Thursday is somewhat busy night with eight games on the schedule. Perhaps there will be a few start/sit decisions in fantasy lineups, but I’ll use the opportunity to identify some unlikely names that could possess some immediate value and some usual names that are mired in slumps.
Andrew Raycroft, G, DAL – add/start
Kari Lehtonen’s groin injury crippled a few fantasy teams, since he has performed above expectations (13-4-1, 2.34 GAA, .926 SV%). What that means is that Raycroft will have some big shoes to fill, but on Monday he was up to the task with 35 saves in a 3-1 win over Colorado. The Stars’ next two games are home dates with Ottawa on Thursday and the Islanders on Saturday, so Razor could very easily post a couple more wins. You may remember that Raycroft’s numbers during his time in Toronto and Colorado were bloody awful, and he hasn’t been anything more than a backup since then. But if you need goaltending starts, he’s probably waiting on the waiver wire.
Pascal Dupuis, LW, PIT – add/start
Since Sidney Crosby’s return, Dupuis has five points in five games, including a three-game goal streak. Dupuis was even performing without Crosby in the lineup (20 points and +12 in 25 games). Dupuis always seems to have underachieved in the Pittsburgh system, considering that his linemates have often been named Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. However, his numbers make him difficult to ignore as a short-term option right now.
Mason Raymond, LW, VAN – add
One of the scenes of last year’s Stanley Cup Final that made me cringe (and there were many) was Raymond sliding into the boards during Game 6, injuring his back. Raymond is set to play his first game since the injury on Thursday against Nashville. Just two seasons ago, Raymond was a 25-goal, 50-point scorer, but there’s a strong probability that he may not be the same player upon his return. Still, he is a possibility for a bench spot in deeper leagues based on his speed and scoring ability.
Martin Havlat, RW, SJ – bench
I took a pass on adding Havlat in one shallow league, which is something I didn’t think I would do. Havlat’s value was expected to rise in San Jose, but so far he has just one goal – one goal – in 17 games. Granted, Havlat has eight assists, but he has been swimming in cold waters with just one point in his last nine games. Havlat’s production can be all over the map, so fantasy owners in shallow leagues may want to bench him until he finds a way to gel on the scoresheet with his new teammates.
Brandon Dubinsky, C, NYR – bench
Has Dubinsky’s value suffered with the Rangers’ addition of Brad Richards? Like Havlat, Dubie is also a member of the one-goal club, as he has hit the twine just once in 21 games. In addition, Dubinsky has not recorded a point in his last five games. John Tortorella has recently moved Dubinsky to the fourth line to center Sean Avery, which would explain Dubinsky’s ten minutes of icetime on Tuesday. Expect the move to be temporary, but you can’t afford to play anyone at the center position who is skating on the fourth line.
Stefan Elliott, D, COL – add/start
Elliott was a favorite sleeper pick of mine, so I wasn’t happy to see him demoted to the AHL to start the season. However, injuries have forced his callup, and he has not disappointed (two goals and one assist in his first three games). Elliott would technically be a “Friday” pick, which is when the Avs next play. But you’ll need to pick this guy up, and fast, especially in deeper formats. Elliott scored 81 points (30g-51a) and was a +62 in his final season in the WHL, numbers that suggest that he has a bright NHL future.
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