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The Wire Troll: Nikita Nikitin Finds a Home in Columbus

December 4, 2011 | By Chris Wassel | comment on this post
Nikita Nikitin has been lighting it up for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Nikita Nikitin has been piling up the points since getting dealt to the Jackets.

It has been another tough week for Fantasy hockey owners. When you see the injury totals climbing past 130 and upwards of 140, the alarms get louder. Take a look at the latest injury report from TSN for a second. Now, while some teams have remained healthy (Boston Bruins, whose only injured player is Marc Savard), there are several teams with at least seven players hurting or out going into Week Nine. Teams like Winnipeg, Montreal, and Dallas in particular have really had to scramble frantically in order to fill their rosters while remaining competitive.

This is a tough time of year as by the end of December, we will be past the halfway point in Fantasy leagues that have playoffs. Typically there are 21 or 22 weeks in your average Fantasy season and 25 including the postseason. Decisions will need to be made and more importantly (depending on your type of league), the halfway point may feature more changes to your team than you would expect. Let’s try some subtle changes first.

Nikita Nikitin, D, Columbus Blue Jackets: Less than a month ago, Nikitin was dealt from St. Louis to Columbus and magically has started scoring. Now, his +/- is not going to ever wow you but eight points in 11 games is certainly not too shabby. There are just going to be nights when Columbus gets blown out of the water (like against Edmonton on Friday) but sometimes to get, you have to give. Nikitin is now averaging over 23:00 ATOI, plus he is owned in less than 10 per cent of all Fantasy leagues which means the buzz has not quite reached the masses just yet. Get in on him while the price is right.

Kyle Brodziak, C, Minnesota Wild: Brodziak has quietly played very well during Minnesota’s hot start. What may be more surprising in how the Wild has done it with timely scoring, elite goaltending, and solid two-way play. Brodziak’s ice time has spiked to upwards of almost 20:00 per game over the last eight contests. Furthermore, he has nine shots on goal and three goals in the last two games. Brodziak’s penalty kill and power play time have risen as well.  The ownership rate is just below 5 per cent in all Fantasy leagues. What are you waiting for? Move fast!

Colin Wilson, C/LW, Nashville Predators: Nashville has a nice young crop of players who can put some pucks in the net. Wilson has 15 points in 25 games, but put together a nice November (seven points and +3 in 13 games) while hardly being owned by anyone (around 1-to-2 per cent in leagues). People do have to realize what Wilson and Craig Smith make a fine line duo that owning half of would be wise. There is clear chemistry here and people need to notice this quickly.

Jason Chimera, LW, Washington Capitals: The time to get Chimera is now as he is getting consistent second line minutes via the power play and top six forward ice time for Washington. New coach Dale Hunter seems to like Chimera’s level of intensity and he was rewarded with almost 21 minutes of ice time on Saturday against Ottawa. Ownership rates are going up in the 10-to-15 per cent range, but are still relatively low. That is going to change after this week. It is very clear that Chimera’s four goals in the last six games is not by accident. He gets in areas that most do not dare to go and that is good news for Fantasy owners.

Ice Chips

  • On the slim chance that David Krejci is unowned in your very shallow league, you might want to change that. He’s on fire right now, with two goals and four assists in the last three games. Along with Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton, he’s on one of the league’s most complete lines, capable of dominating from time to time. For that reason alone, Krejci is a must-own player.
  • Tomas Holmstrom still isn’t seeing enough ice time to be worthy of standard-sized leagues, but in deeper formats, he’s worth a look. He’s potted three goals and an assist in the last five games and if your league rewards power play goals, Holmstrom’s your man — all four of his tallies have come on the man advantage.
  • The Wild is rolling, but Devin Setoguchi is having his issues lately. He’s managed just two points in the last five, but more worrisome is that he’s gone -7 over that stretch to drop to -6 on the season. Of course, Setoguchi is no stranger to finishing in the red for a winning team; last season he was -2 for the Sharks. His weak play of late has landed him on some waiver wires in very shallow leagues, but our advice is to buy low. Setoguchi has been promoted to the top line thanks to injuries, and notwithstanding Friday’s game against the Devils, he’s been getting his chances. The numbers will follow.

Well, that does it for this week. As always, we take on all questions because none are too big or too small. You can follow us on Twitter and thanks again for reading.

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