Tim Connolly, C, BUF (25GP-6g-8a-14pts, with a (-10) and 10 PIMs)
There’s no doubt Connolly has been a disappointment this year, but grabbing him now could pay off huge for your second-half run. With the news that the Sabres’ number one centerman and leading scorer Derek Roy will miss the remainder of the season with a torn quadricep muscle, Connolly really has no one standing between him and legitimate top-line status. He is slated to return soon from a routine Connolly-like IR stint of his own and should be plugged right in at the top of the Sabres’ roster.
Kyle Okposo, RW, NYI (no ’10-’11 stats)
This is a big one. If Okposo is available on your wire grab him now! His predicted return to the lineup in late-December, early-January is quickly approaching, and if you’ve ever heard my “fourth year” rant about former first-round draft picks, you should know that Okposo is primed to breakout in a major way. Okposo fits the four-year development profile to a tee, and he will be plugged directly into a top line with John Tavares, who has been aching for a linemate to help him start reaching his own true potential. I wouldn’t even expect much of an adjustment period. It’s a very similar situation to Phil Kessel last year when he joined the Leafs about a month into the season and quickly became one of the most prolific offensive threats in the league.
Todd Bertuzzi, RW, DET (35GP-5g-16a-21pts, with a +3 and 26 PIMs)
This may be a bit of a desperation move, but with recent key injuries to Pavel Datsyuk and Daniel Cleary in Detroit, someone is going to have to step up. Bertuzzi seems to be the most obvious choice, but keep your eye on this situation. The Wings still have a fairly potent offence, and they have a history of getting strong performances out of third and fourth-line players when they need them to step up. Someone in that lineup will surely excel over the next month or so.
Dwayne Roloson, G, NYI (18GP-5-12-1, with a 2.38 GAA and a .920 SV%)
The idea of owning a goalie from the NHL’s worst team may not be that appealing to you, but if you’re in need of some help in net, Roloson is really not as bad as you think. The 41-year old backstop has made a career out of keeping weak teams in games, as was displayed this last week when he turned aside 106 of 109 shots to lead the Isles on a three-game win streak. The impending return of Okposo should help as well. I fully expect Okposo’s return to give the young Isles’ team a much needed mid-season confidence boost that should lead to an improved second half.
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