If you haven't been paying attention to the NHL All-Star roster, you'd miss that of the 54 players that will skate in Raleigh this weekend, seven of them are natives of Sweden. After Canada-born stars, Sweden boasts the highest number of players in the game. The point is, if you have one of these Swedes on your fantasy roster, chances are your team is doing well in many categories.
Representing Sweden in the All-Star game are twin brothers Daniel and Henrik Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks, Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings, Loui Eriksson of the Dallas Stars, Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators and Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers. Oliver Ekman-Larsson of the Phoenix Coyotes will skate with the rookies at the Honda SuperSkills competition. The number would have been eight had Atlanta Thrashers defenseman Tobias Enstrom had to withdraw due to a broken finger.
While we all expected the Sedin brothers, Lundqvist and Lidstrom to be fantasy studs, Eriksson, Enstrom and Karlsson really have come on strong in the fantasy world this season and have provided a major boost to any owner that's lucky enough to have them.
Enstrom has 41 points, fourth among all NHL defensemen. Karlsson is tied for the Senators team lead in scoring with 28 points. Eriksson is 11th in the NHL in points, as well as a Stars-best plus-15 rating. He also contributes greatly on the power-play point column and in shots on goal. If you are looking for some Swedes to contribute down the road, you would be smart to target Ekman-Larsson, Victor Hedman, Nicklas Bergfors, Patrik Berglund and Patric Hornqvist.
Top Pick-Ups (owned in less than 50 percent of Yahoo! Leagues)
1. Alexander Steen, C, Blues (45 percent) -- Playing on a team with no real superstar and only one All-Star representative in David Backes, Steen has 36 points this season which is second on the team to Backes. He didn't have a point in his last two games before the All-Star break, but before that he had a seven-game point scoring streak that saw him total 1 goal and 7 assists. He also has 23 shots in his last nine games.
2. Brian Boyle, C, Rangers (26 percent) -- Who would have thought that the Rangers' leading goal scorer this season would be a 6-foot-7 center with 12 NHL goals entering the season?. But over the last five games, he has 3 goals, giving him 18 on the season, and he's been an anchor on the power play with 2 goals in that stretch. He also leads the team with 135 shots and has a plus-9 rating.
3. Derick Brassard, C, Blue Jackets (24 percent) -- With 3 goals and 5 assists in his last five games, Brassard has moved into second on the team in scoring with 34 points. He's centering a line with Rick Nash, which never can hurt your fantasy value. Go get this young stud before you miss out.
4. Joe Corvo, D, Hurricanes (32 percent) -- With a goal and 12 assists in 14 January games, Corvo has been one of the League's hottest players. He entered the All-Star break with points in five straight games, totaling 1 goal and 6 assists. With 4 power-play points and 15 shots during his hot streak, he would be a nice addition to your blue-line corps.
5. Mathieu Garon, G, Blue Jackets (26 percent) -- The last five games have been up and down for the goaltender, but the Blue Jackets would not be close to contention for a playoff spot without him. The Jackets were hoping Steve Mason would rebound from a disappointing sophomore campaign this season, but it's been Garon who seems to have given the team its best chance on most nights. If you are in need of a goalie, don't be afraid to grab Garon and ride some wins out.
Offensive Schedule Strength
|3||Off||vs. MTL||Off||Off||@TBL||Off||vs. PIT|
|5||Off||vs. BOS||Off||@TOR||Off||vs. ATL||Off|
|6||Off||@NYR||vs. NYI||Off||vs. BUF||Off||@WSH|
|7||Off||@TBL||Off||vs. NSH||Off||vs. DAL||Off|
|8||Off||vs. PHI||Off||Off||vs. WSH||Off||vs. STL|
|9||Off||vs. NYI||Off||vs. CGY||Off||@CAR||Off|
|10||Off||vs. PIT||Off||vs. NJD||Off||@MTL||Off|
|12||Off||vs. COL||Off||Off||vs. EDM||Off||@TBL|
|13||Off||@STL||Off||vs. MIN||Off||vs. ANA||Off|
|15||Off||@WSH||vs. FLA||Off||Off||vs. NYR||vs. NJD|
|16||Off||@CAR||Off||vs. DAL||Off||vs. SJS||Off|
|18||Off||@SJS||vs. VAN||Off||Off||vs. MIN||Off|
|19||Off||vs. CGY||Off||@PHI||Off||vs. DET||Off|
|20||Off||vs. CHI||Off||Off||@DET||vs. EDM||Off|
|23||Off||vs. OTT||Off||@NYR||vs. FLA||Off||@MTL|
|27||Off||vs. FLA||Off||vs. CAR||Off||@BUF||Off|