Jacob Trouba, the ridiculous rookie beast on the blue line that’s been so good the Jets were able to shift Dustin Byfuglien to wing and not only have they not missed a beat, the experiment seems to be a success given the Jets’ recent offensive surge. How beastly you say? 16 points in his last 26 tilts, and when you break it down his line over the last two months goes a little something like this; 6 goals, 10 assists, a plus-10 rating, 15 PIM and 49 SOG. Damn, son! That’s some solid production from the back end, eh? Normally it takes young defensemen a few seasons to get into gear offensively, mostly because they’re defensemen and they need to, you know, focus on learning to play defense. But Trouba decided he’d debut in the NHL and not only bring home the bacon, but the whole damn pig. Ryan McDonagh is a perfect example of the natural course of evolution of the elusive, complete package defenseman. This is McDonagh’s third season and he’s only starting to realize his offensive potential with 29 points in 54 games so far, on pace for around 45 by season’s end. Trouba has the potential to flirt with that point total right now, and he’s five years younger than McDonagh. Why on earth do I need to sell this kid this late in the sesaon? The fact that he’s owned in just 18% of Yahoo! Leagues boggles me mind! I can usually count on ESPN Leagues to offset that, he’s still available in well over a third of leagues there! Well, that actually sounds more reasonable, but it could be higher. It’s time to make the moves that either get you into the playoffs or leave you waiting for next season for another chance to not suck! Do you want to win? Do you need points from the blue line? You in trouble?! Then add my boy Trouba! Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey yesterday:
Ryan Miller (2 GA, 31 SV, L) allowed just two goals this time and still took the loss. Marc-Andre Fleury can allow three goals and he still gets the win, so Miller took it upon himself to allow just two for all the good it did him. The good news here is Miller is looking fantastic and it sounds like he’s might get traded soon, but where does he end up? Rumor has it St. Louis wants to swap Jaroslav Halak for Miller, but I doubt the Sabres are willing to go straight up, they want picks, prospects and a whole bunch of other goodies in exchange for Miller and I don’t blame them. Miller is a UFA at the end of this season and is there any reason to think he wouldn’t walk away form the Sabres? I mean, he probably wants to win a cup sometime before he’s 40, and that’s not going to happen in upstate New York, so there’s some incentive to move him for the Buffalo front office, anyway.
Chad Johnson (3 GA, 34 SV, W) seems to get around one start a week, probably after Tuukka Rask needs a break after he flips his shiz when losing another game in the shootout. I dig Tuukka, he’s a beast, but have you seen him lose it when he, well, loses it? It’s the stuff of legend! Here are a few of my favorites:
Looks like Tuukka needs to work on his skating a bit; or maybe he just needs to work on skating while wailing his stick upon any hard surface he can find. Solution: launch stick across the ice!
Is Tuukka actually happy for his opponents or is he being sarcastic? You be the judge.
Classic Tuukka! Some folks say he needs to work on his anger issues, frankly I hope he keeps doing this because it’s freaking hilarious. What’s even better is no matter how hard he seems to try, that stick just won’t break. Maybe Warrior should sign him to an endorsement deal!? “Warrior goalie sticks are built to last! So tough even Tuukka Rage can’t break ‘em!” Anyway, back to Johnson. He’s good for one solid start a week.
Brad Marchand (1 G, 3 A, 1 SOG, +3) has points in six straight and 12 points (7 G, 5 A) over that span. That includes last night, so cut out this monster four point effort and you’re down to eight points in his last six, and that’s still baller! I’d add him where you can if you need scoring help. I’m not a huge fan, but goals is goals, y’all!
David Perron (3 G, 3 SOG, +3, 2 PIM) potted a hatty against the Canucks last night, the second of his career. The first also came against the Canucks, so clearly Perron would be elite if played the Canucks every game. Sadly, that’s not how hockey works, so he quickly returns to fantasy obscurity until his next matchup with Vancouver.
Tyler Seguin (2 G, 1 A, 5 SOG, +2) now has six points in his last three games and is chugging along full steam ahead after a nasty stretch that saw far too many goose eggs on the score sheet for Seguin.
Jamie Benn (1 G, 1 A, 8 SOG, +2) extended his points streak to four games and has eight points over that span. Did anyone expect anything less out of him this season? Just think, he’s only 24. Imagine what he’s going to do over the next few years? I have a guy in one of my leagues that’s all about trying to trade for Benn, but I’m not budging.
