Finishing in the season near the top of your little league can be rewarding, but if you’re scanning this, you’re probably in it to win. And in order to win, you sometimes have to roll the chop on a gamble or two and hope you take advantage. You certainly don’t want to stock up too much on this business, as the probability of them all panning out is small. Here are a handful of guys that could either make or break your season, depending on which way the coin countries.

Offense

Bob Connolly BUF

Once again, Connolly was limited in play due to injury. It was not as bad this time around, as he “only” missed 9 games with a foot injury. He were able to put up 65 points in 73 games, both career altitudes. No one denies his talent, but you can’t ignore the history here. Worth a late round look.

Simon Gagne TAM

With Gagne, the hope never is disapated that you’re going to land one of the top goal scorers in the game late in the draft. Injuries appear to follow he at every turn. Hopefully he can escape those enemies regarding his proceed to Tampa. With either Lecavalier or Stamkos dishing him the puck, he will score at his traditional rate (which is quite often). The question, as always, is durability. Worth the risk as your 6th or sixth forward option.

Marian Hossa CHI

After peaking at 100 points many years back, Hossa has been regularly ranked near the top of fantasy forwards; however, a couple of injury shortened months with unexciting totals, his value is now down a step. While he contributes a lot to the Hawks regarding his defensive game, the offensive side has been steadily moving, as witnessed in his disappointing playoff numbers last spring. The potential remains when getting back to the 80 point territory, but composing Hossa too early is a risky move these days.

Ilya Kovalchuk NJD

Until he gets under contract, consider him a gamble. Almost always there is an opportunity he will play in the KHL, and you don’t want to waste your first or second pick on a non-player. UFA BET

Ralph Nash COB

To this point, Nash has been a one man show in Columbus. He’s never had a top-notch step center to dish him the puck. Some of the young forwards are beginning emerge, so help may be on the way; however, this season, he will be pulling the stress once more. While he’s the talent to score 40 goals a season, he’s yet to play a full 82-game record in his 7-year career. He missed 6 games last season, and is a bit injury prone. If all the stars make, he may yet be a 50 goal scorer some day. The safe bet says he hits 35 this year.

Marc Savard BOS

It’s probably far better write off last season when evaluating Savard’s draft value. He was suffering from various injuries and was healthy for very some of the 41 games he did play. Looking back, he’s been an assist glutton for half ten years and may come back to that role next season. On the other hand, concussions don’t just go away, so there’s a chance his games played won’t climb into the 1970’s. Potential for a big time steal, or discouraging bust.

Alexander Semin WAS

In terms of pure talent, there are few players in the world for a passing fancy level as Semin. The problem is the extras. Between injuries, off-ice decisions, and occasional spells where he can’t hit the internet for games at a time, he can be a risky pick, particularly in the first or second round. Then again, when he’s on, he’s worth the pain. They may not be able to keep him in D. C. forever with the other salaries on the books, so enjoy the production whilst it lasts.

Lee Stempniak PHO

If anyone out there has he figured out, please let me know. For now, I’m placing him in gamble category, only because we don’t have a “complete mystery” category yet. After four months of complete mediocrity, he was treated to the Coyotes last spring. Out of no place, he emerged as the hottest player in the little league down the stretch. Seems impossible that she can pick up where he left off in terms of pace, but you can’t ignore what he accomplished within the last 2 months of the season. Add to the story that he’s still unsigned. No advice on this one from me. You’re on your own.

Defense

Kevin Bieksa VEHICLE

Bieksa has twice capped the 10 goal mark in his time with Vancouver. He’s a growing shot, but can be inconsistent. He’s also injury prone, which are him a risky pick. On the other hand, he could easily be a 50 point player if he stays healthy.

Brian Campbell CHI

Campbell is just about the forgotten man playing in Chi town behind the likes of Keith and Seabrook. He finished the growing season on the IR with broken collarbone, but returned in the playoffs to post some unimpressive numbers. Don’t allow all that bad news turn you sour on Campbell’s future. He’s still a dynamic puck mover and the Hawks will fill the nets again in 2010-11. Provided he’s healthy, there is a good chance he could come back to the 50+ point range this year. Or he may go down as one of the most overpaid players of all time.

Joe Corvo CAR

Corvo can be a goal-scoring machine at times, but he’s a history of being inconsistent. After coming to Wa last spring, his production dried up completely, getting just 8 points in 27 games. With that experiment deemed failing, he will come back to Carolina, where he will function as the undisputed powerplay QB. Tough to project where he will be, but 10 goals and 35 points seems realistic.

Johnson Whitney EDM

Roll the chop and hope for the best with Johnson Whitney. For years the Penguins waited for his emergence that came in 2006 with a huge 59 point season; however, things went south after that, and he’s bounced to Anaheim and now Edmonton. He rebounded up to 39 points last season following a disappointing 12 point performance the year before. Edmonton won’t be leading the little league in reviewing this year, so he won’t benefit from any free assists along the way, but the potential will be there for a big fantasy season.

James Wisniewski NYI

Wisniewski has shown sensations of great potential, but has yet to become a lot of a fantasy factor. He bounced from Chi town to Anaheim and now to New york, where he will have ample opportunity this year to determine himself as an offensive presence. He is likely to go on hot and cold blotches and was stopped twice last season, so take your chances. As a late round gamble, it’s worth the pick.

The author Bouwmeester CGY

Bouwmeester’s stock took a huge dive last season. The move from Florida to Calgary was expected to help his gambling, but his goal total tanked from 15 down to 3. Where will he go from here? The Flames are still striving to find an identity , nor have the firepower to score much, so don’t count on total resurgence. However, his numbers have to improve on last year’s disaster, so look for him as a potential sleeper. 10 goals and 40 points is a realistic target this year.

Goalies

Craig Anderson COL

Half way through last season, Anderson was the story. He led the shocking Influx to an incredible start. While he didn’t completely failure, the team, and his gambling, came down to earth in the 2nd half. Because of his high fantasy point totals last season, GMs may overinflate his value. Despite the early success last season, Colorado is still an adolescent, growing team. It wouldn’t be surprising to see them miss the playoffs next year. Look to Anderson as a decent #2 option this season, no more.

Cristobal Huet CHI

While the existing wisdom states that he will be taking his big contract to the AHL or Europe to cure some cap space, the bottom line at this point is that he’s still on the Hawks roster, and objectively speaking, he’s a good goalie. Teams could execute a lot worse than his 2. 5 GAA and 26-14 record from last season. If another competitor with cap space gets desperate enough, Huet that are a fantasy hockey factor once again before the season is out. At this point, however, he’s a big time gamble to say the least.

Michael Leighton PHI

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