The Red Wings lost yet another forward this week with Tomas Holmstrom suffering a broken hand that should keep him out of the lineup for the next month or so. Not that these injuries are affecting the Wings offence much, as they simply seem to just give someone else an opportunity to shine. Over the past couple of weeks, the duo of Hudler and Helm has stepped up the most. Hudler seems like the most logical to gain value with the flashes of offensive upside he has shown in the past—and he has performed much better of late. After a brutally slow start to the season where he posted just six points (1g-5a) over his first 30 games, he’s picked up a more adequate eight points (3g-5a) in his last ten games. Helm, on the other hand, is currently riding the hottest stretch of his career. The speedy penalty-kill specialist has turned a 3 – 5 minute per game increase in ice-time into 12 points (2g-10a) in his last 13 games. Before you jump on Helm though, remember Holmstrom played a large role on the Wings’ power-play, where Hudler has over half of his points this year. Helm has yet to register a point with the man-advantage in 143 career games.
Erik Cole, RW CAR (44GP-12g-13a-25pts, with a +5 and 23 PIMs)
Raleigh is a great place to find offence these days, with the Hurricanes posting up 40 goals in their last 10 games on the way to a 7-1-2 record in that span. Much of that can be attributed to the breakout play of Calder Trophy front-runner Jeff Skinner, giving the team a consistent secondary scoring threat. You might have missed the boat with Skinner, but take a look for Erik Cole on your wire. He’s a fixture on the top two lines and he should continue to factor in just by being on the ice. He has 14 points (7g-7a) in his last 16 games, and if the ‘Canes perform in the second half like they have the past two seasons, you can expect a lot more scoring to come.
Trevor Daley, D DAL (45GP-5g-13a-18pts, with a +11 and 4 pp points)
It seems like we’ve been waiting a long time for Daley to reach his potential in Dallas, but it appears he may have finally arrived. Daley is well on pace to shatter his career highs in every stat category that counts and he’s starting to see a little more power-play time as a result. He has seven points (3g-4a) in his last eight games with three of his four power-play points coming over that stretch. If Stephane Robidas puts up his routinely weak second half, Daley should be given every opportunity to keep up his current pace.
Scott Clemmensen, G, FLO (14GP-5-5-1, with a 2.39 GAA and a .924 SV%)
If you’re desperate for goaltending, or a Tomas Vokoun owner, you should be grabbing Clemmensen, who is stealing starts at an alarming rate for the Panthers. Clemmensen is giving the Panthers a much more consistent look than the all-or-nothing Vokoun, who seems to always get shutouts against elite teams while giving up four goals to every other team. With the highly touted Jacob Markstrom waiting in the wings, it’s likely that the Panthers are looking to deal Vokoun, who is on the final year of his contract. If this happens, jump on Markstrom fast, he’s arguably the top goaltending prospect in the game. Clemmensen is expected to make his third consecutive start on Monday against Atlanta, so be sure to act quickly.
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