Monday, December 28, 2009

Just Fantasy Hockey: Week 14 Forecaster

It’s Winter Classic time again, and the NHL is again center stage in the sports world for one day. This year’s edition has the highly penalized, Philadelphia Flyers battling streaking Boston Bruins, in the storied confines of Fenway. The NHL has perfected the art of the outdoor game and watching it in HD is a close second to freezing your butt off amongst the rowdy crowd.

4 Games - Anaheim, Atlanta, Calgary, Chicago, Columbus, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Montreal, New Jersey, Ottawa, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Jose

3 Games - Boston, Buffalo, Carolina, Colorado, Dallas, Detroit, Nashville, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Vancouver, Washington

2 Games - Florida, Toronto

Boston Bruins - @ Tampa Bay vs. Atlanta, vs. Philadelphia

Closing out the week against the Flyers is not the only great news of the week. Winger, Milan Lucic, is poised to return for the Classic as well. Winners in their last 3 games, Tim Thomas has 3 wins and a shutout and looks to be leading the Bruins back into respectability.

Montreal - @ Ottawa, @ Tampa Bay, @ Florida, vs. Buffalo

There seems to be a goalie controversy brewing the Montreal. Winners in their last 4, Jaroslav Halak, has all 4 wins and allowed a stringy 6 goals in those starts. The line of Plekanec, A Kostistyn and Cammalleri are leading the charge as well as Montreal is red-hot on the PP thanks to Andrei Markov. Injured winger, Brian Gionta, should make it back into the line-up as well, and should pay off dividends when he heats up. He is a buy low candidate. Look for Halak to continue in the net until he loses, but Montreal should have a great week.

Columbus - vs. Detroit, @ New York Islanders, vs. Nashville, vs. Colorado

The Blue Jackets are in a freefall and are losers are in the last 9 contests. With no end in sight, steer clear of any Columbus netminder until they can right their ship. Rick Nash remains a must start in all formats as he remains their only consistent offensive weapon.

Los Angeles - vs. Minnesota, @ Calgary, @ Minnesota, vs. Washington

Playing only 1 game last week gave time for the Kings to regroup and ease Ryan Smyth back into the line-up. The good news stopped there as oft-injured Jason Williams went down with a broken leg. Look for Jonathan Quick to rule the Kings crease and Dustin Brown to move up to the top line with Smyth and Kopitar.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Just Fantasy Hockey: Week 12 Forecaster

With half the league playing a busy 4 game week there are lots of choices in leagues that offer only weekly roster changes. Unfortunately the NHL schedule makers forgot about the San Jose Sharks by slating them for only 1 game, so Nabakov, Thornton and Heatley owners will have to work the waiver wire a bit more this week. Let’s look at the week ahead at some of the more promising match ups.

4 Game Week: Atlanta, Buffalo, Columbus, Detroit, Florida, Montreal, Nashville, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Phoenix, St. Louis, Toronto, Vancouver

3 Game Week: Anaheim, Boston, Calgary, Carolina, Chicago, Dallas, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Minnesota, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Washington

2 Game Week: Colorado

1 Game Week: San Jose

Vancouver: vs. Los Angeles, vs. Anaheim, vs. Washington, vs. St. Louis

Robert Luongo is 9-4-0 at home this year with a solid .922 SV% and 2.25 GAA. With 4 home games this week Luongo can be relied upon to post similar numbers. Also, the Canucks offence is second in the league in goals per game at home and fair well against some of the defences they are facing.

Fantasy Spin: The Sedin twins and Luongo are extremely solid plays in week-to-week leagues and are a definite must starts this week. Ryan Kesler has seen hits point total dip with the return of D. Sedin and should be considered as a number 3 fantasy center now.

Atlanta: @New York Rangers, @ Florida, vs. Dallas, vs. New Jersey

Atlanta has had one the most potent offences season and currently sit third in goals per game. The Thrashers offer one of the most balanced attacks in the NHL, as proven when when their number one point producer Kovalchuk, went down to injury. Until they show signs of slowing continue to dress your Thrashers.

