The Monster RisesSunday, January 15, 2012
Let's touch on the Michael Cammalleri to Calgary deal before getting into this week's picks. This move should help salvage the second half for the diminutive sniper who failed to accomplish much of anything offensively with the Montreal Canadiens in the first half. Cammalleri, who will likely be reunited with Jarome Iginla with whom he had great success in 2008-09, should rebound quite nicely with the Flames. Now onto to this week’s mixed bag of waiver wire options:
Mikhail Grabovski - C -Toronto Maple Leafs
Grabovski burst out of the gate a year ago with personal bests of 29 goals and 29 assists for 58 points in 81 games. He hasn't been as effective this time around, but has looked dangerous since the end of December. He’s has racked up six markers and five assists in his last nine contests and seven points over five matches since the calendar changed to January. Look for him to pick up some steam in the second half and provide the Leafs with balanced scoring behind the team's dynamic duo of Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul. If he's available, then he should be snatched up.
Dave Bolland - C - Chicago Blackhawks
The pesky Chicago center has been relegated to the sidelines with injuries the past couple of seasons, appearing in only 39 games in 2009-10 and 61 contests last year. He has been absent from four games this campaign, but has managed to stay relatively healthy. Bolland mostly takes up shop as the team's third-line pivot, but Patrick Sharp's injury has led to more responsibilities for him. He kills penalties and sees time on the power play, but he has also been productive with several of the organization's younger players of late. He has clicked with Viktor Stalberg and recent call-up Jimmy Hayes, while seeing spot duty with Marian Hossa, as well. Bolland has five power-play goals and two of them have come in the past three games. He is barely owned in most fantasy circles and if you could use help off your bench in deeper leagues, then he can serve as a solid addition.
Saku Koivu - C - Anaheim Ducks
Since returning from a groin injury on December 31st, Koivu has recorded four goals and five assists in seven games. Most of those points came over the course of three multi-point performances, but it's much more production than he has displayed prior to getting hurt. Koivu has struggled this year with 24 points in 35 contests, but the Ducks have been better since the New Year and he plays with elite-level talent. That should help him enjoy a better second half to the campaign, and collect plenty of assists along the way. If your league counts faceoffs, then Koivu can be useful as well. He has taken 605 draws and won 317 of them for a solid 52.4 winning percentage.
Jonas Gustavsson - G - Toronto Maple Leafs
The Monster started the 2011-12 campaign as James Reimer's backup and he looked shaky at times when given the opportunity to play. However, since the beginning of January the Toronto netminder has been red hot with two shutouts and four wins in just five matches. He is playing with confidence and looks much more sure of himself in the crease then he did earlier in the year. While it's uncertain how long Gustavsson will hold the Leafs' number one job, he has played well enough to warrant attention as a short-term depth pickup.
Ryan Ellis - D - Nashville Predators
The Predators aren't ready to hand Ellis permanent residence in the NHL just yet, but the highly touted prospect is starting to show the organization his skill set. He has notched two goals and two assists in three games going into Saturday night's contest. Ellis was a scoring machine in junior and he generated 17 points in 26 matches with the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals before coming up to Nashville. In seven contests with the Predators, Ellis has continued that trend with four points, 12 shots and a plus-3 rating. Ellis has averaged 3:13 of his 15:54 of ice time with the man advantage and has looked comfortable on the point since his arrival. He has great value in keeper leagues and should be watched closely in other formats if you need offense from your blueline.
Ryan O'Reilly - C - Colorado Avalanche
Who would've expected O'Reilly to be Colorado's leading scorer with the All-Star break on the horizon? His 32 points in 45 games leads all Avalanche players and his 12 goals has him even with Matt Duchene for the most on the team. O'Reilly's emergence has been a quiet and pleasant surprise for Colorado, as he has already surpassed his career-high for points in a single season. He has formed an impressive duo with rookie Gabriel Landeskog for most of the year and is tops among the club's forwards with an average of 18:52 of ice time per contest. O'Reilly has also been among the league leaders in takeaways in 2011-12 and he should continue to battle it out with defensive whiz Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings, for the remainder of the campaign. He has a total of 59 already and his impressive two-way game should garner him consideration for the Frank J. Selke Trophy if he can keep it up.