Tyler Bozak (2 G, 1 A, 3 SOG, even) seems to be working really hard to make up for the fact that he listens to Miley Cyrus. No, seriously, he does! He chose the Leafs’ postgame song once earlier in the year and put on the ole’ wrecking ball herself. That might be why he sucked so hard to start the season despite having the mighty duo of James van Riemsdyk and Phil Kessel on his wings. Just how well has he been doing? Over the last five games he has four goals and six points with three goals coming in the last two games. Stretch that out a bit more and he has 15 points in his last 12 games and if you look at his whole year he’s rockin’ a line with 22 points in 24 games with a plus-12 rating to boot! This is easily Bozak’s best season as a pro and had the first half not been, well, cut in half, he might be among the league leaders in scoring if it wasn’t for one scary indicator, his shooting percentage which sits at an obese 28.1% so far. Why obese? Because that shiz is not healthy and it screams regression to the mean, that’s why! Sorry, didn’t mean to get uppity there. I digress, his track record to date isn’t that great and with that big shooting percentage gut of his hanging over his belt I doubt we can expect him to continue this torrid pace for the rest of the season. With that being said, he plays with some seriously nasty snipers and even if he slumps a bit he can still live off their table scraps and his TOI has spiked up over 20 minutes per. He’s basically gone in ESPN leagues (~99% owned) but he’s only owned in 33% of Yahoo! Leagues. Oh, Yahoo, you let me down again. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey last night:
James van Riemsdyk (1 G, 1 A, 8 SOG, even, 2 PIM) has five points in his last three games and has scored at least a goal in each game. He might look like he’s 12, but the 24 year old Jersey native remains on pace for 30 goals and, wait, what’s this? Another member of the Bobby Ryan All-Parity Team (BRAPT) with 31 G and 31 A in 46 games so far this season. Nice.
Phil Kessel (3 A, 1 SOG, even) made sure that James and Tyler got in one the goal scoring action. See how nasty this line is? It’s better when Tyler Bozak plays to his potential like he is now.
Robin Lehner (0 GA, 27 SV, W) took advantage of his first start since Dec. 27, 2013 to shut out the woeful Wild 3-0. Yeah, it was the Wild, but it’s good to see my boy Lehner finally getting another look between the pipes as Craig Anderson started six straight games for the Avs and looked oh so Craig Andersony doing it. Just start Lehner already, Ottawa, could you be much worse anyway? The answer is no, and you’d probably be better with Lehner getting into a groove than Anderson sucking it up every night. It’s hard to watch, seriously.
Ryan Garbutt (1 G, 2 A, 2 SOG, +3) had his second good game in the last three and helped the Stars snap a six game losing streak. Garbutt would be worth owning if he was on pace for 50-55 points and 150 PIM instead of the 30-35 points and 100 PIM he’s actually on pace for. So, you know, don’t bother.
Scott Hartnell (1 G, 2 A, 3 SOG, even) actually tricked some folks into thinking he could score 35-plus goals again this season. You weren’t one of those people, were you? Of course not. This goal doesn’t happen to change the fact that, he will remain pretty much worthless outside of the deepest o’ leagues.
David Legwand (3 A, +2) tallied three helpers in a 4-2 victory over the Flames last night. This doesn’t really change the fact that he’s a meh offensive center that only finds value with fringe stats in deep leagues. I wouldn’t own him. I mean, have you seen that plus/minus of his? It’s nasty and getting worse, but then is there any Pred with a decent rating this season?
Jamie Benn (1 G, 1 A, 6 SOG, even, 2 PIM) snapped a three game scoreless streak with a two point effort against the Oil last night. Benn has been relatively steady all season, but the Stars as a team have been hit a horrible stretch and it’s brought down everyone’s production, including Tyler Seguin. They’ll all snap back, and this game against the Oil was probably the start of a good stretch for them. They hope. We hope. I hope (I own Benn).
Brad Marchand (1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG, +2) remains pretty disappointing. The Bs would have been better off keeping Blake Wheeler instead of this bum.