Fantasy Spin: Kovalchuk continues to be a must play in standard hockey leagues, but in deeper leagues Peverly, Antropov and Afinogenov can be relied upon for consistent numbers.

Chicago: vs. St. Louis, vs. Boston, vs. Detroit.

The Blackhawks are tied with the Devils with a leagues best 2.14 GAA. With 3 home games against team in the bottom third in total offence, it is a perfect match-up for owners of Black Hawk goaltenders. Chicago continues to tinker with their offensive lines to try and find a second line center after Toews. Sharp looks to have developed some chemistry with Hossa and Eager on a line, something the Hawks have been looking for all season.

Fantasy Spin: With no back to back games this week Huet should get all 3 starts and should be started in any league this week. Toews, Keith and Hossa are solid plays this week even though they play only 3 games. Keep an eye out for an injury update on Kane as he went down in the game against the Lightning before your line-ups set.

Detroit: vs. Phoenix, vs. St. Louis, @Dallas, @ Chicago

Detroit has been hit by the injury bug all season and have tightened up defensively as a result. Allowing just 9 goals over their last 5 games, this veteran group of players are playing a defence first style of play to . Phoenix and St. Louis sit 28th and 29th in total offence and are great match-ups for Detroit early in the week.

Fantasy Spin: Jimmy Howard has allowed just 4 goals over his last 3 games and will likely get the majority of starts in net. Todd Bertuzzi has 4 goals in his last 2 games and may be worth a look in deeper leagues as he is hot right now.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Fantasy Boom or Bust Review - Eastern Conference

The Easternce Conference now hosts the team with the most points, the league leader in scoring and best goaltender. One third of the way in, Just Fantasy Hockey examins the Booms and Busts so far in the East.

Atlanta – The Thrashers made great strides in the off-season to sign players and make a return to the playoffs. They are currently sitting in a play-off position, however the ongoing contract discussions between Kovalchuk and management aren’t progressing.

Boom – M Afinogenov – Second in team scoring, Max has found a new lease on life playing with countryman Kovalchuk. A steal of a signing, Afinogenov has played primarily on Atlanta’s top line all season.

Bust – B Little, T White & S Kozlov – It appears playing with super sniper Kovalchuk will elevate anyone’s stats. In this case all three players have played on the second and third lines and have struggled mightily. Don’t expect a turn around anytime soon, it’s time to look elsewhere if you own the players.

Boston – The Bruins are suffering from a relapse after a deep playoff run. With injuries taking a toll early on, they are finally turning it around and contending for a playoff spot. With the core of the team signed long-term, the Bruins should challenge for the division lead.

Boom – P Bergeron – With the large amount of injuries in Boston, Bergeron was thrust into a number one role at the start of the season. Leading the Bruins in scoring with 23 points, Bergeron has increased his fantasy value once again and looks to have fully recovered from his injury from years ago.

Bust – T Thomas – The defending Vezina winning goalie has fallen back down to mediocrity. Boasting a 7-7-3 record with a 2.48 GAA, back-up Rask has outplayed him this season.

Buffalo – The Sabres goal this year is to return to the playoffs. Ryan Miller leads all NHL goaltenders in GAA and Save % and is the catalyst of the team. Coach Ruff has the team playing a disciplined but low scoring brand of hockey which is hurting their fantasy values.

Boom – T Myers – The 6’8” rookie has made an immediate impact with the team. Constantly compared To Zdeno Chara, Myers is a less physical, more mobile d-man. With 15 points in 27 games, he is having an excellent start to the season.

Bust – T Vanek – The Austrain winger is a wizard with the puck.A traditional slow starter, Vanek has only 18 points in 25 games and has more assists than goals. Be patient fantasy owners, he should break-out sooner rather than later.

