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Posted On Thursday, 10.03.2013 / 11:53 AM

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

Fantasy Spin: Downie adds element to Avalanche

There's no question that rookie Nathan MacKinnon and new coach Patrick Roy stole the spotlight in their sparkling debuts for the Colorado Avalanche, but Wednesday's 6-1 rout of the Anaheim Ducks also made it clear Steve Downie can be an asset to both his team and fantasy owners.

Operating on the team's top line with Matt Duchene and Ryan O'Reilly, Downie kicked off the season with a Gordie Howe hat trick (one goal, one assist, five PIMs), with both of his points coming on the power play. He also added four shots on goal and two hits in the win.

Colorado's depth up front, showcased by NHL.com leading up to the season with a League-leading nine forwards in its top 300 fantasy player pool, was evident all night long in a virtuoso offensive display. It was merely one game, but four of Downie's teammates -- MacKinnon, O'Reilly, Jamie McGinn and Alex Tanguay -- joined him in recording multi-point games on opening night.

Posted On Wednesday, 10.02.2013 / 12:02 PM

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

Fantasy Spin: Grabovski makes immediate PP impact

The fantasy significance of Mikhail Grabovski's opening-night performance went way beyond his hat trick.

The 29-year-old made a strong first impression with the man advantage, an indication that he can be an adequate replacement for Mike Ribeiro on the Washington Capitals' first power-play unit.

As a result, his time on the waiver wire has been short-lived.

Posted On Thursday, 08.22.2013 / 10:25 AM

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

Fantasy Spin: Leafs have most promising tandem

When the Toronto Maple Leafs became the first team in NHL history to lose a Game 7 after leading by three goals in the third period, fantasy owners probably weren't expecting an endorsement of the team's goaltending only a few months later.

But when reflecting on James Reimer's development over the past year and the team's acquisition of former Los Angeles Kings backup Jonathan Bernier, the future looks crowded -- and bright -- in Toronto's crease.

So, just about as suddenly as their lead slipped away in Game 7 against the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, the case can be made that the Leafs sport the League's best timeshare fantasy goalie tandem.

Posted On Tuesday, 08.06.2013 / 10:00 AM

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

Fantasy Spin: Who has edge -- Fleury or Vokoun?

While everything seemed to come crashing down for Marc-Andre Fleury during the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, fantasy owners would be wise not to hold his postseason struggles against him when they're looking for goaltending this season.

Fleury got a vote of confidence from Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma in June, which indicates he'll be in position to reclaim the team's starting job. If that's the case, he certainly deserves top-15 consideration among fantasy goalies heading into 2013-14 -- despite the negative perception surrounding his value these days.

Didn't backup Tomas Vokoun clearly outplay Fleury in the playoffs? Doesn't the fact that Fleury has struggled in each of the past four postseasons hurt his fantasy value?

Posted On Tuesday, 07.23.2013 / 1:48 PM

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

Fantasy Spin: Jagr has enough left to help Devils

After the departure of David Clarkson and the stunning retirement of Ilya Kovalchuk, the New Jersey Devils are turning to one of the most accomplished players in NHL history to fill a short-term void on the wing.

At 41 years young, Jaromir Jagr will suit up for yet another NHL team -- and remain a fantasy commodity in doing so.

The Devils came to terms on a contract with the coveted unrestricted free agent on Tuesday, setting up a potential tandem of the two highest-scoring players from the Czech Republic in NHL history. With longtime Devils wing and Czech native Patrik Elias (930 career points -- second all-time among Czechs) looking for a new linemate on the right side after Clarkson signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Jagr (1,688 points -- first all-time among Czechs) is a candidate to help New Jersey fill that void.

Posted On Thursday, 07.11.2013 / 9:45 AM

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

Fantasy Spin: Who has edge -- Brodeur or Schneider?

In terms of productivity and longevity, there has never been a fantasy goaltender quite like Martin Brodeur.

