Posted On Wednesday, 02.04.2015 / 1:09 AM

By David Satriano - Staff Writer / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Power-play Pietrangelo; Dubnyk again

The big question for the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday was who would absorb defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk's minutes after the defenseman was injured Sunday. Shattenkirk will have abdominal surgery and his return to the lineup is week-to-week.

Shattenkirk was third on the Blues with 22:54 of ice time and second in power-play minutes (first among defensemen) with 3:23 per game. Chris Butler, who hadn't played since Jan. 10, took his place in the lineup Tuesday and had an assist in 20:45 of ice time.

Alex Pietrangelo, who averaged 25:28 of ice time per game, first on the Blues, played 27:15. He was second among Blues defenseman with 2:24 power-play minutes per game and played 2:17 out of 4:00 Tuesday, which led the defense.

Pietrangelo moved up to the first power-play unit with forwards Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz, David Backes and Alexander Steen, with Steen playing the point in place of Shattenkirk.

-- Goaltender Devan Dubnyk, owned in 51 percent of leagues, had his third shutout in eight starts with the Minnesota Wild, making 24 saves in a 3-0 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Posted On Tuesday, 02.03.2015 / 11:53 AM

By Eric Goodman - Staff Writer / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Fill-in candidates for Blues' Shattenkirk

The St. Louis Blues announced Monday that defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk will have abdominal surgery within the next seven to 10 days and will be week-to-week following the procedure. If all goes well, fantasy owners should have the NHL leader in assists (32) and power-play points (22) among defensemen back for the fantasy playoffs. But capable fill-in options must be considered in the interim.

There are a few defensemen who could be available that cover the same categories Shattenkirk (a majority pick by fantasy staff as the top fantasy defenseman at the midseason) would but on a smaller scale. Most should be available in smaller leagues, but a few players included likely can be had in larger leagues as well:

Posted On Tuesday, 02.03.2015 / 12:15 AM

By David Satriano - Staff Writer / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Monahan, Russell worth picking up

Center Sean Monahan of the Calgary Flames had an impressive rookie season in 2013-14 with 22 goals and 34 points, but is actually having a better season despite being owned in 37 percent of Yahoo leagues.

He had a goal in a 5-2 win against the Winnipeg Jets on Monday in 19:44 of ice time (including 2:55 on the power play), and has six goals in his past eight games. Monahan has one point fewer than last season, is a plus-8 (he was minus-20 last season), has more power play points (nine) and is 10 shots behind last season's total of 140.

Posted On Saturday, 01.31.2015 / 11:48 PM

By David Satriano - Staff Writer / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Klingberg, Visnovsky could help on D

Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg had four points in a 5-2 win against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday. He's available in 87 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Klingberg is tied for 11th among defenseman in points per game (0.69), with P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens and Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators. Klingberg is ahead of Dustin Byfuglien of the Winnipeg Jets (0.66) and Keith Yandle of the Arizona Coyotes (0.65).

For comparison's sake, Subban and Weber are owned in 100 percent of leagues, Yandle in 98 percent and Byfuglien in 94 percent.

Posted On Saturday, 01.31.2015 / 1:06 AM

By David Satriano - Staff Writer / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Penguins' Despres steps up

Someone had to step up for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the absence of defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, who missed a 2-1 overtime win against the New Jersey Devils on Friday after possibly sustaining a concussion Wednesday against the Washington Capitals.

Simon Despres (11 percent owned in Yahoo leagues, D) did just that.

Despres scored the game-winning goal and had five shots on goal in a season-high 23:01 of ice time. He played 23 seconds on the Penguins' second power-play unit, but his time on the man-advantage should increase if Ehrhoff is out for an extended period. Despres has 13 points, a plus-five rating and 58 penalty minutes in 46 games playing an average of 16:03.

Ehrhoff (66 percent owned) traveled to Pittsburgh for concussion tests and could miss the game Sunday against the Nashville Predators.