Carolina – The worst team in the league doesn’t have a lot going for it at the moment. With injuries to Staal and Ward, their complimentary players just aren’t enough to keep the team a float. The clock may be ticking on coach Maurice.

Boom – R Whitney – This ageless wonder is leading the struggling Hurricanes in scoring. With 20 points in 27 games, 37 year old is prime trade bait as he is a UFA in the off-season.

Bust – The rest of the team – The Hurricanes are the worst team in the league and things are not looking up. Staal and Ward are the leaders of the team and have both been injured for long periods of time. Fantasy owners should not expect an outpouring of offence in Carolina but a look for Staal to rebound from a slow start.

Florida – After a horrible start to the season, The Panthers have turned it around as of late and are now only 4 points out of a playoff spot.

Boom – N Horton – After a slow start to the season, Horton has has turned around his game. Leading the Panthers in scoring with 25 points in 30 games, he is finally rewarding fantasy owner with an all round effort.

Bust – D Booth – This season is a season that Booth will want to forget. After receiving a vicious hit from Mike Richards that left him with a concussion, Booth is still not able to skate and is suffering from post concussion syndrome. Fantasy owners that drafted Booth early know the skill he possesses but will have to wait until next year to get rue value from him.

Montreal – The Habs face pressure on a nightly basis from fans, press, coaches and themselves. Few players have shown up on a nightly basis and the Habs get outshot routinely. Goaltender Carey Price has elevated himself and has carried the club most nights, now if he could only score goals.

Boom – T Plekanec – Playing for a new contract, Plekanec is leading the Canadiens in scoring and has been one of the teams highlight players this year. Look for Plekanec to continue playing at a point per game basis as he is the top pivot in Montreal.

Bust – S Gomez – At 7.5 Million dollars a season, you would expect you would be getting a player that leads your team in scoring. In 27 games, Gomez has managed 15 points and continues to disappear on a routine basis. He should no longer be looked at as a number one centerman in any fantasy format.

New Jersey – Many thought with the addition of Jaques Lemaire as coach would end the Devils ability to score, the opposite is holding true. The Devils lead their division and have many players scoring at a point per game rate.

Boom – M Brodeur – It’s hard to argue that there is any better Devil than one of the greatest goaltenders of all time. Playing on a nightly basis, Brodeur is showing no signs of slowing at 37. Fantasy owners should not worry about him fading away or retiring until the ink is dry on his retirement papers.

Bust – D Zubrus – At 31, Zubrus has never had a season with over 60 points. He currently has 7 points in 20 games and is nursing an injury. With a lot of fellow Devils scoring at a point per game pace, Zubrus has once again fallen behind the pack.

NY Islanders – Rookie John Tavares and goaltender Dwayne Roloson have turned the Islanders into a legitimate NHL team again. Sitting 3 points out of a playoff spot, the Islander will continue to push all season to get back into the big dance.

Boom – M Moulson – Fantasy owners are still wondering where this kid came from. Second in team scoring, Moulson has a propensity for scoring goals and compliments Tavares nicely.

Bust – S Bergenheim – Lightning fast, Bergeheim is struggling to keep up with the other young Islanders. With 11 points in 29 games, he is top 5 on the team in shot but just can’t seem to find the back of the net.

NY Rangers – The Rangers are only as good as Marion Gaborik. The leading scorer in the league, Gaborik is dynamic and finally healthy. However, if Gaborik goes down, so does any hopes of the Rangers making the playoffs.

Boom – V Prospal – The good season, bad season trend continues for Prospal. He is having a amazing start to the season playing alongside Gaborik. With 26 points in 28 games, he is one of the few productive Rangers this season.

Bust – H Lundqvist – Still an elite goaltender in the league, Lundqvist started the season on a hot streak but has fallen on tough times lately. Still possessing a winning record, 12-11-1 2.64 GAA, he should be able to return to fine form as the the season grinds on.

