The All-Star break brought an interesting trade to the fantasy forefront on Friday when Calgary shipped veteran center Brendan Morrison
to Chicago for minor-league defenseman Brian Connelly
. The Blackhawks have been looking for a fit for their second line all year long and Morrison could help in that regard if given a chance. Chicago has used Marcus Kruger
, Dave Bolland
and experimented with winger Patrick Kane
, but with Morrison they get a center with experience and one who has played successfully with top-tier talent before. The Blackhawks have several skilled wingers and Morrison's fantasy value could skyrocket with the right opportunity. Now, let's switch focus and talk about this week's suggestions:
- C - Nashville Predators - The Predators were arguably the league's hottest team heading into the NHL's All-Star Weekend with nine wins in their past 10 games. Fisher has picked up his game of late with 13 points over 12 games in January. He was enjoying a mini-scoring streak heading into the break with four goals and one helper in four contests. Nashville should maintain their spot among the elite eight in the Western Conference for the remainder of the regular season and Fisher should continue to chip in offensively while supplying hits and faceoff wins. It's also worth noting that Fisher's linemates, Sergei Kostitsyn
and Martin Erat
, have been productive this month as well and merit fantasy consideration.
- C - Washington Capitals - Perreault could be an interesting player to watch down the home stretch. He netted his first career hat trick in Washington's final game prior to the All-Star break against Boston, and in the game before that he accounted for two assists versus Pittsburgh. With Nicklas Backstrom
out with a concussion, Perreault has seen action in the Capitals' top-six forward group alongside Marcus Johansson
, Alexander Semin
and Alex Ovechkin
before he was suspended. The 24-year-old has just 86 games of NHL experience under his belt, but he has generated 18 goals and 18 assists over that span. Much of his value will depend on how much longer Backstrom is sidelined, but head injuries are always tricky to gauge and Perreault's spike in ice time and responsibility prior to the All-Star break is a good sign for him. It appears as though he is winning over new bench boss Dale Hunter
after languishing on the club's fourth line and sitting in the press box for the greater part of the first half.
- C - Colorado Avalanche - Typically a player who is owned in more than half of most leagues doesn't end up being mentioned as a possible waiver claim, but Stastny hasn't enjoyed a strong showing in 2011-12 so he might be available. He has registered 13 goals and 17 assists in 48 games, which puts him on pace for his lowest point total since his injury-shortened campaign in 2008-09. The silver lining for Stastny is that he has been clicking much more efficiently in the offensive zone since the New Year with nine points in his past 10 contests. He has been even better since Peter Mueller
's return to the lineup from post-concussion symptoms and is seeing plenty of ice time with Matt Duchene
out with a knee injury. He has also been excellent in the faceoff circle this year with a 56 percent winning percentage on a total of 866 draws. With Colorado battling it out for a playoff spot, Stastny's intensity is sure to pick up as a leader on their roster. If he's out there then he's worth picking up.
- RW - Edmonton Oilers - Unsurprisingly, the 28-year-old Hemsky has struggled with injuries again in 2011-12. Another shoulder issue resulted in him missing 11 games and an illness forced him to sit out an additional two contests. Hemsky has recorded four goals and 15 assists in 36 appearances this season, but he has been better in January with eight of his points coming in his past 11 matches. His recent spike in offense might be enough to land him on some radars now, but the real intrigue from a fantasy point of view comes with the trade deadline less than a month away. Hemsky has been mentioned in several rumors and if he ends up on a team such as Detroit or Pittsburgh, his value would increase dramatically.
- LW - Vancouver Canucks - Booth sat out 18 games with a knee injury, but he has looked good since his return on Jan. 15. He entered the break with three goals and one assist in his last three matches. Booth has helped provide Vancouver with a scoring winger to place alongside dependable pivot Ryan Kesler
. In the Canucks' final 33 contests, a healthier Booth should record between 20-25 points while riding shotgun with Kesler. He has eight goals and eight assists in 23 games since being traded to Vancouver from Florida.
- G - Edmonton Oilers - Before the 2011-12 season many pundits, including myself, thought that Dubnyk would take over as Edmonton's number one goalie. However, Nikolai Khabibulin
exceeded expectations in the early going before falling on hard times. The veteran keeper hasn't won a game since Dec. 22 and has posted a 0-7-1 record in his last eight outings. Dubnyk, on the other hand, has looked solid in his past two contests, while blocking 77 of 80 shots against and posting a mark of 1-0-1. It's unlikely he stole the top job based on those two performances, but it is plausible to believe that he could earn much more action for the Oilers down the stretch. The team is far out of the playoff picture and it wouldn't hurt to give him another extended look, especially with Khabibulin struggling. If you own Khabibulin then Dubnyk should be claimed as a handcuff. A case can be made that even if you don’t own Khabibulin, Dubnyk is a worthwhile gamble, especially since the Oilers are due to get some injured players back and improve going forward.