The Wire Troll: David Clarkson Playing Devilishly Well
Eric Brewer’s play deserves some fist pumps.
Because of the All Star break, there will be no Wire Troll next week. Please keep in mind that we are setting up for a Week 16 that will stretch into a second week, ladies and gentlemen. Check your leagues accordingly for wavier acquisitions and trade deadlines because in some leagues, those deadlines are approaching quickly.
For example, I have two leagues that have a trade deadline of February 4. Most of my deadlines are closer to the NHL trade deadline of February 27. People will be looking for pieces to trade, but sometime the best gems are the ones still left on the good old waiver wire and that is why we “troll” hard here at RotoRob.com for you.
As promised, our focus this week is a bit different as we look for players that could help your points or rotisserie leagues. Most of these will be category specific so if you are staring at one of these players and wondering why he’s on this list, that is perfectly normal.
Now it is time to expect the unexpected with our offerings. Again, remember the break.
David Clarkson, RW, New Jersey Devils: Yes, he is a bit of a loose cannon, but if you are looking for goals and penalty minutes then Clarkson may just be your guy. The 16 goals and 86 PIMs put him on a pace for around 30 tallies and a little over 150 minutes in the sin bin. Clarkson’s availability is around 20-to-30 per cent in the several major Fantasy leagues (Yahoo!, ESPN, FanTrax). This is crazy to say but Clarkson’s reputation among referees is not exactly the greatest which may pad his penalty totals over the second half and is actually a positive for his owners. As an added bonus, do check out his 121 shots on goal. How’s that for the cherry on top?
Tyler Kennedy, C/RW, Pittsburgh Penguins: Kennedy may not be the flashiest player, but he does have some viable Fantasy statistics that can help you in some categories. Our two key points to look at are assists and shots on goal. Kennedy’s 15 helpers and 120 shots have come in only 36 games. Those are numbers that cannot be ignored in the least. The 5-to-10 per cent ownership rate is really what could keep GMs at the very least interested in taking a flyer.
Peter Mueller, C/RW, Colorado Avalanche: Mueller is a player that just seems destined to rack up goals and eventually power play points along with shots on goal. He has 19 shots in his last five games and four points in his last two and at this current juncture, he will help you in shots on goal and goals. Now, Mueller’s ownership rate is around 5 per cent, but should be heading upward. It is time to hop on this bandwagon before it actually becomes too late.
Eric Brewer, D, Tampa Bay Lightning: This has the feeling of a guy who does not strike the offensive fancies much, but does have 13 assists on the season. However, when a defenseman has what I like to call the double century early in the season, that is encouraging. With 105 hits and 101 blocks at this juncture, Brewer is commanding Fantasy owners to take notice. With him getting nearly 25:00 a game lately, that is a third category that makes a guy with a less than 5 per cent ownership rate attractive. Fantasy fans need to be ready to move on guys like these.
Douglas Murray, D, San Jose Sharks: This is another case of a player who really only has two strong categories — hits and blocks. When you consider that Murray has 82 hits and 84 blocks in just 34 games, that is an encouraging sign as he is also owned in under 1 per cent of all Fantasy leagues. Remember that with defensemen and comprehensive scoring leagues only one or two roster spots can be utilized here so choose wisely.
Ray Emery, G, Chicago Blackhawks: Now the gamble here is that Emery is a backup for a Stanley Cup contender in Chicago. Considering the Hawks’ potent attack, the goaltending does not have to be great in Chicago, it just has to be “good enough.” Emery’s ownership rate is around 20-to-30 per cent but rising in Yahoo! and ESPN leagues especially. The key stat for Fantasy GMs looking for solid backup goalies is wins. When this Blackhawk starts, that is just what he does. In 15 starts, Emery has 11 wins. If you need wins, simply put, he is your guy.
- If we were unimpressed by Kurtis Foster’s play last season, we’re even less thrilled this season. He was doing next to nothing in Anaheim and while his numbers have been better since getting dealt to the Devils, we’re still waiting for this “power play specialist” to notch his first PPG of the season. And if Foster isn’t producing with the man advantage, he’s a serious liability. Over the last two games, he’s gone a combined -5 to drop his season plus/minus mark to -9. Yuck. Foster is a deep league option only at this point.
- The New York Rangers continue to roll, recently soaring to the top of the Eastern Conference standings and perhaps the biggest reason has been their goaltending. We all know about what a stud Henrik Lundqvist is, but how about their backup? As we discussed above, you need a backup goalie that wins games, and while Martin Biron sure doesn’t play a lot, when he does, you can pretty much pencil in a W. He’s got nine wins in 11 starts with career bests in GAA and save percentage. Hell, Biron’s even racked up a couple of goose eggs already. Two shutouts in 11 starts? Yikes, he’d managed just one shutout in 41 starts over the previous two seasons combined. Biron deserves more playing time, but unfortunately it’s not coming in New York, which caps his Fantasy value.