Three up, three down
By Steve Schwarz, Fantasy Sports Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - As we move into the second half of the shortened NHL season, it's a good time to evaluate your roster for the home stretch.
Are the guys playing up to expectations? Are they playing at a level you think they can maintain or are they a "sell-high" candidate?
On the other hand, have they struggled this season and do you expect that to continue or will they rebound?
Below are three guys who are playing above expectations and three guys who have not given you "fair market value" for their draft position.
Alexander Semin, Carolina - When teamed up with Alex Ovechkin in Washington, Semin was nearly a point-a-game guy, but when he signed as a free agent with the Carolina Hurricanes, many fantasy owners weren't as sure that he could continue to produce at such a high level. Playing primarily on a line with Eric Staal and Jiri Tlusty, Semin has managed to continue to produce with 26 points (seven goals, 19 assists) in 24 games this season. The line ranks second in goal production behind only the Sidney Crosby line in Pittsburgh. Semin has been more playmaker than scorer, but this talented line should allow him to continue to score points and fantasy owners should hold on to him.
Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim - Getzlaf has been hot, racking up 19 points over his last nine games. He's helping fantasy owners across the board with 31 points (10 goals, 21 assists), an excellent plus-14 rating, nine power play points and 56 shots on goal. The combination of Corry Perry and Getzlaf has been solid for a long time, though the third line member changes as is coach Bruce Boudreau's style. It's the best Getzlaf has played since 2008-09 and he just signed a long-term deal with the Ducks which should keep him happy. Fantasy owners who selected him in the seventh round (Yahoo ADP 75) are smiling, too.
Chris Kunitz, Pittsburgh - Playing alongside Crosby is the dream of any winger, and Kunitz is taking full advantage. He's third in the league in scoring with 36 points (17 goals, 19 assists) as the Crosby line is the top producing line in the NHL. Kunitz is on a tear with 15 points in his last seven games and as long as he stays healthy, a fantasy owner would be unwise to even consider trading him.
Jason Spezza, Ottawa - Injuries are part of the game and part of playing in any fantasy league and owners who selected Spezza had a right to think he'd be an everyday guy after he played 80 games last season and averaged 72 games over the past five seasons. Unfortunately, the dice came up snake eyes in 2013 and he's played just five games due to a back injury and necessary surgery at the beginning of February. He could be back in two or three weeks, but that will be precious little time in this shortened season to produce numbers worthy of a second-round pick (ADP 16). If he was waived by his owner, he could be a nice guy to stash for a final push in the last few weeks.
Scott Hartnell, Philadelphia - Hartnell is another top fantasy player who was sidelined by injury. A broken foot kept him off the ice for a month. Since returning in late February, he's done almost nothing with one goal and two assists in eight games, and zero points in his last five contests. Playing with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek should be good for his statistics, but at this point it may just be a lost season.
Zdeno Chara, Boston - Chara was the No. 1 defenseman selected on Draft Day (No. 22 overall), but is currently the 11th-best in my Yahoo league with just nine points (four goals, five assists). In particular, he has produced just one power play point after posting eight goals and 10 assists last season. He's not been horrible for fantasy owners with a plus-12 rating, 39 penalty minutes and 51 shots, it's just that fantasy owners had lofty goals for the man who has won the NHL's "hardest shot contest" for five consecutive seasons.
03/11 13:50:30 ET