NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 02: Dainius Zubrus #8 of the New Jersey Devils (C) scores at 6:11 of the third period against the Montreal Canadiens and is joined by David Clarkson #23 (L) and Alexei Ponikarovsky #12 (R) at the Prudential Center on February 2, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Canadiens 5-3. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Something devilish is going on
Check the available New Jersey Devils in your league, odds are there's a Devil available whose currently on fire, literally. David Clarkson and Dainius Zubrus both have 7 points a piece since returning back from the All-Star break, whatever they did during the break must have also rubbed off on newly acquired Alexei Ponikarovsky who has five points in his last three. Even the offensively challenged blue-line is chipping in, Kurtis Foster has been an sly pick-up by Lou Lamorello and is an excellent addition if you're looking for a depth defenceman.
Win and you're in
The Edmonton Oilers have implemented a 'win and you're in' system in goal for the remainder of the season. If the goalie wins he stays in the for next game - if the goalie loses, he rides the pine. So far the benefactor of that in Oil Country has been Devan Dubnyk. Although at the time of writing this article the Oilers are down 2 goals to the Maple Leafs, nonetheless, Dubnyk had won three in a row coming into this game. Even though he will give up some games to Nikolai Khabibulin, the Oilers are likely leaning towards starting the much younger Devan Dubnyk down this rebuilding stretch.
Forgot about Whitney
The oft-injured Edmonton Oilers defenceman Ryan Whitney is finally back in the Oilers line-up after struggling to get back to full health after a wonky ankle that wouldn't heal. Heading into the All-Star break with 18 games under his belt he had a grand total of 3 miserable points. Since the All-Star break he has 5 points - a rejuvenated Ryan Whitney should once again be appearing on your fantasy teams. Some fantasy teams probably drafted him quite high at the start of the year, only to drop him later on. Now is the time to pick him up. He'll average over 20 minutes a game, on a Oiler team that likes to score in bunches. He's the best offensive option on the Oilers blue-line.
Every season players comes out of nowhere in the second half to become relevant fantasy hockey players that you didn't see coming at all and wish you had on your team. Well I'm going to help you pin point which players these could be so that you can pick them up before the the rest of the pack.
1. Sean Bergenheim of the Florida Panthers. He wasn't much a performer in the regular season last year, but he cashed in on a 9 goal playoff run in Tampa Bay which lead him to a nice contract in Florida - where he sits at 9 goals this season. If 4 points since the All-Star break is any indication, he may be in for a more productive second half.
2. Jamie McGinn of the San Jose Sharks. On an offensively stacked Sharks team, he hasn't quite got his fair shake at an offensive role in San Jose. He's getting some time on the second PP unit and like Bergenheim is off to a nice start with 4 points since the AS break. He's a utility player - like Dan Cleary.
3. Derick Brassard of the Columbus Blue Jackets. The once highly touted Brassard has struggled this season. The 6th overall pick in 2006, is trying to build upon a 47 point season of a year ago. He's currently centering Rick Nash and R.J. Umberger. I'm banking on him to have a great second half. Right now he has 19 points, I can see him coming close to the 47 point mark.
4. Nick Johnson of the Minnesota Wild. He went to the All-Star game, 'nuff said. Sure, it was representing the rookies but nonetheless it's an honor to be there. He's stepped up his game ever since returning from Ottawa. The Wild are rewarding him with more ice-time, 40 points is not out of the question this season for Johnson.