Ottawa – The surprising Sens are a hard working club that are in the game most nights. Currently sitting in 7th in the East, Ottawa will have to find the secondary scoring to be able to stay there for the rest of the year.

Boom – M Fisher – The 29 year old centerman has never been a scoring force in the NHL. Second in team scoring, Fisher has 23 points in 29 games and is outplaying top pivot Jason Spezza. Fisher may not continue scoring but keep an eye on his progression as he may very well become Ottawa’s top center.

Bust – J Spezza, A Kovalev & J Cheechoo – The high priced talent just isn’t pulling their weight. With a combined total of 38 points in 82 games, this trio just aren’t getting it done. Fantasy owners should expect them to continue to struggle all season as the chemistry doesn’t seem to be prevalent in Ottawa.

Philadelphia – The Flyers were favourites heading into the league but their struggles with injuries and scoring have found them on the outside looking in. With so much talent on one team, it is only a matter of time before they get it together again.

Boom – J van Riemsdyk – A Calder candidate, JVR has fit in nicely on the Flyers top 2 lines. With 19 points in 25 games, JVR should continue putting up good numbers when Philly snaps out of their slump.

Bust –Coach J Stevens – The first coaching change of the season, Stevens was supposed to lead the Flyers straight into the Cup final, instead he lead them into a 5 game losing streak and 10 place in the Eastern Conference. Look for the Flyers to rebound now that Laviolette is in charge.

Pittsburgh – The Penguins got hit by the injury bug hard and were able to stay afloat thanks to Sid the Kid. Now that the majority of the Pens are healthy, they have returned to their championship form and are a force to be reckoned with.

Boom – A Goligoski – With all the injuries in Pittsburgh, Goligoski has quietly become the Penguins leading defensive scorer. With 16 points in 21 games, he has become yet another weapon for the potent Penguins.

Bust – K Letang – With the emergence of Goligoski, Letang has struggled statistically. Suffering an early injury, Letang has 10 points in 22 games after a stellar Stanley Cup run. Hold onto Letang as he may still put up points in the latter half of the season.

Tampa Bay – The Lightning are feeling better about where they are this year. With a young and competitive hockey team, Tampa sits 2 points out of a playoff spot and are getting production from sophomore Stamkos.

Boom – S Stamkos – In his second full year in the league, Stamkos is emerging as a force in Tampa. He is leading the for the Lightning in goals and points and has meshed well with Marty St. Louis. If this is a sign of how good he could be in the future, the Lightning have drafted a gem.

Bust – A Tanguay – After suffering a series of injuries in Montreal, Tanguay joined the Lightning late in the off-season. Tanguay may very well still be recovering from the injuries as he is playing as a shadow of his former self. With 17 points in 29 games, he should not be relied on as a top number 1 winger in fantasy pools.

Toronto – The Jekyll and Hyde Maple Leafs have looked impressive as of late. With sniper Kessel back in action and Kaberle making that all important first pass out of the zone, the Leafs are only as good as their goaltending.

Boom – T Kaberle – Second in defensive scoring in the league and leading the Leafs with 28 points in 29 games, Kaberle is having an outstanding season. With the ability to thread the eye of a needle with his passes, Kaberle will continue to post great numbers all season.

Bust – J Blake – A player that takes as many shots on goal as Blake does should result in far more goals. After taking 92 shots so far this season, he only has 4 goals. The aging winger has tremendous speed but lacks the finishing touch he had as an Islanders 4 seasons ago.

Washington –The flashy Capitals are deep in talent and are leading the league in scoring. With many questions surrounding their goaltending to start the season, Both Varlamov and Theodore own winning records and have helped the Caps lead the league in points.

Boom – B Laich, T Fleischmann & B Morrison – The Caps now have the ability to count on someone other than AO for scoring. With the emergence of these players, Washington is now deep, young and primed for a long playoff run.

