Monday, April 9, 2007

NHL Weekly Wrapup - Who's Hot and Who's Not

Well the regular season is over and the playoff match ups are set and now you are thinking about how to set your rosters for your upcoming Playoff Pool. So this weeks Hot or Not will only focus on the teams that made the playoffs. So what if Joe Sakic leads all centers with 2 goals, 7 assists and 2 game winners in the last week, the Avalanche missed the playoffs so we won't matter in your upcoming pool. In fact, of the top 3 scoring centers in the last week of the NHL regular season (Sakic, Koivu and Stastny) none of them will be going on to play in the post season.

Stanley Cup Final Prediction: Buffalo Sabres vs Nashville Predators

Centers: Derek Roy is on a 6 game point streak with 4 goals and 3 assists in that span including two game winners. The Sabres and Senators have to be favorites coming out of the Eastern conference and you might do well stocking up on a few of their roster players.

My top picks: Daniel Briere and Peter Forsberg

Derek Roy: 4 goals, 1 assist, 2 GWG
Joe Thornton: 1 goal, 4 assists
Stephan Yelle: 1 goal, 4 assists
David Legwand: 3 goals, 1 assist, 1 GWG
Jason Spezza: 3 goals, 1 assist

Who's Not: Evgeni Malkin. Not only is it unlikely that the Penguins will get past the first round but Malkin closed out the season with pointless games and only 4 shots over that stretch. Yes he is a future fantasy star, but not in this years playoffs.

Wingers: The hottest winger in the NHL last week was Thomas Vanek with 4 goals and 3 assists and considering that I predict the Sabres to reach the finals this year that also makes him my top pick at the wing for your playoff pool. In Vanek's last 6 games he managed 6 goals, 4 assists, 1 GWG and 4 multi point games. He is a rising star in the NHL and he should be high on your list of draft targets in this years playoffs. He could be a good middle round steal as the big names fly off the board early.

My Top Picks: Thomas Vanek and Dany Heatley

Thomas Vanek: 4 goals, 3 assists, 1 GWG
Mikael Samuelsson: 2 goals, 3 assists
Dany Heatley: 2 goals, 3 assist
Daniel Alfredsson: 2 goals, 3 assist
Marian Gaborik: 1 goal, 4 assists

Who's Not: Pavol Demitra has not tallied a point in 5 straight games and sat out the Wild's last contest with a strained leg muscle. Considering that the Wild would have to pull off a huge upset over the Ducks to get out of the first round I would stay away from just about anyone from their roster.

Defensemen: Tom Poti put up 1 goal and 4 assists last week as the Islanders squeaked into the playoffs with a shootout win over the New Jersey Devils. Don't get too excited, they won't make it out of the first round.

My Top Picks: Brian Campbell and Chris Pronger

Tom Poti: 1 goal, 4 assists
Sami Salo: 1 goal, 2 assists
Kurtis Foster: 1 goal, 2 assists
Marc-Andre Bergeron: 3 assists
Joe Corvo: 3 assists

Who's Not: Shea Weber is currently on a 5 game pointless streak, I might still recommend him as a later round pickup just because he is a key component of the Predators power play.

Goaltenders: Tough pick here actually. Niklas Backstrom posted three wins and two shutouts in the past week but Wade Dubielewicz single handedly dragged the Islanders into the playoffs with 4 wins. I gotta give it to Dubie just because he is the 3rd string goalie.

My Top Picks: Ryan Miller and Martin Brodeur (because you should never bet against Brodeur)

Wade Dubielewicz: 4 wins
Niklas Backstrom: 3 wins, 2 shutouts
Ryan Miller: 3 wins, 2 shutouts
Martin Brodeur: 2 wins
Tomas Vokoun: 2 wins

Who's Not: With 2 losses and 1 win last week Ray Emery was looking a little shaky. His only win came in a 6-3 drubbing of the Boston Bruins and he was out-dueled by Marc-Andre Fleury who he will face in the first round of the playoffs.

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