Michael Del Zotto was finally traded away from Broadway to Nashville in a straight up deal for defenseman Kevin Klein. No, not the actor, though given that Klein has only put up three points all season he might as well be the freakin’ actor for all the good he’s doing fantasy owners (there are none). The Rangers need offense and Del Zotto sure wasn’t providing that, but Klein is a big step down offensively regardless of how poorly Del Zotto’s performing, so this move boils down to money and roster considerations for both teams. How does it affect their fantasy values? Well, If you haven’t gathered already Klein has no value at all so lets move on to who really matters, eh? Del Zotto should find himself on the top pairing with Shea Weber sooner than later and that could do wonders for his production and your chances of winning. Right now the Preds have second year upstart Roman Josi playing opposite of Weber and that seems to be working quite well, but put Del Zotto on Weber’s left side and you could see sparks fly. This is a low-risk move for the Preds because Del Zotto is an RFA at season’s end and if he signs an offer sheet with another team the Preds get some draft picks and if not they re-sign him at a discount. Win-win! For Del Zotto it’s a chance to get his act together and earn himself a decent contract next season. He’s shown the ability to put up monster numbers in the past with 41 points (10 G, 31 A) back in 2011-12, but hasn’t reached that point total again with his production from the last two seasons combined. Granted one of those is the lockout-shortened season but still, that’s horrible! At any rate, keep an eye on Del Zotto moving forward and if he even hints at a good streak and you need scoring help on your blue line? Add him without a moment’s hesitation. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey last night:
Alexander Semin (1 G, 1 SOG, +1, 2 PIM) scored a goal for the third straight game and now has 15 points in his last 18 games. Add him where and how you can, and I bet you can get him on the cheap because so many owners have had it with his streaky ways. Well, if you’re lucky you can grab him and streak your way to a championship! Giggity.
Henrik Zetterberg (3 A, 3 SOG, +3) has only played 39 games so far this season but still managed to post 46 points over that span. If fantasy owners and the Red Wings are going to be successful at all this season they need Z to stay healthy, and he’s been having some trouble with that this season. Either way, he tallied a trifecta of helpers last night and that was with Pavel Datsyuk still out nursing his sore groin.
Evgeni Malkin (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG, +3) continues to see his pace slow and now he’s only on pace for 90 points, oh noes! Seriously, though, there was no chance he maintained his torrid stretch earlier this season.
Jussi Jokinen (2 G, 3 SOG, +2) continues to keep himself marginally ownable with solid streak of 10 points in eight games in January. Like I’ve said before, any Pen is worth adding while they’re scoring. Because, you know, the Pens score lots and lots o’ points and when a guy gets going, it can last long enough to make a difference for you.
Jonas Gustavsson (4 GA, 31 SV, W) might have coughed up four goals, but he battled all the way through the shootout for a win in his first action back off his LBI. Jimmy Howard is out for at least 2-4 weeks with an MCL sprain, so the Monster is your man in net for the Wings until Howie returns.
Anton Khudobin (2 GA, 22 SV, W) got back on track with another win. Honestly, I don’t see how the ‘Canes can just sit Khudobin for Cam Ward when he gets healthy. Yeah, Carolina has $6.3 million reasons a year to start him no matter what, but do they want to win or do they want to get value for their money? They’d do well to trade Ward and his massive salary to a struggling team willing to take a flier on a talented, but oft injured goalie and give the crease over to Khudobin and Justin Peters. Will they? Probably not. Ugh, Carolina.
Jeff Skinner (Nada, Zilch, 3 SOG, even) has gone into a slump after a magnificent stretch that lasted all of December and into the first weeks of January where he scored 24 points in 18 games. He’s gone scoreless in his last five since that streak ended. He’ll get back on track, no worries.
Gustav Nyquist (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG, +2) has a little three game points streak going with a two point performance last night against the Blackhawks. Nyqvist is a sweet skating playmaker that has all the hallmarks of a guy poised for success at the NHL level. So far he has 14 points in 25 games and while that’s not overwhelming, the Wings have to get their scoring from somewhere with all the injuries they’re suffering this year, and Nyqvist seems to be filling the gap lately.
Patrick Kane (2 A, 2 SOG, +1) is mired in a pretty rough slump, especially for him. After scoring in nearly every game from November through December, Kane has just five points in his last ten games and four of those came in two games. He’ll right the ship eventually, no worries, but his chances of finishing north of 90 points are quickly dwindling.
Matt Niskanen (2 A, 1 SOG, +1, 2 PIM) is having the best month of his season and the month is only half over. He’s easily going to finish north of 40 points this year with a chance at hitting the 50-point mark, and despite that he’s only owned in 72% of Yahoo! Leagues. I have no faith in Yahoo! Owners anymore.
Taylor Pyatt (1 G, 4 SOG, even) scored a goal, but he only has three points in 30 games so far this season. To be fair, his role has nothing to do with scoring, but good lord is that awful! One point every ten games? Ugh.
