Looking forward at the week ahead, here are some hockey players with low owned percentages to keep your eye on and, in some cases, to pick up immediately in deeper fantasy hockey leagues.
1. Todd Bertuzzi – RW – Detroit Red Wings – 31% Owned
12 G, 15 A, +23 in 46 GP
Things are looking up for Bertuzzi. After a very slow start to the season, he’s turned it on of late scoring 9 points (6G, 3A) in his last 10 games, including two goals on Saturday in a 5-4 loss the Oilers where he also scored in the shootout.
He’s playing on the first line with Datsyuk and Franzen although coach Mike Babcock was switching Zetterberg in at center, which appeared to give the 37-year-old veteran a spark. Bertuzzi also play on the second power-play unit, which should bolster his fantasy value.
The Wings are another team with a loaded schedule playing PHX, EDM, ANA and PHI this week. Of those four teams, three are in the bottom third for goals against per game, so expect Bert to have a good week, and if he stays on the top line, a good rest of the season as well.
2. Derick Brassard – C – Columbus Blue Jackets – 12% Owned
9 G, 10 A, -17 in 46 GP
Brassard had a rough start to the year that saw his ice time slashed and had him the subject of trade rumours. He has now picked it up, scoring 4 points in his last four games (2G, 2A), including a two-goal performance against Anaheim where he scored the winner in OT.
After Jeff Carter went down, Brassard stepped up to fill the void, and he continues to center the top line between Rick Nash and R.J. Umberger despite Carter’s return to the lineup. As long as he stays put logging first-line minutes, expect the 24-year-old from Hull to be a viable fantasy option for the remainder of the season.
3. Teddy Purcell – RW – Tampa Bay Lightning – 17% Owned
13 G, 15 A, +5 in 50 GP
Teddy Purcell is another player that is going to benefit from increased playing time due to injuries. He’s playing alongside the NHL’s leading scorer, Steve Stamkos, and is logging first-unit power play time. He has 7 points in his last 10 games despite being held off the score sheet in his previous two.
With Tampa’s star power and their ability to put pucks in the net, expect Purcell to be a solid contributor for the week to come. As long as Ryan Malone isn’t in the lineup, Purcell can be a good option in deeper fantasy leagues. Tampa also has a busy week with four games scheduled.
4. Jay Bouwmeester – D – Calgary Flames – 13% Owned
4 G, 18 A, -10 in 52 GP
Jay Bouwmeester used to be a fantasy staple but has fallen off in the past few years. He’s been on a bit of a hot streak as of late with 8 points (3G, 5A) in his last 10 games, five of which came with the man advantage.
Bouwmeester is an absolute minute cruncher, logging 26+ minutes per contest, which ranks him sixth in the league, and he sees power-play minutes predominantly on the second unit. Based on the amount of time he plays, Bouwmeester makes for a good option in very deep leagues, especially in time-on-ice counts and will most likely be available on the waiver wire. Calgary also has four games this week.
5. James Reimer – G – Toronto Maple Leafs – 58% owned
9-5-4, 2.69 GAA, .912 SV%
Optimus Reim seems to found what he has been lacking at the outset of the season. A multi-year contract came with increased expectations, and he hasn’t really delivered yet. After losing his starting job to Jonas Gustavsson, it seems, at least for the time being, that he has won his job back.
On the heels of back-to-back shutouts, including a 49-save effort against the Sens, Reimer is looking like the goalie that surprised the Leafs a year ago. He had some injury issues earlier this year, which most likely have accounted for some his poor performances.
The Leafs are going to need solid goaltending from here on in if they want to make a push for the playoffs. Although not automatic that he will be the everyday goalie, his last two starts indicate that it’s his job to lose right now. Barring catastrophe against the Oilers tonight, expect Ron Wilson to ride the hot goalie and for Reimer to play in three of the Leafs’ four games this week.