EDIT (21/2/14): Kane is now on LTIR and is out for the rest of the regular season. You can safely drop him in any yearly leagues.
Patrick Kane (1 A, +2) apparently injured his left knee in a 4-0 victory over the Blues last night and it sounds like he’s going to be about for the rest of the regular season, or at least long enough to make sure he contributes nothing to his fantasy owners’ hopes and dreams of winning their leagues. Some reports say two weeks, others say three weeks, I say the rest of the regular season because why would the Hawks tempt fate and rush Kane back before the playoffs? Pro tip: they won’t. I guess Brendan Morrow accidentally rolled into Kane’s knee after a hit from the Hawks’ Sheldon Brookbank. Well that’s great; it’s good to know two mostly worthless guys took one of the most valuable fantasy assets off the board for the playoffs. Can you sense my bitterness? Oh, I’m bitter. Like sour patch kids bitter. What, that’s sour? Fine, I’ll happily donate some of my bitterness to bitter it up further. So what do you do if you just lost Kane? Drink and cry, my friends, drink and cry. Before you get too deeply into the bottle, though, consider that Kane’s absence opens up TOI for some of the younger guys and will demand a reshuffling of the lines. It’s hard to say who will end up where, the Hawks have a ton of options, but Andrew Shaw (1 G, 3 SOG, +1, 2 PIM) has goals in back-to-back games and has seven points in nine games this month, so he might be worth a flier. A former Blackhawk now turned Panther is also worth a look as Brandon Pirri has been a roll since being traded to South Florida with seven points in his last eight games. Right now Kane owners are looking at this advice and cringing, thinking; “Shaw? Pirri? These are the guys you expect to replace Kane?” No, bitter Kane owner, I don’t! You can’t replace him, but you might be able to mitigate the impact to your hopes by looking into some of these guys, they might just be available to save your (and my) skins:
Blake Wheeler (1 G, 2 A, 5 SOG, +2) looks better and better as the season goes on, a shame the same can’t be said for the rest of his team. Wheels has eight points in his last five games, driven primarily by last night’s three point effort and a four assist game a few days ago, but still, he has an outside chance to hit the 70-point marker now. Impressive!
Steven Stamkos (3 G, 3 SOG, +1) has officially returned after a three game scoreless streak he pounced on a fading Leafs team for a natural hatty, the second best kind of hat trick to, of course, the Gordie Howe hat trick; one goal, one assist, one fight. Obviously that’s only better in theory because in reality all you need is goals, goals, all you need is goooooals.
Eddie Lack (0 GA, 30 SV, W) continues to alternate wins and losses but hey, here’s a shutout so you can’t complain! Unless you benched him for this start, which on one hand I wouldn’t blame you for, but on the other, it’s freakin’ Nashville, are you crazy sitting anyone vs. the Preds?! Since this was his good start, and it was exceptionally good, I suppose that means his next start will be exceptionally bad.
Corey Crawford (0 GA, 23 SV, W) has allowed more than two goals just four times over his last 22 starts dating all the way back to January 1st, 2014. It gets better; of those four games where he allowed more than two goals he never allowed more than 3. What does this all mean? Crawdad is money, that’s what.
Tyler Johnson (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG, +1) would get more consideration for Rookie of the Year if someone on his own team wasn’t even better than Johnson this season. That’s saying a lot considering the kid will likely finish in the mid-fifties for points. Look for Johnson to take another step forward next year. You might be wondering who that someone is that I mentioned a few lines back, that someone is Ondrej Palat.
Andrew Ladd (2 G, 6 SOG, even) has four goals in his last five games and now flirts with the possibility of a 60-point season. That would be a stunning success for Ladd, who I pegged for around 50 points in the preseason. Like many other names on this list, he’s scoring, so add him until he stops!
Patrick Sharp (2 A, 2 SOG, +1) seems to have shifted from scoring goals to helping his teammates score goals. That’s all well and good if you’re the Blackhawks, but if you own Sharp, you own him for the goal scoring. I suppose it all evens out in the end; he’ll finish with around 80 points this season, and then never hit that total again.
Tyler Bozak (2 A, 2 SOG, +1, 2 PIM) snapped a four game streak after clearing waivers. What must it be like for a guy who is put out on waivers by your team only to have no one put in a claim, then go back and keep playing with your squad? It’s all business, I get that, but it has to sting a little. If it did, luckily for his owners that sting didn’t carry over to fantasy.
