Throughout the year every player experiences plenty of ups and downs. This can sometimes lead to fluctuations in player value.
In deeper pools this can create opportunities to buy low and sell high while bolstering your roster over the long haul. Meanwhile, in shallower leagues streaks and slumps can determine whether or not a player is owned or on the waiver wire. Knowing which player to add and when will help you maximize the overall output of your final roster spots. After all, everyone is struggling in some fashion on the injury front which makes your management of the wire even more important.
Over the next two weeks we will cover players in the Eastern Conference that are trending up over the last few weeks. This week we will cover the top-half of the East alphabetically from Boston to New Jersey while next week will focus on the final eight teams.
Mike Cammalleri (New Jersey)
Often overlooked due to his injury-proneness and age, Cammalleri is nevertheless a productive winger who despite the risk can be an asset to your squad. Overall this campaign he has been less successful as he has been in recent years due to logging fewer minutes and being demoted to the second power-play unit. However, he has been much better of late. Prior to being held pointless in the past two outings he had a stretch of six points in eight games. He could be a good source of instant offense especially if you need an immediate injury replacement and his underwhelming season-long numbers he may actually be available for free.
Brandon Dubinsky (Columbus)
With seven points in his last 10, Dubinsky has successfully bounced back from a subpar first half. Despite the struggles, he has maintained a second-line role both at even strength and on the power play which opened the door for his recent strong play. Adding to Dubinsky’s outlook is the fact he lines up next to Cam Atkinson, one of the top scorers in the NHL this year, almost exclusively. He was bound to be rewarded by the good environment in Columbus.
This makes Dubinsky a good option down the stretch as he should get you at least a point every other game with the potential for much more if he can continue to have chemistry with Atkinson. With that said, his real value lies in multi-category leagues where his PIM, hits and faceoff abilities give him a rare ability to produce across the board.
David Krejci (Boston)
Krejci turned things around after a cold start some time ago and while it may be a long shot there could still be a buy-low opportunity. Since December 23 he has 15 points in 20 games which amounts to a 60-point pace. Meanwhile, he is actually on a 51-point pace at the moment which can be underwhelming to the eye. Be sure to kick tires with your league’s Krejci owner to see if there is a chance to get something done as he has a good track record with 63 or more points in two of the last three seasons prior to this one.
On the flip side, in keeper leagues you should be looking to use this momentum to sell high for a different reason. Despite maintaining strong numbers over the years, Krejci’s health has become a concern. While he has held up this year, he missed considerable time in the past two campaigns. Given he will turn 31 in April the risk of further ailments will continue to increase in the years to come. Ideally, try to use multiple assets to land a similar center who has shown more durability.
Gustav Nyquist (Detroit)
With nine points in his past 11 Nyquist has turned the side after a disastrous start to the year. Even more encouraging is three of his seven goals coming during the ongoing stretch of strong play, showing a slow correction of incredibly poor shooter’s luck. There is still plenty of room for improvement as he has just seven markers despite averaging more than two shots per game.
One encouraging sign is his average ice time of 16:41 which is his highest mark since his rookie year. That, combined with a spot on the Red Wings’ top line next to Henrik Zetterberg make him an appealing player to own moving forward. The talent is there and he has a season of 54 points and another with 47 (57 games) under his belt.
Kyle Palmieri (New Jersey)
Like many other players, Palmieri has struggled to repeat last year’s impressive 57-point effort which included 30 goals. His numbers to date – 32 points in 52 games – are far from impressive but his play of late offers a lot of hope. With 10 points (six goals) in his past 12 contests, Palmieri is clearly back on track. Ultimately, he will likely fall short of last year’s numbers but there may still be room to buy low especially in keeper leagues as the Devils should be a decent spot for him to put up points in the years to come when the roster takes shape under new management.
Ryan Spooner (Boston)
Spooner has also had trouble carrying over last year’s momentum as he has bounced around the Bruins’ lineup a bit and has seen his ice time reduced. The end result has been plenty of inconsistency and a disappointing overall output. Over the last five games he has been much better achieving five points including a pair in his most recent game against Toronto.
Considering the Bruins are a below-average offensive team they are in need of Spooner’s skill set. There will be opportunities for him to succeed but he has to do a better job taking advantage of them. Currently centering a bottom-six line, he is going to be hit-or-miss as there will not be enough ice time to maximize the offense. Look at his placement in the lineup and keep track of his ice time. Depending on his role the table could be set to continue this hot run.
Jordan Staal (Carolina)
Staal started the year cold as the offense was coming from elsewhere in the lineup but he has quietly turned things around with multiple hot streaks since the new year. Case in point, he has six points in his last five games. While he does not get prime minutes on the power play, he logs a lot of minutes as he is trusted in all situations which in the end helps him add to his point totals.
One underrated part of Staal’s game is his multi-category appeal. In addition to the offense, he typically averages well over 1.5 hits per game, close to two shots per game as well as plenty of contributions on special teams. Additionally, Staal is a beast in the faceoff circle as he has won 56 percent of his faceoffs or more in each of his three years with the Hurricanes.
Tomas Tatar (Detroit)
Like Nyquist, Tatar has recovered nicely from what looked like the start of another disappointing campaign. With seven points in his last eight he is now up to an average of 0.5 points per game, well in range of matching last year’s 45 points. Unlike Nyquist, Tatar is not getting the top power-play minutes on most nights and his most recent run happened off the top line. Both of these factors make him a bit less appealing moving forward as the conditions are not as good to sustain the current run. Still, he should be a decent depth scorer moving forward in your league.
Keith Yandle (Florida)
Yandle had a sub-par first half partially due to injuries throughout the Panthers’ lineup and the team in general being a bit of a mess. With four points in his last three games and nine in his past 11, he has clearly turned things around. Still, he is a buy-low option in all leagues that focus on his offensive strengths. He has shown he can approach the 50-point mark even when the situation is far from ideal and he has eclipsed it on three occasions. Simply put, he is a high-end offensive defenseman who could be one of your best moving forward.
Henrik Zetterberg (Detroit)
Incredibly, Zetterberg has managed to fight off further decline in his play and with seven points in his last five is now on pace for close to 60 points. Very few were expecting this considering he is 36 years old, does not have a great offensive team around him and posted just 50 points last year. Thankfully, at this age others are more likely to undervalue him despite the strong play which could play into your hands on the trade front. However, in keeper leagues you should avoid him unless you need the depth or you are gunning for a championship.
Follow me on Twitter @DH_EricDaoust.
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