When I took a look at the box scores from yesterday’s tilts all I saw was a bunch of yawnstipating schmohawks filling the score sheets! Outside of a handful of regulars like Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf getting their usual helpings o’ goals and assists, guys like Damien Brunner and Patrick Maroon were all I saw! Seriously, Maroon? What is this guy, from an old Bugs Bunny cartoon? These guys are boring as eff and you’d have to be a maroon to pick most of them up, so to kick this round up off I’m going to go over a few key free agent grabs that didn’t play last night, but could actually help you win starting with Boston’s stellar backup Chad Johnson. Johnson’s season has been absolutely stellar posting a season line of 16-3-0/2.04/.925/2 in 23 starts this season, so his track record is solid and his team is ridiculous. Despite the fantastic numbers Johnson is only owned in 60% of ESPN leagues and 20% of Yahoo leagues so he’s most likely available if you want to take advantage of Boston’s back-to-back game riddled schedule over the next few weeks. You know Boston want to keep Rask healthy and fresh and with a playoff spot already locked up Johnson might see starts even on nights that aren’t typical rest days for Tuukka. What does all this mean? It means you need to cash in on that shiz right now and add Johnson before someone else does. Mike Cammalleri is another key guy to grab like, yesterday, and if you’ve been living under a rock for the past week you might not have noticed that he’s posted 16 points over his last 12 games and nothing else really matters save that he’s posted 16 freakin’ points over his last 12 games. Big names don’t matter right now, goals and assists do, and Calamari is providing much o’ that! Add him? Yes. When? I already told you like four lines up, yesterday! Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey last night:
Patrik Elias (1 G, 1 SOG, +1) might have only taken two shots and he might have only put one of those on net, but damnit, he made it count! That gives Elias five points in his last four games and I don’t see this stopping as the Devils push for a playoff spot, so like I said last week, pick him up!
Zack Kassian (4 A, +4) hasn’t done much in the two seasons he has been in the league, but this game was pretty stellar so he’s getting a mention here. Kassian is a big power forward prospect with somewhat limited upside, though he’s slated to be a top-six forward when he gets his act together. 44 points in 147 career games with a minus-15 isn’t my idea of getting his act together, so the kid still has some work to do. What’s odd is that in his limited offensive upside, the upside is definitely his ability to put the biscuit in the basket, so this four helpers nonsense is just that, nonsense! Tomfoolery! Ballyhoo! e.g. don’t count on more of the same. I don’t think he’s worth adding now, but might be a deep sleeper next year.
Matt Moulson (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG, +2) now has eight points in ten games with the Wild and with the right line combo he could be a point-per-game player as soon as next season.
Teemu Selanne (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG, +3) is finally going to retire, and I can’t say I’m happy to see the Finnish Flash leave the league, but his 24 points in 56 games this season on an offensive powerhouse like the Ducks says it’s finally time to hang ‘em up. Teemu has four points over his last five games with three in the last two, so he’s worth a stream in the playoffs as he’s very likely playing in the final games of his career. It’s possible he’ll save some gas for the playoffs, but he doesn’t have much gas left to begin with, so it’s anyone’s guess if he can be semi-productive for the next few weeks. My guess is yes, he can.
Gustav Nyquist (2 G, 3 SOG, +2) now has goals in five straight games and this was his second two-goal game in the bunch. He has eight points over his last five and this is the kind of surging performance from a basically no-name guy who burst on the scene late in the season to power teams to fantasy titles. His ownership numbers have steadily increased over the last month, so I hope you were able to get on the good ship Gustav before he sailed off with some other manager.
Tomas Tatar (1 G, 1 A, 1 SOG, +2) is a really poor man’s Gustav Nyguist and he isn’t going to provide anywhere near the offensive boost that Nyquist is giving his owners, but if you’re in a pinch and you need some help, any Wings forward that’s healthy and scoring lately is worth a stream.
Mikko Koivu (2 A, 2 SOG, +1) now has six points over his last five games and seems to be coming alive with Matt Moulson on his wing. If he can stay healthy for more than a few games in a row, he could provide considerable value to his owners, but only in the form of assists; so many assists.
David Backes (1 G, 3 SOG, +1, 2 PIM) was unsurprisingly unable to maintain the torrid pace that he set in the first half of the season and has only posted 10 points in his last 18 games, and those 18 games span the last two months. Obviously Backes still retains considerable value, but I figured he would only end up in the mid-60s and it looks like that’s exactly where he’ll finish. The guy was never going to hit 70+, and if you thought that, you cray!