Paul Postma (2 A, +1) is a lanky one standing at 6’3” and just 175lbs and that leaves his physical game a bit on the weaker side. His long reach helps mitigate the size issue and his solid skating helps more, but he can be pretty absentminded with the puck sometimes and that’s a problem he’ll have to work on as he develops. In the short term (i.e. your playoffs) I don’t see Postma delivering the mail, just a handful of letters you wrote to your Aunt Ida from summer camp that were lost by the USPS ages ago. He put up 46 points in 56 games in the AHL last season, so he’s got some offensive chops worth keeping an eye on, anyway.
Matt Duchene (1 A, 2 SOG, +2) has been pretty ridiculous for a few months to the tune of 21 points over his last 17 games. We all expect Duchene to produce, so I don’t often cite him here, but he’s been on a roll that’s either the limit of his ability or he’s playing over his head and the strength of his team is, at least in part, carrying him to these numbers; I can’t decide which.
Nicklas Jensen (1 G, 1 SOG, +1) stretched his point streak to four games and has five points in seven games so far this season. He continues to thrive with the resurgent Alex Burrows playing the opposite wing and he’s barely owned anywhere, so add the rookie and ride the wave until it comes crashing down, which could be any day now.
Valtteri Filppula (2 A, 1 SOG, even) stretched his point streak to six games and has 10 points over that span. Well, it’s about time he started living up to his contract, don’t you think? Flip is adjusting to his new team slowly but surely and it has resulted in a bit of a jump in shots on goal and, luckily, goals scored! Funny how that works, eh?
Duncan Keith (1 G, 2 SOG, even) scored a goal; stop the presses! In fact, that’s now back-to-back games where Keith has put the biscuit in the basket and that moves his season total to… five. That’s five goals on 173 shots giving him a shooting percentage of just 2.9% for the season. In hockey, a lower shooting percentage, to a degree, is a good thing. This is just ridiculous. He was bound to pot a few more before the season ended, so I’ll be generous and predict he scores one more goal this season.
Alexander Edler (1 G, 4 SOG, even, 2 PIM) currently boasts a minus-29 rating. Yes, you read that right, a minus-29 rating. Now that I’ve brought that to your attention, he stretched his point-scoring streak to three games with this goal. But, you know, minus-29.
Olli Jokinen (1 A, 2 SOG, +1) has eight points in ten games this month and seems to be performing fairly well since he returned from Sochi. I can’t honestly recommend anyone add Jokinen, but it’s worth noting that he is scoring at a decent clip lately.
Tyson Barrie (1 A, 2 SOG, +1) has quietly been scoring with some consistently lately posting seven points over his last 10 games and 13 over his last 17. I’ve touched on Barrie before, but as a quick recap he’s an undersized, smooth skating, smoother playmaking offensive defenseman who you should add if you want a few more points from your blue line right now, and who wouldn’t want that?
Dan Hamhuis (1 A, 2 SOG, +1) rocked some Duncan Keith numbers for a few seasons putting up 37 points (just 4 goals) and a plus-29 just two years ago. Well, fast forward to now and that isn’t happening, but on a team where some folks sport minus-29 ratings, HamHouse has a plus-11, but just 18 points in 70 games so far. He might, perhaps maybe (mayhaps?!) give his four owners two or three more points.
Niklas Hjalmarsson (1 A, 1 SOG, +1) is having a quiet “breakout” season, and it’s about time because this is his sixth year in the league. Either way, he’s going to eclipse the 30-point marker this season and that is going to nearly double his next highest total for points in a season. He’s owned in just 20% of Yahoo leagues and ~87% of ESPN leagues, so there’s an outside chance he’s available if you need some blue line scoring help, and who doesn’t?
Andre Benoit (1 A, 1 SOG, +1, 2 PIM) has the most perfectly round head, I can only hope that if I get to the point where I need to shave off what’s left of my hair, my head will look half as nice as his. Also, he’s going to hit the 30-point marker from the blue line as well, so he’s worth taking notice of as we all scramble for a title.
Ben Bishop (3 GA, 36 SV, W) is having the worst month of his season posting a line of 5-2-2/2.74/.908/1 in February so far. That’s not unexpected; rookies will slow as the season drags on, but what is unexpected is that his worst month is probably Carter Hutton’s best month.
Carter Hutton (2 GA, 20 SV, L) lost to Corey Crawford and the Hawks, but kudos to him for only allowing two goals. Pekka Rinne just needed a rest, which is going to be somewhat common, so Rinne owners should get used to it until next season.