Justin Faulk (1 A, 3 SOG, +2) has been up and down lately, but it looks like he’ll keep giving you around 5-6 points a month, and for a second year defenseman that’s pretty damn solid. He might not break the 30 point mark this year, and it’s a bit troubling to see the ‘Canes start scoring and Faulk not contributing much, but we must be patient with the kids.
Nathan Gerbe (1 G, 4 SOG, +1) isn’t doing a whole lot this season, but that was expected. Still, he did mange this sick between-the-legs goal on Steve Mason, so there’s that. Lawds that was as soft a goal as it was nasty, and it was pretty nasty.
Steve Mason (3 GA, 29 SV, L) looked pretty horrible on that Gerbe goal and has looked like his old Columbus Masony self again for a good two months now. In December he allowed 30 goals in 11 games with a .899 save percentage to go with it. This month he’s allowed 24 more goals in just eight games with an even worse .885 save percentage. Listen, I warned the world repeatedly in the first few months of the season that Mason would fall back to his old ways eventually, which really means just fall apart, aaaand here you go. Can he right the ship? Possibly, but his track record says nossibly.
Scott Hartnell (1 G, 2 SOG, even) kept his point streak alive with a power play goal and now has 16 points in his last 15 games. It seems like as Steve Mason goes, the Flyers goes the opposite direction. Mason started the season hot, the Flyers offensive collectively sucked eggs for a solid month or two. Now Mason starts to fall apart and the Flyers surge offensively. Clearly the key to the Flyers’ success is Mason’s failures, which is fine by me because I never liked the guy anyway. I mean that in a fantasy hockey sense, of course, I’m sure he’s a perfectly pleasant human being. That being said, he plays for the Flyers, so probably not.
Shane Doan (1 G, 6 SOG, even) should probably think about hanging up his skates soon. To think there was this huge hubbub about where Doan would sign and when he ended up back in Phoenix everyone let out a collective yawn. Well, now we’re practically asleep with Doan and his 28 points in 37 games thus far. Don’t expect much more from him moving forward, maybe another 20ish points, maybe.
T.J. Brodie (1 A, 2 SOG, +2) is having a pretty solid season for a third year blueliner, and he’s doing exactly what most folks expected of him flirting with a 30 point season. He’s a puck moving defenseman that easily puts passes right on the tape, so most of his offensive output is going to be in the form of helpers.
Andrej Sekera (1 A, 2 SOG, +2) was born five years after me but looks like he’s 45 for crying out loud. He plays like he’s 27 though, and will end up with around 35 points by season’s end.
Tomas Tatar (1 G, 3 SOG, +1) seems to be getting a bit better every month of the season and has four goals so far this month. He’s a talented second year guy that will be well worth owning in the coming seasons, but isn’t much worth your attention right now. That being said, the kid can score goals and if he goes on a tear grab him and ride the hot hand.
Claude Giroux (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG, even) might actually finish this season with respectable numbers. After the first few months I don’t think there was anyone out there that wasn’t horribly disappointed with Giroux, who now looks to finish in the mid 70s in points by season’s end. He looks way better out there lately than he did to start the season, so it makes me wonder if he was playing through those golfing injuries.
Eric Staal (1 A, 3 SOG, +1) on the other hand has not even begun to redeem what is quickly becoming a lost season. He’s hoping to break the 70 point marker this year, but with how he’s currently playing I don’t see that happening. Add on a potential plus/minus of around minus-20 and you’ve got yourself a recipe for blech. I imagine he’ll rebound next season, but I wouldn’t want anything to do with him this year.
Mark Giordano (1 A, 3 SOG, +1) stretched his points streak to five games and he’s even mixing goals in with those helpers of his and is now on pace to notch around 15 by season’s end. What’s truly impressive about Giordano’s season is that he’s on pace for 46 points, that’s good, but he’s going to do it in just 64 games! That’s insane for a defenseman. What would it mean if he played 82 games? Try 57 points! Delicious. Who does he think he is? Shea Weber?
Paul Martin (1 A, 4 SOG, even) returned after missing all of December and most of January and notched a point in his second game back with an assist. Martin was doing pretty well for himself before he went down with the injury with 12 points in 25 games, so if he’s available in your league and you need back end help, here’s your guy.
Peter Budaj (0 GA, 10 SV, L) had to come in and hold fort in a rare stinker from Carey Price. There is nothing to this other than Price is probably tired and hey, nobody’s perfect.
Mike Smith (3 GA, 23 SV, L) returns to his losing ways and keeps everyone wondering about what to do with him. Listen, I don’t like Smith and if you feel like you want to cut him for greener pastures, do it. Will he remain the starter for the ‘yotes no matter what? Pretty much, but how does it help you if he starts all the time and sucks it up doing it? A backup who performs consistently well in limited action is likely more valuable than Smith in his current state of affairs.