Yahoo Fantasy Hockey: Why you should own Granlund and Nichushkin

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Yahoo Fantasy Hockey: Why you should own Granlund and Nichushkin
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Dobber launched his fantasy hockey website DobberHockey back in 2005 and has been Puck Daddy's resident fantasy hockey 'expert' since 2009. 

So since last week’s little rant about the Pittsburgh, Anaheim and Tampa Bay stars starting off slow, Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz have awakened. And the Triplets line for the Lightning are back healthy and on the same line again. Stay patient!

Roto-leaguers are usually looking for replacements on the blue line when they look to the waiver wire. A decent forward is, in most formats, easier to find than a decent defenseman. However, if your league counts hits and blocked shots, there may be something there for you. But you won’t find them looking at the season-to-date stats – instead look at recent history. Here are the top defensemen for hits and blocked shots over the last three weeks, courtesy of DobberHockey’s tools.

Dobber Hockey
Dobber Hockey

Studs...

These fellas are wielding a hot stick. Take that into consideration when you go after them in trade talks...

Mike Cammalleri, New Jersey Devils (9-5-7-12, plus-10, 6 PIM, 26 SOG, 3 PPPts) – Sure, Cammy is a former 80-point player. But his highest point total since 2010 is 47. To follow that up by suddenly going on an 88-point pace through 28 games is about as expected an event as a Phil Kessel bodycheck.

Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis Blues (12-4-9-13, even, 0 PIM, 29 SOG, 5 PPPts) – Before you decide that Shattenkirk’s 0.78 points-per-game pace is unsustainable, consider this. In his last 74 games he has 58 points which is, you guessed it – 0.78.

Scott Hartnell, Columbus Blue Jackets (2-2-2-4, even, 0 PIM, 5 SOG, 5 hits, 2 PPPts) – This is on the heels of a slump that saw him manage just two points in eight games, so his fantasy owners are welcoming this little turnaround.

Duds...

Somebody wake these guys up – their fantasy owners are counting on them...

Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning (20-2-3-5, even, 14 PIM, 50 SOG, 1 PPPts) – Hedman had nine points in his first seven games. It was looking like a career year early on. But then he joined the rest of his team in goal-starved hell. And the worse news is that Anton Stralman is the lone defenseman on Tampa’s revamped top power-play unit, so when they turn things around Hedman may not get a piece of the action initially.

Brent Seabrook, Chicago Blackhawks (5-0-1-1, minus-1, 0 PIM, 17 SOG, 0 PPPts) – Most Seabrook owners already knew this was coming. He showed us what an elite point-producing defenseman he can be when counted upon by his team. But now that Duncan Keith is back, Seabrook slides back into his old role.

Mike Smith, Arizona Coyotes (4 GP, 0-4-0, 4.25 GAA and 0.865 SV%) – And just like that, a great start to a regular season goes off the rails. Smith’s numbers are now much more Smith-like, season to date.

The Wire...

Mostly short-term grabs here, but as always some potential steals...

Mikael Granlund, Minnesota Wild (16%) (10-2-8-10, plus-3, 6 PIM, 27 SOG, 3 PPPts) – This is Granlund’s fourth full NHL season and there’s every reason to believe that it’s his breakout one. All he’s doing right now is fulfilling his potential. Fantasy owners don’t seem to be buying it though, because how else can you explain just 16% ownership? Get on board the Granlund train. Seriously.

John Moore, New Jersey Devils (1%) (7-1-5-6, plus-4, 0 PIM, 12 SOG, 2 PPPts) – After seeing virtually zero power-play time in the first 20 games, Moore has suddenly been thrown out there on the top unit and has had success. It’s been seven games now and he’s still piling up the PP time.

Valeri Nichushkin, Dallas Stars (30%) (5-2-5-7, plus-2, 3 Hits, 6 SOG, 0 PPPts) – Nichushkin is on the big line now with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin and until that ends, he should be owned in all formats. And to be honest, I’m not certain it will end this year at all. The Stars are 9-1-2 in their last 12 so Lindy Ruff is in no rush to make any changes. 

Andrej Nestrasil, Carolina Hurricanes (0%) (7-1-6-7, plus-1, 1 Hit, 13 SOG, 1 PPPts) – Nestrasil is consistently putting points on the board right now but fantasy owners are rightfully hesitant. After all, the power-play time that he’s getting is minimal and his linemates are Jordan Staal and Joakim Nordstrom. But take it one week at a time with him – pick him up, use him, and drop him when he goes two straight without a point.

Olli Maatta, Pittsburgh Penguins (42%) (3-2-2-4, plus-1, 3 Hits, 4 SOG, 0 PPPts) – I was admittedly surprised to see that Maatta was already pretty well-owned because there’s really no big draw to him. His peripherals won’t be great (other than plus/minus), and his production will be modest at best as long as Kris Letang is around. But during the recent Letang injury Maatta saw more responsibility and he’s made the most of it. With Letang back, Maatta continued to produce – so he’s found a groove.

Beau Bennett, Pittsburgh Penguins (4%) (5-2-2-4, plus-5, 20 Hits, 13 SOG, 1 PPPts) – He’s playing with Sidney Crosby, who seems to be waking up now. That is all. 

Stefan Elliott, Arizona Coyotes (0%) (6-2-2-4, plus-1, 8 Hits, 4 BLKS, 9 SOG) – This one’s a bit of a risk because Elliott hasn’t fully established himself as a regular on his roster. And when he’s in the lineup, a talented player like Connor Murphy sits out. But he’s producing and earning some power-play time so he’s worth a flier if you need blue-line depth.

For more fantasy hockey tips, take a gander at DobberHockey. And while you’re at it, follow Dobber’s fantasy hockey musings on Twitter

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