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Ice Chips: American Thanksgiving Edition

November 21, 2008 | By Steven Ovadia | comment on this post

As we head toward American Thanksgiving, there are quite a few fantasy players I’m giving thanks for. And quite a few I’m thankful to not have on my roster. The holidays just brings out the pure joy in me.

I wish I had been smart enough to grab him earlier, but conceptually, I’m thankful for Toronto’s Mikhail Grabovski. In 27 games over two seasons in Montreal, he put up a whopping nine points. In 19 games with Toronto, he’s got nine goals and four assists. Even more impressively, he’s gone pointless in just two games in November. Grabovski has the look of a player about to get very hot.

Atlanta’s Bryan Little is another pleasant surprise. Last year, in 48 games for the Thrashers, he put up just 16 points (six goals and 10 assists). This year, in his first 18 games, he already has 17 points (nine goals and eight assists). Shockingly, and perhaps indicative of the rampant rumours that Ilya Kovalchuk will be traded this season, Little has more goals than Kovalchuk. Be thankful Little is a low-profile success story and grab him if he’s available.

It seems silly to even have to write this, but after Alex Ovechkin’s slow start, some people wondered if last year was a statistical anomaly. Obviously, that’s an insane thought and Ovechkin is showing just how insane: 15 points in his last six games. That’s six goals and nine assists. If you were lucky enough to draft Ovechkin, bow your head and give thanks he’s a part of your world.

Are you still thankful you have Tampa’s Steven Stamkos and his five points on your roster? According to, he’s getting dropped off rosters left and right. There are plenty of reasons to drop him, but keep in mind Tuesday night saw him get a career high 17:57 of ice time and a stunning nine shots on goal. He still walked away pointless, but perhaps with the cloud that was Tampa coach Barry Melrose out of Stamkos’ hair and head, he could be finding himself back on the path to fantasy productivity.

Be thankful you don’t have Edmonton’s Dustin Penner on your roster. He was a health scratch for two games only to come back with a goal in a blowout win over Columbus. But he still has a Stamkosian four goals and one assist on the season. Penner was never really as good as the contract Edmonton gave him, but he’s much better than he’s played so far this year. Don’t even think about adding him unless Edmonton figures out a way to trade him. Also, while he’s not a huge fantasy draw, if you happen to have Oiler Fernando Pisani on your roster, you might want to drop him. He’s out a month or two with a broken ankle. Of course, if he’s on your roster, you probably already knew that since he’s probably a friend or a relative and you don’t want to have that awkward conversation about why he’s not on your roster.

The Week Ahead

  • Friday, the Islanders take on the Devils in a match that can only be called “Why Didn’t We Sign a Real Back-up Goalie?” In fairness, however, Joey McDonald is actually starting to look pretty good for the Isles.
  • Monday, the Capitals take on the Wild. You have to watch this if only for the chance to see Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom score on Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom. Of course, I’ve never seen the two of them in the same room before. You don’t think…?
  • Thursday is American Thanksgiving. Toronto will play Ottawa and Vancouver will play Calgary while the Habs and Oilers wonder why they’re not considered Canadian enough to play that day. Speaking of Calgary and people who don’t care about eating turkey next week, Miikka Kiprusoff’s numbers have gone south for the third straight year, yet he’s already matched his 2007-08 season total of two shutouts with another goose egg Thursday.

The Hockey Blog

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