With the fantasy season winding down it can be difficult to find value on the wire, but there are still a few gems to be had and they make all the difference come playoff time. Its not often that you win a league with the team you drafted and if you're winning late in the season you've most likely littered your lineups with guys that, to start the season, you never would have considered. If you aren't in the mindset right now, you aren't serious about winning. So who is available on the wire this late in the season that can actually help? How about Anders Lee, Adam Henrique and Artem Anisimov? Lee has just six games under his belt this season for the Isles, but with lots of room to roam after a flurry of deals left Garth Snow's roster wide open, Lee has taken advantage of his time with five points in six games so far. He's young, so it's hard to predict what he'll do, especially for the Isles, but the big (6'2" 210lbs) winger with a heavy shot and a nose for the next could offer up as many as 10 more goals and 15 more points for you going forward, and how many guys on the wire can you say that about right now? Not many, that's how many. Adam Henrique is no mystery to anyone in the know, but his five goals over the past week are a surprise to most of us. Not you? Well, aren't you special! Henrique has a whopping nine points over his last five games with a nine goal, six game goal scoring streak mixed in there. He might only have 38 points so far this season, but considering how well he's been playing lately it should be easy enough for him to notch 12-15 more and finish in the mid-50s by season's end. He's owned in ~92% of ESPN leagues, but available in an alarming 68% of Yahoo leagues, so he's out there if you need some scoring help, and who doesn't? Last, and least, is Artem Anisimov who has been underwhelming for the entirety of his short, yawnstipating career, but recently earned himself the second star in the NHL player of the week honors by scoring the game winning goal in three straight games. His 19 goals so far this season are a career high and he's probably good for another 10-12 points with a handful of goals sprinkled in before all is said and done. While there isn't much out there, you have to take what you can get when guys like Pavel Datsyuk go down with injuries, and if you're lucky, you can find one of these three to help fill the gap. Anyway, here's what else I saw in the world o' fantasy hockey yesterday:
Matt Nieto (1 G, 5 SOG, +1) was drafted in the second round with the 47th pick in the 2011 draft but he could have gone much higher if it wasn’t for his defensive shortcomings that many scouts thought would limit his value at the NHL level. Fast-forward a few good seasons in the AHL and Nieto has proven that not only can he play defense, but that he can learn and adapt quickly on the big stage. So far this season he’s only posted 11 points in 38 games and that’s pretty bleh, even for a rookie. He’s young, but he’s also extremely streaky because his game is very north to south right now, so if he gets off course from his favorite scoring hotspots he can lose a handle on the game and make mistakes. Most of those mistakes are made in some poor decision-making when passing the puck if he’s out of his comfort zone, but on the other side of that coin he’s shown flashes of brilliance moving the puck at high speed, and this kid definitely flies. Once he settles in and starts making better choices with the puck his slick skating, playmaking ability and high energy will combine to make him a formidable offensive force for the Sharks and possibly an heir apparent for the aging but still effective Joe Thornton. Nieto will have to bulk up a bit to carry Thunder Joe’s mantle into the future, but he has all the tools to do the job. Is he worth much yet? No and I wouldn’t own him anywhere, but he does have five points in his last nine games. The Sharks project him to be a top-six guy and he wasn’t supposed to be getting NHL ice time yet, so just the fact that he’s logged 38 games so far this season is a good sign. Even better, he’s only now starting to produce offensively and he hasn’t been sent down yet, which means he’s doing a lot right that has nothing to do with putting the puck in the net. That’s a great sign, so keep an eye on him for seasons ahead as he could develop into one of the best playmakers in the game. Anyway, here’s what else I saw on the world o’ fantasy hockey last night:
All the way back in 2011 (December 4 to be exact), I said this about David Krejci: “In a 12 team league he’s a legit #3 Center.” And even prior to that (November 30 to be exact) I said this: “Krejci is a key cog in Boston and an ideal #3 Center on your fantasy team.” Please, blog, may I have some more?
The concussion monster dealt a death blow to Chris Pronger yesterday. Kinda wierd they would IR him for the season considering Philly could be playing for another 6+ months. The rumor is Pronger triggered a new CBA rule where once you go over 200 career concussions, you can’t play again that season. Please, blog, may I have some more?