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Ice Chips: Merry Festivus Edition

December 19, 2008 | By Steven Ovadia | comment on this post

As we head into the holidays, it’s nice knowing that however crazy things get with your family, you can always sit back, clear your head, and quietly plan fantasy moves for yourself, no one the wiser.

It might already be too late, but you did remember to grab Canuck Mats Sundin didn’t you? He’s pretty much always good for around 80 points, and with half a season left, those goals and assists will come in handy. Especially since I suspect he’ll eventually end up playing with fellow Swedes the Sedin Twins. You could put an umbrella on their line and it would put up points.

According to ESPN, a bunch of fantasy owners still have Dallas defenseman Sergei Zubov on their roster. I get it. He puts up great numbers. He’s offensive. But he’s been hurt, playing only 10 games this season. And this week, the Stars announced he’s undergoing hip surgery in January, putting him out indefinitely. Now he’s just wasting a roster spot.

If you need a new defenseman to replace Zubov, consider San Jose’s Marc-Edouard Vlasic. He’s got 19 points this season and he’s +11. Best of all, he’s not a household name, so while his numbers aren’t gawdy, he’s productive. And ignore last night’s brutal 6-0 San Jose loss to Detroit where Vlasic was -4.

Another interesting pick is Detroit’s Jiri Hudler. He’s been ice cold of late, but with 12 goals and 14 assists, he’s still having a strong first half. Usually, those are end-of-season numbers for him. If you don’t want to commit to grabbing him now, don’t worry. He’s not in demand. But you should keep an eye on him.

Another long shot is Atlanta’s Slava Kozlov. He’s coming off a disappointing 41-point season, but is just two seasons removed from an 80-point year. He’s already got 26 points this season, and if Ilya Kovalchuk gets traded in the next few months, Kozlov will be Atlanta’s go-to guy. Although you could make the argument Kozlov already is that guy as Atlanta’s top scorer.

Also, Montreal Canadien Alex Kovalev scored Tuesday against Carolina. It was his first goal since November 1. He scored again in Montreal’s next game, a 5-2 win over the blazing Flyers. Who says holiday miracles don’t happen?

Can we give up on Pascal Leclaire already, please? As if he hasn’t been awful enough this season, I think he just hit rock bottom on Thursday, saving just 12 of 17 shots and fanning on both attempts in the shootout. Sure, the dude had a major breakout last season, but he’s been crap this year and deserves to be dumped. It’s time rookie Steve Mason took over the job completely. If you’re seeking a goalie with major upside, Mason is your man; I expect him to get the majority of the starts from here on out, especially with the Blue Jackets playing a bit better of late and hanging around in the Western Conference playoff race.

The Week Ahead

  • Saturday, Vancouver plays Chicago. Expect the Canucks to punctuate every goal they give up with a “Wait until Mats suits up” chant.
  • Sunday is the first night of Chanukah! Slapshot a latke with Atlanta Thrasher and Jewish-American Mathieu Schneider.
  • Tuesday, Tampa Bay plays Pittsburgh, a brutal mismatch that is not in the spirit of the season.
  • Thursday is Christmas!

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