Every Monday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey contributor Matt Sitkoff will provide you with fantasy hockey advice in his weekly piece: "Fantasy All-Access." From the waiver wire watch to roster trends and prospect rumblings, Sitkoff is here to help you all season long.
Welcome to NHL Trade Deadline week, as the days, hours and seconds count down to Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET, with players rumored to move and fantasy owners quick to pick up or trade for players whose value instantly rise. We will have you completely covered here at NHL.com with our daily blog, instant analysis of trades and our Google+ #NHLHangout on Thursday.
One player we are watching closely is Roberto Luongo -- not just for his hilarious would-be tweets during the deadline, but a Luongo deal could be the difference in a fantasy championship at two different ends. Cory Schneider is finally playing like the goalie that was taken on average 32nd overall in Yahoo! drafts; although he had a clunker on Saturday, he had won six consecutive starts, registering two shutouts, a .964 save percentage and an 0.99 goals-against average in that span.
This is music to the ears of owners that stuck with him as he only started 10 of the 19 games in January and February. On the flip side, fantasy owners that took the risk of taking Luongo in hopes he would be starting somewhere else could finally be rewarded. If you are one of the lucky ones that have both you could gain a top-flight starting goalie on your squad just in time for the playoff push.
WAIVER WIRE WATCH
Jiri Hudler (owned in 17 percent of Yahoo! leagues) -- The fallout of the Jarome Iginla trade and the possibility of more players being shipped out of Calgary on Wednesday brings the 29-year-old to the forefront of the Flames offense. Signed to a big deal this offseason, the LW eligible has nine points in his last 14 games and a surprising 10 PIMs. The Flames have four games scheduled this week (@EDM, EDM, @SJS, @VAN), and the more players that get shipped out the more the offense will fall on the player that has 236 career points in 439 games.
Roman Josi (owned in 24 percent of Yahoo! leagues) -- A team looking to make a move for offense is the Predators, but they have been getting production from their 22-year-old rearguard. Asked to fill the role of Ryan Suter, he struggled in the first two months but has found his groove with seven points in his last seven games. The Bern, Switzerland native has been a workhorse for the Predators, playing over 809 minutes this year -- and with five games scheduled this week (@CHI, COL, CBJ, CHI, @CHI) we expect the rise in points to continue.
Nikolai Khabibulin (owned in 9 percent of Yahoo! leagues) -- Another goalie to keep on your radar as Wednesday approaches is this former Stanley Cup champion. The 40-year-old Khabibulin is in the last year of his current deal and could be available for a team looking for a goalie with playoff experience. This season has been a tough one for the veteran, as he started the season on IR, has only started seven of the 34 games this season for Edmonton, and missed eight games due to a groin injury. Healthy now, he could be a factor for a contending team as he has a respectable 2.30 GAA and .930 save percentage.
Home/Road Splits -- How a player performs on home and road ice cannot be ignored when looking at players to pick up or acquire via trade, or even when making lineup decisions. No surprise Sidney Crosby (30 pts) and Steven Stamkos (15 goals) lead the League in respective home categories. Keep an eye on both Curtis Glencross of the Flames, as 12 of his 14 goals this season have come at the Scotiabank Saddledome, and Matt Duchene of the Avalanche, who has registered 22 of his 33 points in the Pepsi Center. Leaders in road categories are the Blackhawks' tandem of Patrick Kane (27 pts) and Jonathan Toews (14 goals). The Maple Leafs' budding superstar Nazem Kadri has scored 12 of his 17 goals away from Toronto, while Michael Ryder has scored 21 of his 28 points away from both of his homes this season in Dallas and Montreal.
Nathan Beaulieu -- The Canadiens have rotated their sixth defenseman lately with the injuries to Raphael Diaz and Yannick Weber and the ineffective play of veteran Tomas Kaberle. In steps the 17th selection of the 2011 NHL Draft. The 20-year-old Beaulieu played 18 shifts for 17:17 of ice time, including 1:04 on the man advantage, in his first NHL game on Saturday. The time on the power play is something to keep an eye on; since the injury to Diaz, who has seven power-play points in 19 GP this season, the Canadiens have been searching for an answer on the blue line to follow the talents of P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov on the second unit. Beaulieu, who had 10 power-play points in 62 games played for Hamilton in the AHL, now gets a chance, and that makes him worthy of keeping an eye on in deep leagues if this trend continues.
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