Kyle Okposo (1 G, 2 A, 6 SOG, +2, 2 PIM) is Okie Dokie by me, y’all! Someone get this guy on the US Olympic squad, please?
Michael Grabner (1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG, +3) had his second two point game in the last three and is showing some signs of life, but honestly he went from flat line to just barely having a heartbeat, so don’t get too excited. He once, for a brief time had the potential to pot 30 goals a season, but that time is long gone.
Eric Staal (2 G, 3 SOG, +2) now has six points in his last six games and perhaps I was a bit hasty to write this season off for him so soon. Or did I? I think It was a word of caution that he might not even hit 70 points, but I’m too lazy to look back on it. Suffice it to say he does have a history of strong second halves, so this could be the start of a big streak for him and his owners.
Tanner Glass (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG, +2, 2 PIM) was everywhere last night and you can add six hits to that beefy line of his, too. This game was a fluke, however, and he doesn’t have value anywhere.
Reilly Smith (1 G, 1 A, 5 SOG, +1) is making the Bruins look somewhat good in that Seguin deal, but then again, not really. The centerpiece of that deal coming back to Boston was Loui Eriksson, and he’s been as hurt as he has been terrible since coming over to Beantown from Dallas, but I digress. Smith has points in six straight and should be owned everywhere, especially in keeper leagues.
Sidney Crosby (2 A, 3 SOG, +2) had his 22nd multipoint game this season with a couple helpers last night. Think about that, he’s played in 53 games so far and in 22 of them he’s put up at least two points. How often does Sid the Kid go scoreless? Try 11 games, and for you math majors, that means for every game he doesn’t score, he has two games where he scores at least two points. Damn, son. That’s some fine hockey playin’!
Patrice Bergeron (1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG, +1, 2 PIM) joins many other Bs in his recent scoring surge and has 12 points in 11 games so far this month. He’s still on pace to come in under 60 points, but scoring is scoring so if he’s out there, grab him while he’s hot. There’s no way he keeps this pace up, but he shouldn’t fall too far off the beaten path as the season winds to a close post-Olympic break.
Nail Yakupov (2 A, 2 SOG, +2) now sits at minus-29 after his +2 last night. That’s about all I have to say about Yuckupov.
Alexander Semin (1 A, 5 SOG, +2) was getting kind of bored with scoring goals so he added three helpers in his last two games. I’ve been begging everyone to add Semin, so please, add Semin, he needs a good forever home!
Anze Kopitar (1 G, 4 SOG, +1, 2 PIM) scored the only goal last night against the Sharks and wouldn’t you know it, turned out that won the game! He’s still coming in well under expected numbers with 42 points in 52 games so far, putting him on pace for around 65 for the year. That’s pretty meh for a guy who was averaging around 75 points a season for the last three or four years. Get it together, Anze!
Frans Nielsen (1 G, 3 SOG, +2) might be getting a bit peeved that the TVO line is getting all the love lately, so he scored another goal as a way to say “Hey! Look at me! Don’t forget about Frans!” We haven’t, Franz! Worry not, we love your delicious pastries.
Anton Khudobin (2 GA, 22 SV, W) started off poorly quickly giving up two goals, but the Canes recovered in the third with three goals and Khudobin held fort until they could. He’s been absolutely brilliant as the starter and I honestly can’t see how the Canes could blindly run Cam Ward back out there over Khudobin when he’s healthy. In fact, Khudobin has been so good lately that his play may be a sign that the post-Ward period in Carolina is soon to begin.
Chris Kunitz (1 G, 3 SOG, +1, 2 PIM) remains on pace for exactly 40 goals. As the games go by I watch closely to see if he’ll really get there or not. I’m not sure what I’ll do if he does, because I’m so firmly entrenched in my opinion that he won’t. Don’t you dare prove me wrong, Kunitz!
Torey Krug (1 A, 1 SOG, +3) had a down month in December posting just four points in 13 games with a minus-3 to go with it. That’s bad. He’s returned to form this month and has eight points (3 G, 5 A) in 11 games. That’s good! The kid should end up around 40 by season’s end. That’s great!
Zdeno Chara (1 G, 2 SOG, +2, 2 PIM) might be getting old, well, he is getting old there’s no doubt about that, but it might be catching up to him on the ice these days. He’s on pace for 36 points right now, but that’ll probably have him around 5-10 points back of rookie defenseman Torey Krug. I’m not sure that’s a huge indictment of Chara, but it does show that he’s starting to fade a bit. Come next season, I think Chara is going to be drafted mostly on name recognition and not what he’ll actually do for fantasy teams in the end.