Bust – M Nylander – The enigma that is Michael Nylander continues to haunt the Capitals. Not having played a game all season, and eating a cap hit of 4.875 Million, the Capitals cannot find a home for him.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Just Fantasy Hockey: Week 11 Forecaster

We are officially entering the half way point in most fantasy league schedules. The NHL has seen its first major move in the firing of John Stevens. The Olympics are only 67 days away and the trade deadline will be here before you know it. Before we get too far forward, let’s look at the week ahead.

4 Game Week: Atlanta, Buffalo, Calgary, Carolina, Colorado, Florida, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Montreal, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Washington

3 Game Week: Anaheim, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Edmonton, Nashville, New York Islanders, Ottawa, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Jose, Vancouver

2 Game Week: Boston, New York Rangers

Buffalo Sabres: vs. New Jersey, vs. Washington, vs. Chicago, @ New York Rangers.

There seems to be no stopping Ryan Miller this year, as he has all but locked up the starting role for the U.S at this year’s Olympics. Washington is the only opponent this week that could throw a hammer into the works, but it’s hard to question not playing a hot goalie. The Buffalo offence sits 25th overall in goals for and have no players playing at a point per game pace.

Fantasy Spin: Miller remains a must start in all fantasy formats as he boasts the best GAA in the league. Roy, Connolly, Pominville, Vanek and rookie Tyler Myers are leading the charge for the Sabres offensively, although they still struggle at times.

Toronto Maple Leafs: vs. Atlanta, vs. New York Islanders, @Boston, vs. Washington

Toronto possesses the NHL’s worst home offence. In 12 homes games so far this season, the Buds have only scored 22 goals. They lead the league in shots per game with 34.2, but that doesn’t amount to anything more than padding opposing goalies SV%. Kessel has been the only source of reliable Leafs offence since his return.

Fantasy Spin: Kessel has 10 goals in his 16 games this season, but only has 1 goal in his last 4 at the ACC. If your league has shots as a category, he is a must start. Kaberle leads all Leafs in scoring but owns a -7 plus/minus rating.

Philadelphia Flyers: @Montreal, vs. New York Islanders, @ Ottawa, vs. New Jersey

Since returning from their 5 game Western road trip, the Flyer offence has disappeared.
Recording 4 straight losses, two of which were shut-outs, the Flyers decided it was time for a change by firing their head coach. Philadelphia has extremely high expectations this year after trading for Chris Pronger in the off-season to mesh with a highly potent and young offence. They started the season off well, but have fallen on hard times as of late.

Fantasy Spin: This team has a ton of young offensive talent and are a tempting fantasy bunch, but until they find their way with coach Laviolette, they remain risky additions to your line-up. Richards, Carter and Pronger are guaranteed to continue to eat up ice-time regardless of their level of play. Be confident that the Flyers will snap out of this spell at any time and make an impact soon.

Washington Capitals: @Tampa Bay, @Buffalo, Carolina, @Toronto

The Capitals lead the league in goals per game and have the league’s best power play unit at a 24.3%. The Lightning, Hurricanes, Leafs and Sabres sit among the worst in the league in penalty minutes per game so far this year. With Ovechkin back from his two game suspension and Semin returning to his fine form the Capitals should be set for another huge offensive week.

Fantasy Spin: The Capitals offer a wealth of stars and some players on the rise. Activate all Capitals including Laich and Fleishmann as they continue to offer secondary scoring on the best offensive team. Theodore and Varlamov should split duties this week, each having two starts, dress them accordingly.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Fantasy Boom or Bust Review - Western Conference

With approximately one third of the NHL schedule complete, Just Fantasy Hockey is taking a look at some of the fantasy booms and busts from the first 27 games. We will start our focus on the Western Conference.

Anaheim – The Ducks continue to struggle and look better on paper than they are actually playing. With weaker than average goaltending, the Ducks continue to trim the fat by waiving the dead weight.

Boom – C Perry – Leading the charge with a 19 game point streak, Perry is a fantasy treasure.

