his services in drafts this season.

Bergeron, selected on average with the 114th overall pick in Yahoo! leagues, has the highest combined rating (plus-77) of any forward in the League spanning the last three seasons. Monday was the latest example of his diverse fantasy game, as he tallied a goal, two PIMs and three shots on goal in a win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Plain and simple, Bergeron is an elite two-way forward in his prime that hasn't seen a single-season pointless drought of more than three games since the 2010-11 campaign.

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Posted On Monday, 03.25.2013 / 3:00 PM

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

Fantasy Spin: Schroeder aids injury-depleted Canucks

When the stretch run of the fantasy hockey season rolls around, waiver-wire pickups can simply mean the difference between your squad staying in playoff contention or being eliminated altogether.

Jordan Schroeder
Center - VAN
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 6 | PTS: 9
SOG: 25 | +/-: 0
Available players in promising situations that touch on more than one fantasy category should always be given thoughtful consideration -- especially if they remain under the radar despite a hot streak. For those reasons, Vancouver Canucks center Jordan Schroeder deserves to be on your team's radar in deep leagues.

The Canucks top-line center, Henrik Sedin, has put forth another top-tier fantasy campaign with consistent production (29 points, plus-16 in 32 games), but Vancouver's laundry list of injuries has dismantled its deep arsenal at the center position. David Booth is out for the season with an ankle injury and goal-scorer Ryan Kesler -- mired by multiple injuries over the last two seasons -- only played seven games before being sidelined again due to a fractured bone in his foot.

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Posted On Friday, 03.22.2013 / 12:40 PM

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

Fantasy Spin: Setoguchi among League's best of late

Everything is falling into place for the Minnesota Wild these days, as the club is reaping the benefits of its bold activity over the past two offseasons.

Fantasy owners are well aware of what the team accomplished last summer, signing Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to long-term contracts. That tandem has impressed through 29 games this season, combining for 20 power-play points. Parise has 23 points and is tied for fifth in the NHL in shots on goal (110), while Suter is second among all defensemen in points (24) and tied for sixth among all skaters in assists (22).

But another key component of the Wild's success has gone virtually unnoticed until this week. Devin Setoguchi, who Minnesota acquired from the San Jose Sharks when it hosted the 2011 NHL Draft, is raising eyebrows across the NHL again -- gaining fantasy relevance as a result.

Over the last 10 days, Setoguchi has been the League's hottest forward, accumulating six goals, 17 shots on goal and a plus-6 during that five-game span. When his point-production tear was in its early stages exactly two weeks ago, his ownership only stood at seven percent in Yahoo! leagues. As of Friday morning, that number is up to 30 percent.

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