Damien Brunner (1 G, 3 SOG, +2) was supposed to be a healthy scratch and then ended up playing and scored a goal. It seems like Brunner always does nothing all season then when there’s about 10 games left, he scores three or four goals and makes himself seem semi-relevant. Is he relevant? No. Should you pick him up? No.
Cory Schneider (2 GA, 21 SV, W) won his second straight game and it looks like he’s getting back on track now, which is great for his owners (me) and the Devils’ chance at a playoff spot. That being said, Marty Brodeur has rounded back into form late in the season and it looks like the situation here is back to a 1A/1B stack in the New Jersey crease. Sadface.
Eddie Lack (2 GA, 16 SV, W) has won three of his last four games, but don’t be fooled; he beat Florida, Buffalo and Nashville for those three wins. I could beat Florida, Buffalo and Nasville. You could beat Florida, Buffalo and Nashville. Still, he’s the starter, so deploy him as you normally would, but definitely keep an eye on the matchups. Lack is not the long-term solution for the Canucks, or for your short term championship hopes.
Patrick Maroon (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG, even) sports a decent combination of size and skill that, coupled with his new and improved conditioning regimen helped get him to the NHL this season. He’s a Duck, so that speaks well to his prospects for being a source of offense for his owners, but not this season.
Jakob Silfverberg (1 G, 2 SOG, +1) started the season fairly well and early on he was actually matching Bobby Ryan’s production tit-for-tat, but then he broke his shooting hand and hasn’t quite been the same since. If he goes on a streak, which eh can, he should be added immediately, but I don’t see that happening. Jack still has a ton of value as a keeper and he has huge offensive upside, but sadly it didn’t pan out this year. If the kid can stay healthy, he has a real opportunity in Ottawa to shine, but it won’t be until next season.
Dion Phaneuf (1 A, 4 SOG, +1) is going to finish the season with around 35 points and that’s a far cry from the 50-60 point seasons he was putting up for the Flames when he started his career. I doubt he’s going to top 40 points again unless the Leafs get their act together, but it’s the Leafs so the only thing you can really count on is that they won’t get their act together. You have to wonder about a team with so much talent that can’t quite right the ship. They had a real chance this season, but this current losing streak of theirs is pretty brutal and everyone save Phil Kessel takes a hit to their fantasy value simply by being in Toronto.
Alexander Steen (1 A, 3 SOG, +1) will finish the season with a much better point-per-game rate than I think he’s capable of maintaining in any season and thus you can bet your sweet ass he’s going to be way overvalued at next year’s drafts. Steen topped the 30-goal marker, but don’t expect much more from him over the next 10 games. I’d say maybe five points.
Jason Pominville (1 G, 3 SOG, even) is going to score 30 goals this season and who saw that coming? I sure didn’t. He’s oft forgotten and available in many leagues, so if you’re looking for some scoring help, and you know you are, then go take a look at Poms for a boost.
Evgeni Nabokov (0 GA, 41 SV, W) started his first game in almost two weeks and he showed up to play stopping all 41 shots he faced for the shutout. It’s been a pretty dismal season for Nabby, but then he does play for the Isles, so is there anything other than a dismal season to be had? Kyle Okposo might have something to say about that, but this isn’t about him, so pipe down Okie! Nabby is worth a flier in deep leagues if you need a last second goaltending boost, but it can go from this stellar start to him allowing five goals on 20 shots in no time, so proceed with extreme caution.
Brian Elliott (0 GA, 33 SV, W) is worth adding anywhere, anytime because he’s going to give you stellar numbers whether he gets five starts or fifty. I wonder why this guy isn’t getting a starter’s job anywhere, but I guess for now that doesn’t matter because he’s well worth owning in any format right now despite Ryan Miller owning most the starts for the Blues moving forward.
Pekka Rinne (0 GA, 29 SV, W) allowed 13 goals over his last three games before this shutout, and I can’t honestly say that he’s back on track or that he’s going to be a difference maker that his owners hoped beyond hope that he would be upon his return from that nasty hip infection. Honestly, the rust is pretty visible in Pekka’s play and his team isn’t that great, so I wouldn’t hope for much from him moving forward. His skill level means he’ll definitely give you a good start or two, but who knows when those starts will be? Pekka isn’t the automatic start you’re used to him being right now, so make sure to check his matchups and status daily before inserting him into your lineups this week.
Drew MacIntyre (0 GA, 14 SV, L) came in to relieve James Reimer after he coughed up three goals on the game’s first ten shots and didn’t allow another goal pushing away 14 shots. Listen, the guy is pretty decent, but he’s playing for the Leafs who are total a free fall right now. Reimer seems like he’s stellar one game, a mess the next and it’s starting to seem more and more like Jonathan Bernier isn’t going to be rushed back, so avoid this situation if you can.