We've been preaching all along to change on the fly, so don't be worried about having an itchy trigger finger with this condensed schedule and shortened NHL season. If a guy goes four or five scoreless games in a row, that can kill a fantasy owner. One bad week is all it should take for you to bench a guy and/or move on to the waiver wire and find a replacement. Sometimes the alternatives just aren't there, but we have a handful of names you know who are surprisingly available in plenty of pools. Scoop them up and reap the rewards.
Ben Bishop, goaltender, Ottawa Senators
This is a short-term add, as goaltender Craig Anderson (ankle) will be back sooner rather than later. However, those fantasy owners looking for backstop help, especially in daily formats, will want to take a look at Bishop. He was named the NHL's third star of the week after posting three wins from Feb. 18 to Feb. 23, and he has rattled off four straight wins overall while lowering his goals against average to a gaudy 2.17. He also has a .935 save percentage in six games (five starts), making the loss of Anderson a little less difficult to swallow for Sens fans and fantasy owners.
Daniel Briere, right wing, Philadelphia Flyers
Briere saw his modest five-game point streak dry up in a loss Monday against the Toronto Maple Leafs, but it was a positive sign that he is finally snapping out of his season-long funk. He was off to a bit of a slow start with a wrist injury, potting just two goals with two assists in his first 11 games. However, he is owned in about only 60 percent of all fantasy leagues, and he can be a huge help for those looking for offense since he has been performing at a point-per-game clip over the past couple of weeks. The Flyers should turn it around soon, and his plus/minus rating will therefore improve as well.
Michael Ryder, right wing, Montreal Canadiens
Ryder's fantasy ownership has sunk to around 60 percent, but in the past week he has turned on the offense and ascended to the top of the Dallas Stars scoring list. Like any good fantasy owner seeing their player at perhaps his pinnacle value, the Stars decided to ship Ryder to the Montreal Canadiens along with a third-round draft pick for left wing Erik Cole. It's rather surprising since Ryder had been rolling right along, but fantasy owners have to really smile about Ryder's move back to the Habs, a team which should give him a little more than the 15-17 minutes per contest he was seeing in Big D. Ryder managed a six-game points streak from Feb. 13 to Feb. 25, posting two goals with seven assists and a plus-1 rating. At the very least, he is worth an add in daily leagues as a No. 4 or 5 forward.
Brent Burns, defenseman, San Jose Sharks
Burns was slow to recover from sports hernia surgery during the offseason. He missed the first 10 games of the season before making his much-anticipated debut Feb. 9. It was thought Burns would step in and give the Sharks even more scoring punch from the blue line, becoming a fantasy stud, but that never came into fruition. He was scoreless in his first six games with a minus-5 rating before leaving again with an undisclosed ailment. Perhaps he aggravated his abdominal/groin area where he had sports hernia surgery, or it is a new injury. Whatever the case may be, he should be dropped in all fantasy leagues until he is 100 percent healthy. Even then, he needs to come back and prove to fantasy owners that he can be a consistent contributor.
Martin Havlat, right wing, San Jose Sharks
The Sharks are a high-powered offense, and would be even more so if Havlat were playing up to his capabilities. He started off well enough, posting two goals with four points over his first four games. However, since Jan. 27, Havlat has just one goal and no assists in 13 games, and that includes his current nine-game scoreless stretch. He might be a valuable fantasy asset down the road at some point, but his ownership is falling off dramatically, down to about 40-45 percent in all pools. That number should continue to fall until he etches his name on the stat sheet again.
Dmitry Kulikov, defenseman, Florida Panthers
The 22-year-old Kulikov stumbled out of the chute to start the season, going scoreless with a minus-5 rating in his first five games. He showed some signs of life with four assists in a six-game span from Jan. 31 to Feb. 12, giving those fantasy owners who drafted him some sense of hope that their pick wasn't wasted. It was. Kulikov is scoreless with a minus-5 rating over his past six games. He continues to log plenty of ice time, so that's not the problem. He also had 10 penalty minutes in the first nine games, but he has no visits to the sin bin in the past seven outings. He can't even get that right for fantasy owners. Drop him immediately if you've been holding out hope.
About Daniel Dobish
Daniel is a Hot Off the Wire Analyst who joined the KFFL staff in 2010. He is a veteran of the fantasy industry dating back to 1999, with stops at CBSSports.com, The Sports Forecaster, OPENSports.com and RotoExperts.com. His work has also appeared on NFL.com and Yahoo.com. Daniel was named the 2011 Fantasy Golf Writer of the Year, 2011 Fantasy Racing Writer of the Year, and he was nominated for the 2011 Fantasy Hockey Writer of the Year. Daniel lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons. Follow @danieledobish