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Fantasy All-Access: Making New Year's resolutions

By Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

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Fantasy All-Access: Making New Year's resolutions
NHL.com contributor Matt Sitkoff says it's time to cut bait on slumping players and make a trade to improve your chances at a fantasy championship.

With a new year comes the promise of making things better. Making resolutions to go to the gym more or help out others are being said over and over again. Here are some NHL Fantasy New Year's Resolutions that will help owners see a better result in 2014.

It is time to quit on players that are not performing. One month of struggling has now turned to three months of not performing, and it is time to say goodbye to these players and move on in the new year. Some of these players to cut loose are New York Rangers forward Rick Nash, Edmonton Oilers defenseman Justin Schultz and Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby.

It's time to cut bait on underperforming players and be bold in making a trade to improve your chances at a fantasy championship. (Photo: Getty Images, Patrick McDermott/NHLI)

It's also time to take a risk in a trade and help your team while using strength to help out a weakness. Take a player who has been over-performing in 2013 and find a way to acquire a player who will strengthen an area of need in your ultimate goal of winning the championship. Players to target in trades are those on the trading block that could see their stock rise and goalies that are starting most of their teams' games.

WAIVER WIRE WATCH

Mike Fisher, Nashville Predators (owned in 15 percent of Yahoo! leagues) -- The Predators have been a team struggling to score all season, ranked 25th in the League at 2.37 goals per game, but lately their alternate captain has been lighting the lamp. Fisher has 10 points in a five-game point streak. Nashville has four games this week (SJS, ANA, OTT, MIN), all at home, and the 33-year-old center has 15 points in 21 games played at Bridgestone Arena.

Erik Johnson, Colorado Avalanche (owned in 43 percent of Yahoo! leagues) -- The No. 1 pick from 2006 has been having a renaissance under Patrick Roy. The 6-foot-4 defender has 19 points and a plus-12 rating in 41 games after having only 30 points in his 104 previous games. Roy has helped the defensive scoring of the Avalanche, as after having only 54 points from the backline last season they already have 74 this season, led by Johnson. The Avalanche have four games this week (CGY, OTT, NYI, @MIN) and favorable schedule playing on the lighter days (Monday, Wednesday and Friday).

Philipp Grubauer, Washington Capitals (owned in 17 percent of Yahoo! leagues) -- In the year of the third-string goalie, the next contestant to be productive is this 2010 fourth-round pick. The 22-year-old has a 5-2-3 record with a 2.20 goals-against average and .932 save percentage. Grubauer has started in nine of 15 games since being recalled on Dec. 3 and played in 11 of those games. The Capitals have three games this week (@TBL, TOR, BUF), and with one back-to-back set expect Grubauer to start two or even three of those games.

ROSTER TRENDS

Philipp Grubauer
Goalie - WSH
RECORD: 5-2-3
GAA: 2.20 | SVP: 0.932
The goalie carousel -- Now that we have hit the midway point, here are some interesting goalie stats to ponder as you move forward in your fantasy season. Of the 642 games played this season there have been 79 goalies to see action and 77 goalies to start in a game. Some more in-depth numbers to confuse fantasy owners: 16 teams have their starting goalie play 65 percent or more of their games, and 14 teams have their starting goalie play 65 percent or fewer. Finally, 16 teams have played three goalies this season while the Oilers have played four.

The new year -- As the calendar flips to January and the weather gets cold around the East Coast there are some fantasy players who start to heat up. Since 2010-11, the leading point getter in January has been New York Islanders captain John Tavares, who has 47 points in the first month of the year. Other players to keep an eye on this month are Tavares' current teammate Thomas Vanek (36 January points since 2010-11), Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron (39 points), Tampa Bay Lightning forward Martin St. Louis (37 points) and his teammate Steven Stamkos, who has 33 January points the last three seasons and is skating toward a return from injury.

PROSPECT RUMBLINGS

Teuvo Teravainen, Chicago Blackhawks -- The 18th pick of the 2012 NHL Draft put on a show to lead Finland to World Junior Championship gold. He led the tournament with 15 points in seven games. The 19-year-old has 17 points in 29 games playing for Jokerit in Finland's SM-liiga after producing 31 points in 44 games the year before. The creative forward showed everyone why the Blackhawks are excited to have him in their system. Teravainen did play in two preseason games for Chicago, seeing about 17 minutes a game, and should be bringing his talents to the NHL next season.

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