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 What the Puck? February 15, 2008 Allow Anonymous Users Reply to This Topic...
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Posted - 02/18/2008 :  18:43:01  Show Profile
By Fantasy Fanatics contributor Alex Linsky

With the regular season about 2 months away from finishing, it is time for fantasy hockey owners to start building their teams in preparation for the ever-important March run. The amount of parity in the NHL will benefit fantasy owners as we should not have to worry about players ďtaking it easyĒ in preparation for the playoffs as every team (except for Detroit) is genuinely fighting for a spot or some positional advantage in the playoffs. Therefore, now is the time to start making smart moves off the waiver wire in order to bolster the depth of your squad. In this edition of What the Puck? we will look at some of the higher ranked players on the wire and what great or little benefit they could be to your squad.

Jere Lehtinen (RW, Dallas): Lehtinen has dealt with injury problems this season. However, he is healed now and since then has been producing at a great pace with 24 points in 27 games. Lehtinen is a perfect option to give you depth at the right wing position. He plays top 6 minutes and is about as consistent as a player can be. Donít expect any Malkin-esque streaks for him, but Lehtinen should easily continue around the pace he is producing now.

Chuck Kobasew (RW, Boston): I have mentioned Kobasew many times before as he is as streaky as a player can be and therefore bounces back and forth from the waiver wire to teams. To date, he has 19 goals, but he is more a player to look at for weekly production. He can give you top goal scorer points for a week and disappear the next. Kobasew is a tough pickup unless you do some serious research. He is a crash the next forward so if you can find a week where Boston is playing some softer defenses, Kobasew may be able to get you 3 goals for the week.

Randy Jones (D, Philadelphia): Randy Jones is solid. That is about the best way to describe him. His stats arenít mind boggling, but hey are definitely good enough to be a depth defenseman for your team. He currently has 4G and 20A with a plus-7 for the Flyers. The plus-7 is key because you know he is not really going to get you negative points. He wonít get you much with penalty minutes, however, as he has 39 and I believe 15 were in one game against Boston when he knocked out Patrice Bergeron for the season with a dirty hit. Nonetheless, Jones is a safe pickup to bolster your defense.

For owners in keeper leagues, it is now time to evaluate who could be potential keepers so you can either trade for them if you donít have them and are out of the running or so you can maybe use a potential keeper to lure in a big gun for your playoff run. Here are some players that are perfect keeper candidates.

Erik Johnson (D, St. Louis): Johnson, along with Jack Johnson, Paul Martin, John-Michael Liles etcÖ is going to be the key element to the future USA National Hockey teamís scary defense. Nonetheless, rates Johnson as the best prospect in the world. This means you have to keep him. Owners probably got him very late in the draft if not on the wire so sacrifices would be minimal for the best prospect in the game. He is also the type of player that could fetch a current elite fantasy defenseman for the stretch run.

Patrick Eaves (RW, Carolina): Eaves really struggled this season in Ottawa. He is a former first round pick but has struggled mightily in finding a spot to develop in the dynamic Ottawa offense. However, he has been traded to Carolina where he should get much more an opportunity. Eaves should be coming back from injury soon and fantasy owners should keep an eye on his production for Ottawa in this last part of the season. It could very well be foreshadowing of Eavesí future and his possible effect on your fantasy squad.

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