Following their 4-3 win in Phoenix last night, the Canucks have won four in a row. Defenseman Alexander Edler (the lefty on the left) scored another goal (his third in five games). He ranks among the top 20 fantasy defensemen in the last month. In fact, his six power play points in the last month rank fifth at the position.
And yet Edler (six goals, 20 assists, +6, 34 PIM) is owned in only 27 percent of Yahoo! leagues. ESPN users (62.7 percent own Edler) are more on the ball, but the bottom line is Edler should be at least 75 percent owned. Instead, too many rosters are wasting space on defensemen like the Leafs’ Tomas Kaberle (hand), who hasn’t played since January 29. Yet Kaberle (four goals, 26 assists, -8, 12 PIM) is 75 percent owned in Yahoo! and 73.4 percent in ESPN.
The lesson: while bona fide No. 1 defensemen — guys like Mike Green and Scott Niedermayer — are worth stashing through injuries, a replaceable No. 3 defenseman like Kaberle is not.
Edler wasn’t the only Vancouver defenseman whose play had fantasy ramifications. Speaking of hefty lefties, we had a Shane O’Brien sighting. Playing for the first time since January 28, O’Brien (zero goals, eight assists, +8, 132 PIM) notched an assist and +1 in 12:08 of ice time. He had less ice time than any other Canucks defenseman, but his appearance is encouraging for owners seeking PIM help. O’Brien is only 16.6 percent owned in ESPN and 21 percent in Yahoo!
Now for the bullets:
- How is Senators rookie goalie Brian Elliott (7-3-2, .921, 2.31) only 31 percent owned in Yahoo! and 13 percent in ESPN? Last night, he stopped 34 of 36 shots in Philadelphia as Ottawa won its third straight (with Elliott in net for all three), beating the Flyers 5-2. The typically reliable Lupul-Hartnell-Carter line got shut out. Lupul and Carter were -3, and Hartnell was -4. Prior to last night, the Senators (and Elliott) had won back-to-back games against the Sabres.
- Senators defenseman Brendan Bell — we documented how under-owned he is yesterday — notched one assist (it was a power play point too) in 18:01 of action. He now has a four-game point streak, including four power play points.
- On the other side of the ice, Flyers goalie Antero Niittymaki stopped only 18 of 23 shots. Still, it’s worth noting he got his second straight start, while Flyers goalie Martin Biron continued to sit after his 20-minute debacle in Boston on February 7.
- While the otherwise elated owners of Lupul, Hartnell, and Carter got punished, anyone whose fantasy fate is tied to Flyers center Mike Richards (flu) got good news. Playing for the first time since January 31, Richards scored a goal in 20:11 of ice time.