Henrik Zetterberg

List: 10 players who are absolutely killing fantasy teams


While the likes of Phil Kessel, Jason Spezza and Thomas Vanek have been lighting it up early in the 2011-12 NHL season, the following 10 players have been less productive than a dog with a chainsaw. (Super unproductive. Can’t even get the chainsaw started usually.)

Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit (2G, 1A, 9GP) – Scoring is rarely a problem for the Wings, but with just four goals in their last four games (all losses), they need a lot more from their star Swede with the $6.1-million cap hit.

Daniel Cleary, Detroit (0G, 2A, 9GP) – Cleary had 26 goals in 2010-11. He’ll need 26 more goals in 2011-12 to match last season’s total. “You’d like to get the first one out of the way, then you get more confidence, and it comes,” he said after the Wings’ 1-0 loss Saturday in Minnesota.

Ville Leino, Buffalo (1G, 1A, 10GP) – We wrote about Leino’s struggles earlier today. The Sabres will try to jump-start their big free-agent acquisition by putting him on a line with the red-hot Vanek (15 points) and Jason Pominville (14 points).

Derek Roy (1G, 3A, 10GP) – The little center’s lack of production has flown slightly under the radar with much of the focus on the newly-acquired Leino. Roy has gone pointless in his last five games while his time on the power play has been reduced to practically nothing.

Jarome Iginla, Calgary (2G, 2A, 9GP) – Not nearly enough from a guy who scored 43 times in 2010-11. Iginla isn’t just snake-bitten either. His shots per game are way down from last season.

Chris Stewart, St. Louis (2G, 1A, 11GP) – The 24-year-old power forward has the talent to be one of the top scorers in the NHL. Goalless in his last eight games, at least Stewart is putting the puck on the net. His 37 shots are a team best.

Michael Grabner, NY Islanders (3G, 0A, 9GP) – The Austrian speedster broke out with 34 goals in 2010-11, adding 18 assists for 52 points. While three goals is hardly a disastrous total, he’s only been on the ice for five Islander goals total. Not the greatest way to start a five-year, $15-million contract.

Saku Koivu, Anaheim (0G, 3A, 11GP) – Koivu is 36 years old so we won’t be too tough on him. Still, he had 45 points last year. He’s better than this.

Dustin Penner, Los Angeles (0G, 1A, 9GP) – The way things are looking, Penner might be better off pursuing that softball career with the El Cid Lounge.

David Booth, Vancouver (0G, 2A, 9GP) – On the bright side, he picked up his first point as a Canuck with an assist Saturday night. Booth has played three games on a line with Ryan Kesler with not much to show for it. Good hunter though.

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
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Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.