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The Stock Exchange: Love-hate relationships

by Sergei J. Feldman

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, 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.

When it comes to fantasy hockey, the relationship between owners and the players appearing in the starting lineup is special.

An untimely injury to a star asset is like an injury to you. A slump by someone you rely on could have you on the brink of dropping or trading the player, the fantasy hockey equivalent of a divorce or separation. On the other hand, a stint of impressive performances is like watching a first-born take their first steps.

Maybe not quite like that. The point is, it's a love-hate relationship. And what better time to explore that? Yesterday was Valentine's Day and love was in the air. Today, it's on the ice.

This week, instead of buying and selling, let's love, hate or dislike some players that have impacted recent fantasy hockey headlines.

Patrik Elias, C/LW – New Jersey Devils

Doesn't it seem like every year Patrik Elias gets overlooked? Forget fantasy, in reality, too. Regardless, the Devils' all-time most productive player continues to do nothing but produce for a New Jersey team which seemingly follows his lead. This year is a prime example. Ranked 127th in Yahoo! leagues at the start of the season, the forward currently sits at No. 30. His three goals in 13 games won't scare many, but Elias is fifth in the NHL in assists (12). He's also quintessentially steady-as-she goes in other important categories: plus-7, 8 PIMs, 25 shots. But what's most impressive, especially of late, is his consistency. In the past five games, Saint Patrik has amassed eight points, including two consecutive three-point nights. Is it a product of the Devils' recent success? Perhaps. Will he go as they go, or vice versa? We'll see. But you have to like what you've seen so far as a reliable option lineup in, lineup out.

Cupid: Love

Alexander Steen, C/LW – St. Louis Blues

Alexander Steen
Left Wing - STL
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 9 | PTS: 12
SOG: 51 | +/-: -1
The St. Louis Blues owned the month of January. Seems like February is returning the favor. With one win (Tuesday in OT vs. Detroit) in six tries, the team with so many fantasy options is singing its team name. Not Alexander Steen, however. The dual-eligibility forward is riding a four-game point streak, including goals in three-straight games and points in six of his last seven. So far, the Steen Idol is seventh in the NHL in shots (51). Not bad for a guy who eclipsed the 200-shot mark just once in his career. But that's a point that's not to be sneezed at. Steen has also surpassed 50-plus points once in his career and has had troubles playing a full season. If you've got him, ride the wave of success but consider selling high. You don't want to fall victim to an aberration.

Cupid: Dislike

Henrik Sedin, C – Vancouver Canucks

It's important to note that a player of this caliber can break out in a flash. A couple consecutive five-point games followed by a slump of points in just five of six games is a strong possibility. But as important as it is to be aware of that, it's equally important to acknowledge the struggles thus far. Henrik Sedin has not scored a regular season goal since April 7, 2012. It'd be acceptable for a player who started the fantasy season No. 10 in Yahoo! leagues if he was tearing up other categories. He's not. We're talking 16 shots in 12 games; just eight assists and three PPP. While the Vancouver Canucks are sitting pretty atop the Northwest, Sedin is sitting uncomfortably in fantasy circles.

Cupid: Hate

Henrik Lundqvist, Jonathan Quick, Ryan Miller

Henrik Lundqvist
Goalie - NYR
RECORD: 6-5-0
GAA: 2.48 | SVP: 0.912
We've come to know the aforementioned netminders as among the premier options between the pipes in all circles, fantasy or otherwise. Through about a quarter of the 2012-13 season, the proof has been in the not-that-tasty pudding. King Henrik was No. 8 in Yahoo! leagues. Quick and Miller were No. 12 and No. 24, respectively. Nowadays, we're looking at No. 169, 410 and 316, respectively and with all due respect. What's a fantasy owner to do? You've invested a first- or second-round pick in these sure-fire assets. As it relates to these guys, wait it out. Don't mess around with top-end talent in net. The collective body of work of the above trio is a resume suitable for any position. Entertaining trades for a Craig Anderson (No. 3), James Reimer (No. 46) or Viktor Fasth (No. 27) is your prerogative, but even in a shortened season, think long-term.

Cupid: Love

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