Dobber launched his fantasy hockey website DobberHockey back in 2005 and has been Puck Daddy's resident fantasy hockey 'expert' since 2009. It's at this point in the season where, if you're competing for first, you should start scouring the waiver-wire for underperforming players who are on expiring contracts. Fantasy owners aren't exactly known for their patience, and they often drop players in December or January who could turn out to be hidden gems - if they're on a different team. Last season in late January, someone in one of my leagues dropped Ales Hemsky. Yes, Hemsky was doing terrible in Edmonton. But it was no secret that he was being shopped and would almost certainly be traded. I picked him up and he sat on my bench for three weeks. Then he was dealt to Ottawa. I could afford to keep such a player on my bench for a couple of weeks and it paid huge dividends because, as you know, he was very productive playing with Jason Spezza down the stretch. We'll end Hemsky's story there, rather than drag it into the Dallas era… Some things to look for: • Contract is expiring. And he'll become an unrestricted free agent, rather than restricted. • Playing on a weak or bubble team • He's struggling or just doesn't fit • He has shown enough upside to be of interest to contending teams in need of a complimentary player. That is to say - when he goes to a new team he stands a good chance of getting a long look on a line with their star. Some suggestions : Tomas Fleischmann (Florida); Chris Stewart and Drew Stafford (Buffalo); Justin Williams (Los Angeles - not currently in the playoffs); Cody Franson (Toronto); Michael Ryder (New Jersey); Jiri Tlusty (Carolina); Andrej Sekera (Carolina). Studs... These fellas are wielding a hot stick. Take that into consideration when you go after them in trade talks... Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames (13-8-5-13, plus-6, 0 PIM, 36 SOG, 2 PPPts) - Right now Johnny Hockey has nine power-play points. That's for the entire season. He's getting all his points at even strength and when the PPPts start to come, watch out. Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins (6-1-10-11, plus-1, 2 PIM, 11 SOG, 5 PPPts) - Letang's five-assist game on Tuesday was enough to shift the outlook of the standings of many a fantasy league. If Letang can stay healthy, which is a pretty tall order for him, he has a very strong chance of winning the defensemen scoring title. Frederik Andersen, Anaheim Ducks (4-0-0, 1.22 GAA, 0.953) - Along with Jaroslav Halak, I consider Andersen one of the two more valuable goaltenders in fantasy hockey. Halak doesn't have a John Gibson nipping at his heels in the system, though. But Andersen will continue to hang onto the top job the old fashioned way. With numbers that kick ass. Duds... Somebody wake these guys up – their fantasy owners are counting on them... Alex Edler, Vancouver Canucks (9-1-1-2, plus-2, 8 PIM, 17 SOG, 0 PPPts) - With 58 points in his last 154 games, it's hard not to write Edler off as a 30-point player. And that's exactly what you should do. Seven full seasons in the NHL and he's only managed to top 38 points twice. Ryan McDonagh, New York Rangers (9-0-1-1, minus-1, 6 PIM, 15 SOG, 0 PPPts) - McDonagh is still a great shutdown defenseman and up until several weeks ago he was still getting pretty good PP time. But lately Dan Boyle has been the sole PP blue-liner as the Rangers go with four forwards. So the prospects of McDonagh suddenly heating up aren't very good. Kari Lehtonen, Dallas Stars (2-3-2, 0 SO, 3.79 GAA, 0.897 SV%) - Dallas has a 28.6% win percentage when they're outshooting the opposition. Only Edmonton and New Jersey are lower. This is because the shots that do get through to Lehtonen go in far too often. The Wire... Mostly short-term grabs here, but as always some potential steals... Justin Abdelkader, Detroit Red Wings (9-2-7-9, plus-2, 23 Hits, 14 SOG, 5 PPPts) - The 27-year-old has a great shot at 50 points, 150 shots and 175 hits. While each of those would be a career high, it's the offense that has taken a big step forward. Lately he's been lining up with Gustav Nyquist and Henrik Zetterberg. Benoit Pouliot, Edmonton Oilers (7-6-1-7, plus-3, 6 PIM, 17 SOG, 2 PPPts) - Pouliot is seeing time on the top line with Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, as well as the bump in power-play time that goes with that. He's making big bucks in Edmonton, so they're not going to bury him on a checking line. He had a slow start, followed by an injury, so he's definitely under the radar right now. Joe Colborne, Calgary Flames (5-3-2-5, plus-4, 4 PIM, 7 SOG, 1 PPPts) - The former Leaf had eight points in nine games before missing time on injured reserve. He struggled when he returned, but is slowly coming back around. The only concern is that he's been stuck playing with Mason Raymond and Josh Jooris. Adam Lowry, Winnipeg Jets (7-1-5-6, plus-4, 17 Hits, 7 SOG, 1 PPPts) - The 21-year-old freshman is just starting to really get comfortable playing at this level and his emergence has given the Jets an effective third scoring line thanks to his chemistry with Evander Kane. Mikhail Grabovski, New York Islanders (1-0-1-1, plus-1, 0 PIM, 4 SOG ) - He's only been back for one game since he missed five games with a lower-body injury, but that game was on the John Tavares line. Given that Kyle Okposo is out until late March, look for Grabovski to see extended time in this spot. Rickard Rakell, Anaheim Ducks (6-3-4-7, plus-3, 0 PIM, 12 SOG, 3 PPPts) - Just a shade above 0% owned in Yahoo leagues, Rakell is a rookie with two-way talent and he's primarily been used on a checking line. After his recent four-point game, he has seen a small bump in ice time and PP time. Since Rakell stopped having to share game time with William Karlsson and is no longer getting scratched, he has 12 points (21 games). Seth Jones, Nashville Predators (5-1-4-5, plus-2, 0 PIM, 11 SOG, 3 PPPts) - Jones has gone seven consecutive games with at least 20 minutes of ice time. Before that - just once in 39 games did he see that kind of action. Coincidentally, Ryan Ellis sustained a lower-body injury seven games ago and has been out ever since. Jones is 23% owned. Milan Michalek, Ottawa Senators (6-3-3-6, plus-3, 9 PIM, 11 SOG, 3 PPPts) - Michalek has fallen hard since his 60-point season from 2011-12. This just may be the first six-game run of this sort that he's enjoyed since then. He's seeing time on the power play with Bobby Ryan and Mika Zibanejad. For more fantasy hockey tips, take a gander at DobberHockey . And while you’re at it, follow Dobber’s fantasy hockey musings on Twitter .
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