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Posted On Thursday, 01.19.2012 / 1:51 AM

By Sergei J. Feldman -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Blake's offense gives Ducks boost

Jason Blake is no stranger to a productive NHL season.

After all, he has been part of five 20-plus goal campaigns, including a 40-goal outing in 2006-07.

Despite all the success, the past few seasons have seen a drop in production.

Jason Blake
Left Wing - ANA
GOALS: 4 | ASST: 4 | PTS: 8
SOG: 30 | +/-: 4
Nowadays, things are looking pretty, pretty, pretty...pretty good. Not only for the Ducks, who are doing nothing but torching opponents night in, night out, but for Blake, too.

In the 11 games he's appeared in this season, the 38-year-old has 4 goals and 4 assists, including a power play goal and 30 shots.

What's more, his solid play has come of late, as Blake is riding a three-game point streak, in which he's compiled six points on two multi-point nights. 

On Sunday night against a formidable Vancouver squad, the 5-foot-10 left wing had himself a pair of goals, three points and threw 10 shots toward the cage.

As the Ducks aim to build on their three-game winning streak, Blake can be a beneficiary of solid offensive production. Keep an eye on him as a  healthy option to boost your fantasy squads.
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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 Saturday, 01.14.2012 / 12:54 AM

By Sergei J. Feldman -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy spin: Selanne continues to excel

Age is just a number, right?

If you ask Teemu Selanne, he'd likely answer in the affirmative.

The 41-year-old winger of the Anaheim Ducks marvels night in, night out, proving that if you've got game, the date of birth that follows you is rendered useless.

Teemu Selanne
Right Wing - ANA
GOALS: 15 | ASST: 28 | PTS: 43
SOG: 124 | +/-: 5
Just dig into the stats. Through 43 games, The Finnish Flash has collected 43 points, an unthinkable pace for an NHL elder statesman. Those points haven't been of the fluke variety, either, where Selanne has been the beneficiary merely of secondary assists. He's been a goal-scoring force too, evidenced by his goal-per-every-three game pace (15 total).

To complement his point production, Selanne brings 124 shots, 7 power play goals and 40 PIMs to his fantasy resume, too.

What's as impressive as his ability to be a factor, generally, has been his play on the ice of late, specifically. In his past five games, the right wing has seven points, including four goals and three multi-point nights.

As the Ducks and their core of offensive powerhouses continue to contribute, Selanne figures to be the man leading the charge.
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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 Thursday, 01.12.2012 / 12:10 AM

By Sergei J. Feldman -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Kovy lighting the lamp for Devils

Whether he's on your fantasy team or not, it's likely that you've run into the dominant play of New Jersey Devils forward Ilya Kovalchuk.

That's because he's done nothing but dazzle of late.

Kovalchuk is riding a four-game point and goal scoring streak.

What's more, he has collected two points in each of his past four outings. In that same span, the Russian star has thrown at least six shots toward the cage.

In short: he's been brilliant.

But his stellar play has been there for much of the season. Through 38 games, the 6-foot-3, 230-pound winger has 17 goals to go along with 21 assists and ranks eighth in the NHL with 159 shots.

With players like Zach Parise and youngster Adam Henrique around to complement his dynamic play--not to mention other more than capable players like Patrik Elias and Petr Sykora--Kovalchuk could see his game elevate to even a higher level for most of the second half of the season.

As the Devils continue their climb up the Eastern Conference standings, keep an eye out for No.-17 and his impact in your fantasy leagues.
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Posted On Wednesday, 01.11.2012 / 3:08 PM

By Matt Cubeta -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: It's time to pick up Ryan Ellis

Ryan Ellis was drafted in four percent of Yahoo! Fantasy Leagues coming into the 2011-12 season at an average draft position of 162nd overall -- among the players taken right around him were Daniel Alfredsson, Marc Staal, Gabriel Landeskog and Matt Carle. If you were one of the few people that selected him, your friends probably questioned the pick; they probably even questioned who Ryan Ellis was.

While you probably thought your pick of Ellis was a sneaky sleeper pick, you were surely devastated when the Predators decided to have the young defenseman start the season in the AHL. In fact, it seems you were all so devastated that nearly everyone ended up sending Ellis back to the waiver pool in their fantasy leagues (and rightfully so -- it's hard to sacrifice a roster spot for a player that's not even playing in the NHL).

The time has come for you to go back into the waiver wire pool and get Ellis on your team immediately. He's available in 94 percent of leagues, but that number is going to rise extremely fast based on his recent play.

Ryan Ellis
Defense - NSH
GOALS: 2 | ASST: 2 | PTS: 4
SOG: 10 | +/-: 2
Ellis made his Nashville debut on Dec. 26 against the Red Wings -- he was held pointless with a minus-one rating, two penalty minutes and three shots on goal while receiving 18:13 of ice time. Ellis struggled out of the gate with no points in his first four NHL games, but in his last two, he started to show his true talent.

