Commentary

Becker's Dozen: Believing in Biron

Updated: November 1, 2007, 7:34 PM ET
By Pete Becker | ESPN.com

Every week, "Becker's Dozen" looks at 13 players whose value has recently gone up or down.

Martin Biron, G, Flyers: Biron was drafted at 124.6, on average, in ESPN leagues. He is second in the league in wins, fourth in goals-against average and third in save percentage, backstopping a Flyers team that resembles nothing like the one that tanked so spectacularly last season. There is always doubt when a backup becomes a starter for another team, but Biron has erased them all. He has No. 1 goalie written all over him and is currently No. 1 on the player rater by a full point over the don't-believe-it-for-one-second Pascal Leclaire.

Michael Peca, C, Blue Jackets: Peca has been centering Rick Nash, which is just about the only way any Blue Jacket can have value. (That is, assuming the goaltender stops pitching shutouts two out of every three games. I'll take that bet.) The combination has some potential because Peca remains a solid defensive specialist who will accumulate points by virtue of being on the ice with the team's star scorer. A plus/minus that doesn't want to make you gag when you see it? It could happen. Buyer beware: This is deep-league fodder only.

Brad Boyes, RW, Blues: Told you so. As I predicted during the first week of the season, Boyes has really clicked with Kariya and is going at a point-per-game pace (9 goals and 2 assists in 10 games). However, I'm not including him here just to pat myself on the back. He has just been so incredibly good that he has become a sell-high. Those nine goals have come on just 22 shots on goal. That's 40.9 percent. That's the very definition of unsustainable. He is the anti-Shanahan right now.

Cristobal Huet, G, Canadians: A funny thing happened on Carey Price's way to the starting job; Huet started winning. And when he hasn't been winning, he has been keeping the team in the game. Huet has reeled off three wins in a row, following a stretch in which he lost three games, but all by one goal, two of them in overtime. The numbers are sparkling: a 2.24 goals-against average with a .927 save percentage, and that's no fluke. Huet had a .916 save percentage last season and a .929 two seasons ago, facing more than 1,000 shots in each season. It's very hard to supplant a francophone goaltender in Montreal, let alone one that is winning. Even if he is French, not Quebecois.

Chris Mason, G, Predators: Wow. That's ugly: The 3.89 goals against average, the .870 (!) save percentage, and two measly wins in nine starts. Add the fact that backup Dan Ellis has a 1.89 goals-against average, a .929 save percentage and has started -- and won -- two games in a row prior to Mason's 5-1 stinker on Tuesday. Yeah, it's really not looking good for Mason right now.

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Rick DiPietro, G, Islanders: While Mason has been consistently bad, DiPietro's almost-as-scary numbers (2.96 GAA, .890 save percentage) aren't as bad as they seem. A six-goal outing (in 29 minutes) against the Hurricanes blew up his those numbers but good. But that was DiPietro's first outing in a week, and all goalies are allowed a mulligan once in a while. When they happen early in the season, they skew the stats much more than during a bad February outing. If you ignore that game (just pretend you live on Long Island), DiPietro is 5-2 with a 2.29 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage. Now's the time to make an offer.

Andrew Cogliano, C, Oilers: Cogliano had survived the nine-game test and is in the NHL to stay. Junior-aged players like Cogliano, 20, have up to nine games to prove their mettle in the NHL before the big club must decide to keep them or send them back to Juniors. Players aren't kept by rebuilding teams like the Oilers unless there is a belief that there is plenty of ice time available and the player is mature and skilled enough to learn on the job. He's slowly earning more ice time, playing more than 15 minutes a game, and more remarkably, Cogliano is a plus-2 on a team featuring only four players on the positive side of the ledger.

Ryan Malone, LW, Penguins: I'd call this a "sell-high" arrow. Malone was the lucky winger assigned to the Sidney Crosby-Evgeni Malkin superline, but I don't think the trio stays together for more than a few games, and it's not like Malone's getting to play with the two on the power play. He's definitely someone to have on your radar in 10-team leagues, he's worth owning in 12-team leagues, and in anything deeper, startable. For now. If you think he's headed for 25 goals and 60 points, both of which would be career highs, think again.

Martin Brodeur, G, Devils: Just thought I'd point out that, while the overall numbers are still very much unflattering, Brodeur has allowed just six goals in his past three games, facing 79 shots for a tidy .924 save percentage and a 2.02 goals-against average. Everything's going to be just fine.

Jonathan Cheechoo, RW, Sharks: Cheechoo is a good hockey player. When he's skating on a line with Joe Thornton, he's a terrific fantasy asset. See the difference? Cheechoo, stuck on four points this season, has not shared much ice with Thornton lately. Until he does, there's no way he earns back that third-round pick he cost on draft day. Looking back at how the Sharks have operated since the Thornton trade, however, I'm confident that the dynamic duo will be reunited sooner rather than later.

Chris Clark, RW, Capitals: Clark has four points this season, all of them coming in his past two games, a two-goal effort on Oct. 24 and a two-assist job on Oct. 26. Why the sudden surge? Clark has been assigned to the Alexander Ovechkin line, including on the power play, a role which he has had before and in which he has thrived. Alas, what Ovechkin giveth, Ovechkin can taketh away. Clark has missed the Caps' past two games (including the 7-1 drubbing of the Maple Leafs) as he recovers from having his ear partially torn by an Ovechkin slapshot. Let that one sink in for a while. Clark is tough; he'll be back on that top line shortly, and Ovechkin will make it up to him with a bevy of points. Use this lull to acquire Clark, who has also racked up triple-digit penalty minutes in three seasons.

Chris Osgood, G, Red Wings: It seems Dominik Hasek will be back soon, but the damage is done. The Red Wings got a strong reminder that Hasek is old and that they can win with Osgood between the pipes. Detroit will best be served by having a fresh, healthy Hasek for the playoffs, and barring that, they'll want a goalie whose rear end isn't full of splinters from riding the pine. Any which way you slice it, Osgood has earned himself more ice time, and with these Red Wings, that means wins and deep-league No. 2 goalie status.

Ryan Kesler, RW, Canucks: Kesler has worked his way into the top six, playing at times with Markus Naslund and Taylor Pyatt and even getting some time with the Sedins on the power play. By proving himself as one of the Canucks' more consistent offensive threats, Kesler likely will get consideration for the spot that is soon to open on the Sedin's even-strength line, because, let's face it, Mason Raymond just ain't gettin 'er done.

Pete Becker is senior editor for ESPN.com Fantasy

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