But over the last three regular seasons, no goalie League-wide has been more efficient than Cory Schneider.

With both netminders on the New Jersey Devils' roster entering 2013-14, this inevitable time share should be one of the more compelling storylines of the fantasy season. The Devils, who acquired Schneider in a trade with the Vancouver Canucks during the 2013 NHL Draft at Prudential Center, will not hesitate to integrate the 27-year-old into the lineup early and often next season.

Posted On Saturday, 07.06.2013 / 2:20 PM

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

Fantasy Spin: Move can revitalize Ryan on power play

Bobby Ryan no longer has to deal with swirling trade rumors. The dynamic forward has a new home where he can focus on what matters most to fantasy owners: returning to form as an elite offensive player.

The four-time 30-goal scorer landed with the Ottawa Senators in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks on Friday. The move allows the 26-year-old to turn the page on his time with the Ducks, which was mired by positional changes and line shuffling.

The deal injects a playmaker entering his prime into the Ottawa lineup following the departure of veteran forward Daniel Alfredsson, who signed a contract with the Detroit Red Wings earlier Friday. Ryan, who had 30 points, 101 shots on goal and 80 hits in 46 games in 2012-13 for the Ducks, will be a go-to guy in all situations on the wing for the Senators, a team with a wealth of offensive firepower.

Posted On Friday, 07.05.2013 / 8:53 AM

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

Fantasy Spin: Seguin, Eriksson in position to improve

The centerpieces of Thursday's blockbuster trade will get a fresh start -- and fantasy owners should take notice.

When the Boston Bruins dealt Tyler Seguin to the Dallas Stars for Loui Eriksson in a seven-player deal, each team addressed an important positional need. Both players took steps back fantasy-wise in 2012-13, but changes of scenery suddenly present reasons to give them early-round consideration in your drafts this fall.

Posted On Wednesday, 07.03.2013 / 11:30 AM

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

Fantasy Spin: Lecavalier fits secondary scoring role

Less than two weeks after buying out the contract of 35-year-old Danny Briere, the Philadelphia Flyers are putting their stock in another veteran forward.

The club agreed to a multiyear contract Tuesday with 33-year-old center Vincent Lecavalier, who was bought out by the Tampa Bay Lightning on June 27. While the move to acquire Lecavalier is a surprising one considering Philadelphia's lack of a sure-fire starting goaltender and weakness on defense, it's safe to say the former Lightning captain can, when healthy, bring a lot to the table from a fantasy standpoint.

While the offseason is young and more moves could be on the horizon in Philadelphia, fantasy owners can expect Lecavalier to assume a role as the team's second-line center, where he likely will be flanked by young forwards Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds.

Posted On Friday, 06.28.2013 / 11:15 PM

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

Fantasy Spin: Status quo for Streit's value

Mark Streit, an offensive-minded defenseman, should fit right in with the high-scoring Philadelphia Flyers. Whether his fantasy stock will rise or fall remains to be seen.

The 35-year-old signed a four-year contract Friday with the Flyers, who have finished top-10 in the League in goals-per-game for six consecutive seasons. Only Kris Letang (26), Andrei Markov (25), Cody Franson (25) and Ryan Suter (24) had more games with at least one point than Streit (23) during this past 48-game campaign.

But here's the other side to the story: The former New York Islanders captain is tied with Eric Gudbranson for the NHL's worst combined rating (minus-41) over the past two seasons. The Flyers also posted a worse goal differential (minus-8 in 2012-13) than the Islanders (even). Therefore, it shouldn't be assumed Streit's rating will improve significantly.

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The old saying in hockey is 'weather the storm.' I put the notion in their heads that we don't want to weather the storm, we want to push just as hard and matched their work ethic. I thought our guys exceeded that in the first period.

— Edmonton Oilers coach Dallas Eakins after their loss to the Nashville Predators on Thursday
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