Ryan McDonagh (1 G, 2 A, 3 SOG, +3, 2 PIM) lead the way for the streaking Rangers scoring the game winner in OT. He also dished out two primary assists, ended up plus-3 and even threw in a couple PIM to make the game complete. I didn’t think he’d get there, but McDonagh is looking at breaking the 50-point/15 goal markers this season and that easily sits him among the league’s best fantasy defenseman. To give you an idea of just how quickly McDonagh has found his way into the ranks of the elite, chew on this factoid; with 13 goals in 73 games so far this season he has eclipsed his total from his previous three seasons, where he scored 12 goals over 169 games. That’s no joke! Does it mean he’s a flash in the pan? That he’ll regress back to the mean starting next year? I don’t think so. I think what we’re seeing here is a premiere defensemen coming into his own and he should, at the very least, maintain this kind of production for seasons to come. The coaching change is a big help here; John Tortarella put McD out there for less than a minute, on average, of power play time per game. You could justify that and say it’s because he was young, but come on, less than a minute? Alain Vigneault puts him out there for an average or 2:53, and he’s cashing in on that like whoa. If you were lucky enough to grab him in a keeper league on the cheap this year, enjoy the ride, because he’s not going to be cheap again until he’s aging and fading. So why does this matter right now? Could a guy like this possible be available? Why yes, yes he can! Try 31% of Yahoo leagues. He’s owned in 100% of ESPN leagues, so that does nothing for you ESPN folks, but I added him on two of my Yahoo teams just for the playoff run. Seriously. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey last night:
Kari Lehtonen (1 GA, 32 SV, W) may at first glance seemed to have righted the ship after getting bombed by the Pens 5-1 a few starts ago, but his last two games came against the Sens and the Oil, so we’re not talking the cream of the offensive crop here by any stretch of the imagination. That being said, if you own him you can’t do anything with him but start him and hope, but I would be cautious about what teams you deploy him against going forward. Pens? That’s a benchin’. Bolts? That’s a benchin’. Bs? Thaaat’s definitely a benchin’.
Erik Karlsson (1 G, 2 A, 4 SOG, +3, 4 PIM) should probably shift to forward, but then his value might actually drop, which is insane considering he’d be a point-per-game guy at either position.
Al Montoya (2 GA, 25 SV, L) won’t get you many wins, but with starter Ondrej Pavelec still nursing an LBI Montoya is a pretty solid streaming option. Now, this is the Jets, so you can’t expect much, but over the last month that Montoya has seen consistent starts he has posted solid peripherals stopping 181 of 199 shots for a .910% and a 2.54 GAA. Seriously? For serial! The rub here is over that time, despite his solid play, his record is 2-4-1 and I don’t think that’s going to get any prettier as he keeps getting run out there. There’s a chance the Jets just shut down Pavelec for the season and ride Montoya for the last 10 games, so there could be some real value here as a third/streamer goalie.
Carl Hagelin (2 A, 4 SOG, +3, 2 PIM) has had a pretty disappointing season with just 32 points in 64 games and despite the injuries that slowed him down, that’s not enough to excuse how poorly he played for the first three months of the season. He’s making up for all that bleh play now, though, and as Rangers go Hags will go, and the Rangers are on the rise. He’s worth a flier as a streaming option this week with the Rangers getting Philly, Calgary and Edmonton over the next five days.
Brad Richards (1 G, 3 SOG, +3) is easily the most overpaid player in the league at $7.8 m/per year he’s only put up a paltry 47 points in 73 games which means that to this point in the season those 47 points have cost the Rangers $165,957.45 per point. Ouch.
Jeff Carter (1 G, 7 SOG, +1, 4 PIM) has three points in his last four games and is now one goal shy of the 30-goal marker that he derives basically every bit of his value from. So, given that, way to be Carter! He’s a poor man’s Max Pacioretty, what else is there to say? I know! Marian Gaborik only played 13:04 last night and continues to look like hot garbage regardless of where he goes. Frankly, I think the injuries finally caught up to him, I mean what part of his body isn’t surgically rebuilt by now?
Oliver Ekman-Larsson (1 G, 4 SOG, +1) extended his points streak to four games with a goal last night and despite only posting 40 points in 70 games, he’s scoring right now and it could stop at any time, so if Sunday rolls around and OEL is still racking up points, he’s not a horrible option for a last second stream.
Ondrej Palat (2 A, 2 SOG, even) tallied a pair of helpers that puts him just two points back of rookie point leader and Calder favorite (not for long) Nathan MacKinnon. While Nate has faded, Palat seems to get stronger by the game. I was able to add Palat in a few leagues for the playoffs and I’m not entirely sure how that was possible. His ownership numbers aren’t nearly where they should be, so go scope out your wire; do you see him there? And you’re doing what? Still reading this?!
Curtis Glencross (1 A, 6 SOG, +1) got hurt back in December and was having a typical season, but since his return he has seven points in seven games! Don’t buy what Glengarryglencross is selling, you know how those telemarketers are, but he is another option that could be worth a stream as he continues to tally ‘em up. If you need more convincing, he put up a hatty a few games ago. Granted, it was against the Oil, but still, three goals is three goals y’all!
Milan Michalek (1 A, 3 SOG, +1, 2 PIM) has been hot garbage all season long, but here’s another guy who decided March was the time to play and his nine points in 11 games this month are evidence of that. Unlike a few of the other guys I’ve mentioned in this post Michalek actually has a track record of success, so he’s a better option than most as a streamer this week. Hell, he might even be worth holding on to for more than a few games.
Kyle Turris (1 G, 2 SOG, +1) seems to be on different track than most of these there schmos, he started hot and faded as the season dragged on. I say dragged on because he plays for Ottawa, and how much fun can it be when you rely on Craig Anderson in net? After posting 42 points in his first 54 games he has struggled mightly since with just seven points in his last 17 games. I wouldn’t own him with your team right now, but if I was desperate, there’s at least a semi-decent track record of success to bank on here.
Peter Budaj (1 GA, 28 SV, W) had a chance to play often when Carey Price was nursing a myster injury and he looked pretty terrible after being run out there repeatedly. It’s clear that Budaj is an excellent backup, but that’s all he is. Once the Habs lock up a playoff spot, expect Budaj to get some extra starts while Price rests, and depending on the matchup, he’s definitely worth a look. Don’t believe me? Look at what he did last night.
Alex Stalock (1 GA, 26 SV, L) is yet another valuable backup that should be looked at in all leagues. Annti Niemi remains the unquestioned starter, but Stalock is more than solid and Niemi like every other goalie for a contender will get some extra rest before the playoffs start, so keep an eye on Stalock’s availability to stream as we get deeper into the fantasy post season.
Steven Stamkos (1 G, 6 SOG, even, 2 PIM) has only played in 27 games this season and he has 21 goals. Do you know how many guys in the league have played 70 games that don’t have that many goals? I don’t either, but I’m willing to bet it’s a lot. Stamkos has six goals and eight points in his last five games and he’s not going to slow down; I’m willing to bet he can score 30 goals in just 37 games this season.
James Sheppard (1 G, 2 SOG, +1) is pegged as a finisher and his goals in back to back games with steadily rising ice team lends some credence to that label. Sheppard has real offensive upside with a solid nose for the net, quick hands and a quick, accurate shot. He’s big, he’s fast, he hits hard and he can take hits too; basically he’s everything you want in a young hockey player. Quick, someone grow a field of this guy! Seriously though, Shepp plays with Joe Pavelski often enough that he’s worth your attention.
Alexei Emelin (1 G, 3 SOG, even) has just recently play enough games to have a full season under his belt, but before coming to the NHL he was a top pairing guy for Ak Bars Zakan in the KHL and he helped lead them to back-to-back Gagarin Cups as league champions during his time there. At 25 years old he’s by no means a spring chicken, but he’s young enough to be a viable fantasy option sooner than later. That being said, his offensive production isn’t that great and he finds his value in his defensive play and grit, and are both excellent. He’s not a viable option for you this season, but he’s worth keeping an eye on as he develops. His window of opportunity is small due to his age, but he has the skills to seize it if he wants to.
Ray Whitney (1 G, 3 SOG, even) still hasn’t retired?
Bryan Little (1 G, 3 SOG, even) stretched his point streak to three games as he continues to maintain value while many of his teammates fade, or really, didn’t even show up in the first place. I’ve endorsed adding him a few times and I maintain that endorsement. He’s probably tough to find on the wire in most leagues at this point, but it’s worth a look if you need scoring help.
Evander Kane (1 A, 4 SOG, even, 2 PIM) might not even hit the 40-point marker this season, how awful is that? Pretty damn awful, that’s how awful. I wouldn’t own him with your team at this point.
Anze Kopitar (1 A, 2 SOG, +1) will be a disappointment when this season wraps up, there’s no doubt about that now. It seemed like he might have a chance to get into the 70s by season’s end at one point there, but that hope is long gone now and he’ll be lucky to finish with 65 in 81 games played. That’s a bust, not a huge bust, but a bust nonetheless.
Karri Ramo (1 GA, 33 SV, W) has won his last seven starts, so that’s pretty impressive. Those seven starts span about two and a half months, so that’s not very impressive. He’s won back-to-back starts since returning from his injury stopping 57 of 59 shots, so that’s pretty impressive! That’s two impressives (That’s not a word!? It totally should be.) and a not-so-impressive and basic math dictates that Ramo has been impressive.
Robin Lehner (3 GA, 35 SV, W) had his second decent game in a row, and honestly, I don’t believe he’s nearly as bad as he has played this season. The Sens need to just cut bait on Anderson and put Lehner out there so he can settle in and gain experience at the NHL level. With his skills I doubt it would take more than a half-season for him to get up to speed, but if he keeps only getting a start here, a few starts there, he’s going to remain inconsistent. I wouldn’t own him and I wouldn’t stream him, but I still love the guy moving forward.
Ray Emery (3 GA, 38 SV, L) is and will forever be Ray Emery, do I need to say more?