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Fantasy Spin: Hartnell regains form on second line

by Pete Jensen

The Philadelphia Flyers are back in the groove, and Scott Hartnell's resurgence is a big reason why.

He's become a mainstay on a line with Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds, and the Flyers have benefited from the developing continuity of that secondary-scoring group. The Flyers are 21-10-4 since their 1-7-0 start and have been especially hot of late, winning eight of their past 10 games.

Hartnell's production has had a direct correlation to his team's sizzling stretch, as he's put together a career-long eight-game point streak (four goals, five assists) with points in nine of 10 games.

And while Philly's gritty second-liners continue to take the League by storm, two of its three components remain available in over half of Yahoo fantasy leagues. Hartnell (47 percent owned) and Schenn (40 percent) are there for the taking in most shallow formats, while Wayne Simmonds (68 percent) also warrants more ownership than he currently holds.

Fantasy owners should consider adding Flyers wing Scott Hartnell, who is riding an eight-game point streak. He's owned in only 47 percent of Yahoo leagues. (Photo: Len Redkoles/NHLI)

Simmonds has proved to be an even more potent fantasy asset than Hartnell, compiling nine goals and five assists over that same 10-game span dating back to Dec. 17. Simmonds stands as the only player in the NHL with 25-plus points, 65-plus penalty minutes, and 100-plus shots on goal. With 66 hits and 10 power-play points in 43 games, Simmonds has strong totals across the board.

Hartnell, 31, still has a ways to go this season before reaching Simmonds' fantasy status, but the fact he hasn't been penalized over his past nine games has paid dividends for him offensively. Fantasy owners who have stuck with him through his many dry spells over the past two seasons are finally getting the dose of multi-category coverage they expected in the first place.

This season started off sour for Hartnell, who went pointless over his first nine games and was sidelined four games due to injury. With Vincent Lecavalier in and out of the lineup and Claude Giroux struggling as well to start the season, the Flyers didn't have much stability up front and needed to find another way to maximize their forward depth.

But Hartnell (left-wing eligible in Yahoo) started picking it up in November (five goals, three assists in 15 games) before really taking off from mid-December to present with new linemates. The more he's been playing with Simmonds and Schenn, the more he's looked like the player that put forth a fantasy season to remember in 2011-12 (37 goals, 30 assists, plus-19, 136 penalty minutes, 16 power-play goals, 232 shots on goal).

Even though Hartnell has stayed out of the penalty box and no longer sees the bulk of his even-strength ice time with Giroux on the top line, he's still one of only 18 players with 110-plus shots and 30-plus penalty minutes. Hartnell also averages nearly two hits per game (73 hits in 39 games) and is approaching double-digits in power-play points with eight (3:19 power-play ice time per game).

The fact that Hartnell is owned in less than half of fantasy leagues is staggering, especially considering Philadelphia still has 39 games remaining for him to work with. Fantasy owners need to find room for Hartnell if he's floating on the waiver wire, because chances are he won't be there much longer if he continues to take steps toward a strong second half.


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