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Fantasy Spin: Sharks' Karlsson benefits from new line

by David Satriano /

Melker Karlsson
Center - SJS
GOALS: 5 | ASST: 4 | PTS: 9
SOG: 22 | +/-: 4
Getting ice time with great players either at even-strength or on the power play can boost a lesser-known player's production.

We've recently seen that from the San Jose Sharks and Washington Capitals.

Sharks forward Melker Karlsson (1 percent owned in Yahoo leagues, center) scored a goal and played 13:06 in a 7-2 loss against the St. Louis Blues. He has a goal in each of his past four games, and has played on a line with Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski in the past three games.

True, he may be receiving more ice time because Joe Thornton remains out of the lineup, and the lines may change, but Karlsson isn't likely to become a healthy scratch when Thornton returns from injury.

In 13 games, Karlsson has nine points, eight penalty minutes and a plus-4 rating, numbers that translate well over a full season.

Capitals forward Marcus Johansson (14 percent owned, C, LW) played 15:13, including 2:36 of power-play ice time, and had a power-play assist on Alex Ovechkin's goal in a 3-2 overtime loss against the Philadelphia Flyers. Johansson has at least a point in six of his past eight games (three goals, four assists). Johansson recently played on a line with Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, helping boost his numbers.

Johansson had eight goals and 44 points in 80 games last season. He is three goals from setting a new career-high and is also on pace to break his career-high in points (46).

Johansson has been shooting the puck more this season, averaging 1.9 shots per game.

Karlsson and Johansson each is available in a majority of leagues and should be considered. Johansson is the more solid option because he plays more minutes and gets more power-play time.

- Carolina Hurricanes forward Alexander Semin (33 percent owned, LW, RW) had an assist on a goal by Jeff Skinner (73 percent owned, LW, RW) in a 5-2 win against the Buffalo Sabres. Semin had been sidelined 13 of the past 14 games because of an upper-body injury and an illness. Skinner didn't have a point in his past seven games. He has eight goals (after 33 last season), but none have come on the power play. Semin played 14:58, mostly with Skinner and Riley Nash on the Hurricanes' top line.

- Goalie Darcy Kuemper (60 percent owned) had started the past five games for the Minnesota Wild, but was placed on injured reserve Wednesday with a lower-body injury. Coach Mike Yeo said he would be out for a week, meaning Niklas Backstrom (33 percent owned), who is 5-4-3 with a 2.73 goals-against average and a .893 save percentage, likely will get a few starts. Backstrom allowed three goals and made 16 saves in a 4-2 loss against the Chicago Blackhawks. He has allowed at least three goals in each of his past seven games.

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