Ryan McDonagh has officially broken into the elite ranks of fantasy defenseman this year with 43 points in 77 games all while maintaining his status as one of, if not these best lockdown defenseman in the east, and maybe the league. A lot of good that does his owners now that Alex Burrows leveled McDonagh in the waning seconds of the Rangers’ Tuesday’s 3-1 win over the Canucks. The Rangers brass is playing this one close to the chest and all they’ll say is the injury isn’t serious. That being said, they’re also going to play it safe with their new franchise defenseman and are prepared to hold him out of the lineup for the rest of the regular season to give him a chance to heal and be ready for a cup run. So where does that leave owners who were hoping to get a few more points from the young blue liner? Not up shiz creek like you might think thanks to Alec Martinez (2 A, +1), who keeps finding ways to score and with these two helpers he has a mini-two-game points streak going and five points in his last five. He should be added to any teams still left standing right now. Don’t think so? Take a look at who you have slotted in as your 4th defenseman, is he doing any better over the last month than Martinez? Then add Martinez. I know I did. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey yesterday:
Jarome Iginla misses his first game of the season tonight with an LBI. Something tells me this is just rest for Iggy and the Bs are saying it’s an injury to soothe his ego. I wouldn’t worry about it.
Kimmo Timonen returns to the lineup for the Flyers tonight, so get him back in your lineups.
Mikael Granlund is out indefinitely with an undisclosed UBI. This looks like it might end up being a concussion. Jared Stoll checked Granlund hard into the boards, his face bounced off the glass, and he promptly crumbled to the ice. I doubt the Wild are going to rush him back, and if it’s a concussion, he’s probably done for the year.
Josh Harding has returned to the team and joined them on their road trip in Chicago. He has been laid low for months due to complications with his MS, so even though he’s back with the team his conditioning may leave something to be desired, so if the Wild put him out there because their goalies are all hurt and they have no better options, start him with caution and don’t automatically expect the ridiculous play he gave us during the first half of the season.
Andrew Shaw is the most likely candidate to join the top line with Jonathan Toews now done for the season. That would really be something if Patrick Kane wasn’t also done for the rest of the regular season as well, but Shaw still gets the chance to play with Marian Hossa, so that counts for something! Actually, it counts for a lot. With the Hawks’ biggest guns down, Hossa needs to step up and Shaw could benefit big time in the short term.
Tanner Pearson (1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG, +2) might end up being something special, but it’s going to come mostly from hard work than pure talent. The big-bodied winger has done well with the Kings’ AHL affiliate the Monarchs putting up 47 points in 64 games with a plus-17 last season. He hasn’t done much at the NHL level yet and it seems as though he’s developing into more of a two-way grinder than a scoring threat, so I wouldn’t get overly excited about him for fantasy purposes. That said, Kings fans have to be excited about the kid, in real hockey he’s going to be a very valuable asset.
Tomas Tatar (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG, +2) returned to his two-points a game scoring trend after putting up goose eggs for the past couple games. The more I watch Tatar play the streakier he seems to be. Not that going just two games without a point is streaky, but throughout this season he has shown flashes of brilliance only to flame out quickly afterwards. He’ll fit right in with the likes of Johan Franzen in Motown.
Tomas Jurco (1 G, 4 SOG, +2, 2 PIM) scored a goal and he gets a mention because I love the kid. He isn’t worth picking up, but it’s good to see him back and fully recovered from his broken ribs so quickly. He’s going to be something special sooner than later, but likely not for another season or so.
Francois Beauchemin (1 G, 4 SOG, +1) is one of those guys that seems like he’s been in the league forever, but really it has only been nine years. Nine long years if you actually owned the guy at any point over his career, because he is as yawnstipating as fantasy defensemen get.
Ryan Getzlaf (1 A, 2 SOG, +3) stretched his points streak to four games with another helper as he approaches the end of yet another monster year.
Josh Bailey (1 G, 1 A, 1 SOG, even) is a talented young playmaker that can be deployed in almost any situation and be pretty damned effective. He has a great hockey sense, works his butt off and over his last five games he has six points! Yesterday’s two-point performance is his second in as many games, stretches his points streak to three games, and 11 in his last 15. I’m not saying you should race to the wire an add him, but he’s worth considering as a streamer given his recent outburst.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (1 A, 8 SOG, even) poured eight shots on goal and didn’t come away with much to show for it but a secondary assist. Sadfaces all around for his owners. For a guy who was compared to Wayne Gretzky when he entered the league I’m left pretty unimpressed with the Nuge to this point. Maybe the comparisons were just superficial? I mean, Nuge is pretty lanky like Gretz was, but beyond that I’m not seeing the comparison hold much water. Granted, his team is in a bit of continual upheaval and rebuilding, but his health and endurance seem to be an issue already. I’m not saying I don’t like the kid, but I’m not saying I like him, either.
