The grind of a fantasy hockey season is just that: A grind. When you consider all the details, big and small, all the nuances and all the possibilities, you're still left with roster setting and juggling, trade offers and rejections and day-to-day focus and attention. But ain't it great?
To get fantasy hockey owners to where they want to be, NHL.com fantasy insider Sergei Feldman brings you his weekly piece highlighting various players who have increased or decreased their value after each week and suggesting which players to buy or sell moving forward. In the end, you'll have a clearer picture of the marketplace and be in perfect position to enhance your fantasy hockey portfolios.
Let's be frank, with a condensed 48-game schedule, you've been in the thick of things from the first drop of the puck. But nowadays, you're in the thick of the thick of things. As such, tinkering with your rosters becomes a much more difficult task.
The stars aren't available. The sleepers woke up and are likely picked up by your competitors. Trade deadlines have come and gone.
What now? Simple: pick 'em and drop 'em. Do a couple repetitions of that a couple times a week and you'll find your lineups growing into lean, mean machines.
The first trick is to find players who have come out of nowhere or who have been forgotten and, in all likelihood, will ride their waves of success for just a little while longer.
The second trick, drop 'em like they're not hot.
The third trick, they're usually found in the crop of available defensemen and impact your assists, plus/minus and shots categories above all else.
Timing is everything, right? So who are these "one and dones?" Here's a list of three "buy" defenseman who are worth a gamble, assuming you're prepared to part ways sooner, rather than later.
Sergei Gonchar, D - Ottawa Senators
It's hard to do, but veteran blueliner Sergei Gonchar is coming pretty close to filling the void that was left when Erik Karlsson left the lineup. Now the Ottawa Senators just hope whatever caused him to leave Thursday's game against Boston in the third period isn't serious, because he's been a consistent offense force of late. In the past eight outings, "Gonch" has a point in each game; he's got four (yeah, four) multi-point games in that span, including a three-point, plus-5, 2 PIMs night on Long Island. That's beast mode. Especially when you consider he only has two goals on the season and went eight games without a point prior to this emergence. The truth about Gonchar is somewhere in the middle. Don't expect his production to continue at this pace, but keep an eye on his status and if he's OK, ride him while you can, if you can (he's owned in 74 percent of Yahoo! leagues).
Defense - OTT
GOALS: 2 | ASST: 19 | PTS: 21
SOG: 54 | +/-: 6
Patrick Wiercioch, D - Ottawa Senators
From the veteran to the young buck. Standing tall at 6-foot-5 and weighing in at 205 pounds is 22-year-old Patrick Wiercioch, a second-round pick in the 2008 NHL Draft. With just eight games under his belt coming into this season, No. 46 is impressing in Ottawa. He's got four goals and 10 assists to go along with a plus-5 rating, 29 PIMs and 50 shots through 26 games. Modest, sure. But lately, he's come on strong. In the past eight games, Wiercioch has all four of his goals as well as four assists. Throw in almost three shots per game in that span and 23 PIMs and you've got yourself a decent option for your lineup. Owned in just 22 percent of Yahoo! leagues, Wiercioch could be a good get in the short term.
Defense - OTT
GOALS: 4 | ASST: 10 | PTS: 14
SOG: 51 | +/-: 5
Matt Irwin, D - San Jose Sharks
Matt Irwin, meet fantasy hockey owners. Fantasy hockey owners, meet Matt Irwin. With the pleasantries out of the way, there's no better time than now to jump on the 25-year-old depth option for your lineup. Owned in three percent of Yahoo! leagues, Irwin is producing like an elite fantasy blueliner recently. Until this most recent stretch of seven impressive games, M.I collected just two points and not much else. But during this hot stretch, the Shark has four goals and six points, including at least a pair of pucks thrown on the cage per game. Caveat: he's been a minus-1 or worse in eight of 10 games. Another caveat: his production figures to subside pretty soon, if history (or lack thereof) is any indication. Either way, fantasy owners need immediate, temporary gains to compete. And players like Irwin, if monitored right, can be assets.