Craig Anderson (3 GA, 35 SV, L) lost again last night and does that surprise anyone? He helped the Sens stay with it through the shootout but came out on the losing end with the Bolts’ Ben Bishop standing tall for another win. During the post game interviews Anderson was a bit cranky about his recent performance and who wouldn’t be? I mean, if I was Craig Anderson, I’d feel pretty bad about myself on a daily basis, but I digress. When asked about the outcome Anderson dismissed the shootout as just a “skills competition,” uhm, isn’t the entire sport a skills competition? How is that a valid argument against the format? Wow. Unfortunately for him he kept speaking, adding “Flip a coin and call heads. That might be a better way to settle it.” Awww, who needs a diaper change?! Maybe it’s nap time, too! Give me a break, Anderson. You think the shootout is the problem? Take a look in the mirror and you’ll see your problem. I’m sure his comments have nothing to do with the fact that he’s 20-26 all time in shootouts with an embarrassing .625 save percentage to go with it. Just when I thought Anderson couldn’t find a way to be worse, here it is! Unfortunately for him everyone loves the shootouts, hell even most of the players do, the only guys that really complain about it are the goalies who get burnt more often than not. I don’t know what he’s complaining about, it’s not like there’s a huge difference in the quality of his play in the game before the shootout or during, it’s all bad. He’s bad. At this point I’d have one thing to say to the Ottawa coaching staff; start Robin Lehner for crying out loud! And wouldn’t you know it? Lehner is slated to start tomorrow night. Don’t make me look bad, Robin! On the upside, even if you do, none of us will ever look as bad as Anderson does out there. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey last night:
Erik Karlsson (1 G, 1 A, 5 SOG, even) looks like he’ll end up with around 80 points and a gnarly minus-20 by season’s end. I both love and hate that. Should he be moved to wing or are the Senators really that bad defensively? Maybe it’s all Craig Anderson’s fault. Hmn, that sounds about right. Damn you, Anderson!
Kari Lehtonen (1 GA, 24 SV, W) looks like he’s back on track with another solid performance. All system’s go, yo. Say it with me now! “Please stay healthy, please stay healthy, please stay healthy…”
Anton Khudobin (3 GA, 26 SV, W) should, in theory, be locking up the starter’s job in Carolina with every passing start like this. Is he? Probably not. Ugh, Carolina.
Jamie Benn (1 G, 3 A, 4 SOG, +4) may end up missing some time with a suspension for that nasty elbow he delivered to the side Matt Cooke’s head recently, but it’s Matt Cooke so who really cares? His mom? Puh. So long as Benn is on the ice, he’s money, so lets hope he actually stays on the ice. If you rely on Benn as one of your primary scoring options pay close attention to his upcoming disciplinary hearing.
Tyler Seguin (2 A, 1 SOG, +2) has had a rough month but you can’t give up on him, he’ll still finish the season around a point-per-game and come next month, he’s likely to return to normal form. Don’t sell low on him whatever you do.
Valeri Nichushkin (2 G, 1 A, 3 SOG, +2) fell off the map after he had a great December scoring 12 points (5 G, 7 A) in 15 games and has since gone cold until last night’s three-point gem. He’s young, he’s Russian and he’s going to be streaky, he’s even a healthy scratch now and then lately, but he still has tremendous long term value in keeper leagues. If he gets going again and finds a home on the top line again with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, pick him back up.
Andrej Sekera (1 G, 2 A, 4 SOG, +4) was mentioned yesterday for his recent solid play and he followed that up with a three-point night to help the Flames down the Sabres yesterday. Here’s a guy on pace for around 45 points and he’s only owned in 27% of Yahoo! Leagues, say what? My faith in Yahoo! owners remains dashed on the rocks of despair. He’s owned in ~71% of ESPN leagues, so in either case, he might be on the wire for you and if he is, add him now now yesterday.
Chris Kunitz (1 G, 2 A, 3 SOG, +3) is juuuust barely still on pace for a 40 goal season now with a minor dip in production over the last month, but that dip comes on the heels of a ridiculous run that Kuntiz had no earthly business being on. I still don’t think he makes it to the 40 goal marker, but he’ll likely end up in the 30s, and I’d buy that for a dollar!
Sidney Crosby (1 G, 2 A, 4 SOG, +2) is now on pace for 116 points with 43 goals and this I still buy. I’m not a Crosby fan, but you can’t hate on his skill, just the fact that he whines and dives a lot.
Victor Hedman (3 A, 1 SOG, +3) tallied a trifecta o’ helpers last night and now he’s looking at finishing the year with 50 points, nice! This is the Hedman scouts told us we’d see once he settled in to the league and after three meh seasons to start his career, Hedman has arrived. He should be considered among the fantasy defensemen elite from now on.
Olli Maatta (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG, +3, 2 PIM) just keeps on scoring and I keep on trying not to mention him because I tend to see a lot of Penguins on the score sheets every freakin’ day, but here he is again. He has five points in his last give games and is poised to post his best month of this season in January. I always say if a Pen is scoring and you need help at their position, add them, and this applies to the rookie as well. The scoring could dry up at any minute, but get it while the gettins’ good!
Cody Eakin (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG, +2) is a second year, two-way centerman that tends to have some lapses in the defensive end, but is better than your average bear with passin’ and shootin’ da puck, so he’s usually a legit offensive threat. To prove that point he has four points in his last three games and is currently on pace for a 45 point sophomore season. That might not be overwhelming, but when you consider he’s a third line center, that has to get your attention. No? Well then, I can’t do much for you.
Alexander Semin (2 G, 3 SOG, +2, 2 PIM) now has six goals on his four game streak and, like I’ve said a few times recently, pick him up!
