Zach Parise scored 94 points in 2008 and followed that up with 82 points in 2010. Limited last year to 13 games because of a knee issue, Parise has a mere 12 points while being saddled with a (-6) rating in 22 games this season. His slump has gotten even worse of late as he has only one marker in 11 games. Parise obviously makes a nice buy low target if you can get him on the cheap as he's stilling relentlessly firing the puck on net with an average of 3.5 shots a game (though that still down from the 4.3 shots a game he averaged in 2008-09). They'll start to go in eventually.
Matt Beleskey is getting his shot. The Ducks have been a mess all year, and what was supposed to be one of the best lines in hockey – Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan – has underperformed. To shake things up HC Randy Carlyle has decided to drop Ryan to the third line and to elevate Beleskey to the top unit. Don't get too excited about Beleskey though – he doesn't have a point in 18 games this season an only had 10 last year in 35 games with the Ducks.
Brandon Dubinsky scored an average of 22 goals and 49 points the last two seasons. This year things have taken a turn for the worse as he is on pace for four goals and 40 points. Even worse at the moment is that he's now the center of the Rangers' fourth line. He's salvaged some fantasy value with 47 PIMs, but it's been a rough go for a player that much more was expected from.
Matt Duchene has not been consistent this year in the points scored department, and he's been shuffled all over the place by the Avalanche coaching staff as they try to find the right mix of role, line mates and motivation. The message has been received in November as he has seven goals and 11 points in 13 games.
Jordan Eberle had a nice rookie season last year, recording 43 points in 69 games, and he seems intent on blowing past that total this year. Already more than halfway there with 24 points in 24 games, Eberle has 11 points in his last six games and will need to keep piling up the points with Taylor Hall sidelined (more on that below).
Valtteri Filppula is one of those talented skaters that Detroit seems to pull out of their hat every season. However, Valterri has never quite lived up to expectations in Motown as his highest point total has been a mere 40 points. Given a bigger responsibility this season, Filppula has taken off with seven goals and 12 helpers in 22 games. He's also posted a +8 rating while recording seven points on the power-play. If he's your third or fourth center, which is quite possible, you're team is looking pretty good down the middle.
Curtis Glencross, welcome to the happy zone. The Flames are struggling for offense so they've shifted their personal around. The end result is that Curtis is now skating on the first line alongside Jarome Iginla and Olli Jokinen. Coming off the most productive season of his career (24g, 19a), Curtis is on a pace that would net him a career best 27 goals and now he gets to skate with the clubs two best offensive weapons.
Milan Hejduk always gets hit 20+ goals, and he's on pace for 24 scores this season for the Avalanche. However he's gone seven games without a goal, and he has just two helpers in that time.
Blue Line Business
Zdeno Chara had four points and a +1 rating in the month of October as the Bruins tried to find their stride. Consider it found for both parties. The Bruins are 9-0-1 in their last 10 while Chara has recorded 12 points an is a +12 in his last 12 contests.
Christian Ehrhoff is helping to pick up the slack with the Sabres as the team's blue line is in bad shape right now. Ehrhoff is averaging over 26:30 minutes a game the past four including a season high 27:32 in his last outing. Obviously the Sabres are pleased with his work, but fantasy owners have to be disappointed as he's on pace to record seven goals after averaging 14 the past two years in Vancouver. Still, you should have expected his offensive numbers to dip in Buffalo.
Alex Pietrangelo of the Blues has been playing some good two-way hockey of late. He's recorded a +7 mark the last two weeks, tied with Marc-Edouard Vlasic for the best mark amongst blue liners.
Everyone rightly pays attention to Shea Weber, and he has been spectacular the last two weeks with two goals, five assists and a +3 rating. Guess what? His teammate, Ryan Suter, has been just a smidgen better. He too has two goals and five assists but he is a +4 rating.
Keith Yandle has 15 points in 22 games this season upping his pace to almost where it was last season when he burst on the fantasy scene with 59 points. Until recently though his owners must have been disappointed, but the last 10 days has changed that stance as he has recorded six points in his last five games.
Mathieu Garon continues his impressive run in net for the Lightning. While Dwayne Roloson continues to appear like he's on the edge of being washed up (he has a 3.35 GAA and .885 save percentage in November), Garon is tending some excellent net. He's only won two of his last five appearances despite allowing a total of six goals in that stretch, and his numbers are vastly superior to Roloson (2.42 GAA, .916 save percentage).
With Kari Lehtonen on the shelf with a groin issue (he could miss up to three weeks), the Stars need Andrew Raycroft to take on a bigger role in net. He stopped 35 shots on Monday night to pick up his first win since January 9 (he was winless in five outings this year). Given that he owns a 2.87 GAA and .901 save percentage in his career, expectations should remain muted.
Roberto Luongo is still the #1 goalie for the Canucks when he's healthy, but that line is just about been blurred into nothingness by the hot play of Cory Schneider. The Canucks' “backup” has won his last four starts during which time he's allowed three goals. There are few keepers in the game that are in the same “zone” right now.
Jonathan Quick picked up his NHL leading fourth shutout on Monday, this one against the mighty Sharks. There's no way a guy with a 2.02 GAA should be winning only 50 percent of his starts (10-6-4).
Fists of Fury
Jordin Tootoo is a pain in the rear to play against. He's grating, obnoxious, aggressive and always doing something on the edge. In essence, he's the perfect fourth line winger. Of late he's added a new dimension to his game – points. He has five points in his last four games and he's basically stayed away from the sin bin with only 26 PIMs in 23 games.
Mike Green (groin) started skating on Saturday, and he continues to show slow progress in his attempt to get back onto the ice. There's no timetable yet and his owners are about as frustrated with him as any player in the league as the offensive dynamo has skated in eight of the Caps 22 games.
Taylor Hall is set to miss anywhere from two to four weeks with a left shoulder injury. The 2010 first overall selection in the Entry Draft was off to a strong start with seven goals and 11 helpers in 22 games. He had been extremely hot of late with seven points in his last five games.
Jaromir Jagr (groin) is skating, and there is some hope that he might be ready to play on Friday. Still, the team will take a measured approach after he returned to action too quickly last time leading to his current stunt on the sidelines.
Dustin Penner (hand) might actually return to the ice for the Kings on Thursday though the question is whether or not you should care since he has only two points in 14 games while playing uninspired hockey.
Mikael Samuelsson (groin) hopes to be able to return to game action on Thursday for the Panthers. He last suited up on October 18th when he was wearing the Canucks' crest on his jersey.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87, and his NHL thoughts can be read at RotoWire.com. Ray's baseball analysis can be found at BaseballGuys.com and his minute to minute musings can be located at the BaseballGuys' Twitter account.To email Ray a question for next week's piece, drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.