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Posted On Friday, 01.10.2014 / 1:32 PM

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

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.08.2014 / 2:07 PM

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

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Posted On Thursday, 01.02.2014 / 1:13 PM

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

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Posted On Monday, 12.30.2013 / 12:30 PM

By Pete Jensen -  NHL.com Fantasy Insider /NHL.com - 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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Posted On Wednesday, 12.18.2013 / 12:00 PM

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

Fantasy Spin: Avalanche's Johnson quieting doubters

High expectations have followed Erik Johnson's career since he was taken with the first pick in the 2006 NHL Draft by the St. Louis Blues.

When Johnson was traded to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for Kevin Shattenkirk and Chris Stewart in 2011, the pressure shifted to his new role in the Mile High City. Johnson's struggles continued, with the low point coming in 2012-13 when he failed to register a goal in 31 games.

But just when fantasy owners thought he had reached irrelevance, he has navigated his way back into the equation.

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Posted On Wednesday, 12.11.2013 / 2:37 PM

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

Fantasy Spin: Isles' Strome valuable in present, future

Ryan Strome is coming to the rescue for the slumping New York Islanders -- and fantasy owners should take notice.

The 20-year-old forward was recalled Wednesday and could make his long-awaited NHL debut as early as Thursday when the Islanders wrap up their Western Conference road swing against the Phoenix Coyotes.

Strome came into the season as a fantasy sleeper pick, but did not make the Islanders opening-night roster. He has made his case over the past few months by leading the American Hockey League with 33 points for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. His production at the Ontario Hockey League level in years past is also well-documented.

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Posted On Friday, 12.06.2013 / 1:50 PM

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

Fantasy Spin: Most surprising goalies based on ADP

One-third of the way into the 2013-14 NHL season, fantasy owners have seen quite a few curveballs when it comes to the goalie landscape.

While top-flight goalies Tuukka Rask, Antti Niemi and Henrik Lundqvist remain top-five material, many of those who waited a few rounds to fill this important positional need made a wise choice.

There's still a ton of hockey left to be played in the coming months, but the bottom line is many goalies who came into the season with high expectations surrounding them have either failed to live up to the hype (Sergei Bobrovsky, Craig Anderson, Jimmy Howard) or seen injuries define their season (Jonathan Quick, Pekka Rinne).

Meanwhile, when you take the Yahoo average draft position (ADP) of the League's workhorse goalies into account, it's very clear who the most pleasant surprises have been. Here are five goalies that have maximized their value based on where they were taken in drafts. If you own one of these players, you've been in good hands so far.

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.03.2013 / 2:30 PM

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

Fantasy Spin: Zetterberg injury leaves void

The next few weeks will be tough sledding for fantasy owners of Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg.

With news surfacing Tuesday that Zetterberg is expected to miss a minimum of two weeks due to a herniated disc, those who own this top-10 fantasy forward are mulling their next move.

Henrik Zetterberg
Left Wing - DET
GOALS: 11 | ASST: 19 | PTS: 30
SOG: 99 | +/-: 12
Zetterberg has been centering the team's top line of late with Pavel Datsyuk (upper-body injury) out of the lineup since Nov. 23. He doesn't touch on penalty minutes very often, but this veteran covers nearly every other major category -- making him among the more indispensable players League-wide in both fantasy and reality.

Of the seven players with 30-plus points this season, only Zetterberg has mustered a plus-10 or better rating with 90-plus shots on goal. His point production on the power play (11) is tied for 12th in the NHL, and his consistency over the years gives fantasy owners a peace of mind whenever he's in the lineup.

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Posted On Thursday, 11.28.2013 / 1:50 PM

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

Fantasy Spin: Penguins' Neal as good as advertised

Let's face it: James Neal has feasted on opponents when healthy for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Just ask his fantasy owners. They're thankful to have him along for the ride this holiday season.

Neal continued his recent surge with his fifth-consecutive multi-point game Wednesday, adding a season-high 10 shots on goal in Pittsburgh's 6-5 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

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Posted On Monday, 11.25.2013 / 3:20 PM

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

Fantasy Spin: Perron should be owned in all leagues

Coming into the season, fantasy owners didn't know what to expect from David Perron.

The St. Louis Blues shipped him to the Edmonton Oilers in July, raising questions about his long-term fantasy value. Between his injury history and his new team's string of bottom-10 finishes in the League standings, he was far from a commodity.

In fact, he wasn't drafted on average in Yahoo leagues. But to everyone's surprise, he's been one of the most indispensable players from a fantasy standpoint this season. Somehow, he's still available in more than 50 percent of leagues.

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NHL.COM FANTASY HOCKEY COVERAGE
30 in 30 fantasy hockey preview index
Ward vs. Khudobin | Promising Wild trio
Elliott vs. Allen | Gibson vs. Andersen
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Be aware of goalie trends, strategies
Buy-low veterans with hidden upside

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RANK TEAM PLAYER
1. Sidney crosby
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CUBETA & JENSEN'S COMPLETE RANKINGS