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Posted On Friday, 01.31.2014 / 12:11 PM

By Pete Jensen - Fantasy Insider / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Category specialists on waiver wire

With the Olympic break approaching and the fantasy playoff picture beginning to take shape, owners are looking for ways to boost their chances on the waiver wire.

But while scoring-related categories (goals, assists, power-play points, shots on goal, rating) are usually most coveted, owners in rotisserie leagues or ones that take real-time stats into account are looking for ways to satisfy their league-specific needs.

Here are four readily available players that should be considered specialists in non-offensive categories. Their high level of production in their respective categories, along with a touch of offensive capability, could pay dividends for your team down the stretch of the season.

Posted On Friday, 01.24.2014 / 3:11 PM

By Pete Jensen - Fantasy Insider / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Sharks' Pavelski among most adaptable

Joe Pavelski saw time on the San Jose Sharks' third line earlier this season and was drafted on average with the 87th pick in Yahoo Fantasy leagues. He's currently the NHL's second-leading goal-scorer (28).

That paints a perfect picture in regards to Pavelski's adaptability and overall value, both in fantasy and reality.

Pavelski, who has center and right wing eligibility in Yahoo Fantasy leagues, continued his torrid surge with his 19th goal in 21 games on Thursday against the Winnipeg Jets. That goal marked his third game-winning tally in as many contests and stretched his point streak to four games (seven goals, one assist).

Posted On Tuesday, 01.21.2014 / 4:21 PM

By Pete Jensen - Fantasy Insider / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Predators' Josi regaining value

When the Nashville Predators drafted Seth Jones with the fourth pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, fantasy owners couldn't help but envision him on the team's top defensive unit for many years to come.

Suddenly, 23-year-old defenseman Roman Josi became an afterthought from a fantasy standpoint.

Jones was paired with star blueliner Shea Weber early on this season, logging a ton of minutes and even producing power-play points. Over his first 14 games, Jones had seven points, four coming with the man advantage. His seamless transition was well-documented, opening eyes around the League.

But since then, Jones has cooled off considerably with 11 points over his next 37 games. His rating has staggered to minus-19. Over that time frame, Predators coach Barry Trotz has limited Jones' ice time based on his earlier workload.

Posted On Friday, 01.17.2014 / 12:34 PM

By Pete Jensen - Fantasy Insider / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Ducks' Bonino severely undervalued

The scorching-hot Anaheim Ducks are the talk of the NHL, but Nick Bonino is still being overlooked.

That needs to change.

The Ducks have won 18 of their past 19 games and have yet to lose in regulation in 22 home games this season (20-0-2). Their top-line combo of Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry is currently tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins' duo of Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz for the NHL's most productive point pair (35 common goals).

But as integral as Anaheim's front-liners have been to its historic stretch, the team's depth scoring has made it unbeatable of late, especially at home. That's where Bonino's value truly lies.

Posted On Wednesday, 01.15.2014 / 1:14 PM

By Pete Jensen - Fantasy Insider / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Varlamov carrying Avalanche under Roy

Few players have been more responsible for the resurgence of the Colorado Avalanche than Semyon Varlamov.

And, make no mistake, first-year NHL coach and legendary goalie Patrick Roy has everything to do with his netminder's remarkable turnaround.

Varlamov played 88 regular-season games in an Avalanche uniform prior to this season and left something to be desired over that span with goals-against averages of 2.59 in 2011-12 (53 games) and 3.02 in 2012-13 (35 games). Varlamov, drafted in the first round by the Washington Capitals in 2006, totaled the most losses (21) of any goalie during the shortened season.

Posted On Tuesday, 01.14.2014 / 3:25 PM

By Pete Jensen - Fantasy Insider / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Rookie centers there for taking

When it comes to rookie centers this season, it's been Nathan MacKinnon and the rest.

The No. 1 pick of the 2013 NHL Draft has been as good as advertised for the Colorado Avalanche. He's covered five categories (goals, assists, plus/minus rating, power-play points, shots on goal) for fantasy owners and is owned in more than 60 percent of Yahoo leagues as a result.

But if you missed out on MacKinnon (Yahoo average draft position: 154.3), first-year centers Tyler Johnson, Aleksander Barkov and Mark Scheifele are there for the taking in most leagues. While they don't offer dual-position flexibility, each is worth the attention of deep-league fantasy owners.

Posted On Friday, 01.10.2014 / 1:32 PM

By Pete Jensen - Fantasy Insider / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Time to buy low on Capitals' Holtby

It's no secret this season has been a step in the wrong direction for Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby.

His goals-against average has ballooned to 3.08 after surrendering five goals in each of his past three outings (0-2-1) dating back to Dec. 17. His slump and Michal Neuvirth's injury opened the door for rookie Philipp Grubauer, who improved to 6-2-3 with a 2.27 goals-against average and .931 save percentage with a win Thursday over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Grubauer, 22, has received the bulk of playing time over the past month and change -- and deservedly so.

But fantasy owners should look to take a calculated risk ahead of the final three months of the 2013-14 season. The opportunity to buy low on Holtby while his value has hit rock bottom is worth pursuing. He's a proven second-half performer for a team all too familiar with the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Posted On Wednesday, 01.08.2014 / 2:07 PM

By Pete Jensen - Fantasy Insider / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Hartnell regains form on second line

The Philadelphia Flyers are back in the groove, and Scott Hartnell's resurgence is a big reason why.

He's become a mainstay on a line with Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds, and the Flyers have benefited from the developing continuity of that secondary-scoring group. The Flyers are 21-10-4 since their 1-7-0 start and have been especially hot of late, winning eight of their past 10 games.

Hartnell's production has had a direct correlation to his team's sizzling stretch, as he's put together a career-long eight-game point streak (four goals, five assists) with points in nine of 10 games.

And while Philly's gritty second-liners continue to take the League by storm, two of its three components remain available in over half of Yahoo fantasy leagues. Hartnell (47 percent owned) and Schenn (40 percent) are there for the taking in most shallow formats, while Wayne Simmonds (68 percent) also warrants more ownership than he currently holds.

Posted On Thursday, 01.02.2014 / 1:13 PM

By Pete Jensen - Fantasy Insider / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Filppula on cusp of top 100 overall

When Steven Stamkos went down to injury, the Tampa Bay Lightning needed Valtteri Filppula, their five-year, $25 million man, to step up to the plate and deliver.

Filppula has answered the call with balanced point production and clutch goal-scoring, enabling the Lightning to stay near the top of the Eastern Conference standings despite losing one of the NHL's elite forwards for an extended timeframe.

The Finnish-born forward had his 10th multi-point game of the season (T-17th in the League) Wednesday when his team triumphed on the road against the Vancouver Canucks. Filppula, who has points in seven of his past eight games with a total of 12 in that span, is one of 24 players League-wide with 15-plus goals and 15-plus assists.

Posted On Monday, 12.30.2013 / 12:30 PM

By Pete Jensen - Fantasy Insider / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Take notice of Rangers' Zuccarello

Mats Zuccarello's one-year contract this summer didn't come with much fanfare.

In similar quiet fashion, he has proved to be as valuable as any New York Rangers forward so far in 2013-14 -- in fantasy and reality.

His play and effort have done all the talking. With the exception of his size and contract length, nothing about his game is diminutive.

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Quote of the Day

It's cool when you think about how many great American players have played the game and the two players that were at that 18-game point streak and what they've done in their careers. It's pretty cool right now, but it was kind of overshadowed by the loss.

— Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane after breaking the record for longest point streak by an American-born player with a goal and an assist in a 3-2 overtime loss against the Kings
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