Is this the beginning of the end for Nicklas Lidstrom? Can Eric Staal find his form in time to make Canada’s Olympic team? Can Matt Stajan and the Toronto Maple Leafs continue their current hot spell?
Eric Staal, CAR, C – Now will be the last chance you’ll have to pry Staal away from that frustrated owner in your pool. Battling injury, the hulking centre struggled out of the gates this season with just 7 points in his first 16 games. Over his last 6, he’s put up 8 points as he tries to make a late case for himself to crack Canada’s Olympic roster. With just over two weeks before the team is selected, we could really see Staal’s production take off.
Matt Stajan, TOR, C – He’s no Marc Savard but he’s developing some undeniable chemistry with sniper Phil Kessel. Talent-wise, he’s a second line centre on most teams, but he’s the best option the Leafs have right now up the middle, compiling 8 goals and 9 assists in the past 16 games.
Stephen Weiss, FLA, C – Joe Thornton, Henrik Sedin, Sidney Crosby, Stephen Weiss, and Ryan Getzlaf – which one doesn’t belong? Believe it or not, these are the NHL’s top 5 scorers over the last month. Stephen Weiss has certainly played himself into some elite company, racking up 18 points over his last 15 games.
Francois Beauchemin, TOR, D – You know things must be getting better for the Maple Leafs when two players make our “Buy” list. If he stays healthy, expect Beauchemin to average a point for every two games he plays from now until the season’s end – steady production from a defenseman.
Chris Stewart, COL, RW – At 6’2” 228 lbs with soft hands, a blistering shot, and a bit of a mean streak, Stewart has all the tools of an ideal power forward. He seems to have developed chemistry with rookie Matt Duchene, so keep an eye on his production over the next couple weeks or so to decide whether he’s the real deal or not.
Martin Erat, NAS, RW – He’s as inconsistent as anyone so be wary of his recent point surge (9 points in last 6 games after just 9 in his first 23).
Andy Greene, NJ, D – The undrafted blueliner has been a standout this season as the Devils’ new powerplay quarterback. He leads all Devils’ defenseman with 17 points – 8 coming with the man advantage. At 27, it remains to be seen whether Greene’s recent successes are an aberration, or if he is simply a late-bloomer.
Steven Stamkos, TB, C – The 19 year old has 1 point and is a -7 over his last 8 games. There’s no denying his elite skill, but he’ll need to adapt to tighter checking if he wants to regain the success he experienced early on. There’ll be more than a couple Stamkos’ fans in your pool, so don’t sell him cheap.
Patrick Marleau, SJ, C – Marleau’s been known to run into rough patches now and again and it appears he’s smack in the middle of another with 3 points in his last 7. To make matters worse, coach Todd McLellan replaced Marleau with Devin Setoguchi on the top line with Dany Heatley and Joe Thornton.
Nicklas Lidstrom, DET, D – There’s no doubt that he’s one of the best rearguards ever to play the game, but could this be the beginning of the end for Lidstrom? He’s on pace for the lowest offensive output of his 18 year career, but should still draw a fair amount of interest if you put him on the trading block.