Bust – S Koivu & J Lupul – With only 10 points in 20 + games, they are offering no secondary scoring.

Calgary – Tops in their division, Calgary offers a defence first approach that finds them on the right side of winning most nights.

Boom – R Bourque – Averaging a point per game pace, Bourque has added much needed secondary scoring. Look for Bourque to continue putting up good numbers all season when he returns from his injury.

Bust – D Phaneuf – 2 seasons removed from a 60 point season, Phaneuf’s name is stronger than his play. Still a hard hitting d-man, he may no longer be the big point and PIM guy he once was.

Chicago – The Blackhawks are primed to make a deep run in the playoffs and have showed a combination of speed and skill this season. A wealth of fantasy options are to be had on this team.

Boom – D Keith – On the verge of announcing a long-term deal in Chicago, Keith has played his way into consideration for team Canada and has produced at close to a point per game status.

Bust – C Barker - The young rearguard bust into the league last season recording 40 points in 68 games and was a threat on the powerplay. This season, Barker has quietly fallen into anonymity in such a star studded Hawks team.

Colorado – The Avalanche have surprised the entire league. With a young and aspiring team, Colorado is in the playoff hunt and gives an all around effort most nights.

Boom – C Anderson – The main reason the Aves are in the position they are in now is because of Anderson. He has single handily led Colorado into a respectful team when most people never gave him a chance. Look for Anderson to continue to play over his head for the rest of the season.

Bust – M Svatos – Once looked at as a sniper, Svatos’ injury problems and inability to finish has killed his fantasy value. A change of scenery would benefit Svatos.

Columbus – Once thought of as a defensively tight, the Blue Jackets have become as porous as a teenager. Fantasy owners are feeling the pain of owning Calder winner Steve Mason and are left wondering if it will last all season.

Boom – A Vermette – Never regarded as an offensive threat, Vermette is hovering at a point per game rate and a plus 2 on the season. He is proving to be a sleeper fantasy option.

Bust – D Brassard – Oozing with potential, owners of Brassard were expecting an outpouring of offense. Pegged as Nash’s centerman, Brassard has struggled thus far netting 16 points in 26 games.

Dallas – The Stars have returned to respectability after an injury plagued season last year. Staying healthy and having their young players develop quickly has allowed the Stars to remain in the hunt for a playoff spot.

Boom – J Neal – Neal has managed to avoid the sophomore slump so far. With 22 points in 23 games, 11 of them goals, Neal is second in Stars scoring and has be a pleasant surprise to fantasy owners.

Bust – M Niskanen – Hoping Niskanen would be their powerplay quarterback, he has statistically disappeared. With 8 points in 26 games, Niskanen has taken a step back and is not a fantasy option any longer.

Detroit – The defending Western Conference champions look to be finally coming back down to earth. The loss of key components, injuries and father time not on their side, Detroit will continue to struggle.

Boom – H Zetterberg – Locked up long-term, Zetterberg is the only Wing to be playing at a point per game basis. It’s hard to deny his talent and Zetts should continue scoring, even if no one else is.

Bust – The rest of the team – Owners of Red Wing players have lived through many fantasy rich seasons. With Lidstrom, Rafalski, Osgood and even Datsyuk struggling, owners are left holding their breath waiting for them to snap out of it. It can’t go on forever right?

Edmonton – With coach Quinn at the Helm, things looked bright for the Oilers early on. That was until the wheels fell off and injuries had decimated the club. Quinn has the young Oilers playing well but are mired in a deep slump.

Boom – D Penner - This could be Penner’s year to finally reach his potential. With 30 points in 27 games, 15 of them goals, Penner is a fantasy option once again.

Bust – S Horcoff – Pegged as the number one center, Horcoff has 11 points in 23 games and is a horrendous -10. He should only be considered as a reserve player in the deepest of leagues.