Posted On Wednesday, 01.28.2015 / 4:30 PM

By Pete Jensen - Fantasy Insider / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Isles' Grabovski takes Okposo's spot

With Kyle Okposo sidelined for the next 6-8 weeks, fantasy owners would be wise to jump on the Mikhail Grabovski train.

Tri-eligible in Yahoo leagues (LW/C/RW), Grabovski (13 percent owned in Yahoo leagues) passed his first test Tuesday in his return from injury with a goal against the New York Rangers. He tied his season-high with four shots on goal in the game and filled in nicely for Okposo on the right side of New York's top line with top-15 fantasy forward John Tavares and Josh Bailey (eight percent owned).

Posted On Tuesday, 01.20.2015 / 11:49 PM

By Sean McCullen - Staff Writer / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Letang absence would shuffle D-men

Pittsburgh Penguins defensemen Christian Ehrhoff (67 percent owned in Yahoo leagues) and Paul Martin (3 percent owned) each figure to get more power-play time if Kris Letang misses games after he was injured on a hit by Philadelphia Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo late in the first period of a 3-2 overtime loss Tuesday.

Penguins coach Mike Johnston did not have an update on Letang after the game.

Martin played 8:10 and Ehrhoff 7:24 with the man-advantage after Letang exited. Each obviously would benefit from more time on the Penguins' sixth-ranked power play, which has scored on 22.4 percent of its chances, but playing on the top unit with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin would be even more helpful.

Posted On Sunday, 01.18.2015 / 1:29 AM

By David Satriano - Staff Writer / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Downie, Hartnell good for points, PIMs

This might be surprising, but there can be such a thing as having too much offense.

If you're in a Yahoo league, there's a good chance it's a head-to-head league. Whether you outscore your opponent by one goal or 20 goals, each counts the same: one point for winning that category. There are only a handful of players who are scorers and rack up penalty minutes.

More often than not, you can find a streaky scorer to add on waivers, and penalty minutes are often overlooked.

Let's take a look at some players you should target mainly for penalty minutes, but who likely can chip in with some points too.

- Steve Downie (48 percent owned, LW, RW) of the Pittsburgh Penguins is leading the NHL in penalty minutes by a wide margin; with 143, he has 50 more than Derek Dorsett (5 percent owned, RW) of the Vancouver Canucks and Cody McLeod (2 percent owned LW) of the Colorado Avalanche. Downie also has seven goals and 20 assists, and he has played on the Penguins power play. For a player who's owned in less than half of Yahoo leagues, he probably is your best bet if you're looking for a boost in PIMs.

Posted On Saturday, 01.17.2015 / 1:36 AM

By David Satriano - Staff Writer / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Bogosian among D-men worth looks

Defense often gets overlooked in fantasy hockey. Many owners value penalty minutes the most, but having defensemen who can add scoring and shots and help in plus-minus can provide a big boost.

Here are a few possible pickups:

Posted On Friday, 01.16.2015 / 12:27 AM

By David Satriano - Staff Writer / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Dubnyk, Ortio worth a look in net

Much has been made of goalie Devan Dubnyk's fantasy impact after his trade to the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday. In his first start, he did not disappoint.

Dubnyk, whose fantasy ownership increased to 28 percent in Yahoo leagues, had a favorable start against the offensively challenged Buffalo Sabres and made 18 saves for his second shutout of the season, a 7-0 victory. He is 10-5-2 with a 2.58 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage.

Even when Niklas Backstrom (32 percent owned) and Darcy Kuemper (54 percent owned) are healthy, Dubnyk is the better option for Minnesota and has the superior numbers. The Wild have a favorable upcoming schedule with home games against the Arizona Coyotes and Columbus Blue Jackets.

Minnesota also has three games with the Edmonton Oilers remaining. While with the Coyotes, Dubnyk defeated his former team three times this season.

-- If you missed out on Dubnyk, here's another option: Calgary Flames goalie Joni Ortio.

Ortio (5 percent owned) won his second game in as many starts, 4-1 against the Coyotes. He made 27 saves after his 36-save shutout against the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.

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