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Fantasy Spin: Staal’s position change impacts Sutter

Wednesday, 11.16.2011 / 9:50 PM

By Eric Lipschutz - NHL.com Staff Writer / Fantasy Spin Blog

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Fantasy Spin: Staal’s position change impacts Sutter
Eric Staal saw his modest two-game point streak come to an end in Carolina's 4-0 loss to Montreal on Wednesday. As reported earlier by NHL.com's Arpon Basu, this was the third game Carolina coach Paul Maurice shifted Staal from his traditional spot at center to left wing.  Maurice made the move with the hope it would help jolt his star player out of a season long-funk.
         
Eric Staal
Center - CAR
GOALS: 4 | ASST: 4 | PTS: 8
SOG: 75 | +/-: -18
At this point, Staal owners are sure to be open to any move that could spark the perennial All-Star back to his prior form.  Staal has suffered through a miserable start, scoring just four goals while posting a League worst minus-18. Should Maurice decide to stick with the Staal experiment at left wing, he would be in line for increased position eligibility, giving fantasy owners if nothing else additional roster flexibility.

Staal's shift to left wing opened up a vacancy at center on Carolina's top line, which Maurice has filled with the talented Brandon Sutter. Basu points out that to this point, Sutter has been more of a defensive specialist during his brief NHL career. However, Maurice sees offensive potential in his young center and says he is committed to giving Sutter expanded minutes to show his capability to play top-line minutes. 

In three games, Sutter has not produced any points while centering a line between Staal and Chad LaRose. However, the line has produced a handful of scoring opportunities in its brief time together and Staal has shown signs of life while playing with Sutter. Wednesday's loss in Montreal was clearly a step backward, but if Sutter and Staal can build some chemistry together, Sutter could become a fantasy waiver-wire gem.

Sutter is currently owned in just 4 percent of Yahoo leagues. Though we would caution running out and grabbing him just yet with the way Carolina has struggled, he is clearly a player to monitor.  If Maurice is committed to keeping Sutter and Staal together, the pair has the potential to click at put up points. In that reasonable scenario, Sutter's production and value would increase dramatically -- making him an attractive option in deeper leagues.
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