Becker's Dozen: Beauchemin thriving
Every week, "Becker's Dozen" looks at 13 players whose value has recently gone up or down.
Francois Beauchemin, D, Ducks: While the Ducks would no doubt be a better team if Scott Niedermayer decided to come back and honor the rest of his contract, the reality is that Beauchemin is now the team's No. 2 defenseman and is receiving just short of 30 minutes of ice-time per game, in all situations, most of them with Chris Pronger by his side. He's a no-doubt No. 2 fantasy defenseman.
Vesa Toskala, G, Maple Leafs: Toskala was brought in for two reasons: to be the No. 1 goalie and to win games on nights when the offense couldn't do it. So far, so bad. Toskala hasn't played like a No. 1, allowing 3, 3, and 7 goals in his first three games. In fact, he's playing so much like a No. 2 that it will only take a few good games from Andrew Raycroft to create a goaltending tandem in Toronto, similar to the one that existed in San Jose ... except worse. Toskala needs to have the opportunity to win 35 games to be worth your while, and right now, he's not earning the chance.
Brad Boyes, C, Blues: Once upon a post-lockout season, Boyes scored 26 goals and added 42 assists, registering a plus-11 a rookie for the Boston Bruins. To say Boyes hit the skids in his sophomore season might be an understatement, but it appears that the former Maple Leafs first-rounder has got his groove back. He's lining up with Paul Kariya, who knows a thing or two about making his teammates better, and the combo has hooked up for three goals, all three Boyes markers. He'll return the favor shortly, and the duo can likely play off one another for a point-per-game pace.
Todd Bertuzzi, RW, Ducks: Six games, three shots on goal and only two points for Bertuzzi, that's a cause for concern. Bertuzzi has an excellent 14.3 career shooting percentage, and with his usual 200 shots per year, that translates to the 30-goal seasons we're used to. Three shots in six games? That's not getting it done. He was limited to 15 games last season due a concussion and neck injury, and one has to wonder if he's simply off to a slow start, or if there are lingering effects -- psychological or otherwise -- at play. I wouldn't be buying right now.
Henrik Zetterberg, LW, Red Wings: There was ample talk in the preseason that Zetterberg woudn't get to skate with Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom, as the Red Wings attempted to create a second scoring line. Zetterberg's potential replacement, John Franzen, hurt his knee during Saturday's game against the Blackhawks and is lost for 3-to-5 weeks. Zetterberg has 40-goal upside when skating with Datsyuk, and if Detroit can get to winning without splitting up the pair, he'll have a much better chance to fulfill that potential.
Sheldon Souray, D, Oilers: Maybe it's just a bad start, but Souray's lone assist and two piddly penalty minutes in his first four games as an Oiler don't inspire much confidence. Souray does have 15 shots on goal, and he's getting 25 minutes of ice time per game, but that only makes his lack of production even more troublesome. Bad luck, or bad fit? We (and by we, I mean the ESPN.com fantasy hockey staff, not the royal we) didn't much like this signing in the offseason, and so far, there's not much there to change our minds.
Jeffrey Hamilton, C, Hurricanes: Carolina's five-forward powerplay has been a boon for Hamilton, who leads the Hurricanes in total power-play ice time (24:41), accounting for almost half of his total minutes through four games (54:28). Hamilton has four points this season, two of them power-play goals and two of them helpers on Eric Staal even-strength goals. Talk about making the most out of your opportunities.
Jeremy Roenick, C, Sharks: This might be kind of harsh, picking on a 37-year-old who hasn't been fantasy-relevant since 2003, but what can I say I'm all out of puppies to kick and there aren't any old ladies crossing a rainy street that I can douse with a well-placed puddle-drive-through. So, Jeremy Roenick, for having the audacity to score two goals in one Oct. 5 game and showing signs of life, this down arrow's for you and the 8:33 of ice time you squandered on Wednesday against Chicago.
Niklas Hagman, LW, Stars: Hagman is the perfect Dallas Star: he's fast, he's gritty, and he loves chasing the puck. (Hint: this is why Eric Lindros was a mistake; he was none of those things.) Hagman has four goals and two assists, tallying at least one point in three of his four games. This isn't a fluke: Hagman has all sorts of offensive talent which he showcased in Europe but never quite got to show off in his three years in Florida or his first years in Dallas. He should have no trouble exceeding last season's breakthrough 17 goals. Plus, he's from Espoo, Finland. That's just fun.
Ryan Shannon, RW, Canucks: Well, that didn't last long ... In Thursday morning's Box Score Blog, I wrote that Shannon was the Sedin twins' winger-du-jour and he should be owned in all leagues until such a time as he was no longer their linemate. That time ... is now. Shannon was re-assigned to the Manitoba Moose of the AHL, where he'll ostensibly learn to keep the puck out of his own end, since he's a minus-7 already, in just three games. Either that, or the Canucks just found it easy to make him the scapegoat for their embarrassing loss to the Flyers. Shannon was third among forwards in ice time per game, and first among all Canucks in total power-play time. So, who joins the Sedin twins on the No.1 power play unit, you ask? ... Good question. Wish I knew the answer, but until we see what kind of power-play package the Canucks roll out in their next practice and game, it's hard to answer. It could be Ryan Kesler, it could be Taylor Pyatt, it could even be Mason Raymond. Whoever it is, they're bound to have an up arrow beside their name next week. Keep an eye on this situation.
Mikko Koivu, C, Wild: Koivu had a golden opportunity last season, getting an extended look between Pavol Demitra and Marian Gaborik, but he squandered it. He's getting a second chance, and from the sounds of it, this time, he might actually stick. Demitra was quoted in the St. Paul Pioneer Press as saying that he was very impressed with Koivu and that the trio "can be a very dangerous line, because (Koivu is) a totally different player than he was last year." I'll take that endorsement, but caveat emptor, head coach Jacques Lemaire is a notorious line juggler.
Douglas Murray, D, Sharks: Murray has done everything you'd want from your last defenseman. He's got two fighting majors in three games, plus earned the instigator and game misconduct in his first game of the season, and followed that up with a 20-minute, 2-assist, plus-3 effort on Saturday night. Put him on your watch list to see if he can creep up to about 15 minutes per game and to see if he stays as ornery. There's a handful of defensemen like him that emerge every year, and these guys are waiver-wire gold.
Pascal Leclaire, G, Blue Jackets: Let me be clear here; his perceived value has gone up. That's all. He's still Pascal Leclaire and I wouldn't touch him with a borrowed 10-foot pole. Back-to-back shuthouts doesn't change the fact that Leclaire had a .897 save percentage last season and that the Blue Jackets are, and I can't stress this enough, a terrible, terrible team. There are very few wins to be had here, and a whole lot of damage to be done to your save percentage and goals-against average. Don't do it.
Pete Becker is senior fantasy editor for ESPN.com
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