Crashing the Net takes you around the league you almost forgot about and all of the fantasy ins and outs, ups and downs.
Michael Cammalleri, Flames
The shifty left winger is one goal off his career-high of 34 goals and already has tied career best efforts in power-play goals (16) and game winners (five). He also has 63 points in 61 games, putting him on pace to challenge his career-best total of 80 points in 2006-07. But don't think the good news ends there. Cammalleri has 11 goals and 19 points in 16 games since the All-Star break and is also a +5 in that time. To top it all off he has scored a goal in three straight games, during which time he has four makers and four assists while recording five of those points with the man advantage. That's some serious scoring folks.
Jarome Iginla, Flames
Another Flame who is white-hot, the captain has five goals in his last four games, not to mention that he has also dished off six assists while recording a +5. He is also firing shots at a tremendous pace with at least four in eight over his last 14 games. With 26 goals, he is four markers from an eighth straight 30-goal campaign and he needs to post 18 points in his final 20 games to reach the 90-point plateau for the third straight year.
Tomas Plekanec, Canadiens
Last season was a breakout effort for Tomas, when he scored 29 times while recording 69 points, raising expectations for '08-09. As a result, his pedestrian production (9g, 11a in 46 games) through the All-Star break this season was a massive disappointment. Well, he has finally woken up, considering that he has almost matched his first half production in just 15 games since the break as he has scored eight times with seven assists. In fact, he has put up a point in eight-straight games with four multi-point efforts in that time (6g, 4a). There aren't many hotter scorers that could be on waivers in a shallow league.
Mark Recchi, Lightning
While he might be on another club by the time you read this, Recchi, a veteran of 1,472 NHL games, can still score, as he has recorded 13 goals and 32 assists in 62 games. He is also hot, hot, hot right now, coming off a game with a career-high five assists, not to mention that he has recorded a point in four consecutive games. Keep an eye on how the trade deadline moves play out as he might end up in a better position if he is moved to another club.
Steve Sullivan, Predators
It finally happened. Sullivan, sidelined for almost two years, has finally regained his health (his back is better) and his scoring touch. Though he has just four goals and 13 points in 22 games this season, he has been very productive of late with five points in his last three games and 10 points in his last 10 games. He probably isn't on waivers any longer given his name recognition, but if he is you should consider adding him immediately, though if we could quibble with his production we would like to see a bit more from him with the man-advantage (only two power-play points in nine games).
Brian Campbell, Blackhawks
While three points in three games certainly wouldn't lead you to think "cold," there are certainly reasons that Campbell belongs on this list. (1) He hasn't scored a goal in 23 games. That's ugly. (2) Over his last five games he is a (-1). (3) He hasn't produced a single point on the power-play in six games. (4) He has one or zero shots on goal in six of the last seven games. Overall, the numbers are solid (7g, 35a, +8), but he hasn't been sharp at all of late.
Shane Doan, Coyotes
With only one goal in six games, Doan is slumping a bit. Without a single assist in four games, Doan is slumping a bit. With a (-5) plus/minus in his last 10 games, Doan is slumping a bit. With only four PIM in his last 12 games, Doan is slumping a bit. Still, you shouldn't panic as we are still looking at a guy who has scored 23 goals with 54 points in 63 games, but his play has certainly been sub par of late.
Chris Drury, Rangers
That parade on Main Street wasn't an early St. Patrick's Day celebration; it was actually a celebration for Drury's first goal in 18 games. How a man with this level of talent can go that long without beating a goalie is almost an unfathomable mystery, yet it is still the case. Drury has posted six assists in his last six games, but before that he had gone five games without a helper, meaning that over his last 18 games he has one goal and nine assists, and that just wasn't what Drury owners were expecting when they rostered him this season.
Patrick Marleau, Sharks
When you've been as good as this guy has been all year (34g, 31a, +25 with 10 game-winning goals), his recent "slump" seems almost catastrophic. Of course, it really isn't more than a bump in the road for the Saskatchewan-born life-long Shark. What is the slump we speak of? Try five games with just one goal and one assist. Of course the goal was a game winner and he is still even in those five games, so his "slump" certainly doesn't match the depths that other top scorers have fallen to at times this season.
Peter Mueller, Coyotes
We are up to nine games and counting for Mueller since he beat a goaltender, this coming on the heels of three-straight games with a goal (Jan. 15-18). In addition, in the seven games he has played since returning from injury, he has a mere two assists while racking up a rather impressive (-7) mark. And no, we aren't living in some bizarro world where that is a good number. Is this yet another example of the dreaded sophomore slump?
