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Posted On Wednesday, 10.29.2014 / 2:49 PM

By Pete Jensen -  NHL.com Fantasy Insider /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Replacing Bruins' Krug in short term

The dominoes continue to fall on the Boston Bruins defense as Torey Krug is expected to miss 2-3 weeks with a broken finger. This injury further depletes the Bruins top power-play unit and fantasy blue lines around the globe.

With Krug (96 percent owned in Yahoo leagues) joining teammate Zdeno Chara on the injury list, fantasy owners should stash the 23-year-old in an IR slot and look for a short-term replacement.

It's difficult to cover all of Krug's strengths (points, power-play points, shots on goal, plus-minus) with one waiver-wire pickup, but you can certainly find available defensemen who can help your team stay afloat in one or more of those areas. Taking league depth into account, here are some options:

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Posted On Thursday, 10.23.2014 / 2:22 PM

By Pete Jensen -  NHL.com Fantasy Insider /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Kings' Muzzin should excel upon return

Defenseman Jake Muzzin has been cleared to play and is likely to see his first action since sustaining an upper-body injury during the preseason when the Los Angeles Kings host the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday, according to Jon Rosen of lakingsinsider.com.

While Muzzin should be owned in most leagues, fantasy owners tend to be impatient early in the season. As a result, he's only owned in 37 percent of leagues. That's way too low considering how many games are left to play and how impressive he has been to this point in his NHL career.

Muzzin, who had six goals, six assists and 48 shots on goal in 26 games in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs for the Stanley Cup champion Kings, returns after missing their first six games. And boy could their offense use another source of scoring from the blue line.

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Posted On Wednesday, 10.15.2014 / 5:53 PM

By Pete Jensen -  NHL.com Fantasy Insider /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Don't sweat Gibson situation

Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson is being sent down to the American Hockey League, but there's no reason to overreact if you're one of his NHL fantasy owners.

Gibson will have a two-game stint with the Norfolk Admirals to stay fresh while Frederik Andersen (3-0-0; six goals allowed this season) rides his hot streak. Gibson is expected to return to the Ducks after his short reassignment; until then, Jason LaBarbera will be Andersen's backup.

Anyone who watched the Ducks in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs knows coach Bruce Boudreau will not sit back and watch after his team loses. Boudreau likes to change things up, and that goes for line combinations and goalie starters. He will stick with the hot hand and is not afraid to tinker with something that is not working out.

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Posted On Friday, 10.10.2014 / 11:34 AM

By Pete Jensen -  NHL.com Fantasy Insider /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Replacing Rangers' Boyle on 'D'

The New York Rangers pulled off an impressive victory in their season opener against the St. Louis Blues, but the win came at a hefty cost for both the team and fantasy hockey owners.

Dan Boyle, owned in 87 percent of Yahoo leagues, sustained a broken hand and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. It's only two days into the regular season and fantasy owners are already scouring the waiver wire.

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The veteran defenseman logged 2:26 of power-play ice time in the Rangers opener and finished with a plus-1 rating, two shots on goal, two penalty minutes and one hit before exiting the game. While he still provides some peripheral category coverage when healthy, fantasy owners were banking on him to be a source of production with the man advantage after scoring 12 goals (six power-play) and 18 power-play points in 75 games with the San Jose Sharks in 2013-14.

Luckily, there are a number of readily available defensemen who have gotten off to fast starts. Here are four of them who, as projected in NHL.com's offseason fantasy content, enter the 2014-15 season with important roles to play for their respective teams.

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Posted On Saturday, 10.04.2014 / 5:53 PM

By Pete Jensen -  NHL.com Fantasy Insider /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Leddy can unlock potential with Isles

Entering Saturday, Nick Leddy's Yahoo average draft position was 162.6 and his ownership was 16 percent.

That'll change in a hurry.

After being traded from the Chicago Blackhawks to the New York Islanders minutes after the Islanders acquired Johnny Boychuk from the Boston Bruins, Leddy becomes a favorite to earn top-unit power-play minutes for his new team. Considering that unit includes top-10 fantasy asset John Tavares along with Kyle Okposo, Mikhail Grabovski and Frans Nielsen, this is quite a development on the fantasy landscape.

