Evgeni Malkin (1 G, 3 A, 1 SOG, +3, 2 PIM) decided he wasn’t putting in enough effort lately and upped his game with 4 points against the toothless Panthers; he even chipped in 2 PIM for good measure! Geno is on pace for 103 points which in itself wouldn’t be historic, but seeing as he’s on pace for just 21 goals by seasons’ end, if he hits the century mark with a that total it would be one for the history books. Honestly, I don’t think he’ll get there. Lies! They say. Slander! They cry. Not so! Behold, just 15 of the 270 (or ~5%) 100 point seasons by a player came with fewer than 30 goals:
I didn’t even bother ordering those by year, or goals, or anything, why? Well, I entered it that way and editing a table is really annoying, seriously. My laziness aside, it doesn’t matter because the point remains the same, 100 point seasons are driven in large part by scoring goals. If you break it down further you’ll see that less than half of those seasons came with fewer than 25 goals and Geno is on pace to barely break 20. Even his own 100 point campaigns were always supported by buckets o’ goals with 47, 35 and 50 goals scored respectively. Should he break the 100 point marker this year it would be a rare achievement amongst rare achievements, making it unlikely. When a player rely on others to score goals so he can tally points, the control the assisting player has over his own destiny is largely in the hands of other men. Other men being the likes of Sidney Crosby and James Neal is nice, but what happens if Neal or Sid goes down again? I think Malkin is more likely to return to a point per game pace at some point and finish with 90ish points. Ho hum. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in fantasy hockey recently:
Jeff Zatkoff (1 GA, 39 SV, W) actually played in a game!
Max Pacioretty (2 G, 1 A, 10 SOG, +2) has been scoring in bunches lately and tallied a few more on a whopping 10 shots on goal. He scores in fits and spurts but in the end he’s going to score his 30+ goals, in fact he’s currently on pace for 37.
Chris Kreider (3 G, 6 SOG, +3, 4 PIM) made John Tortarella turn many shades of purple and red as he torched Roberto Luongo and the Canucks for a hatty on six shots. Kreider is a prototypical power forward built for success in the NHL and its showing. Right now he’s on pace for 60 points, but the ceiling for him is probably around 70. He’s absolutely worth picking up in all but the most shallow of leagues.
Rick Nash (1 G, 2 A, 5 SOG, +3) scored for his third straight game and is showing no ill effects from the concussion. Despite missing 17 games a 30 goal season is not outside the realm of possibility.
Braden Holtby (2 GA, 37 SV, W) won his second straight game pushing away 37 for a 3-2 OT victory over the Isles on Saturday night and is quietly having a solid season. Would like to see that 2.64 GAA come down? Well his .925 SV% says it should and it’s a tad inflated due to bad run ins with powerhouses like the Avs (4 GA, 37 SV), Pens (4 GA, 40 SV) and not so powerhouse Sens (5 GA, 40 SV). Notice the trend there? To score more than a couple you really have to pepper this kid, sadly the Caps D seems to understand that all too well. He’s good and he’ll get better.
Semyon Varlamov (2 GA, 35 SV, W) will remain free on bond while facing a domestic violence charge and will continue to play with no suspension coming from the NHL front offices. He enters his plea on Jan. 22 and if convicted, he could face probation at best, or two years in prison at worst. I’m no lawyer, but his girlfriend is claiming Semyon whacked her one (or many) after “excessive drinking”, being Russian and all that’s kind of believable (the drinking, not the assault). Fun fact time! Russians didn’t consider beer an alcoholic beverage until last year because it they (their government) classified any drink with less than 10% alcohol a “soft drink”; these are my kind of people!
Cam Talbot (2 GA, 35 SV, W) won his second straight game and is now 6-1-0 since taking over for the now retired Marty Biron as Henrik Lundqvist’s understudy. The kid is solid, but he is not a 1.49 GAA, .944 SV% goaltender, but who is? He won’t get as many starts as other backups around the league, but he has value in deeper leagues.
Steve Mason (2 GA, 34 SV, W) continues to surprise me and had another nice game moving his record over .500 to 9-8-2. The real story are his pristine 2.09 GAA and .934 SV% which I still find hard to believe. For most of his career this guy clocked in at 3.00 GAA , .900 SV% like, well, clockwork. Now all the sudden this? I don’t buy it.
Carey Price (2 GA, 34 SV, W) is having a career year and, unlike Mason, I think he’ll continue to perform at this level for some time.
Antti Raanta (2 GA, 32 SV, W) actually played in a game, too! This guy makes Zatkoff look like a starter with how little he sees the ice; this was just his third game of the season! Raanta is described as “durable and productive” but not very big, or very skilled. And there you go.
James Neal (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG, +3) sure does love playing with Geno, and the feeling seems to be mutual.
Cory Schneider (0 GA, 15 SV, W) is getting frustrated about his position behind the legendary Marty Brodeur saying in an interview that ”It’s like Groundhog Day for me”. Listen, I have all the respect in the world for Marty and I, among many, consider him to be the greatest goaltender of all time. I also understand that this is his farewell tour, as it were, and he’s going to retire after this season (or is expected to), but effin’ eh! I totally sympathize with Schenider here. He has been absolutely magnificent each and every time he’s been asked to tend net and should clearly get more starts than Brodeur at this point.
