Articles by Eric Lewandowski

I am a writer for Rotowire.com. My passion is hockey and the English language. I have taught the English Language Arts for fifteen years. My goal is to provide best insights about the game and it's players without personal bias but with a cutting edge.

Year of the Russians and a “Czech” – Lew’s Clues

It has been an exciting year for fantasy hockey.

Hopefully, many of you are in, won or about to enter your team’s playoffs!

It’s time to start looking back at the 2015-16 NHL fantasy hockey year that is about to be the year that was. Why?

There is no off-season for hard core fantasy players. You can start prepping next year’s draft board today!

And – it’s just plain fun.

Here is the first observation in a series of Lew’s Clues blogs.

“Bartender, I would like an Old  and One New Russian on the Rocks!” 

I will take the ole’ Czech as well…

Actually, make it a double/double because there have been four Russian rock stars this year.

Two emerging talents and two established – one of which is really, really established.

Alex Ovechkin – The Great 8 continues to amaze and establish his Hall of Fame career. Ovechkin is a “young” winger at 30-years-old showing no signs of wear and tear. You know you are good when you have 64 points in late March and these prolific numbers are your expected normal stats for six years straight! Alex the Great has 43 goals and 21 assists in 70 games this season. If Ovechkin’s Russian genes are anything like his neighboring comrade from Czechoslovakia – Jaromir Jagr’s – then we are in for a fantasy treat for many more years to come. Keep #8 at the number one position on your draft board next to the American #88.

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“Lose Weight” – Lew’s Clues New Year’s Resolution for Fantasy Owners

Now that the Holiday Fantasy Gift Picks articles are behind us; it is time to focus our attention on the New Year. Therefore, Lew’s Clues will be offering a series of New Year’s Resolutions for NHL Fantasy Owners.

Repeat after me:

I, [your name here],  resolve to do the following in 2016 to be a better Fantasy Owner as per Eric Lewandowski; writing under the pen “Lew’s Clues” for Rotowire.com.

Resolution #1 – “Lose Weight”

It just wouldn’t be right if we did not begin with the most popular resolution of them all…the resolution to lose weight. No, you don’t need to hit the gym or drink those green smoothies or whatever that putrid looking algae slime is that people are drinking like it will cure them of all ailments. However, you do need to work on getting rid of the muffin tops on your roster.

How? Here are some dieting tips for those who need to make changes for strong strides in 2016.

Drop the deadweight. You know –the players you have been faithfully coddling on your bench. If your caterpillar has not turned into a butterfly yet; be a winner and make the tough choices. Let go of the extra pounds in favor of players who are sweating their skates off and producing. Do your homework, your research, your analytics. Or let Lew’s Clues make some suggestions that are absolutely tough love. To make it easy on your stomach; we will start with just two suggestions that should bolster your outlook for the rest of the 2016 Fantasy Hockey Season. 

First, if you have Zdeno Chara on your active roster – bench him.

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Your “Center-Piece” Gift Pick for 2015

Alright, you have opened five of your six presents for the 2015 Holiday Season. These gifts are players who will take your NHL fantasy team from mediocrity or mockery to the top! As always, the players chosen for you were based on immediate availability on most waiver wires. We have no time to wait for a trade to go through…you need to start winning or maintain your winning ways all the way to your league’s championship!

Centers are one of the toughest positions to find on a waiver wire. Even the likes of Frans Nielsen are owned by almost 80 percent of fantasy owners in CBS leagues.

This center will literally assist your five prior gifts.

Drum roll please…

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“Two Wingers Winging” – Third NHL Fantasy Gift

November 17, 2015: Toronto Maple Leafs Right Wing Leo Komarov (47) [5929] scores the first goal during the game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Colorado Avalanche at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, ON. (Photo by Gerry Angus/Icon Sportswire)
(Photo by Gerry Angus/Icon Sportswire)
The following is to be hummed to the tune of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

In the year 2015, Lew’s Clues gave to me, “One Sabre Goalie, One Rangers D-man, Two Wingers Winging … and a Championship Trophy!”

Here is your third and fourth gift to take your fantasy team from last place to the playoffs in the Spring of 2016!

Let’s unwrap two wingers shall we?

Leo Komarov: Left wing – Toronto Maple Leafs

The veteran Komarov is hot and on a roll having scored 10 goals and tallying eight assists in the past 20 games. This puts the unexpected Komarov at the top of the Leafs’ stat sheet for goals and total points. The left-winger has 24 points this season thus far, two less than his total for the entire 2014-15 campaign. The Estonian is confident and letting the rubber fly putting 42 shots on goal in the past 20 games. Extra goodies are in your stocking with Komarov having scored four power play goals and one “shortie.”

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Lew’s Clues Holiday Gift Picks for Last Minute Fantasy Shoppers

19 December 2015: Buffalo Sabres goalie Chad Johnson (31) makes a save during an NHL game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Buffalo Sabres at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, NY. (Jerome Davis/Icon Sportswire)

Do you find yourself bottom feeding your league standings with the Holiday Break coming upon us?

You are in luck. Lew is in the holiday spirit and in a giving mood!

Every night this week, I will “gift” you a player who can turn that season around toward the playoffs! Five nights — five positions: Goalie, Defenseman, Left Winger, Right Winger, and Center.

Be forewarned. These picks are not for the feint of heart. These picks are–most likely available– high risk reward picks–to lift your fantasy hopes for the New Year!

One player per position. Please add your own suggestions and comments at the end of the article! No time for trades here either. These “gift picks” are based on their likely immediate availability on most free agent wires.

Ready to unwrap?

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Lew’s Clues – “Star Struck” – First Impressions of the 2015-16 NHL Season

The NHL regular season puck drop was on October 7th – Lew’s Clues Lessons #1

  • The stars of October have been twinkling in Dallas. Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin lead the league in points with 17 and 16 points respectively in 11 games. Boston’s David Krejci is holding the third place for points with 15. If you have Benn and Seguin on your fantasy team then you are probably in first place as well. If you have one of the dynamic duo players – try to trade for the other to complete the pair!
  • The Dallas Stars’ team success in October has been eclipsed by the Montreal Canadien’s going undefeated in the first nine games of the regular season. Dallas currently has 18 points while Montreal has 20; but the Habs have played 12 games and Dallas 11. Mark your calendars for December 19th when Dallas takes on the Montreal Canadiens in the American Airlines Center in Texas.
  • Unfortunately for fantasy owners who do not have team goaltenders; Lindy Ruff has not named Antti Niemi or Kari Lehtonen as the uncontested number one goalie – instead the duo is 1A and 1B and like Forrest Gump’s mother said about a box of chocolates, “You never know what your going to get.” That said…Niemi has carried the bulk of the work load in net with 6 wins and 1 loss. Lehtonen has 3 wins and 1 loss. Handcuff both on your roster if possible.
  • Carey Price continues to prove that he is the best goaltender in the league this season with 7 wins, two shut-outs, .936 save percentage, and a 2.01 GAA. You don’t have to worry about Price splitting time with Mike Condon. However, Price is currently dealing with a lower body injury that will keep him out for at least one week into the November schedule. Condon is a solid backup who won all three games he has started. Time to take Condon off your bench or grab him off the waiver wire if possible.

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