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Posted On Friday, 08.22.2014 / 10:30 AM

By Pete Jensen -  NHL.com Fantasy Insider /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy goalie dilemma: Niemi vs. Stalock

The clock is ticking for San Jose Sharks goalie Antti Niemi, and Alex Stalock appears ready to pounce on any opportunity that comes his way.

Niemi, who turns 31 next week, is entering a contract year off a second consecutive Game 7 loss to the Los Angeles Kings. But unlike the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, when Niemi put his team in position to take the series (two goals or fewer allowed in six of seven games), the Sharks' latest exit came in the worst fashion imaginable.

The Sharks took a 3-0 series lead against the Kings but failed to close the deal with four straight losses. Los Angeles became the fourth team in NHL history to win a series when facing such a deficit and went on to hoist the Stanley Cup.

Make no mistake, factors such as defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic's injury and the Kings' ability to dictate puck possession and lock down defensively certainly determined the result of the series. That said, much of the blame could be pinned on Niemi.

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Posted On Wednesday, 08.20.2014 / 12:00 PM

By Pete Jensen -  NHL.com Fantasy Insider /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy goalie dilemma: Health key for Wild trio

In fantasy football, you're able to draft a team defense. If only fantasy hockey owners had the luxury of consolidating the Minnesota Wild goaltenders.

Darcy Kuemper, Josh Harding and Niklas Backstrom have proven they are capable of starting at the NHL level -- when healthy. The Wild cycled through five goalies last season because of injuries, but they had the League's seventh-best team goals-allowed average (2.42). That's a testament to organizational depth.

In reality, few teams are better equipped for the rigors of the upcoming season than Minnesota, but that doesn't necessarily help fantasy owners looking for a clear-cut No. 1. Unless you have rare roster flexibility and a willingness to put all your eggs in one basket by scooping up all three Wild goalies, it's important to be strategic when considering one or two of them in your draft.

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Posted On Friday, 06.27.2014 / 8:45 PM

By Pete Jensen -  NHL.com Fantasy Insider /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Ducks' depth will benefit Kesler

Ryan Kesler is going from a rebuilding project to a playoff team built to win immediately.

The center's fresh start with the Anaheim Ducks should be more than enough to earn back the trust of fantasy owners.

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Posted On Monday, 06.23.2014 / 3:33 PM

By Pete Jensen -  NHL.com Fantasy Insider /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Hartnell can hit 'refresh' in Columbus

Neither the Philadelphia Flyers nor the Columbus Blue Jackets took on a salary cap-friendly contract in swapping left wings Scott Hartnell and R.J. Umberger on Monday.

Hartnell and Umberger have five and three years remaining on their respective contracts. Each is 32 years old and has seen a dip in productivity over the past few years. But from a fantasy standpoint, contract terms don't come into play as much.

The big takeaway from this deal is that Hartnell has waived his no-trade clause to join one of the deepest, most promising forward arsenals in the League. His category coverage helped fantasy owners win their leagues during his time in Philly, and the potential is there for him to hit the "refresh" button in Columbus.

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Posted On Wednesday, 06.18.2014 / 3:22 PM

By Pete Jensen -  NHL.com Fantasy Insider /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Trending up, down after 2014 playoffs

The 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs were as unpredictable as ever, and fantasy owners can expect many developments from around the NHL to impact next year's landscape.

There were elite-level players (Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, Henrik Lundqvist, Patrick Kane, P.K. Subban, etc.) who fueled deep playoff runs for their respective teams, as well as breakout stars from the regular season (Nathan MacKinnon, Jamie Benn, Ryan McDonagh, Ryan Johansen, Matt Niskanen, etc.) who carried over their strong play to the big stage.

But the players who will stick in the minds of fantasy owners all summer long are the playoff surprises and disappointments. Here are some players who are trending in fantasy, for better or worse, heading into the offseason as a result of their postseason performances.

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