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NHL Hockey Column: Fantasy Hockey Coach,The Press Box

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February 27, 2013
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The Press Box

Pete Harling
Senior Writer, FantasyHockeyCoach.com
Fantasy Hockey Hidden Gems

In this condensed schedule as expected, injuries are playing a major factor in the success and failure of many a fantasy league. If you own a team, you undoubtedly have players who are injured and you may be looking to the waiver wire to find some relief. Depending on the size, depth and format of your league, here are a variety of players who may be available and of use.

Alex Steen, St. Louis Blues – C/LW

Steen is the leading scorer for the Blues with four goals and 12 assists for 16 points in 18 games. Steen has a full stat line including a plus -2, two power play goals, two game winners, and one overtime winner. His solid two way play has made him a favorite of Coach Ken Hitchcock and Steen is rewarded with a healthy dose of playing time in all situations. At only 6% Yahoo owned he should be available in most leagues

Chris Stewart, St. Louis Blues - RW
Stewart had a breakout 2009/2010 season with the Avalanche but has been steadily declining in St. Louis. Until now that is. Stewart committed to his conditioning in the off season and has begun to rediscover his offense this season with seven goals and six assists in 18 games while managing an even plus minus and 36 shots on goal. He is only 39% owned in Yahoo leagues and could be available in most office pools. He would be a solid pick up

Cody Franson, Toronto Maple Leafs -D
Franson was acquired last off season and has struggled to make it out of the Press Box on a consistent basis. But with a new face behind the Leaf bench, Franson has a new lease on life and he has been delivering big time! He not only leads all Leafs Defense in scoring, but sits tied with Norris Trophy winner Duncan Keith for tenth overall in league defense scoring. In his 16 games, Franson has one goal and ten assists, is a plus -2 and is averaging over 16 minutes of ice time a game.

Dougie Hamilton, Boston Bruins – D
In deeper leagues, Bruins top prospect Dougie Hamilton should be available, ( 10% owned in yahoo fantasy)and if you are in a keeper league, Dougie is the definition of a keeper. In more detailed leagues that include peripheral stats, Dougie has tremendous value. In 14 games with the Bruins, he has 34 shots, 17 hits, and 11 blocked shots to go along with his eight points.

Ray Emery, Chicago Blackhawks – G
Emery had major hip surgery and it looked like his career was over. After seven starts for the Hawks, Ray is 7-0 with a 2.1 GAA and .930 save %. The Hawks have been unbeatable in regulation this season and Emery’s play has been outstanding. Emery is far removed from when he filled in for Dominik Hasek to help the Ottawa Senators reach the Stanley Cup finals, but it looks like he can get back this year with the Hawks. At 3% owned in Yahoo he should be available in most leagues. If you need a goalie or a back up, consider Emery.

Benoit Pouliot, Tampa Bay Lightning – LW
Pouliots career has been a major disappointment since being drafted fourth overall in 2005 after Sidney Crosby, Bobby Ryan, and Jack Johnson. Pouliot was selected by Minnesota, and has also seen time in Montreal and Boston prior to his current stint with the Lightning. His career best season to date came last year with the Bruins when he produced 32 points in 74 games .43 points per game. This year, the 26 year old has 14 points in 17 games and is on pace for 40 points in 48 games, a .83 point per game pace. Pouliot seems to have found his niche in Tampa playing alongside Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis on most nights. He is also a plus -9 and is playing an average of 13:20 minutes per game. He is way under the radar in many leagues, and at only 26 years old, he may even have keeper value in deep leagues as he seems like a late bloomer.

Other notable players worthy of consideration:
Brandon Saad (Chicago), Saad is playing top six with Toews and Hossa and getting chances. The points will come.

Richard Clune (Nashville), in roto leagues that score hits and PIM’s Clune is a cheap option who has replaced Jordin Tootoo’s role of shift disturber for the Predators
Fantasy Hockey Coach helps you find some hidden gems on the waiver wire

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