Milan Lucic (2 G, 2 SOG, +1, 5 PIM) was just an assist away from the Gordie Howe Hatty and is currently on pace for 33 goals, but just 64 PIM? Say it ain’t so, Milan!
Karri Ramo (1 GA, 21 SV, W) apparently played through an injury to get the win against the Kings on Saturday. Really? I mean, he sucks when he’s healthy, so maybe he should always play hurt?
Duncan Keith (2 A, 3 SOG, +2) added two more assists. Shocking.
Derek Stepan (2 A, 1 SOG, +3) had a much better November (5 G, 7A, +8) than he did October (0 G, 7 A, -8) and has now, literally, evened out. He should continue to score, but his contract holdout really cost him a good start to the season, but now that he’s got his legs under him there’s more life. On pace for just 58 points a guy everyone expected to take a big leap forward this year is one of the biggest busts so far.
Marian Hossa (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG, +1) is a fantasy owners best friend. I draft this guy every year despite the inevitable injuries because when he’s healthy, he scores. Drafting him as a primary scoring option is a fool’s game, but adding him as secondary scoring? Well now, that sounds like championship material to me.
Ryan Garbutt (2 G, 8 SOG, +2, 2 PIM) had a great game against the Oil yesterday but mostly I’m mentioning him because his last name is Garbutt. He’s worthless fantasy wise. Garbutt? You’ve got to be kidding me.
Ryan Kesler (2 G, 5 SOG, +1, 2 PIM) quietly plods along towards 30 goals and remains a great secondary scoring option.
Ilya Bryzgalov (1 GA, 28 SV) had to leave the game after a collision with Stars forward Ryan Garbutt! GAAARRBUUut seriously Breezy was looking pretty solid before getting mowed down as Garbutt streaked in on net; he even managed to make the save! Oil Coach Dallas Eakins said in a post game interview of Bryzgalov’s status “”I’m not being upfront now. I’ve got to keep this under wraps until we check him out a little further.” Well that sounds good.
Devan Dubnyk (1 GA, 15 SV, W) bungled his way to a win in relief of the hurt Breezy. He only faced 15 shots and still managed to let one by. I feel for you, Oil faithful, I really do.
Jonas Gustavsson (2 GA, 30 SV, W) on the other hand continued to his stellar play and has really earned increased playing time. It appears Mike Babcock agrees and the Monster has taken four of the last six for the Wings.
Eddie Lack (2 GA, 29 SV, W) turned away 29 shots for a W against the ‘Canes yesterday. Eddie don’t lack for skill, at every level he’s had success and with the goalie-made-o-glass Kari Lehtonen ahead of him, Eddie could be very valuable in the second half if Lehtonen breaks.
Kari Lehtonen (2 GA, 30 SV) didn’t break, as it would happen. Instead he continued his stellar play and pushed his record to 10-5-4 with a 2.18 GAA and .926 SV%. He has always had the potential to be this good and so long as he’s healthy, he will continue to perform near this level.
Drew Miller (2 G, 3 SOG, +1) is owned in 0% of ESPN and Yahoo! Leagues so no one in our universe benefited from this at all, save maybe people needing a bad game out of Robin Lehner who gave up those two goals. You’re making me look bad, Lehner!
Daniel Alfredsson (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG, +2) sure is old. Still, he put forth a solid effort in his first trip back against his long-time former team. Alffy will always be a Senator at heart, I’m sure, but he deserves to hoist the cup. I wonder if he’s rooting for Gustavsson to get more starts too.
Jason Garrison (2 A, 1 SOG, +2) is a dead ringer for Hank Scropio, right? I mean, yeah, he has to dye his hair red, but come on. It’s there. Also, he’s having himself a fine season so far despite the meh -3 rating. He’s shooting more this season and it’s paying off. Currently on pace for 45 points and I around 40 is feasible and would be a career high for him.
Niklas Kronwall (2 A, 1 SOG, +1) added two more assists and is cruising his way towards a 60+ point season.
Darren Helm (1 A, 2 SOG, +2) seems determined to prove he’s not just a third line center. He’s scoring right now and with Pavel Datsyuk down with a possible concussion, so long as he’s clicking Babs will give him the ice time. He’s worth adding in deeper leagues for now.
Johan Franzen (1 G, 4 SOG, even) now has points in four straight as the Wings surge behind the Monster’s strong play in net.
Justin Faulk (1 A, 5 SOG, even) also has points in four straight and is on pace for 33 for the season. He’s worth grabbing, but temper your expectations because Carolina.
Chris Higgins (1 A, 4 SOG, +1) still exists!
Ales Hemsky (1 G, 3 SOG, even) isn’t hurt!
Patrick Dwyer (1 A, 1 SOG, +1) continues to prove my even-a-corpse-can-score for the Blackhawks theory.
Justin Abdelkader (1 A, 1 SOG, +1) has points in four straight, too. Did they get together and decide this amongst themselves? Is this game fixed? Is my whole life a lie?
David Perron (1 A, 1 SOG, +1) is annoying as hell, or so say the guys he plays against. Turns out Perron is an extremely effective agitator with decent scoring chops, which is exactly what the Oil needed. Truth be told, every team needs a guy like Perron to help keep the opposition off its game and draw penalties and he’s doing that in spades this season with 20 points in 24 games so far. Basically, he’s Sean Avery but with many fewer orders of magnitude less o’ jackass.