With the fantasy season winding down it can be difficult to find value on the wire, but there are still a few gems to be had and they make all the difference come playoff time. Its not often that you win a league with the team you drafted and if you’re winning late in the season you’ve most likely littered your lineups with guys that, to start the season, you never would have considered. If you aren’t in the mindset right now, you aren’t serious about winning. So who is available on the wire this late in the season that can actually help? How about Anders Lee, Adam Henrique and Artem Anisimov? Lee has just six games under his belt this season for the Isles, but with lots of room to roam after a flurry of deals left Garth Snow’s roster wide open, Lee has taken advantage of his time with five points in six games so far. He’s young, so it’s hard to predict what he’ll do, especially for the Isles, but the big (6’2″ 210lbs) winger with a heavy shot and a nose for the next could offer up as many as 10 more goals and 15 more points for you going forward, and how many guys on the wire can you say that about right now? Not many, that’s how many. Adam Henrique is no mystery to anyone in the know, but his five goals over the past week are a surprise to most of us. Not you? Well, aren’t you special! Henrique has a whopping nine points over his last five games with a nine goal, six game goal scoring streak mixed in there. He might only have 38 points so far this season, but considering how well he’s been playing lately it should be easy enough for him to notch 12-15 more and finish in the mid-50s by season’s end. He’s owned in ~92% of ESPN leagues, but available in an alarming 68% of Yahoo leagues, so he’s out there if you need some scoring help, and who doesn’t? Last, and least, is Artem Anisimov who has been underwhelming for the entirety of his short, yawnstipating career, but recently earned himself the second star in the NHL player of the week honors by scoring the game winning goal in three straight games. His 19 goals so far this season are a career high and he’s probably good for another 10-12 points with a handful of goals sprinkled in before all is said and done. While there isn’t much out there, you have to take what you can get when guys like Pavel Datsyuk go down with injuries, and if you’re lucky, you can find one of these three to help fill the gap. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey yesterday:
Jeff Carter (2 G, 1 A, 5 SOG, +2, 10 PIM) gave us a little bit o’ errythang last night with a nice three point game and 10 PIM tossed in for good measure. As the Kings roll to their seventh straight victory Carter continues his own roll towards another 30 goals season and he remains good for another 15 points before the fat lady sings this season.
Patrice Bergeron (1 G, 2 A, 4 SOG, +2) only mustered 3 points over his last 12 games before this little outburst and scoring a goal on just four shots is mostly luck for a guy like Bergeron. He’s having a disappointing season by most standards and the only reason I’ll say he’s worth another 10 points this season is because he plays in Boston and, well, they’re pretty damn good at the whole hockey thing.
Chris Kreider (2 G, 4 SOG, +2, 2 PIM) has struggled mightly to score with any sort of consistency since his stellar November (13 points in 15 games) came to an end. Since then he’s only been able to muster 18 points in his last 39 games, and with that cold streak his chance to secure the Calder as that honor is securely in the pocket of Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon at this point. Even with Marty St. Louis in town I don’t think it helps Kreider blow up now, so expect another 8-10 points from him.
Ryan McDonagh (2 A, 2 SOG, +2, 2 PIM) continued his breakout campaign and now has 34 points in 65 games so far this season. With two more helpers last night he’s going to easily break the 40-point mark and could flirt with 50 if he and the Rangers really go on a tear. More realistically he’s going to give you another 10 points and finish in the mid-40s, which is fantastic considering his ADP this season. McDonagh should be considered a top-10 option on your fantasy blue line next season and for many years to come.
Chad Johnson (2 GA, 20 SV, W) has easily been one of the best backups in the league this year much to the chagrin of Tuukka Rask owners who have started to feel like Johnson is eating into their high priced goalie’s starts. Johnson currently sits at 16 starts to Rask’s 47, so all I can say to complaining Rask owners is quit your whining, you own Rask.
Roberto Luongo (4 GA, 37 SV, L) looked stellar allowing 4 goals on 41 shots in, wait, did I stay stellar? Yes, yes I did. Stellar for the Cats, anyway. Every team can’t be the Buffalo Sabres Lu, so you’re going to have to remember that you’re in South Florida again, where the shots come as frequently as the rains. This is the beginning of the end for Lu’s days of a high value netminder. It can be argued that beginning started a few seasons ago, but get ready for a pretty steep decline starting… yesterday.
