Corey Abbott

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A Veteran Look

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year, everyone! The NHL season is quickly reaching the halfway point, so it may be time to ring in 2012 with a roster shakeup for your fantasy squad if things haven't gone your way this season or if you just looking for the next great pickup. 


Tuomo Ruutu - C, LW - Carolina Hurricanes - Ever since Ruutu had a sit down with coach Kirk Muller, he has been a tear for the Canes.  He has posted five goals and two assists in seven games since that one-on-one conversation.  Muller told Ruutu to play with an edge and return to the hard-nosed style that had made him successful in the past, which means he can help team if your league rewards hits in addition to his offense.  Ruutu has been credited with 74 checks so far this campaign.  He had a tough start to the year, as did most of the players on the Hurricanes, but he appears to be rounding into form now and a strong second half should be on the horizon for him. 


Viktor Stalberg - LW - Chicago Blackhawks - Coach Joel Quenneville hasn't been shy when it comes to shaking up his lines this campaign.  Stalberg has played virtually everywhere in 2011-12, but he has been scoring of late regardless of who he has played with.  He has tallied four goals and three helpers in his past five games.  The 25-year-old speedster has skated with Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Dave Bolland as his centers and his is slated to be back flanking Kane on Friday versus Detroit.  Unfortunately, he doesn't get any power-play time, or else his value would be much higher.  Stalberg should be considered as a short-term pickup due to his current hot streak, but he has more worth in keeper and deeper leagues. 


Tyler Kennedy - LW , RW - Pittsburgh Penguins - Kennedy has been visibly and vocally disappointed with his lack of production in 2011-12 after he performed above expectations a year ago with 21 goals and 45 points in 80 games.  However, he is showing signs of regaining that form as the New Year approaches.  Kennedy has picked up two tallies and seven points during his present five-game scoring spree.  A much healthier Jordan Staal has helped him in that regard and the duo should be more involved in the Penguins' offensive attack with Sidney Crosby out of the picture again. 


Michael Ryder - RW - Dallas Stars - Ryder is another player who is thriving without much fanfare.  He has notched 14 goals and 25 points in 36 games for the Stars, while looking dangerous on the team's top line with Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson.  Ryder saw his six-game point streak come to an end in Thursday's loss to Columbus, but he should reach the 30-goal plateau and surpass 50 points this season.   He ought to be snatched up in deeper leagues and his recent surge suggests that owners in smaller fantasy leagues can give him a tryout as well. 


Curtis Glencross - LW - Calgary Flames - Calgary's top line featuring, Olli Jokinen, Jarome Iginla and Glencross has been rolling offensively since the midway mark of December.  Glencross had a five-game point streak snapped earlier this week, but he still deserves recognition as a player to watch because of who is playing with and due to the fact that he is having another solid under-the-radar year.  He is tied for the team lead with 14 goals going into Friday's action and he has 24 points in 36 contests.  Glencross is on pace for a career-season offensively and he could very well end up with 45-50 points. 


David Perron - LW - St. Louis Blues - He will appear in his 12th game of the season on Friday night against Nashville and he has been productive since returning to the lineup from a concussion on Dec. 3.  Perron has accounted for two goals and 10 points, but he is still barely owned in most leagues.   He was playing alongside T.J. Oshie, prior to his wrist injury which he is ready to return from now, and Patrik Berglund which has helped him get back into a groove quickly despite his long absence. 

Corey Abbott is an Associate Editor for Hockey on Rotoworld. Feel free to follow him Twitter @CoreAbbott.
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