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Posted - 03/27/2009 :  17:13:15  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Not much time left in the season, and even the smallest edge over your competition can be key in your quest to secure your league championship. This week, we look at a handful of defensemen who are enjoying late-season surges and could help your fantasy team.

Tobias Enstrom, ATL
We mentioned him in our last article, and the offensive defenseman has gotten back on track ever since Mathieu Schneider was traded to the Montreal Canadiens. Enstrom has 10 points (3g-7a) in the past 13 games, six of which have come on the PP. His offensive contributions should continue as he is being utilized as the Thrashers PP QB, often seeing over 6 minutes per game with the man-advantage, and even played more than 10 minutes ice-time on the PP on March 17 vs Pittsburgh.

Anton Babchuk, CAR
There were many poolies who thought Babchuk might be poised for a breakout year in 2007-08, but due to his displeasure at being sent down to the AHL by the Canes (he refused to go and was subsequently suspended by the team) he ended up playing the year in the Russian Super League with Avangard Omsk.

Clearly the relationship has been reconciled, and the Babchuk, the Hurricanes, and fantasy owners couldn’t be more pleased. Babchuk has 13 points in his last 18 games, and is seeing steady PP time. The Carolina has been playing better hockey ever since the trade deadline that brought forward Eric Cole back to the organization, and Babchuk has benefitted as well.

Ryan Suter, NSH
Suter has long been regarded as a future top-4 defenseman, and this season he is starting to show why. He shouldn’t be flying under anyone’s radar anymore, but seems to be available in about half of the leagues I have seen this year. Suter is on pace for 47 points this season, and forms a formidable duo with potential Norris candidate Shea Weber. If he is available, Suter should be strongly considered for your fantasy team.

Kris Letang, PIT
Letang has nine points in his last 11 games (3g-6a), three of which have come on the PP. This can largely be attributed to Ryan Whitney having been traded to Anaheim, and the Penguins hot streak over the same period. Letang is seeing plenty of PP time and the there’s a strong chance that he will continue to post strong offensive numbers the rest of the way.

A few musings...

-I loosely accused Don Cherry as sounding racist in a previous article, and like many, was glued to my set on Saturday night to hear what he had to say about Alex Ovechkin’s 50th goal celebration. Personally, I didn’t have a problem with it, but I understand how that type of thing can rub people the wrong way. Certainly we don’t need 12 year old kids mimicking Ovechkin when they score goals, and ultimately that is the only negative I can draw from it. I don’t buy into the disrespect thing – the guy was celebrating his 50th NHL goal, and while it was a little over-the-top, the Lighting should concern themselves with their own problems. Anyways, my impression of Cherry hasn’t changed, although I was impressed that he managed to keep the criticism to a sensible level.

-March 25 is the day that you can start registering your playoff pool leagues and teams at Pickuphockey.com! Check out the 2008-09 Playoff Draft Guide http://www.pickuphockey.com/hp/hp_fantasyguide.aspx – we worked really hard to bring you some valuable information to help you win your league. There’s some really interesting stuff that I have not seen in any other playoff guide, so I urge you to pick up a copy.


Ray Irwin writes for www.SchoolYourPool.com, the most complete fantasy hockey advice website on the internet. Featuring player and prospect rankings and interviews, daily starting goalies, buy low/sell high, injury reports, goalie carousel, and lots more...come on over to www.schoolyourpool.com and Get Educated!

Get your Playoff Fantasy Guide for only at http://www.pickuphockey.com/hp/hp_fantasyguide.aspx

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