Sam Gagner (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG, +1, 2 PIM) is going to finish the season around minus-30. I could say he’s going to have X goals and Y assists for Z points in however many games, but does it really matter? Minus-30! Punt.
Taylor Hall (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG, +1) is also going to finish the season with a pretty bleh plus/minus (-15ish or so) but unlike Ganger he scores like whoa and kept doing so last night with a goal and an assist. That gives him 61 points in 59 games and there’s no reason to think his point-per-game pace will slow over the next few weeks, so expect another 18-20 points from Hall.
Andrej Meszaros (1 G, 6 SOG, +1) looks to be settling in rather nicely on his new squad and potted a goal to help the Bs down the lowly Panthers 5-2 yesterday. Mesz isn’t going to score a ton and moving from Philly to Boston isn’t going to help a ton, remember while the overall team scoring numbers for both teams are strongly in Beantown’s favor, if you throw out that horrible start by the Flyers they’re roughly even, so you can get maybe another 6-8 points out of him before it’s over.
Derek Stepan (2 A, 1 SOG, +2) is really on a tear lately with eight points in his last five games and even with that streak he’s put up just 44 points in 65 games so far this season. Stepan would hve to score 40 points over the next few weeks to live up to pre-season expectations, so it’s safe to say he’s among the biggest busts, fantasy or otherwise, this season. Still, he wasn’t playing to his skill level early on and because of that he’s available in 31% of Yahoo leagues, so if you’re on Yahoo and you’re actually still active, Stepan might be available and if so, you should go ahead and add him for the stretch run.
Jarome Iginla (1 G, 4 SOG, +1) had a couple solid games early last week and scored his 550th career goal last night putting him at 49 points in 64 games and that’s actually a little above what I thought he’d reach by this point in the season. He’s only got another 10-12 points or so in the tank, but that should get him into the low 60s in around 80 games played this year and that’s a great year for Iggy at this stage in his career. At some point the other shoe has to drop, so next season he’s likely getting a less than favorable ranking from me.
Torey Krug (1 G, 4 SOG, +1) will get a big ole’ bump in my rankings before next season if he keeps this up, in fact, he’ll get it anyway. March has been Krug’s slowest month with last night’s goal representing his only points in six games so far this month, but that goal gives him 35 points in 64 games and I figure he matches Ryan McDonagh’s output about exactly by season’s end. I said McDonagh should be considered a top 10 option on your fantasy blue line and I think the only reason I can’t or won’t say that about Krug is his age, but we’ll see.
Ben Scrivens (4 GA, 46 SV, L) did what all Oilers goalies do and was completely bombed with 50 shots by his former team in a 4-2 loss. This one must have stung a bit as he was moved over Martin Jones and I’m sure Scribbles wanted to show the Kings what they lost. Welp, he did. Yay for the Kings! Aw for the Oil.
Jonathan Quick (2 GA, 25 SV, W) showed Scribbles how it was done and yet again coasted to a solid victory facing fewer than 30 shots. This makes Scribbles sad.
Jhonas Enroth (2 GA, 29 SV, L) did what he does best, losing! Oh, Jhonas. His record now sits at 4-14-5 while his old teammate Ryan Miller has won four straight for the Blues. This makes Jhonas sad.
Matt Moulson (1 G, 2 SOG, +1) seems to do one thing consistently well no matter where he goes or who he plays with and that’s scoring goals. Upstart rookie center Mikael Granlund is centering the top line with Zach Parise and Jason Pominville on his wings, so Moulson is playing with Mikko Koivu on the second line and I think that will work just fine so long as Koivu can stay healthy (fat chance). Still, the shift out of Buffalo was a good one for Moulson and he should give you another 15 points.
Jason Pominville (1 G, 4 SOG, +1, 2 PIM) keeps on keepin’ on with three points in his last four games. He’s still good for another 10 points with an outside upside of around 15. He’s more likely to give you like 5-8 though… wow, did I just contradict myself? Hmn, well, considering he’s playing alongside Mikael Granlund and Zach Parise on the top line, I’ll lean more towards 10.
Milan Lucic (1 A, 4 SOG, +1, 2 PIM) ended up with a couple of PIM last night, woo! Other than that he was responsible for a beautiful pass to Iggy that Iggy buried for his 550th career goal.
