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Fantasy Mailbag: Healthy Havlat can fuel title run

by Pete Jensen fantasy insider Pete Jensen has you covered all season long with the weekly Fantasy Hockey Mailbag. The most compelling questions posed each week will be answered in an effort to provide you with the best chance to succeed in your particular league.

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is deciding whether or not to add Martin Havlat via free agency for his fantasy postseason. His league categorizes goals, assists, rating, PPP, SOG, PIMs and hits. With Mike Cammalleri out of the lineup, he needs all the help he can get for his playoff run.

Havlat has only played in 30 of the San Jose Sharks' 73 games this season after the team acquired him for goal-scoring specialist Dany Heatley in a trade with the Minnesota Wild last July. Between Havlat's inability to stay healthy and his pedestrian numbers through his first 25 games of the season, his fantasy owners endured a bumpy ride. But in a fantasy world of "what have you done for me lately," Havlat's performance over the past week has quickly put him back on the map as a game-breaking fantasy forward.

The 30-year-old right wing has hit the ground running since returning from a hamstring injury March 15
Martin Havlat
Right Wing - SJS
GOALS: 6 | ASST: 15 | PTS: 21
SOG: 73 | +/-: 9
with four goals, two assists, a plus-one rating, two PPG, two PIM and 11 shots on goal in four games. He notched a goal and added an assist in a loss Tuesday to the Los Angeles Kings, marking his third consecutive multi-point game. Cammalleri (C/LW eligible - 46%), meanwhile, is day-to-day with an upper-body injury, making him a detriment to your playoff run because he's taking up a precious roster spot. It's widely-known that Cammy is still in his prime and possesses strong point-producing potential, but his injury, along with the inconsistent play he's put forth in 21 games since his arrival in Calgary, makes him much less desirable than Havlat at this time.

Cammalleri has produced decent numbers (6 G, 5 A, minus-4, 10 PIM, 4 PPP, 46 SOG, 8 hits) to contribute to the Flames' playoff push, but there's a big probability that Havlat could be just what the Sharks need to ignite their potentially potent offense. He's operating on San Jose's second line with Ryane Clowe and Patrick Marleau as his team pursues of one of the final playoff spots in the West. Havlat's ownership (56 percent in Yahoo! leagues) has grown significantly over the past few days, and with good reason. It's important to nab him off the waiver wire while you still can.

JEFF FROM ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI is locked into a playoff matchup that is down to the wire. He's debating dropping either Ryane Clowe or Milan Michalek for Tyler Kennedy, who has benefited from the return of Sidney Crosby. One of his concerns in the move is that PIM's count in his league.

On the surface, most people would not even consider dropping either Michalek or Clowe for Kennedy, but if you dig deeper into the argument, it's a pretty intriguing dilemma. Crosby's affect on the Penguins' third line is becoming well-documented, as Kennedy (8 G, 20 A, plus-5, 29 PIM, 3 PPP, 164 SOG, 61 hits) has accumulated two goals and four assists in four games since his linemate's return. Matt Cooke, the other component of that line, has also blossomed with six points in four games and is another beneficiary of Sid's point-producing surge. Kennedy (LW/RW eligible - 13 percent) is 25 years old is playing his best hockey of the season as evidenced by his two-goal performance in the Pittsburgh Penguins' 8-4 rout of the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday. During playoff time, you can't ask for more from a fantasy asset, but here's some food for thought against the move.

Tyler Kennedy
Center - PIT
GOALS: 8 | ASST: 20 | PTS: 28
SOG: 164 | +/-: 5
While Kennedy is in position to amass 10-plus goals for the fifth straight season to open his career, he's simply not in the same category as either Clowe or Michalek from a reliability standpoint. The "Impulse Drop" during a playoff series can often come back to bite you if Clowe or Michalek has a big night to close out the week. Clowe gives your team more hits than the others, and Michalek is a top-tier goal-scorer. Also, whether or not this is a keeper league, it's hard to embrace the move to pick up Kennedy because your team is where it is today because of Clowe (76 percent - 13 G, 26 A, minus-5, 85 PIM, 13 PPP, 169 SOG, 93 hits) and Michalek (73 percent - 32 G, 20 A, plus-3, 24 PIM, 14 PPP, 193 SOG, 31 hits). Ottawa's top-line left winger may not have points in his last three games, but he had points in 12 of 15 games during a stretch from Feb. 9 to Mar. 14 (including a hat trick Mar. 6 in Tampa Bay). Clowe, meanwhile, is pointless in seven of his last eight games, but reeled off a goal and two assists in San Jose's loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Monday.

Basically, it's a guessing game, but it's more promising for you to rely on Michalek and Clowe for the rest of this week. With Kennedy, you are forced to bank on Crosby to produce at a high level, while also hoping that Kennedy continues to be a beneficiary of that. This could certainly change if your team moves onto next week's round, though, as the Penguins have a home-and-home on tap with the New York Islanders. If Kennedy's spike in production continues into next week, and either Michalek and Clowe continue to slump, it may be worth pursuing at that time.

KEVYN FROM STIRLING, ONTARIO is in a keeper league that allows him to retain two forwards. He will keep Hart trophy favorite Evgeni Malkin, but is torn on his second forward selection. He's deciding between Jamie Benn, Evander Kane and Taylor Hall in a league that takes goals, assists, plus/minus, shots, hits, PPP and SHP into account.

It's extremely difficult to pick one of these emerging young forwards over the others, but since you are forced to make a tough decision, let's break it down. Hall, the first overall pick in 2010, had a stretch of four straight games with a goal before he was injured in last Friday's loss to the Flames. Hall (71 percent - 27 G, 26 A, minus-3, 36 PIM, 21 PPP, 207 SOG, 44 hits) has put together a phenomenal season when healthy alongside Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle, but the reality has been that he's only played in 61 of the Edmonton Oilers' 73 games this year because of a number of injuries. He's going to be a premier goal-scorer in this League and a power-play juggernaut for years to come, but he doesn't quite stack up to the other two forwards in this comparison in hits or PIMs. His injury woes are also a concern moving forward.

Evander Kane
Left Wing - WPG
GOALS: 28 | ASST: 23 | PTS: 51
SOG: 260 | +/-: 12
Benn (87 percent - 22 G, 35 A, plus-16, 49 PIM, 10 PPP, 170 SOG, 116 hits, 1 SHP) was a popular sleeper pick coming into the season and has proved to be one of the most steady performers, league-wide, over the course of the campaign. The 22-year-old has dual-eligibility and gives your team hits, PIMs, a great rating and the best distributing numbers of this bunch. He's already set a career-high in points and is currently tied with his previous career-best in goals (22), but doesn't stack up to Hall in PPP and certainly doesn't compare with either forward in shots on goal.

Don't you wish you could meet somewhere in the middle and incorporate the strengths of Benn and Hall into one superior player? Well, you're in luck, because Kane (77 percent - 28 G, 23 A, plus-12, 47 PIM, 9 PPP, 260 SOG, 152 hits) can be that guy on a long-term basis for your team. The 20-year-old stud has taken his game to a new level for the Winnipeg Jets' secondary line this season and has especially stifled his opponents over the past month with nine goals and 10 assists over his last 15 games. Kane will only improve on the man advantage as he matures and has already distinguished himself from the pack because of his goal-scoring prowess, strong rating, high PIM and shot total and his elite hit output. You've seen his consistent prowess on display all season long, and he's only going to get better. Having him alongside Malkin for your fantasy team next season is a fantasy owner's dream.

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