Ben Bishop (1 GA, 33 SV, W) followed up another poor start by Anders Lindback with another stellar start of his own. This was his first start since Jan. 5th when he only lasted 4:18 before giving up a goal on the only shot he faced and left hurt(ish). Welp, he’s back now and he looks just fine.
Kari Lehtonen (2 GA, 31 SV, W) helped the Stars snap that long losing streak of theirs with a solid effort against the Oil. Kari had lost five straight before this and he looked pretty horrible during the stretch coughing up 7 goals to the Isles and 5 to the Habs at points. It’s a down month for him, but barring an injury, he’ll be just fine.
Tyson Barrie (2 G, 2 SOG, +1) is another one of those high upside young defensemen that has invaded the league this season. The 2010 WHL Defenseman of the Year potted two goals last night but his real skills are found in his extremely soft hands, seriously soft, he moisturizes nightly! The lad can pass is what I’m saying, but those hands translate to good just about everything when it comes down to it. Barrie is only on pace to hit 26 points this season, his second in the NHL, but the Avs expect he’ll be a top 4 guy on the blue line and a future power play QB, so he’s a must own in keepers. For now, if you need help at D he is absolutely worth a flier in most formats.
T.J. Oshie (2 G, 2 SOG, +1) snapped his own three game scoreless streak with a couple biscuits in the basket and continues on his way to a career year. I expect he’ll flirt with 70 points but come up a bit shy; his lack of goal scoring makes me a bit sadface.
David Backes (2 A, 1 SOG, +1, 2 PIM) was responsible for Oshie’s little outburst as he assisted on both of T.J’s goals. Is that not fair to Oshie? Ah well, he’ll get over it. Or he could get mad and start scoring more goals. At any rate, these two look great together! No, not in that way, not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Martin Brodeur (1 GA, 29 SV, W) had another annoyingly strong start against the Habs allowing just one goal on 30 shots. Just when you think Cory Schneider is about to play his way into the starting role and Marty out, he pulls himself back into the hunt. He had given up 8 goals in his previous two starts before Schneider was given the net for three games and performed beautifully. He needed a rest and this was a perfect opportunity for Marty to fall on his face again and really give Cory a chance, but no. Blah. Just retire already!
Ryan Ellis (1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG, +2) has never had less than a minus-2 in any season at any level in his career so far, topping out with a plus-52 back in 2009 for the Windsor Spitfires. Yeah, that doesn’t translate much to the NHL, but so far the kid has shown himself to be a solid defenseman on a lousy team. Remember when I asked if there was any Pred with a decent plus/minus? No? Scroll up a bit, I’ll wait. Right then, Ellis does at plus-seven. Own him? Nah, Preds, etc.
Philipp Grubauer (1 GA, 28 SV, L) strengthens his hold on the no. 1 job in Washington even when he loses.
Semyon Varlamov (2 GA, 46 SV, W) kicked away 46 of 48 shots allowing just two goals for another win. He’s allowed just 2 goals in each of his last three games as his season line gets sexier every time I look, now sitting at 22-8-5/2.33/.927%/1.
Patrice Bergeron (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG, +2) continues to give you what he always gives you, around 55 points with a fantastic plus/minus. He’s great to have in roto leagues, but meh for H2H.
Jaromir Jagr (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG, +2) passed Mark Messier on the all-time scoring list with his 695th career goal yesterday in a 4-1 victory over the Habs. Jaromir, you’re hella old, but you’re also hella good. Who else could put up these numbers, on that team, at his age? This is his 19th bloody season! I’d own Jagr just about anywhere.
Dainius Zubrus (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG, +2) I wouldn’t own anywhere, though. 21 points in 48 games? Meh. Time to retire, Zubs!
Cody Hodgson (1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG, +1) might be looking at a better year than he’s having so far with 22 points in 35 games, but for a third year guy on a team this horrible that’s not so bad. If he keeps this pace up he’ll have a career year, but that’s not saying much. If he doesn’t take a big step forward next season, I doubt he ever will.
Scottie Upshall (1 G, 1 A, 1 SOG, +2) shows up on the score sheet every now and then, eh? Not often enough.
Jiri Hudler (2 A, 2 SOG, +2) extended his points streak to three games with a couple helpers. He has four points over that span, all assists. You know how I feel about that, but Hudler has been producing steadily all season, so there’s still no reason to expect it to stop.
