Pick 'Em Up! Setoguchi, Saad, Glencross
In our Pick 'Em Up column we mine the fantasy hockey waiver wire for overlooked talent and hidden gems. Striking gold with a key free agent can be the difference between a championship season and mediocrity, so whether you're scrambling to replace an injured starter, or just looking to infuse your bench with upside, Pick' Em Up gives you options to help reshuffle the deck.
Top of the Heap
Devin Setoguchi (MIN – R – 21% owned in ESPN Leagues) We mentioned Setoguchi last week, and since then he’s riding a four game scoring streak (3G, 2A). The Wild are hitting their stride and, while your league mates are keying on the big names, it’s the role players like Setoguchi who will see the biggest up-tick. Remember, Setoguchi is a former 30-goal scorer (2008-09).
Brandon Saad (CHI – LW – 17%) How Saad is not owned in 83% of ESPN leagues is mind-boggling. He's come to life in the month of March playing alongside Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews. Saad has 11 points in his last 10 games and is quickly working himself into the Calder Trophy mix.
Curtis Glencross (CGY – L – 47%) If it weren’t for his most recent injury, Glencross would probably be 100% owned. He has 6 points in his last three games, including a hat trick on March 15th against Nashville.
Lee Stempniak (CGY – R – 33%) Half of your fellow poolies might not even know who Stempniak is, but he’s quietly playing alongside Glencross on the Flames second line and second power play unit. He has 5 points in his last 3 games, 21 points on the season, and hasn’t gone more than 3 games without registering a point.
Brian Gionta (MTL – R – 62%) Gionta’s been sniffed out in a lot of pools already, but surprisingly he’s still available in 38% of ESPN leagues. The Habs are back on top, and their captain Gionta is leading the way of late. Although he hasn’t scored in his last two games, Gionta was previously on a run of 6 goals and 8 points in 7 games.
Matt Cullen (MIN – C – 5%) Cullen is a wily 17-year NHL veteran who won the Stanley Cup with Carolina. He’s never been a fantasy stud, but he’s been fantasy-relevant for years. Now a member of the Wild, and currently playing on a line with Setoguchi, Cullen has recently tapped into his old scoring touch. He’s currently on a 5-game scoring-run good for 6 points.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard (MIN – R – 0%) PMB was a healthy scratch just 2 weeks ago, but the veteran has responded to the benching by stringing together 5 points in his last 3 games. He’s another veteran benefitting from the Wild’s recent surge up the standings.
Brent Burns (SJS – D/Wing – 62%) This one is a strategy play. Burns has finally returned from injury, but the Sharks have decided to use him at wing instead of on defense. Despite this, Burns continues to qualify as a defender in most standard fantasy leagues. He’s currently riding a 4 game, 6 point scoring streak.
Jake Allen (STL – G – 64%) The hot-hand in St. Louis is currently Jake Allen. He’s on a 5 game winning streak, during which time he’s also posted a shutout.
Alex Killorn (TBL – C – 0%) The Tampa Bay Lightning have the most productive crop of rookies this season. While all the talk has been about Conacher, Killorn is playing big minutes on the Lightning’s top line. He’s built like a house, and the Bolts like to park him in front of the net. If you need a rookie pick, he’s worth a look after Brandon Saad.
That's it for now. We'll leave you this week with highlights of Curtis Glencross’ recent hat trick... Good luck on the wire!