Hitting the quarter mark is a reasonable time for poolies to panic if their team isn’t panning out. Don’t panic to the point of making rash decisions, but realizing the time has come for a roster shakeup isn’t unrealistic. If a trade can’t be found, looking to the waiver wire may be the only option. There are generally a ton of options with the potential for big production in short spurts so let’s take a look at some cheap options that can give your roster a swift kick in the arse.
Bryan Little – $2.4 million
Little has a ton of potential and it’s the team he plays for that compounds the inconsistencies in his young NHL game. Little had a terrible start to the season, no goals and only three points in eleven October games. November has proven much more productive with six-goals, ten-points and 35-shots on net. That’s a three shot-per-game average and an important stat for Little to keep up if he wants to return to the 30-goal form we saw in 2008-09. Little is seeing more ice time with Evander Kane in the last month and it’s no coincidence that his production has increased. Kane is simply the best offensive option that Atlanta has and Little’s production will reflect his playing time alongside him. Keep an eye on his linemates, but Little makes a great pickup for the short term and potentially much longer. It’s more of a matter of when, than if, in Little’s situation. If you’re on the track when that train comes to town, you’re going places.
Zack Kassian – $870,000
Apparently Buffalo was rounded up and herded off a cliff by their rivals, based on the amount of bodies laying at the bottom. Kassian is a beneficiary of the slaughter and is playing on a line with Derek Roy and Nathan Gerbe. Kassian has wasted no time making an impact on the score sheet with a goal and an assist in three games. Buffalo needs exactly what Kassian brings, toughness and an aggressive style of play, reflected by his nine penalty minutes in those same games. It’s clear, after seeing how quickly he responded to a big hit on linemate Nathan Gerbe the other night, that Kassian is happy to play guardian and will be a solid PIM option. It’s going to take injuries or a trade to see him stick in the lineup (or a Luke Adam demotion), but if he’s playing he will be effective. Kassian has had a great start to his pro-career posting seven-goals, seven-assists and 17 PIM in18 games with Rochester. Buffalo needs a Zack Kassian, and coincidentally your sal-cap rotisserie team could too. He’s ready, is Buffalo?
Nathan Gerbe &