Jimmy Howard (3 GA, 28 SV, L) has shown this season that he can be consistent with his inconsistency, anyway. Howie got hit by what looks like a newly explosive Rangers team and coughed up three goals on 31 Rangers shots. It’s basically impossible to predict what Howie will do on a game-to-game basis this year, so if you own him (I do, sadface.) hold on tight and hope for the best.
Andrew Shaw (1 A, 4 SOG, +1) is good and he’s going to get better. It was expected that with how loaded the Hawks are, both in big time talent and prospects, that Shaw would spend most of his time down in Rockford but that hasn’t panned out and he’s been around the Hawks all season. What’s he done? Well! Let me tell you, lots of good and not lots of bad, so that’s good! He has 29 points in 63 games so far this season and while that’s pretty underwhelming, you have to consider that his opportunities are limited on the 3rd or 4th line on the Hawks. He’s good for another 5-8 points, so nothing special, but he could take a big step forward next season making him a fine sleeper candidate for 2014-15.
Alec Martinez (1 G, 3 SOG, +1) scored a goal for the third game in his last four and threw in a helper in the odd game in there giving him four points over his last four games. I doubt this continues much longer as he hasn’t shown the ability to score with any kind of consistency, so beware you don’t fall victim to a short surge by a meh player on a baller team.
Reilly Smith (1 A, 2 SOG, +1) is going to have trouble breaking the 60-point marker this season but he should still flirt with it by season’s end. He can be streaky, but what youth isn’t? 9-12 points for the rest of the season sounds about right for right now.
Brandon Saad (1 A, 3 SOG, +1, 2 PIM) is one of those guys that was supposed to keep Andrew Shaw down in Rockford, but just because that hasn’t happened is no reflection on Saad’s fantastic play this season. His helper yesterday gives him 43 points in 65 games so far and with Marian Hossa down for three weeks with yet another injury, Saad gets first crack at that juicy vacant slot on the Hawks’ top line with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp. If he was staying on his own line I’d say he’s worth another 10 points before the end of the year, but three weeks with Toews and Sharp? That number could balloon to 15-20.
Jaden Schwartz (1 A, 3 SOG, +1) continues to pile up helpers on his way to a very solid second year on a ridiculous team, so it’s kind of hard to say how much of it is Schwartzy, but hey we’ll take it anyway, right? He’s good for another 10-12 points by season’s end and that should put him into the mid-60s for points. I think come next season he could step up and prove the Schwartz is powerful with this one and hit the 70 point marker, or he could regress a bit (or be exposed) and fall towards 50. Only time will tell, but I’m willing to bet he takes a step forward, not backward, come 2015.
Slava Voynov (1 A, 2 SOG, +1) has points in his last two games but really, it’s not the start of anything great. Despite the fact that Voynov is going to be a disappointment this season he should manage to finish north of 30 points, so I’d say he’s good for another 5-6 points.
Zdeno Chara (1 A, +2) tallied his first point of March snapping a five-game scoring drought in the process. Perhaps age (and the Olympics) are catching up with Big Z, but he should finish a bit north of 30 points despite that. I didn’t like Chara coming into the season, not because I expected a significant reduction in production (Aw yeah, rhymin’!) rather his ADP cost vs. what I expected from him was way out of whack in the preseason. As we wind down the regular season do you know what happened with Chara? His ADP cost and production were way out of whack, y’all.
Henrik Lundqvist (0 GA, 30 SV, W) earned his 300th career victory with a 3-0 shutout over a Wings squad decimated by injury. What can I say about Hank that hasn’t been said? Nothing. Good then, moving on!
Corey Crawford (1 GA, 20 SV, W) looks like he’s going to deliver a season on par with his stellar 2010-11 breakout campaign and finish with a line around 35-14-14/2.30/.920/3 and I’d buy that for a dollar (or two)!
Brian Elliott (2 GA, 17 SV, W) is the rock in Blues fans’ universe and he continued to do what he does, take like 20 shots and win. With Ryan Miller in town Elliot’s value takes a hit for obvious reasons, but he remains one of the best backups available in fantasy or reality.
Ilya Bryzgalov (2 GA, 20 SV, L) lost his third straight game and first with the Wild in shootout. The two losses prior to this were both 2-1 OT losses while he was a member of the Oil, so expect a bit of an uptick from Breezy in value moving forward, but not much. I mean, playing for the Wild is better than the Oil, right? RIGHT?!