Craig Smith (1 G, 4 SOG, +1) continues to impress on the offensively sluggish Preds with another goal. He is among the many members of BRAPT with 14 G and 14 A so far and for a sophomore season on a struggling, injury plagued team, Smith is making the best of his opportunities. I wouldn’t own him in standard formats, but deeper and keeper I’d grab him for the 20 points he’s probably good for over the next 30 games.
Darcy Kuemper (3 GA, 29 SV, L) is more likely to keep doing this than he is to turn around and steal anything from anyone in Minnesota.
Brandon Saad (2 A, 1 SOG, +2) would be worth almost exactly what Smith is but he plays for a much, much better team in Chitown. Saad added a few helpers and scored points for the second straight game and gest the same recommendations as Craig Smith like 5mm above this. Gets ‘ta scrollin’, son!
Henrik Lundqvist (2 GA, 23 SV, L) may have lost this game, but he’s back to himself now having allowed two or fewer goals in each of his last four starts. In fact, he’d won three straight before this loss, which had more to do with the Rangers’ inability to score than it did with his ability to stop the puck. That happens a lot to Hank.
Adam Henrique (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG, +1) is more of a Bobby Holik type with a higher offensive upside, but he’s having a solid fantasy season so far. I doubt he ends up giving you more than 50 points, and moving forward his ceiling is probably around 60. Intangibles are where Henrique’s worth stems from, mostly. Intangibles, baby, intangibles!
Jaroslav Halak (1 GA, 20 SV, W) has completely righted the ship and has pushed Elliot back to the pine.
Tyler Kennedy (1 G, 6 SOG, +1) was often touted by Pens fans as the next big thing every year since he hit the league in 2007. Well, his best season to date is a 45 point campaign back in 2010. That’s four years ago now. Seriously? 2010 is four years ago? Man, I’m getting old. Pens, Sharks, whatever, wherever, Kennedy still sucks.
Wayne Simmonds (2 A, 3 SOG, even) might score 30 goals this season. Fo’ reals! Couple that with 30 assists, 140 PIM and a sprinklin’ of power play points and you’ve got yourself a player I wouldn’t kick off my team. If he can just get that plus/minus out of the negatives he might even be worth owning in standard leagues. Might be, not yet.
Ed Jovanovski (2 A, +2) hasn’t retired yet? I loved Jovocop back in the day, but this old timer isn’t going to give you much, especially in south Florida.
Erik Karlsson (2 A, 3 SOG, even) is the exact opposite of Jovo and it’s a thing of beauty to see him work, but what’s with that awful -11 to go with a ridiculous season line of 10 G, 33 A for 43 points in 47 games from the blue line. It’s a great player on a bad team that scores nearly a point-per-game but might end up with a -20 rating. Rick Nash feels your pain, Erik.
Jonathan Bernier (3 GA, 38 SV, W) continues to perform exceedingly well considering he continues to get peppered night in, night out. I expected him to break down a bit by now, but he’s holding strong and I’ll give credit where credit’s due. His .926 SV% so far is especially impressive.
Carter Hutton (2 GA, 22 SV, W) will find himself back in the AHL when and if Pekka Rinne returns.
Mike Smith (2 GA, 16 SV, L) keeps on losing, even when he only gives up two goals? Ouch. It seems like it’s only a matter of time before Thomas Greiss gets more than a passing look. Then again, Al Montoya has been playing better than Greiss in Winnipeg and Ondrej Pavelec still gets run out there night after night, so who knows? That being said, the ‘yotes are actually in a position to win something, so they should start tiring of this nonsense sooner or later.
Corey Crawford (3 GA, 23 SV, L) just keeps on losing despite not allowing more than three goals in any game since his return. He is offering up three goals more than you’d expect, but the Hawks have hit a “dry” spell and can’t seem to get him more than one or two a game. His play hasn’t been stellar as of late, but I still think he’s fine. Ride it out.
Karri Ramo (4 GA, 30 SV, L) almost had me thinking he might be worth endorsing, but the angels on my shoulder told me better and you should always listen to the voices in your head, right?