Nathan MacKinnon (1 G, 4 SOG, +1) keeps on scoring goals, and that’s what we love to see. Maybe I shouldn’t speak for the rest of you, so I’ll say that’s what I love to see. I lubs you goals, so very much! Lets run away together! Anyway, NatMac has six points in his last five games and should end up at the 30-goal marker by season’s end. I figure he ends up second overall for the Calder, and lets not forget this kid is just 18 years old. Can you say keeper league gold? Say it with me now…
Jordan Schroeder (2 G, 3 SOG, even) is another one of those tiny guys that’s invading the league lately. I wonder if it has something to do with the rule changes that came with ending the last lockout that ended up shifting the game towards the more open, scoring focused, fast paced European style o’ play. Whatever the case may be, he’s a talented guy but small (5’9” 180lbs) and that means he’ll have to carve out a niche to stick around. He has two goals in four games so far, so that’s a good sign, but it’s too early to tell what he’ll be able to do, so keep an eye on him for now but I wouldn’t own him.
Semyon Varlamov (3 GA, 41 SV, W) pushed away another 41 shots for the win despite giving up three goals. He’s been fantastic all season, even when he was facing off-the-ice court battles, and should remain a top 5-10 goalie for the next few seasons at least.
Ilya Bryzgalov (2 GA, 25 SV, W) snapped a four game losing streak with this solid effort against the Canucks in a 4-2 win. That’s back-to-back good starts after Ben Scrivens won for the Oil in their last game. Does Edmonton actually have a decent goalie duo now? Is the world coming to an end soon?
Milan Lucic (1 A, 4 SOG, +1) saw a bit of a surge in PIM with a few fights and he’s looking at around 100 PIM before season’s end, which is pretty solid when you pair it with 50ish points, around 25 goals and a beefy plus/minus. Without the triple digit PIM he loses some value, but remains a must own in all formats.
Gabriel Landeskog (2 A, 1 SOG, even) assisted on the go-ahead goal, but then Tyler Seguin scored and tied it up, so Gabe decided to set up Alex Tanguay for the game winner in the third. He hasn’t been scoring a ton lately, but he keeps contributing and remains on pace for 64 points this season.
Jeff Carter (1 A, 4 SOG, +1) will get his 30 goals, but I haven’t had much reason to mention him very often, because outside of those goals of his, he doesn’t do a whole lot for fantasy owners. 30 goals, though.
Jiri Tlusty (1 A, 1 SOG, +2) is a former first round pick (13th overall by the Leafs in 2006) that’s been in the league for about six years now and hasn’t done squat the entire time. He has six points in his last five games with a few multi-point efforts in there, but he’s been so bad in the NHL to this point in his career I can’t recommend owning him, but we’ll track his surge and see if it’s a flash in the pan or something more substantial.
Alex Goligoski (2 A, 3 SOG, even) added two more helpers to give him seven in his last five games as he continues his best Duncan Keith impression with 3 goals and 22 assists so far this season. He started slow, but he’s worth owning in most formats given that he’s on pace for 37 points by season’s end now. That being said, it’s all assists, baby, so don’t expect more than one or two goals for the rest of the season.
Marc-Andre Fleury (0 GA, 24 SV, W) wanted Ryan Miller to stop sending him those nasty text messages, so he shut out the Sabres to—wait a minute, that’s not going to help at all!
Jonathan Quick (0 GA, 23 SV, W) snapped a personal three game skid shutting out the Sharks 1-nada. Even though he was losing he rarely allows more than two goals a game and Ben Scrivens is already longing for that staunch Kings D watching games like this.
Alex Stalock (1 GA, 20 SV, L) lost after three straight stellar games, which included back-to-back shutouts. He only coughed up one goal last night but it wasn’t enough to add his fourth win, a shame. He’s been getting more starts lately, but I doubt it’s anything more than keeping starter Antti Niemi fresh for the post-Olympic stretch run. It sounds like Niemi is slated to start on Saturday.
Sergei Bobrovsky (3 GA, 32 SV, L) was on the other side of Khudobin’s win last night, and he was strong for two periods before giving up three quick goals to lose it in the third. This does nothing to change his status, he remains the only goalie worth owning for the Jackets and one of the better options between the pipes despite the rest of his team being, well, the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Evgeni Nabokov (0 GA, 1 SV, L) came in to relieve Kevin Poulin who was shelled for five goals. He made one stop aaaand that was it. A great game for Nabby!