by Chris Nowinski
With the 2014 Winter Olympics break quickly approaching us, its time to take a close look at our hockey roster so we can make a run at the league title. Here are a list of the top 10 guys greatly unowned in ESPN leagues (99.9 %) or less that can help your squads down the stretch.
1. Roman Josi, Defense, Nashville Predators
Josi was 2nd round selection in the 2008 entry draft. He is a big defenseman who logs tons of minutes and is finally showing the offensive prowess he was projected to possess. In his last 10 games he has 9 points (3 goals, 6 assists) which is money for a defenseman. Doubters will look at his sub par plus/minus of -12 but he is a +9 in his last 6 contests. He also logs plenty of power play time with their offensive stud Shea Webber. The Predators are a team on the rise and so is Josi. Grab him before it’s too late.
2 & 3. Ondrei Palat/Tyler Johnson, Forwards, Tampa Bay Lightning
You have heard it here first. The Tampa Bay Lightning are going to the Eastern Conference Finals this year. They are getting the worlds best player back soon (Stamkos), they finally found a franchise goalie out of nowhere (Bishop), and Victor Hedman is finally realizing his potential when he was tabbed a future all-star defenseman. The Lightning are clicking on all cylinders right now. Now enter Ondrei Palat and Tyler Johnson. These 2 kids are currently playing with all-star Martin St Louis on the first line and have reaped benefits. Both young guns have 12 points in their last 13 games and we all know point per game players don’t grow on trees. Oh and by the way, Johnson just sniped a hat trick as we speak. It will be interesting to see how the lineup will shake up once Stamkos returns but the Lighting are a very good team and these 2 youngsters deserve a look.
4. Alexander Edler, Defenseman, Vancouver Canucks
Edler has been known all throughout his career for being a top 10 defensive playmaker in this league. injuries have plagued him this season and combined with the overall poor play of the Canucks you can understand why he’s just under 70% owned. But the dude has talent. The schedule for Vancouver also turns favorably for the franchise after the break. He also gets to play the man advantage with uber talents like the Sedin twins and Kesler and he gets plus ice time Sounds like a 2nd half match made in heaven. Grab him while you can.
5. Cody Hodgson, Forward, Buffalo Sabres
Hodgson is a talented center. The Buffalo Sabres are an organization in transition and Hodgson is one of their few bright spots. He piled up 34 points in 48 games last season and has 26 offensive tallies in 40 outings this season. He also benefits from playing on the sabres first line and power play with fellow sniper Matt Moulson so he gets above average ice time along with the scoring opportunities. A 0.25 power play points/games played ratio isn’t too shabby either.
6. Jacob Trouba, Defenseman, Winnipeg Jets
The man they call Troubaca, this 2012 9th pick overall selection has serious upside. He currently has 19 points in 35 games which puts him on pace to be a 40+ point defenseman which is fantasy gold. Another asset to his fantasy game is he isn’t a defensive liability which is evident of his +6 rating on the lowly Jets. Factor in he gets plenty of minutes and can chip in penalty minutes as well and whats not to like?
7. Valeri Nichushkin, Forward, Dallas Stars
A true darkhorse is every word, this kid is going to be a star. The question is how soon? As the 10th overall pick in last years draft, many people where tabbing Nichy as the most NHL ready prosect out there and he hasn’t dissapointed with 25 points in 48 games. He also sports a nice +13 rating. While those numbers don’t jump out at you, in fantasy it’s all about upside. He gets to play on the stars ultra talented top line with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin and as he adapts more to the game i expect good things from this kid in the 2nd half.