Patrik Elias (3 A, 3 SOG, +2) was automatic at one point in his career, in fact he was almost always a sure thing and as recently as 2011-12 he was just shy of a point-per-game player. Fast-forward a few years and father time is finally catching up with Elias this season as he’s struggled to stay healthy and stay consistent. Still, a bad season for Elias means he’s going to top the 60-point marker by season’s end, even at his age, so he retains some value in most formats. Right now he’s absolutely on fire with 12 points in his last 10 games. Some speculate the recent birth of his second child has given Elias new life, and that might be true, but I think it has more to do with his pairing with surging rookie Adam Henrique (3 A, 1 SOG, +2, 2 PIM) instead. Henrique exploded after the Olympic break with 14 points in 12 games and that coincided with his being shifted to a line with Elias, so there you go! The trio of helpers he tallied last night serve as more evidence that he is going to keep producing, trying to get his team into the playoffs, so if you enjoy winning you might want to add Elias. It shouldn’t be hard if you’re a Yahoo player as he’s only owned in 58% leagues there, but sad news for you ESPN people, he’s at 100% ownership there. It’s kind of ironic that ESPN has all but abandoned any semblance of decent coverage for the NHL and yet their fantasy hockey system seems to be far more active than Yahoos. Not that Yahoo has been a pillar of support and good coverage for the NHL, but ESPN really has been that bad. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world of fantasy hockey yesterday:
Ales Hemsky (1 G, 3 SOG, +1) has been pretty ridiculous since joining the Sens posting eight points over his seven games in Ottawa. Hemsky has always been extremely talented but also made of glass, and oh yeah, he was also mired in Edmonton for years while they tried to recapture the lost 1980s glory days. Hemsky is a no-brainer add in any league and should be added immediately. There’s no reason to think he’ll slow down and he seems to have built real chemistry with Jason Spezza right off the bat. Did I just use a baseball analogy to write about hockey? You bet your pucks I did. Ales is only owned in ~58% of ESPN leagues and 24% of Yahoo leagues, so he’s out there for just about anyone who wants him.
Mikael Granlund (1 G, 3 SOG, even) now has 12 points in his last 14 games while he continues to thrive along side Zach Parise atop Minnesota’s top line. I’ve endorsed this kid a few times and here I am doing it again. Why, you might wonder, am I still harping on about Granlund? Maybe because he’s only sitting at 12% owned in Yahoo leagues and 21% in ESPN leagues. Seriously? A guy scoring at nearly a point-per-game pace this late in the season isn’t seeing his ownership numbers jump a bit? Come on, people!
Cory Conacher (2 G, 1 A, 5 SOG, +2, 4 PIM) has five points in his first eight games with the Sabres after getting claimed off waivers. He’s also sporting a minus-one, but that’s like a plus-15 on just about any other team, so he’s doing quite well for himself since the shift. Conacher is another one of those tiny (5’8”) guys that can put the puck home often and he’s had fairly good success at most levels he’s played at so far. As a rookie he scored 18 points in 20 games for the Bolts before getting dealt to the Sens in a deal that sent Ben Bishop to Tampa (oops) and since then he’s had trouble finding the TOI to shine. There’s a lot of offensive upside here and he’s worth streaming if you need help now, but remember, it’s Buffalo, so don’t expect much.
Ondrej Palat (2 A, 5 SOG, even) continues to surge towards rookie of the year honors as Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon slows his roll bit as the season winds down. Palat, on the other hand, is only speeding up! He’s currently on a line with Ryan Callahan and Valtteri Filppula and that seems to be working out really well for everyone involved, and fantasy owners too. These helpers give him six points in his last five games and 20 in his last 20. Yeah, he’s been a point-per-game guy for nearly a quarter of the season.
Daniel Alfredsson (2 G, 1 A, 7 SOG, +1) is stepping up to fill the gap for the Wings and is well worth an add in all formats because it’s not really an injury “gap” that the Wings are dealing with right now, it’s an injury chasm. Most of the Wings’ big guns are down and down for a while, so anyone scoring for Detroit should be added promptly, they’ll have nothing but opportunities and TOI boosts for the next two weeks. In either case, Alfie is old but he’s still ridiculously talented and he knows what he needs to do to get his team into the playoffs.
Brent Burns (1 G, 1 A, 7 SOG, +2) posted his second one goal, one assist game in a row and gets him back on track after a minor scoring lull. At one point Burns was on track to rival Erik Karlsson’s numbers, but that slowed due to injury and not being Erik Karlsson, but he’s still going to finish the season with an elite 45 points powered by 24 or 25 goals. I sure wish I sported a team with this guy on my blue line, I know I’d feel a lot more confident right now.
James Neal (2 A, 10 SOG, +1, 4 PIM) tallied a few helpers and racked up 10 shots on goal, which is great, but those four penalty minutes of his were well earned and he should probably get more than just a minor for roughing after crosschecking the Wings’ Luke Glendening in the effing face. Yes, his face. Neal’s history of being a douche on the ice continues to grow and he’s quickly reaching Ryan Cooke levels of unsportsmanlike play. The worst part is that he’s literally head hunting a lot, and that doesn’t just have the potential to end careers; it has the potential to ruin lives. That’s not hyperbole, either, if you think it is, go ask Marc Savard what his name is.
Lee Stempniak (1 G, 2 SOG, even) followed up his three point game on Tuesday with another goal last night. There are a precious few situations that I would endorse adding Stempniak, but his playing with the Pens is definitely one of them. His seven points in eight games with Pittsburgh have to be a career best. I’m not going to bother looking that up to confirm it, because if that’s not accurate, it’s close enough.
