Don't be shellfish...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

Lately everyone wants to know if they should drop Braden Holtby (13-10-2/3.00/.915/1) for rookie upstart Phillipp Grubauer (5-2-2/2.02/.938) and while I preached patience with Hotly initially, I think it’s time to get on the Grubi train. Both goalies are young, and with any young athlete there are ups and downs, so it’s hard to make a move with such a small sample size to go on from the rookie who was only given a chance at the NHL level because of an injury to backup Michal Neuvirth earlier this season. Neuvirth’s agent has been whining to the media stating unequivocally “Let me just put it this way, I want Michal out of Washington.” Caps head coach Adam Oates was none too pleased to hear that, but Neuvirth had been completely displaced long before this anyway. It’s starting to sound as though his time with the Caps is coming to a close. So, Grubi isn’t headed back down to the AHL and since Neuvirth went down on Dec. 3 Grubi has started eight of the last 13 games for the Caps, including the last four in a row. He’s not only getting the starts, he’s getting starts against tough opponents that used to fall to Holtby and performing exceptionally well every time he hits the ice. Holtby, on the other hand, has imploded each time he’s been given a start over that span and was relieved by Grubi twice. Oates initially said that Holtby was their guy, but he seems to be talking out of the side of his mouth with that nonsense as they keep rolling Grubi out there game-after-game. At this point I have to endorse the rookie, though that comes with words of caution. Don’t lose track of Hotlby. He’s not a bad goalie, he’s just a young, struggling goalie and Grubi isn’t the second coming of a young Martin Brodeur, he’s a rookie performing well at the start of his career and that can end in a hurry. Still, the hot hand is the hot hand so go ahead and grab him if he’s available in your league as he may hold on to the starting job for some time. Given that he’s only owned in 16% of Yahoo! Leagues and 44% of ESPN leagues, you’ve still got a shot, so get to it! Anyway, here’s what else I saw in fantasy hockey yesterday:

Ben Bishop (2 GA, 28 SV, W) continues to have a stellar season limiting the Canucks in a 4-2 win last night. His season line now sits at 21-5-3/1.89/.935/3 and that has a lot of folks wondering why he was a US Olympic snub when the rosters were announced yesterday. He has the best numbers of any American goaltender right now but his 30 starts this year are a career high by a long shot, his previous being just 13 games played with the Sens last year before being traded to the Bolts and that’s why. Yes, Jon Quick is hurt. Yes, Jimmy Howard is struggling. Yes, Ryan Miller’s numbers look terrible, but the 27 year old Bishop has a lot more to prove than any of those guys, struggling or not.

Jonathan Bernier (2 GA, 41 SV, W) has won three straight, now sports a season line of 13-11-4/2.40/.931/1 and has completely taken over as the Leafs’ no. 1 with James Reimer putting up 3.00+ GAA for the past two months. It’s safe to say that if you’re waiting for Reimer to get more starts you’re going to be waiting a long time, so if there’s a guy on the wire that you want to grab let Reimer loose and ride the hot hand.

Jimmy Howard (2 GA, 24 SV, L) lost his second straight start after returning from injury, though at least in this one he didn’t give up six goals like he did against the Preds last week. Despite sporting a season line of 6-9-8/2.72/.907/2 he was selected as team USA’s third goalie behind Jon Quick and Ryan Miller and the only reason is the experience gap between him and Ben Bishop. If you own Howard you can only hold him and hope he turns it around as there’s no way you’ll get good value returned in a trade for him at this point. The silver lining to this cloud is that if hot, Howard has the ability to stay hot for a good stretch.

Eddie Lack (4 GA, 29 SV, L) won’t spend much more time as the team’s defacto starter with Roberto Luongo nearly ready to return from injury, so be prepared to drop him soon. Eddie has been solid filling in for Robbie, but stumbled in this one coughing up four. He’s struggled with injuries in the past but has a ton of talent, so keep an eye on him for the stretch should Luongo get hurt again.

Daniel Alfredsson (1 G, 3 SOG, +1) has four goals and six points in his last five games and remains fantasy relevant being on pace for 63 points by season’s end. Some folks said that Alfy might have one good season left him in on a team like the Wings and it appears that’s the case. At his age he’s always an injury risk and he hasn’t scored at a pace like this since 2009-2010, so don’t rely on him for much more than a scoring boost off the wire if you’re on Yahoo where he’s owned in just 61% of leagues.

Alex Killorn (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG, +2) started the year with a few solid months that hinted he might be worth owning as a secondary scoring option in deeper leagues but when Steven Stamkos went down the lines reshuffled and he fell off the map. He’s on pace for around 50 points and that makes him a guy to keep an eye on, but not worth owning.