Los Angeles – The Kings have pieced together an impressive group of talented youth and veterans. Poised at making a playoff run, the Kings need to learn how to break out of a scoring slump that has hit them since Smyth’s injury.

Boom – R Smyth – Never shying away from a physical game, Smyth has ignited young sniper Kopitar and is playing at a point per game pace as well. Look for Smyth to continue playing well once he returns from is injury.

Bust – A Frolov – Not a favourite of coach Terry Murray, Frolov has been in and out of his doghouse all season long. With 18 points in 27 games, Frolov has played on all three lines and has failed to find chemistry with any of them.

Minnesota – Fans in Minnesota were excited to learn about the new direction that the team was going to go in the off-season. A high tempo, fast paced and less trapping game has left fans scratching their heads wondering what went wrong.

Boom – A Brunette – An always consistent Brunette is once playing close to a point per game pace. With 21 points in 26 games, he is one of the few Wild players playing well.

Bust – M Havlat – With 9 points in 21 games, a – 16, and injured again, Havlat may just be the biggest bust in the entire league. Jump ship now on Havlat as it appears he will not get any better.

Nashville – One of the lowest scoring teams in the league, Nashville is as only as good as their goaltending. The Predators could use a goal scorer to add feeble scoring, so until they can get a scoring boost they will be a hot and cold team.

Boom – JP Dumont – Has always been a silent scorer, Dumont leads the Preds in scoring with 19 points in 21 games. A brief injury sidelined the winger for a bit, nut he has returned and is consistent.

Bust – M Erat – Never a high scoring threat, Erat has always been a decent depth player, until now. With 10 points in 24 games, Erat has fallen down the Predators depth chart and most fantasy rosters.

Phoenix – The turn-around from one of the worst teams in the league to respectability is under way. Even though the fans aren’t coming out, the Coyotes currently sit 7th in the West and should challenge for a playoff spot all year.

Boom – I Bryzgalov – The lifeline for the Coyotes, Bryzgalov has an impressive 14-8-1 record with a 2.12 GAA. He is a must have on any fantasy roster if he can remain white hot.

Bust – P Mueller – With only 4 points in 24 games, Mueller could use a change of scenery. Even though he had loads of potential, Mueller offer little in the way of fantasy value.

San Jose – The President’s Trophy winners last season are up to their same old tricks. The high flying Sharks are deep and dangerous. The young prospects have played well thus far and the veterans are tops in the league in scoring.

Boom – P Marleau – After being stripped of his captaincy in the off-season, Marleau has rebounded and is off to an incredible start. With 33 points in 29 games, he leads the team in goals scored.

Bust – ME Vlasic – With a dismal 9 points in 29 games, Vlasic has lost powerplay time and confidence along the way. On pace for 25 points, Vlasic should not factor in as a fantasy option this season.

St. Louis – Possessing a wealth of potential doesn’t always equate into winning hockey games. The Blues are loaded with very talented young players and key veterans that do not seem to be finding chemistry yet.

Boom – E Johnson – Healthy once again, Johnson leads the Blues in scoring and averages 22 minutes of ice time a games. Johnson should continue to be in the top 10 of defensive scoring.

Bust – P Kariya – Although none of the Blues players are living up to potential, a healthy Paul Kariya was supposed to offer up somewhere close to 7o points. With 11 points in 25 games, he will be lucky to hit 50 points.

Vancouver – The injury bug hit the Canucks hard already this season. Welcoming back their injured stars will help Vancouver shoot up the standings and become a force once again in the West.

Boom – M Raymond – With this being his third season with the Canucks, Raymond is already close to surpassing his 23 points he scored last season in 72 games. The speedy winger is proving to be a great depth player for Vancouver and your fantasy team.

Bust – K Bieksa – The hard hitting, oft-injured Bieksa has seen his point totals drastically slashed this season. With Ehrhoff and Edler getting the majority of the powerplay time, Bieksa still offers PIMs as a fantasy upside.