Need a D?

Eric Maltais

2007-12-12

Dennis Wideman

 

First off this week, let me apologize to all who listened to my advice and got rid of Nik Antropov. I was way wrong on him. He’s been scorching hot lately and it now looks like his fast start was for real. He may just have a shot at 80 points if he stays healthy. You should still expect ups and downs throughout the season though. What can I say? Sometimes you hit it on the head, like I did with Martin Gerber and Mike Comrie and sometimes you’re off the mark.

 

Defensemen are often viewed as a necessary evil in fantasy hockey. Fantasy players are always on the lookout for production from a position where points are hard to come by. So here is a look at some blueliners who might have been overlooked in your league, but who have performed very well of late.

Dennis Wideman is riding a seven game point streak and now has 11 points on the season. He plays on the first power play unit with the likes of Marc Savard, Glenn Murray and Zdeno Chara so his outlook for continued success is quite bright. He has a very solid rookie season in St-Louis in 2005-06 scoring 24 points and has 22 points in 55 games last season before finishing the season in Boston where he struggled. He definitely has 40-point potential.

The Dallas Stars are grooming Sergei Zubov’s successor and his name is Matt Niskanen. A first round pick in 2005, Niskanen is enjoying a very fine rookie season with 11 points to date, including a three point performance in the Stars’ last game. He’s a future 40-point producer who be just steal Philippe Boucher’s spot while the latter is injured.

Niklas Kronwall was a huge disappointment last season when he put up a mere 22 points. The former first round pick has been expected to become a solid offensive producer since coming into the league, but injuries have stalled his development. He looks healthy this year and recently ended a six game point streak. He still sits behind Niklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski in Detroit, but Kronwall finally looks like the player we expected him to be last season.

Hal Gill has never scored more than 22 points in a season, but he’s on fire lately having scored 10 points in his last eight games. You can’t expect this streak to last for long, but he’s well on his way to a career best.

Scott Hannan has scored between 21 and 24 points in each of the last four seasons, but like Gill he’s been lights out lately with 8 points in his last 8 games.

I wrote about Filip Kuba at the beginning of the season when Dan Boyle went down. I advised you to take notice of Kuba who would benefit from Boyle’s absence. Early on, Paul Ranger was the only one to benefit, but Kuba has been quite valuable lately with 11 points in the last 15 games.

Niclas Havelid has a sub-par season in 2006-07 when he scored only 21 points after three season of 26 to 33 point production so it’s not surprising to see him with 10 points thus far this season. However, 8 of those points have come in the last 10 games so you might not have taken notice.

Bryce Salvador isn’t know for his offensive abilities having a career high 12 points achieved in 2001-02. However, he’s been playing very solidly lately and averaging 22 minutes of ice time per game during the past month. Still, his 6 point