Valtteri Filppula (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG, +1) keeps trying to justify that contract of his with 12 points (5 goals) in his last eight games and is now on pace for 31 goals and 66 points this season. That doesn’t quite do it, Flip. Still, he is absolutely worth owning in most formats with those numbers.

Dion Phaneuf (2 A, 1 SOG, +2, 2 PIM) put up another good game and has five points in his last five games, though his overall production is down this season. The Leafs are streaky so is Dion, he should end up in the mid-30s by seasons end. Remember when he was young and poured 200+ shots on net every year and threw in 100s of PIM to boot? Ah, those were the days! These days aren’t those days.

Victor Hedman (1 A, 5 SOG, +2) continues his breakout season and remains on pace for 47 points and 16 goals and despite that he’s only owned in 73% of Yahoo Leagues? Unless your league format penalizes you for good performance, you should go ahead and pick Hedman up immediately if he’s available in your league. Honestly, whom do you have at the back end of your blue line that’s better than Hedman?

Phil Kessel (1 A, 7 SOG, +1) won’t match the point-per-game pace he posted last year, but he’s still good for 40 goals and 70+ points. I’d buy that for a dollar!

Henrik Zetterberg (1 A, 6 SOG, +1) could have challenged for the Hart if he stayed healthy but, shocker, he didn’t. Still, he returned from his injury and picked up where he left off almost immediately. He has four points in his last three games and when healthy remains one of the best scoring forwards in the game.

Nikita Kucherov (1 G, 3 SOG, even) is another young Russian not living up to the hype. He’s on pace for just 21 points this season and for a guy who has often be labeled a “game breaker” he sure isn’t showing that kind of skill so far in his short NHL career. What’s that I hear? Is that the KHL calling?

James van Riemsdyk (1 G, 4 SOG, +1, 2 PIM) contributed across the board yesterday giving us a little of everything. He’s only on pace for 60 points, but with a Bobby Ryan-esque parity at 30/30 goals and assists, respectively. He’s never going to be an 80 point player, but the kid scores goals in bunches.

Ondrej Palat (1 A, 4 SOG, +1) is quietly rolling lately with 4 points in his last five games. The rookie had his best month in December with 2 goals and 6 assists in 13 games and while that’s a bit underwhelming, he is a talented prospect worth keeping an eye on in keeper leagues. He isn’t worth owning quite yet, but he has a natural nose for the net and if he bulks up a bit, he could be something special in a few years.

Tyler Johnson (1 G, 3 SOG, +1) is a rookie worth owning right now in keeper leagues, anyway. He has three goals in his last four games, four points in his last five and is on pace for 45 points in 80 games this season. Both Palat and Johnson share a common denominator in their respective 4 game point streaks, and that’s playing with Martin St. Louis. Once Steven Stamoks is reunited with Marty on the top line you can expect both to slow significantly.

Teddy Purcell (1 A, +2) is another Bolt who misses playing with Stamkos though he has mustered four points in his last five games. He’s only on pace for 45 points, as much as rookie Tyler Johnson, and that doesn’t bode well for the six year vet who many were hoping would have a breakout season in 2014. Yeah, it’s not happening. If you haven’t cut bait on Purcell yet, feel free to do so now. He’s worth tracking as he may streak down the stretch, but otherwise, meh.

Tyler Bozak (1 G, 1 SOG, +1) now has seven points in his last five and that’s more than he’s scored in any month this season so far. I doubt anyone outside of Toronto hoped for much from Bozak so given that we didn’t expect anything; he’s living right up to expectations! That’s something worth holding onto if you’re a Leafs fan. Fantasy owner? Notsomuch.

Justin Abdelkader (1 G, 3 SOG, even, 2 PIM) has always been more of a defensive guy than anything else, but he does find ways to score. The Wings hoped they could turn this kid into a power forward, and while that’s basically what he is, he’s not going to become a Ryan Getzlaf anytime soon.

  1. goodfold2 says:
    (link)

    that neuvirth news sure changed the tune (possibly) there.

    • goodfold2 says:
      (link)

      @goodfold2: turns out between when I first posted holtby vs grabauer question (with mentioning brodeur was also free agent) brodeur was in fact picked up (but by the varlamov/quick owner, so quickly when quick is off IR i’ll be able to waiver Brodeur, if I want). So i’ll grab grabauer now (he did just have his first bad game).

      • JD

        JD says:
        (link)

        @goodfold2: Sounds like your goalie situation can remain pretty fluid, so no harm done then, eh? Next time a guy like Brodeur is out there, you should grab him! He’s a no-brainer. Grubi is in for some ups and downs like any rookie, but he has a real shot to run away with the no. 1 job. It will be fun to watch who comes out on top, I’ve always been a Holtby fan.