Ryan Strome (2 A, 1 SOG, even, 2 PIM) didn’t exactly burst onto the scene like I expected he would after completely dominating the AHL, and I mean completely dominating. After starting the season with 5 points in his first 18 games spanning three months, he has settled in and since posted 11 points over his last 15 games, including six in his last five. The Isles are playing for nothing but time to help their kids grow on ice so Strome will continue to see a solid TOI and plenty of opportunities to score and with his talent, that should continue to translate into points.
Niklas Kronwall (1 A, +2) will likely end up with around 50-points this season and is there a guy out there that scores 50 points from the blue line quieter than Kronwall? When is the last time you heard anyone mention him at all? And yet here he is, among the league’s elite fantasy defenseman. It’s going to make the guy feel unappreciated sooner than later, but don’t worry Nik, we haven’t forgotten you! Much love, much love. Until the points stop. Then much hate, much hate. Tis a fickle world we live in, what can I say?
Gustav Nyquist (1 G, 1 SOG, even, 2 PIM) now has goals in three straight, points in 10 straight, 19 in his last 16, and good god how do the Wings keep finding these ridiculously talented, almost completely unknown Swedish guys?!
Jimmy Howard (2 GA, 33 SV, W) has looked pretty solid over the last few games, which means he should completely fall apart sometime in the next two games and go on a horrible streak to end what is a complete bust of a season for Howie. Do you really want to risk your goalie categories with this guy? I sure wouldn’t, if I didn’t have to because I drafted the jerk. I’m not bitter, I swear!
Frederik Andersen (2 GA, 30 SV, W) is slowly proving that he’s the future no. 1 goaltender for the Ducks, but I think they already know that, and that’s why Viktor Fasth was sent to the great white north to play for the Oil. I’m not sure when the Ducks will trade Jonas Hiller, but you have to figure it’s going to be sometime in the next season or so. Andersen has been absolutely brilliant in the back up roll this year. There is a bit of a blip on the radar here, but only a minor cautionary note; his numbers are stellar every month until you hit February where he started 6 games and played in 7, the most of any month in the season, and his GAA spiked to 2.82 that month. The up side? Well, with Frederik there’s tons o’ that, but here it’s that he paired that 2.82 GAA with a .911 SV% stopping 211 of 230 shots. Long story short, this kid is really, really good.
Taylor Hall (1 A, 7 SOG, even) is the only thing keeping the Oilers from being a complete disaster this season, and I mean complete disaster. There was hope, and I was among those hoping, that their young squad could pull it together and make a run at the playoffs. My hopes were dashed, my predictions were wrong, and now I have a grudge against Edmonton. I’m easily angered and can’t let go, what can you do? I know, everyone on the Oilers should play more like Hall. Problem solved!
Milan Michalek (1 G, 1 SOG, even) keeps scoring dem goalses, which pleases me because I reluctantly recommended him a few weeks ago, and again last week, and he’s actually delivering with exactly what I thought he would, goals. How’s four in the last five games sound? Not good enough? Seven in his last 15? There we go! That’s like a goal every other game!
Marian Gaborik (1 A, 2 SOG, even) tallied an assist to keep his streak alive at five games and counting now. He has 10 points in 14 games since being traded to the Kings and he seems to be heating up! What’s the sound I hear? That’d be the sound of the injury clock tolling. It tolls for thee, Gabby!
Carl Soderberg (1 G, 3 SOG, even) has five points powered by three goals over his last four games. While the Bs rest their starters with reduced TOI, Soderberg is staying out there and filling the gap, and the net. Like I’ve said a few times before, he’s worth owning everywhere.
Jordan Eberle (1 G, 4 SOG, even) should be more like Taylor Hall. Hey look! He has been with six points over his last five. How do the Oilers have so much young talent and yet can’t win consistently? You can’t really blame the goaltending since Scribbles arrived, so, what’s the deal Oilers fans?
Anders Nilsson (1 GA, 35 SV, W) allowed ten goals in two games before allowing just two goals in his last two games. The point here is that the kid is streaky, plays for the Isles who are playing for nothing, and do you really want to risk you goalie categories with this guy? I sure wouldn’t.
Craig Anderson (2 GA, 25 SV, L) lost again! Shocker, truly. He only allowed two goals, but he allowed those two goals on less than 30 shots. Typical.
Viktor Fasth (3 GA, 23 SV, L) continues to prove that the Ducks made the right call.