Gustav Nyquist (1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG, +1) actually saw his ownership numbers drop by almost a full percent in ESPN leagues, and I’m not entirely sure why anyone would drop him right now. In fact, I was just about to write that, for the fifth time I’m going to say pick this guy up right away, and then I saw that dip! Madness! Granted, he’s still owned in 98% of ESPN leagues but hey, Yahoo doesn’t let us down and he’s only owned in a pathetic 38% of leagues there.
Victor Hedman (2 A, 1 SOG, +2) has as many points now (45) as I expect Brent Burns to finish the season with. Consider that for a moment. Hedman is not often talked about when the elite ranks of fantasy defenseman are brought up, but that’s going to change fast.
Drew Stafford (1 G, 7 SOG, +1) is having the best month of his season with seven points in 10 games this month. He’s tallied four points over his last five and while there are one or two Sabres I might consider picking up, Stafford isn’t exactly at the top of that list. Still, it’s worth knowing that he’s scoring at the moment, you could need a desperation Sunday add to get over that H2H hump and if you don’t see anyone else on the wire but Stafford is sitting there, you could do worse.
Andy Greene (1 G, 1 SOG, +2, 2 PIM) crossed the 30-point marker with his goal last night. It seems like 30 points isn’t exactly difficult for defenseman to hit these days, I feel like every day I’m writing that yet another dman has reached or surpassed the mark. Is 30 points the new 20?!
Cory Schneider (3 GA, 20 SV, W) finally got a win breaking out of his slump, sorta. Over his previous three games he allowed a total of 15 goals, seven of which were tallied against him by the Wings last week. This is the worst time for Schneider to fall apart, so hopefully this is a sign that he’s getting his shiz together. An .870% doesn’t really give me a ton of hope that it has happened quite yet, but a win to break that three game losing streak could be just what he needed for a jump start back to his normal, dominant self.
Frederik Andersen (3 GA, 25 SV, L) is probably the most valuable backup this season with a season line of 16-5-0/2.26/.924 and as the Ducks look to rest Hiller, he’s getting more and more starts. The best part is that he’s doing something with them and winning games, unlike Robin Lehner who has yet again squandered his opportunity to become the new no. 1 for the Sens. That’s neither here nor there, though, as Andersen is only owned in 29% of ESPN leagues and 21% of Yahoo leagues, so if you need goaltending help here’s your guy!
Milan Michalek (1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG, even, 2 PIM) is actually playing rather well this month with eight points in nine games in March. The addition of Ales Hemsky to the Sens shook up the lines a bit and added a much-needed offensive talent boost that seems to be trickling down to guys like Michalek. I’d view Milan in the same light as Drew Stafford; if you need help at the last minute and he’s out there, you could do worse.
Teddy Purcell (2 G, 7 SOG, +2) seems to be picking up his scoring a bit lately, he might be worth another 5 points or so, and that’s actually worth considering right now if he’s on the right line, but right now he’s not. Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn have the prized spots on Steven Stamkos’ wings and Ryan Callahan, Ondrej Palat and Valtteri Filppula make up the second line, so it looks like Teddy is the odd man out for now.
Tyler Johnson (2 A, +2) has four points in his last two games and should be added everywhere. Why all the sudden with the love for Johnson? He landed on Steven Stamkos’ wing and since that, he’s started scoring.
Michael Ryder (1 G, 3 SOG, +1) is playing on the Elias/Henrique line and he’s gobbling up the table scraps. I think he’s a lesser version of Stafford/Michalek, so I’d grab him only if those guys are not available.
Erik Karlsson (1 G, 1 A, 5 SOG, even) is a defenseman with 64 points in 69 games and yet he sports a minus-20 to date. Seriously? Have the Senators been that bad? When you look at the numbers Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner have put up for them you quickly realize why Karlsson is rocking that minus-20. That being said, the blame can’t be wholly placed on the goaltenders’ shoulders, the defense has to step up and block a few shots, maybe stop a few from being taken at all? We’re looking at you, Erik.
Jussi Jokinen (2 A, 1 SOG, even, 2 PIM) is having a much better season than I anticipated. I figured he’d get a boost moving to the Pens, but 60 points and 20 goals in a full season’s work is a bit more than I could have hoped for, yet here we are. Another very viable streaming candidate, Jokinen is owned in just 51% of Yahoo leagues, but 100% of ESPN leagues.
Matt Hackett (1 GA, 35 SV, W) is one of the older goaltending prospects for the Sabres and he has the potential to become their starter, but I wouldn’t own any Buffalo goalies under any circumstances since Miller was dealt. What’s really there for you if you take the risk? You think Hackett or anyone else in net for the Sabres is going to stop 35/36 for the W often? If you think so, let me introduce you to guy named Jhonas Enroth.
Steve Mason (2 GA, 33 SV, W) has one three games in a row and I’m willing to be by season’s end his GAA is above 2.60 and his SV% is below .910. Next season he’s going to dip at bit in ADP but still be over valued and end up posting a 3.00/.900 season and the Flyers will then continue their never ending quest to find a no. 1 franchise goalie.
Jimmy Howard (4 GA, 39 SV, W) continued his wild up and down season coughing up four goals but coming away with a win regardless. What can I say about Jimmy this season? That’s what.
Roberto Luongo (2 GA, 20 SV, L) only had to face 22 shots last night, it must have felt like a vacation! Annnnd the Cats still managed to lose. How’s Florida treating you, Lu? I hope you’re there for the beaches, old people and humidity, but you’re sure as hell not there to win hockey games consistently.