Will using The Force actually make your team better than picking up Justin Schultz would? Well, no. Not exactly. But it will stop you from making blind spec pickups and dropping guys who might actually be helping you already in some way. In either case, I’m going with “D”, which by the way is the subject of this week’s column. Here’s all the “D” you can handle – if you want to improve your team NOW instead of waiting for the fallout of all the deadline deals – all neatly sorted into three categories: Scoring help, Keepers only, and Peripheral Vision (which help in those “other” stats).
Through nine seasons with the Buffalo Sabres Drew Stafford has mostly been a yawnstipating, forgettable skater that shows intermittent flashes of solid play but quickly regresses to his usual bleh. He did have a couple 20-goal seasons and even a 30-goal year back in 2010 when he potted 31 goals in just 62 games and it seemed like he might be poised to take a step to the next level. Alas, he never did and the Sabres didn’t help much by getting worse and worse until they hit rock bottom in 2014. Luckily for Staff he was traded to the Winnipeg Jets in the Great Tank for McDavid campaign and with 12 points (6 G, 6 A) in his last 11 games he’s playing at a level that he may never have achieved before on big ice.
Former Hobey Baker winner Johnny Gaudreau (Yahoo – 31%, ESPN – 53.4%, CBS – 73%) didn’t start the season off well with no points in his first five games but he has come alive recently with nine points in his last six games, sporting a plus-9 rating on the season to boot! He’s little and he’s young, but you have to remember that this is a guy who put up 80 points in 40 games in his final season at Boston College, so the mighty-mini playmaker has skills to spare and it’s quickly translating into success at the NHL level. I don’t think he keeps this torrid pace up, but the Flames look pretty damn solid, a lot more so than anyone really expected going into the season. He plays on a line with Sean Monahan, another guy you should own and I touch on in this post, and gets time on the top power play unit for the Flames so the chances will keep coming so long as Johnny can keep cashing them in. The word is out on CBS and he’s gaining traction fast in ESPN leagues, but of course Yahoo lags behind at just 31% owned. Why must you plague me so, Yahoo league owners? Do you have an aversion to winning or are nearly 70% of teams abandoned already? Get with the program y’all, add this guy yesterday! What’s that I hear? You didn’t get a chance to cash in on Johnny? Well scope out the rest of these guys, maybe you’ll beat the rush: