Jean-Sebastien Giguere, G, TOR – The former Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe winner will get his second crack at a starting job this season, after failing to lock up the position in Anaheim. Fortunately for Giguere, he’ll be pressed for starts by the struggling rookie Jonas Gustavsson, as opposed to a rising star like Jonas Hiller. While the Leafs will probably lose more games than they’ll win down the stretch, it will likely be due to their inability to score, rather than their failure to keep pucks out of the net.
Jonas Hiller, G, ANA – Hiller had already played his way into the starter’s role with a consistent string of strong starts the last month or so, but with Giguere gone and Vesa Toskala now the backup, Hiller could get somewhere in the range of 20 to 25 of the Ducks’ 27 remaining starts.
Johan Franzen, RW, DET – He’s recovered from the torn ACL suffered October 8th, but still needs conditioning. He’s slated to return to the Red Wings’ lineup February 9th against the St. Louis Blues.
Keith Yandle, D, PHO – The 23-year-old is on pace for a 15 goal, 28 assist and +15 season. The breakout blueliner has four goals in his last four games, with two of them coming on the powerplay.
Bill Guerin, RW, PIT – Make no bones about it, Guerin’s inflated numbers at the ripe age of 39 are mainly the benefits of playing with Sidney Crosby. Numbers are numbers though, and Guerin will help you in a variety of offensive categories.
Dion Phaneuf, D, TOR – Even a 40 point season for Phaneuf may be out of reach at this point, but his addition makes the Leafs’ powerplay infinitely more dangerous. Can you imagine Kaberle quarterbacking a powerplay with howitzer-like one-timer options in both Phaneuf and Phil Kessel? However, among the Leafs’ current forwards, they have just three 50 point seasons collectively, and they could have serious scoring issues over the remainder of the season.
Michal Neuvirth, G, WAS – Yes, he was just sent back down to the AHL, but he played quite well in his first stint in the “bigs”. If you have bench room, stash him – the Caps have had major injury issues between the pipes this year, and Neuvirth looks like a budding young star.
Ryan Malone, LW, TB – Started the season on a tear which carried right into December. He’s been largely ineffective the last month, and maybe you should have sold him a few weeks ago for peak value, but he’s known for being streaky and it could be just a matter of time before his shots start going in again.
Brenden Morrow, LW, DAL – While he hasn’t had a terrible season, he hasn’t exactly bounced back into a dominant role after last year’s knee injury, as many had projected. The Stars’ have better offensive weapons right now, namely Loui Eriksson, Brad Richards, James Neal, and Mike Ribeiro (when he returns from injury), so put Morrow on the trading block.
Jonas Gustavsson, G, TOR – The “Monster” will be among the most dropped players in pools this week, as Leafs’ coach Ron Wilson has already said that Giguere will get the bulk of the remaining starts. It will be interesting to see if the Leafs try to resign the oft-injured rookie netminder for next season, or whether they will let him test the free agent market this offseason.
Andy Greene, D, NJ – He experienced most of his early season success on the Devils’ powerplay, but hasn’t registered a point with the man advantage since December 21st. He had just one point in January.
Slava Kozlov, LW, ATL – The 37-year-old veteran, who is on pace for his lowest point total in years, could be nearing the end of his career. As an unrestricted free agent this coming offseason, Kozlov could test the market, but if there’s limited interest he’ll probably retire, or maybe even play a year or two in the KHL, in his native country, Russia.