Pavol Demitra, LW/RW, VAN (12GP-2g-3a-5pts, with a +3 and 20 shots)
Demitra was a star over the Olympic break for his native Slovakia, leading the team with 10 points (3g-7a) in 7 games. After missing the majority of the season with a shoulder injury suffered in last year’s playoffs, Demitra has also now registered points in four of the last five Canuck games as well, and has tallied close to 20 minutes in his last two contests. Expect the Canucks to continue to ride him while he’s hot as they attempt to lockdown first in the Northwest.
David Clarkson, RW, NJ (25GP-7g-8a-15pts, with a (-1) and 44 PIMs)
Clarkson was one of the most valuable Devil forwards until a broken fibula forced him out of action in late November. He doesn’t have nearly as much value in leagues that don’t count penalty minutes, but if your league does count them, Clarkson is one of those few guys with the unique ability to rack up penalty minutes while chipping in on the scoresheet regularly as well. Take note though, the acquisition of Ilya Kovalchuk in New Jersey will probably steal a little bit of offensive opportunity from Clarkson.
Cam Barker, D, MIN (52GP-5g-10a-15pts, with a +9 and 58 PIMs)
The acquisition of Barker in Minnesota just previous to the Olympic break could have huge fantasy implications for the young d-man who struggled to find minutes with a stacked back-end in Chicago. His numbers were already decent while averaging less than 14 minutes a game in the Windy City, so expect that number to jump to over 20 in Minnesota with an overall increase in production across the board. He scored a goal with a +2 and 19:38 in icetime in his first game with the Wild.
Kari Lehtonen, G, DAL (has not played this season)
As H2H playoffs quickly approach in fantasy leagues, having a strong goalie squad is essential, albeit very difficult to actually improve upon if needed. Taking a chance on Lehtonen now could prove to be huge, as he approaches a return from a season-long back injury, with current Dallas starter Marty Turco continuing to struggle. Lehtonen had been stuck in the goalie wasteland of Atlanta his entire career and a fresh start with a more defensive, Western Conference squad in Dallas could possibly escalate him in to the upper echelon of NHL starters that he was expected to become when the Thrashers selected him second overall in 2002.