  2. goodfold2 says:
    (link)

    same league as above. i’ve asked this before, about moving Purcell for other people. Now I just dropped Stempniak (as he’s been terrible for a while now, and his hits aren’t making up for much) for craig smith (C/RW) but i’m soon to have a problem. I simply don’t have enough LW eligible people. We play 4 of each forward spot per day and no util or flex, so it’s better to have 4 or 5 guys at each spot. I have a ton of C/RW type guys (backes/johansen/pavelski/oshie/smith) but only a total of 4 LW now (with greening, for hits) and will only have 4 when steen comes back (steen/o’reilly/ladd/perron). Callahan is also coming back soon (RW only). The TB owner has both Foligno and Palat. Palat seems to be like Purcell, but without PPP and with some hits (he’s currently on higher line too, but that might not remain). Foligno has been hot but I know you like Purcell’s future better than him. so,
    1. palat or foligno if i need to move purcell for a LW
    2. perrault (ANA) or smith (NAS) or legwand (drop one), for when backes/steen/callahan all come back i’ll have to drop at least 3 people (s.koivu/greening and 1 out of legwand/smith/perrault). only drawback to smith is lack of faceoffs compared to the other 2, but since I grabbed smith to replace stempniak no big deal if I lose a few there.

    • goodfold2 says:
      (link)

      @goodfold2: all of those concerns deal with a keep whole team forever type dynasty, main reason I was worried about cutting Holtby a few days ago.

      • JD

        JD says:
        (link)

        @goodfold2: Well, you’re cutting Holtby for Grubi straight up and in a dynasty it’s really 50/50 who comes out on top between the two of them. First Neuvirth was the Caps’ goalie of the future, then Holtby, now Grubi is, so it’s anyone’s guess at this point. In terms of talent, it seems like they’re at least on par with each other.

    • JD

      JD says:
      (link)

      @goodfold2: 1) Palat has a higher upside than Foligno, Foligno gives you more in the short term, depends on what you need most.

      2) Drop Legwand.

      • goodfold2 says:
        (link)

        @JD: thanks. got lucky in short term, was able to put halak on IR+ (we do have a LOT of these slots 5 each for IR,IR+ and NA) and grab graubauer and still keep holtby.

        • JD

          JD says:
          (link)

          Nice.

  3. Bobber came off IR yesterday. He was the backup goalie against Phoenix & it’s uncertain how long he’ll remain in that role, so I don’t plan to activate him just yet. I will have to cut Bobber, Mike Smith, or Schneider loose. I’m leaning Schneider because Pete DeBoer has leaned heavily on Martin Brodeur, but not in love with Smith either. He doesn’t pile up the W’s. Bobber wasn’t especially sharp before the groin pull either. Hate to cut one, but can only have 3. What would u do JD? W/L/SO/GAA/SV%. Thanks. U da man!

    • JD

      JD says:
      (link)

      @madden_curser: If it was pure talent I’d rate them thusly: Schneider, Bobrovsky, Smith… in your league: Bobrovsky, Smith, Schneider. It’s a razor thin margin between Bobs and Smith, though. Smith will give you more wins than Bobrovsky, who will hurt you with his losses in CLB, and both will post meh peripherals. I’ve never been a Smith fan, and we’ve seen the ceiling for Bobrovsky, so there’s way more upside on his end. Schneider just can’t catch a break, though, as Marty Brodeur is too good to not play when he’s playing as well as he is. Try saying that three times fast!

  4. Gordon Bombay says:
    (link)

    Currently i’m in 1st in my pool and I have good group of forwards. I figure because of my position I might be afford to trade for Stamkos giving me a big boost come playoff time. I play in a H2H 10 category league and you have to start 6 forwards. My current forwards include:

    Seguin, Sharp, Perry, Pavelski, Stepan, Versteeg and Franzen (IR spot)

    Would you take this risk and if so which player would you try to trade? I’m guessing either Seguin or Pavelski.

    Thanks!

    • JD

      JD says:
      (link)

      @Gordon Bombay: It will take at least Seguin to get Stamkos. There is no buy low on him, so I don’t recommend trying to trade for him because you have to over pay. Draft him or forget it, imo. No reason to fix what isn’t broken, either. Your lineup is strong.

  5. SMLV1 says:
    (link)

    Grubi, Schnieder or Tim Thomas

    Andy Greene or Hedman

    • JD

      JD says:
      (link)

      Grubi and Hedman

Comments are closed.