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.

Benn, Holtby and Galchenyuk are NHL’s three stars of the week

Cory Schneider, Alex Galchenyuk ,
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Stars winger Jamie Benn, Capitals goalie Braden Holtby and Canadiens center Alex Galchenyuk have been named the NHL’s three stars for the past week.

From NHL.com:

Benn shared the League lead in goals (4) and points (6) as the Stars (19-5-0, 38 points) won two of three games to continue their best start to a season in the franchise’s 48-year history.

Holtby posted a 4-0-0 record with a 1.75 goals-against average, .945 save percentage and one shutout to backstop the Capitals (17-5-1, 35 points) to the top of the Metropolitan Division standings.

Galchenyuk tied for first in the NHL with four goals and added one assist to help the Canadiens (18-4-3, 39 points) earn five of a possible six points and reclaim first place in the League standings.

As much as the injuries to Carey Price and Brendan Gallagher have been frustrating for the Canadiens, those are short-term issues that should be forgotten soon enough. Galchenyuk’s play, in contrast, is reason for long-term optimism. The 21-year-old is trending towards becoming the elite No. 1 center the Habs have needed so badly. He’s not there yet, but when’s all said and done, he could turn out to be the best forward (or player, period) taken in the 2012 draft.

Stepan to miss 4-6 weeks with broken ribs

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Derek Stepan is out 4-6 weeks with broken ribs, the New York Rangers announced today.

Stepan was hurt Friday on a controversial hit by Boston’s Matt Beleskey. The Bruins’ forward did not receive any supplemental discipline for the check, despite admitting it was “maybe…a little bit late.”

At any rate it’s a big loss for the Rangers, who suddenly find themselves on a three-game losing streak. Considering the timeline, New York could be without one of its top centers for 12-18 games, give or take.

The Rangers host Carolina tonight.

Related: Yep, Alain Vigneault went there — ‘I remember Aaron Rome in this building’

Price to miss minimum six weeks, so no Winter Classic for him

Carey Price,
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Carey Price will miss a minimum of six weeks with a lower-body injury, the Montreal Canadiens announced today.

That means Price will miss the Winter Classic against the Bruins on New Year’s Day. The 30-year-old goalie has only appeared in 12 games this season.

On the bright side, the reigning Hart Trophy winner will not require surgery. And considering the Habs have already built up a 13-point playoff cushion in the standings, well, if something like this were going to happen during the season, now is as good a time as any.

Related: The latest on Price’s injury

Report: Jets offered Byfuglien for Hamonic, Isles said no

Dustin Byfuglien

If Travis Hamonic could choose one team to be traded to, he’d probably choose Winnipeg. The 25-year-old Islanders defenseman wants to be closer to his family, and his family is from Manitoba. Hamonic already owns a condo in Winnipeg.

So far, though, the Jets and Islanders haven’t been able to work out a deal. The Jets have three right-shot defensemen in Dustin Byfuglien, Jacob Trouba, and Tyler Myers who could, theoretically, be swapped for Hamonic, also a right shot.

“I think the Islanders were offered Byfuglien and they said no,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said this morning on Sportsnet 960 (audio), per Today’s Slapshot. “And I understand why, because Byfuglien’s got no term left.

“I think they’d love to have Trouba, but the Jets aren’t really there to do it. Myers, if it’s happened – I can’t say for sure it has or hasn’t – I’m not sure that’s the deal either team really wants to make, to be perfectly honest.”

Byfuglien is a pending unrestricted free agent who’s expected to cash in big-time on his next deal. The 30-year-old may not be the most disciplined player, but at his best, he’s an absolute force on the back end.

That the Isles reportedly said no to Byfuglien shouldn’t really come as a surprise, given his contract uncertainty. However, it does make one wonder about his future in Winnipeg. Remember that the salary cap is not expected to go up by much, and the Jets have another pending UFA in captain Andrew Ladd, plus a couple of key RFAs in Trouba and Mark Scheifele.

While it’s never easy to tell what GM Kevin Cheveldayoff is thinking, the big question with Byfuglien and the Jets may end up being when, not if, they part ways. Will it be after the season or before the Feb. 29 trade deadline?