Sean Avery, Rangers
The Rangers picked up Avery off of re-entry waivers, meaning the Stars and the Rangers will each pay half of the remaining dollars on his contract (roughly $11.6 million total over the next three years). It is unclear when Avery will be called up from the AHL, where he recorded two goals and an assist in six games, and furthermore, it is unclear how he will be used by new head coach John Tortorella, who had this to say earlier in the year about derogatory sexual comments Avery made about a former girlfriend and Dion Phaneuf earlier in the year. "... he's embarrassed the league and he's embarrassed his teammates, who have to look out for him. Send him home. He doesn't belong in the league.'' Only in New York would they try something like this. Still, when you move up from the AHL to the NHL, you are "Movin' Up."
Martin Brodeur, Devils
Who needs Scott Clemmensen? You already know that Brodeur, fresh off roughly four months on the shelf, was named the NHL's First Star for his first week back in action, right? In his three starts he has posted two shutouts leading to a 0.67 GAA and a .971 save percentage and a 3-0 record. The more things change, the more they stay the same -- at least in net for the Devils.
Yann Danis, Islanders
Look what the Isles found -- a starting goalie perhaps? With Rick DiPietro sidelined for the rest of the year with yet another injury, and Joey MacDonald struggling with ineffective play and injuries, the club turned to option No. 3 this season in Danis, and he has played brilliantly with a 2.37 GAA and a .928 save percentage in front of the worst team in the league. Moreover, he has been borderline spectacular over his last 11 starts, even if his record is just solid at 6-4-1, as he has stopped enough shots to post a .945 save percentage on his way to recording a 1.81 GAA. You could do a heck of a lot worse if you are looking for waiver-wire help in net.
Brian Elliot, Senators
This rookie was the toast of Ottawa when he emerged from the minors with the hot glove hand, leading to a 2.27 GAA in his first seven starts. Since then, well, to be kind, we could say that he has stunk. Over his last 10 starts his GAA has risen more than a full goal to 3.34, and his save percentage has dipped all the way down to .896. He has also been pulled in two of his last four starts and has allowed a whopping 14 goals in his last eight periods of play. "We have to decide whether he goes back down to Binghamton at some point and plays some games or he just plays all the games here," GM Bryan Murray said. With Martin Gerber toiling in the AHL, it would appear that Alex Auld could get a lot of work, at least in the short-term, and his play of late would certainly show that he is the best choice in net for the Senators at the moment as he has posted a 1.73 GAA with a .937 save percentage over his last eight appearances.
Jaroslav Halak, Canadiens
Carey Price had better get a nice cushion for his seat on the bench because it looks like he will be spending a lot of time on his keester moving forward. Price has been terrible since the All-Star break with an unsightly .863 save percentage, which would be enough to bench him on its own, but when you figure in how well Halak is playing, the move to go with Halak has been a no-brainer. In seven February starts, Halak went 5-2 with a 2.90 GAA and a .931 save percentage as he faced a barrage of shots on a nightly basis. In fact, while winning his last four starts, Halak has faced at least 34 shots in each game while he has recorded 159 saves leading to a .952 save percentage. There may be no hotter goalie in the NHL at the moment, so pounce on Halak if he is still on the waiver-wire.
Josh Harding, Wild
While he could have had some value the rest of the way, that hope was dashed when the Wild announced they had signed starting goalie Niklas Backstrom to a 4-year, $24 million deal to stay with the club. As a result, Harding won't be thrust into a starting role and he will continue to merely spell Backstrom in net only so often despite astonishingly similar raw numbers this season.
Harding: 2.21 GAA, .931 SV%Backstrom: 2.24 GAA, .925 SV%
Given that Backstrom has appeared in 51 games and Harding in just 15, well, you know what to expect from Harding and that is merely a handful of starts the rest of the way.
Chris Mason, Blues
Who is the best goalie in the NHL since the All-Star break? You could certainly make a case for Mason, who has produced a 9-3-4 in that time. Regardless, in his last 16 appearances, Mason has a 1.55 GAA and a .944 SV% that would make Dominik Hasek bluch in his heyday. Shockingly, Mason has been even better of late, allowing a mere single goal in five-straight games while posting a .964 save percentage. If you grabbed him off waivers earlier in the year when he was struggling, now would be a good time to say a prayer of thanks for the Brodeur-like run he is on.
You did see that Sean Avery will be back with the Rangers soon didn't you?
* Five teams play four games this week: Boston, Calgary, Dallas, Minnesota and NY Islanders.
* Two teams play only two games this week: NY Rangers and Vancouver.