San Jose Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic is one of those players who makes you grateful for grammatical convention — after typing his first name, you can breathe easy and refer to “Vlasic” for the rest of the article.
Well, Vlasic (five goals, 24 assists, +19, 24 PIM, 18 PPP) is now a bona fide No. 2 fantasy defenseman. If you hoped to add the 21-year-old based on his superb game (one goal, one assist, +2) in the Sharks’ 4-2 home win against the Los Angeles Kings, you’re probably too late. He’s owned in 67 percent of Yahoo! leagues and 84 percent of ESPN leagues.
If you missed out on Vlasic, you might be tempted to add another defenseman who excelled last night: Dennis Seidenberg of the Carolina Hurricanes.
To his credit, the Side-man tallied one goal and one assist, not to mention +3, two PIM and three shots on goal, in the Canes’ 6-2 road demolition of the Islanders. And since returning February 14 from a groin injury that cost him six games, Seidenberg (four goals, 17 assists, -11, 20 PIM) has two goals and two assists in four games.
All of which makes him seem like a fruitful pickup, until you realize he’s -11. Moreover, last night was only his third multipoint game this season. In addition, his scoring touch last night was partly attributable to the upper-body-injury absence of Carolina defensemen Joni Pitkanen (five goals, 19 assists, +2, 46 PIM).
If there’s a defenseman you should add based on last night’s performance, it’s Calgary blueliner Adrian Aucoin (10 goals 16 assists, -3, 40 PIM). Despite his brand name and double-digit goals, Aucoin is owned in only 23 percent of Yahoo! leagues and 37.2 percent of ESPN leagues.
With his goal in last night’s 3-2 road win in Minnesota, Aucoin has scored twice in his last three games. He had a superb nine-game stretch (two goals, eight assists) from January 8 to February 2, and he has a proven track record as a No. 4 fantasy defenseman.
Aucoin’s minutes (22:03 per game) are steady as well. Among Calgary D-men, he is behind only the elite Dion Phaneuf (26:54) and ahead of the equally allitrative Robyn Regehr (21:44). Calgary’s next three games (at Edmonton, vs. Columbus, vs. Minnesota) should only bolster Aucoin’s -3 rating, offsetting the only drawback of his fantasy resume.