At this point in the fantasy hockey season you may be looking at your roster with frustration because something, or someone, is just not gelling. That frustration may be easier than expected to solve with a few simple adjustments based on our analysis of the over-under 50 percent club. There are a plethora of players who are both under-valued and under-owned, or are way too over-owned. Take a look to see if one of these players is on your roster and could be moved, or if one of these players should be on your roster.
From the goaltenders and defensemen to the forwards, here are five players that you might want to grab, and five players you should consider calling it quits on.
Players under 50 percent owned that should be owned in more leagues:
Chris Kunitz, LW, Penguins (owned in 42 percent of Yahoo! Leagues)
In 28 games for the Pens this season, Kunitz has 7 G, 8 A, a plus-5 rating, 19 PIMs, 4 PPP and 51 SOG. Those numbers might not jump out to you, but the fact that he skates on Sidney Crosby
's line should definitely grab your attention. Pittsburgh's top line is made up of Crosby, Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis
(who should also be owned in more than the 6 percent he's currently at in Yahoo! Leagues), and anyone playing with Sid will eventually put up some points. Kunitz is a scrappy player that should definitely improve his stat line going forward, especially considering the fact he is receiving 4:40 of power play ice time -- expect about 20-25 goals and over 50 points from Kunitz.
Ryan Malone, LW, Lightning (owned in 40 percent of Yahoo! Leagues)
The 6-4 winger has been playing his best hockey of late for the Lightning -- Malone has 5 goals and 6 assists in his last ten games. Malone's ice time has increased significantly recently as well -- despite averaging just 16:39 in 27 games this campaign, the Tampa Bay forward has seen over 18 minutes of action in nine of his last 13 contests. Malone also adds a major bonus in the power-play department, as he has 12 points while on the man advantage, often skating alongside Steven Stamkos
and Martin St. Louis
. If you're in need of shots, Malone's your guy -- the Pittsburgh native has 87 SOG so far this season. The only category he won't help you in is plus/minus, where Malone sports a minus-11 rating. With 20 points on the season, Malone is clearly worth owning in most leagues.
RJ Umberger, C, Blue Jackets (owned in 38 percent of Yahoo! Leagues)
Before being held pointless in his last two games, Umberger went on a tear, recording at least a point in 10-straight games for Columbus, a franchise record. Through 25 games this season, the former Flyer has 8 G, 11 A, a plus-9 rating, 24 PIMs, 2 PPP and 65 SOG. He clearly contributes in every single fantasy category except power-play points, and that could improve as he's still seeing 3:27 of ice time while on the man advantage. Umberger is on pace for a career-high 62 points and should definitely be owned in more than 38 percent of leagues. Get on it, folks!
Dan Girardi, D, Rangers (owned in 29 percent of Yahoo! Leagues)
The Blueshirts' blueliner has just one assist in his last seven games, but in 29 games this season Girardi still has 2 goals and 12 helpers to go along with a solid plus-5 rating, 14 PIMs, 3 PPP and 47 SOG. The 26-year-old is one of New York's top defensemen and is logging over 24 minutes of ice time per game, with 2:37 of that coming on the power play. Girardi is on pace for a career-high 38 points and if you're in a league that counts hits, he'll certainly help you out there as well -- he has 66 hits so far this season.
Corey Crawford, G, Blackhawks (owned in 29 percent of Yahoo! Leagues)
Crawford has started five of Chicago's last seven games and appears to be taking hold of the No. 1 job over veteran Marty Turco
. Not only is Crawford stealing the starting gig, he's also proving he deserves the honor -- he has won six straight starts and has allowed just one goal in three of his last five outings. This situation looks all too familiar for the Hawks -- last season Cristobal Huet
was the opening night starter, and in the end Antti Niemi
took over the top spot. This season Turco was declared the team's No. 1, and now Crawford seems to be seizing the opportunity. Grab him now if you can, especially if you're one of the unlucky fantasy managers that drafted Turco.
Players over 50 percent owned that should be owned in fewer leagues:
Tyler Myers, D, Sabres (owned in 84 percent of Yahoo! Leagues)
Last season's Rookie of the Year has been a big disappointment. With 5 G, 3 A, a minus-10 rating, 12 PIMs, 3 PPP and 48 SOG, Myers has clearly taken a step backward in his sophomore season. While it's possible the youngster turns his season around, it looks like this could just be an off year. Defensive teammates Jordan Leopold
and Steve Montador
have seized the top spots on the Buffalo blue line and both possess a plus-rating, but Myers continues to struggle in the defensive zone and hasn't had a point in his last eight contests. Cut the bigger name in Myers and look to add either of his teammates -- Leopold is owned in 57 percent of Yahoo! Leagues; Montador is at 58 percent ownership.
Erik Johnson, D, Blues (owned in 82 percent of Yahoo! Leagues)
is going to be a superstar in the NHL, but this year he is clearly focusing more on his defensive game than his offensive production. While that's great for the St. Louis Blues
, it's not so good for his fantasy owners. The former No. 1 draft pick has 1 G, 7 A, a minus-3 rating, 19 PIMs, 2 PPP and 55 SOG in 26 games this season. He's logging over 23 minutes of ice time, with exactly 3 minutes of that coming on the power play, but Johnson is clearly not going to reach his career-high of 39 points from last season -- he's on pace for just 25 points. Johnson will be a great sleeper pick for next season's fantasy drafts, but for now, you can go ahead and drop EJ.
Tuukka Rask, G, Bruins (owned in 72 percent of Yahoo! Leagues)
While Rask still has a solid 2.59 GAA and .929 save percentage, we're not sure why people are hanging on to the Bruins backup goaltender. With Tim Thomas
showing no signs of slowing down this season, Rask is a clear backup for the B's, and let's face it, backups should not be owned in nearly three-quarters of any fantasy league. Rask has started in seven games this season and has a 1-6-1 record, with his one victory coming back on Nov. 18 against the low-scoring Florida Panthers
. Get rid of him now if you own him and look to add a player like Atlanta netminder Ondrej Pavelec
, who is owned in just 62 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Travis Zajac, C, Devils (owned in 62 percent of Yahoo! Leagues)
might not be producing quite as much as Zajac, but still, it's hard to drop a guy like Kovalchuk after you spent a first-round draft pick on him. Zajac, on the other hand, is someone you can probably cut at this point. The Devils forward has 3 G, 8 A, a minus-3 rating, 10 PIMs, 1 PPP and 58 SOG in 26 games this season. His plus/minus and penalty minutes are certainly not going to improve in the future, so we're ready to look for a more promising talent in the waiver poor to replace him for the remainder of the season.
Alex Frolov, LW, Rangers (owned in 56 percent of Yahoo! Leagues)
Apparently not too many people are paying attention to what Frolov has been doing this season. Given a one-year contract from the Rangers in the offseason, Frolov was expected to skate on the team's top line with Marian Gaborik
, but that clearly hasn't worked out. Even with Gaborik back in the lineup, Frolov has found himself on the fourth line for the last couple of weeks. He has 5 G, 6 A, a plus-1 rating, 4 PIMs, 1 PPP and 50 SOG in 29 games this season, but no points in his last eight contests. With Chris Drury
and Vinny Prospal
nearing a return for New York, Frolov might even find himself as a healthy scratch in the future -- we think it's safe to cut the former 30-goal scorer.
NHL.com's Deborah Francisco contributed to this report