Front and Center

11/25/2010 2:11 AM -  matt juba

We are now 25 percent of the way into the season and there are certain things that we have learned thus far. The Islanders still have no idea what they are doing, even without Scott Gordon as the head coach. After tonight’s game the current number is 14 consecutive losses. The Pacific Division is going to be arguably the most fun to fun top to bottom all season. And, the only way you are stopping Steven Stamkos is… there is no way to stop him, you can only hope to contain him.

To add to the interest and intrigue in the world of fantasy hockey, I am going to write about the following players:

John Tavares –  C – New York Islanders
Last season’s number one overall pick was recently dropped in the writers league. My team has been struggling for offense behind a certain Stamkos and Paul Stastny of Colorado, so I decided to put a claim on Tavares, and hopefully the potential will outweigh the current performance this season.  Upon further investigation, Tavares is only owned in 55 percent of leagues. There are not that many Islanders fans out there, so people are stubborn and holding onto him or refuse to keep him on a roster since the center spot is very deep this year. His (-14) rating is tough to swallow and is one of the worst in the NHL, but 12 points in 18 games is difficult to ignore.  He is averaging only three shots a game and is finding the back of the net 14 percent of the time. If you are willing to sacrifice some plus/minus, Tavares could be a good pickup in deep leagues that carry 2-3 center positions. If he is available in a keeper league, stop reading and go pick him up.

Brad Boyes  - RW – St. Louis Blues
Boyes is underrated in fantasy leagues and hockey veterans may forget about him playing for the Blues. With four goals in the last two weeks and a five-game point streak, he should be owned while he is playing well. This RW had a 30-point drop in production last season, scoring only 16 goals. He was someone who fell in fantasy drafts and could be had at a bargain. Boyes is keeping the Blues offense fantasy relevant, since he has more shots on goal than mass-owned Kris Versteeg of Toronto and Brenden Morrow of Dallas. Boyes is owned in less than 15% of leagues and is a viable second RW in medium to deep leagues.

Logan Couture – C – San Jose Sharks
Couture was the topic of much discussion on the Weekly Slapshot Podcast last weekend among the writers and who is to blame. With three goals, six points and 20 SOG in the last two weeks, his numbers exceed those of Ryan Kesler while being owned in 50 percent fewer leagues. Less than one in five leagues have jumped on the Logan Express, and he will continue to play as a top six forward with Joe Pavelski, making Devin Setoguchi a third line player for the Sharks and waiver wire fodder in fantasy leagues.  Couture could be your quarter season waiver wire find of the year if he can keep this momentum and the Sharks continue to succeed.

Thomas Kopecky – LW – Chicago Blackhawks
Kopecky is still being listed as the top LW in Chicago teaming up with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa, giving owners of the stagnant LW some reason on why he should be owned on fantasy rosters. The list of reasons stops there as he is not producing as a top six forward for any fantasy roster. Kopecky started the season hot but has only one assist in the last couple weeks and two points for the month of November. He is still averaging close to five minutes of ice time on the power-play showing us the Chicago is still showing signs of faith in him. LW Viktor Stalberg and Troy Brouwer are young wingers that are looking to make their opportunities for the Blackhawks, and these opportunities could come sooner rather than later if Kopecky does not start finding the net.

Mark Recchi – RW – Boston Bruins
It’s time to turn back the clock in Beantown, as the Bruins’ leading assist man this season is 42 years old and is ranked #24 in the Yahoo fantasy hockey rankings. Recchi had nine points in the last two weeks and throwing in 9 PIM on top of that, giving Boston some offense besides Nathan Horton until Marc Savard eventually comes back from the IR. Recchi is a long shot to keep this pace going all season; however, the veteran players such as Recchi and Anaheim’s Teemu Selanne will adapt their style of play to the game around them.  If you are in dire need of a RW and need help in the assist category take a flier on Recchi.

Listen to Matt on the Weekly Slapshot Podcast, heard every Saturday on Blog Talk Radio.

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