Matt Calvert (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG, +1, 2 PIM) has a solid shot, but that hasn’t seemed to come with him to the big show since his promotion from the AHL. A shame, he’s undersized and tends to pass first, so his value is pretty limited despite somewhat respectable numbers in limited action this season. He’s a fantasy non-factor at this point and might remain that way unless he finds that big shot of his again.
Brandon Dubinsky (1 G, 1 A, 5 SOG, +1) notched a couple more points last night; he now has five in his last five games and has officially become fantasy relevant. He’s currently on pace to hit 60 points and with all the other areas of the game he can contribute in, he’s worth adding in deeper leagues. I’m personally glad to say that because I’m a fan of Dubs, he works his butt off out there every game.
David Backes (2 A, 4 SOG, +1) came back down a month ago after posting 25 points in the first two months of the season, he was only able to muster five points in all of December but he’s recovered a bit in January with 8 points in 10 games. That being said, he’s scored all eight of those points in just five games, so there’s lots of goose eggs in there. There was no way Backes kept his early season pace up and the last few months are more in line with what he’s done in the past. He remains valuable in all formats, but he isn’t the league winning savior a lot of folks were touting him as earlier in the year.
Jack Johnson (1 G, 6 SOG, +2) has four helpers over his last two; six points in his last five and might finish the season with a respectable 30 or so points. His plus/minus is looking bad and getting worse, but I doubt anyone was hoping for the 35-45 points he put up in back-to-back seasons a few years ago in L.A. I wouldn’t own him in most leagues, but if you’re desperate, he’s worth a flier while the Jackets are going strong.
Tyler Johnson (1 G, 6 SOG, +2) potted a shorthanded goal last night and has five points over his last four games. Not bad for the undersized Bolts center who is worth your attention in keeper leagues, though he’s nothing incredibly special, he could develop into a steady secondary scoring option as soon as, well, this year!
Matt Niskanen (2 A, +3) score more points again. Pick him up, Yahoo owners. Do it. You know you want to. Do it. Do eeeeet!
Frederik Andersen (1 GA, 30 SV, W) picked up another win with another stellar performance after Jonas Hiller was pulled in favor of, well, Andersen the other night. Hiller is the no. 1 in Anaheim, there’s no doubting that, but Freddy is worth owning so long as Viktor Fasth remains out.
Alex Stalock (0 GA, 20 SV, W) has allowed zero goals in his last two starts and no more than two goals allowed in any game dating back to Dec. 6th and that’s pretty damn impressive. That being said, that spans just six starts, so he isn’t on the ice enough to know whether he’s this good, or the San Jose defense is that good. I think it’s the latter of the two, frankly.
Thomas Hickey (1 A, 2 SOG, +4) is a power play QB in the making, but is just outside the realm of give-a-crap for fantasy owners this season.
Michael Grabner (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG, +1) found his way to the scoring sheet, a rare feat for him this season. Yawn.
Jaroslav Halak (1 GA, 34 SV, W) has alternated wins and losses for his last five starts but he’s still the no. 1 in St. Louis, though his leash is short considering how baller Brian Elliot plays in limited action. These two are handcuff specials, if you ask me, and if I owned one I’d find a way to own the other if possible. Together they’re like one and a half starters!
Darcy Kuemper (1 GA, 33 SV, W) is worth picking up at this point. It’s pretty clear that the Wild have basically given up on Niklas Backstrom and with Josh Harding still out, Kuemper seems to be the guy in Minnesota for the time being.
Carter Hutton (1 GA, 33 SV, W) is the latest “starter” in the merry-go-round o’ mediocrity in the Nashville crease. I wouldn’t touch this situation with a ten foot pole.
Justin Faulk (1 A, 2 SOG, +3) now has points in back-to-back games, lets hope it’s the start of a bit of a streak for the sophomore blue liner. You shouldn’t rely on him as anything more than a third or fourth defenseman, but he could end up as a first or second come next season. If he really explodes for a stretch he could be that this year and finish with around 40 points.
Kevin Shattenkirk (1 G, 2 SOG, +1) keeps doing his best Alex Pietrangelo impression with another goal. He’s on pace for 58 points and Piety is on pace for 59. Man, the Blues are really hurting for offense, aren’t they?
Ondrej Palat (1 G, 3 SOG, +2) has four points in his last two games and I own him in deep leagues, why not? He’s owned in less than 10% of Yahoo! leagues and I’ve been able to drop him and re-add him for his streaks at will. You can probably do the same and if he keeps this up, he might get himself into the Calder discussion sooner than later.
Sergei Gonchar (2 A, 1 SOG, +1) is old, slow and no longer very effective. The days of his 60-plus point seasons are over y’all!
Joe Pavelski (1 G, 3 SOG, +1, 2 PIM) is young, fast and extremely effective. The days of his 80-plus point seasons are just starting y’all!
Rick Nash (1 G, 7 SOG, even, 2 PIM) continues his Nashty goal scoring streak and man, did that Olympic invite light a fire under his butt or what? That’s six goals in his last four games and he’s now on pace for 31 by season’s end, believe it or not. There aren’t many guys in the league that can start so poorly and still end up scoring 30 goals like this.
Ondrej Pavelec (1 GA, 31 SV, L) took a tough loss, and I don’t say that often about Pavelec. Meh.
Antti Raanta (2 GA, 17 SV, L) spelled Corey Crawford for a game and lost, so there’s no risk of Crawdad getting displaced here. Crawford hasn’t been winning much since he returned from his injury three weeks ago, but that’s no fault of his as he hasn’t allowed more than three goals in any game since returning.