On Jan. 7, Ellis recorded his first NHL points with a goal and an assist (both on the power play) and then followed that performance up with a power play goal, an even-strength assist, a plus-two rating and two shots on goal against the Avalanche on Tuesday.

Ellis is currently seeing more then three minutes of power play ice time per game, where he is known to be most lethal, and it wouldn't shock us if he ended up scoring over 10 goals from this point on. Prior to his call-up, Ellis had posted four goals and 17 points in 26 games for Nashville's AHL affiliate, but his OHL season from last year shows what you need to know about his offensive potential: 24 goals, 101 points, 61 PIMs, plus-24 in 58 contests.

The 11th pick in the 2009 Entry Draft, Ellis could end up being one of the top point-producing defenseman in the NHL for years to come, and now is your chance to pounce on him in the free-agent pool. He's certainly worth stashing on your bench at the very least, but you'd be wise to find a spot for him in your starting lineup, as he seems to be proving his call-up will be a permanent situation for the Predators. There is an outside chance Nashville decides to send him down, but based on his recent play, we tend to think he's here's to stay.

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Posted On Friday, 01.06.2012 / 2:07 AM

By Sergei J. Feldman -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: League's top rookie on the shelf

All has been well for Edmonton Oilers' Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in 2011-12.

Now, things are put on hold, as the NHL's top scoring rookie is expected to be out of the lineup three to four weeks with a separated left shoulder.

He could miss at least 11 games.

Nugent-Hopkins' absense spells bad news bears for fantasy owners, who have benefited from his surprising stellar first season.

Through 38 games, the 18-year-old has collected 13 goals, 22 assists, 35 points and 80 shots on goal. He has also managed to be an even player on a struggling Oilers squad.

Despite the great show Nugent-Hopkins has put on most nights, he has struggled of late, at least in the goal-scoring category. Prior to the injury, he went 10 games without a goal and collected only five points in that span.

While his injury is a setback for fantasy owners, it could be a blessing in disguise of sorts. Obviously, the advice is to keep the talented youngster, but set yourselves up with a solid across-the-board performer in his absense and hope that he recovers fully from his injury and returns with a vengeance as the second half of the season approaches.
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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 Tuesday, 12.27.2011 / 2:34 AM

By Sergei J. Feldman -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Stewart back on track in St. Louis

The Chris Stewart of the previous two seasons and the one from this year have been two entirely different players.

In each of the past two seasons, Stewart has collected 28 goals. This year? He was on pace for 12.

In each of the past two seasons, Stewart has collected at least 53 point. This year? He was on pace for 29.

Then Monday night happened and the 6-foot-2, 232-pound right wing collected a pair of goals en route to an impressive 5-3 victory over the Dallas Stars. Included in those two goals was a power play tally. He also ended the night with seven shots thrown on the cage.

In short, the 24-year-old showed flashes of the 25-plus goal-scoring threat he's been in prior campaigns. In fact, the flash started two games ago when Stewart scored a goal and threw another seven shots on net. It's that kind of night in, night out effort that's been missing from Stewart for the better part of the season. For players who've shown they can score consistently at the NHL level, often times it takes just the slightest hot streak before consistent productivity occurs.

Still, even with his strong play of late, on the whole, Stewart has been a disappointment for fantasy owners, so caution should be taken when thinking about adding him to your squads. However, it's equally as important to consider taking a risk on a player who has proven to be successful in consecutive seasons and has show that he may be on his way for number three.
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Posted On Tuesday, 12.27.2011 / 2:19 AM

By Sergei J. Feldman -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Stewart showing scoring touch

The Chris Stewart of the previous two seasons and the one from this year have been two entirely different players.

In each of the past two seasons, Stewart has collected 28 goals. This year? He was on pace for 12.

In each of the past two seasons, Stewart has collected at least 53 point. This year? He was on pace for 29.

Then Monday night happened and the 6-foot-2, 232-pound right wing collected a pair of goals en route to an impressive 5-3 victory over the Dallas Stars. Included in those two goals was a power play tally. He also ended the night with seven shots thrown on the cage.

In short, the 24-year-old showed flashes of the 25-plus goal-scoring threat he's been in prior campaigns. In fact, the flash started two games ago when Stewart scored a goal and threw another seven shots on net. It's that kind of night in, night out effort that's been missing from Stewart for the better part of the season. For players who've shown they can score consistently at the NHL level, often times it takes just the slightest hot streak before consistent productivity occurs.

Still, even with his strong play of late, on the whole, Stewart has been a disappointment for fantasy owners, so caution should be taken when thinking about adding him to your squads.

However, it's equally as important to consider taking a risk on a player who has proven to be successful in consecutive seasons and has show that he may be on his way for number three. 
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