The L.A. Kings’ goalie situation seemed set in stone going into the season with the elite Jon Quick holding down the crease, but when he went down earlier this year Ben Scrivens took the opportunity and ran with it posting a beautiful line of 7-2-4, 1.56 GAA, .943 SV% in 15 games played (12 starts) so far. Scrivens eventually needed a breather so Martin Jones got the call a few days ago and after putting up back-to-back shutouts in his first two starts he’s slated to take the crease again tonight for the third straight game. There was a lot of talk about how Scrivens’ stellar play might unseat Quick when he returns and I scoffed at that notion then and I scoff now. Scoff! Who is Martin Jones? He’s a young, big, quick tender that doesn’t give up many rebounds and is actually pretty talented overall, so this isn’t a fluke, per se. You know what, or more to the point, who he’s not, though? Jon Quick. You know who Scrivens isn’t? Jon Quick. Lots of back up goalies, both young and old, tend to come on hot when they get their opportunity, but like young hitters in baseball who explode out of the gate only to slump hard once pitchers adjust to his weaknesses, young netminders often see a similar dip, or are simply relegated to backup duties once the starter returns from injury. I told you to sell high on Scrivens and I’m holding to that more than ever now. If Jones can so easily unseat Scrivens, what do you think will happen when Quick returns? The Kings aren’t fools, they’re Stanley Cup contenders again and Quick is the guy who will lead them there when healthy. Sell high on Scrivens while you’ll still get good value back, add Jones if you want for now but expect to drop him, and maybe try to buy low on Quick while you’re at it! Anyway, here’s what else I saw in fantasy hockey yesterday:
Antti Raanta (2 GA, 27 SV, W) won his second straight game 6-2 and will stay valuable if for nothing other than wins. I don’t say that to disparage the guy, but by all accounts his peripherals are set to rise sooner than later, but hopefully by then Corey Crawford will be healthy again. I hope all you Crawford owners were able to grab him.
Ryan Miller (1 GA, 35 SV, W) had to do it all himself to get a win, just his sixth in 16 starts so far this season. He pushed away 35 of 36 and still had to hold through OT and a shootout before the Sabres finally gave him some semblance of offensive support. This situation is too brutal to watch, or comment on for that matter, so this is the last time I mention Miller unless he’s traded or the Sabres find a way to not suck so completely.
Brandon Dubinsky (1 G, 3 A, 6 SOG, +3) isn’t a huge offensive threat and will only give you 50ish points by season’s end, but for those of you in leagues that count hits, he’s racked up 76 in just 25 games so far and he’s on pace for 188 PIM, too. While he’s contributing in so many categories he’s worth owning in deeper leagues.
Alex Ovechkin (4 G, 6 SOG, even) is making a serious bid to have the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy renamed after himself.
Nicklas Backstrom (1 G, 4 A, 2 SOG, even, 2 PIM) sure does love playing with Ovie.
Cam Atkinson (2 G, 2 A, 4 SOG, +2) is another one of those tiny fellas that seem to be popping up more and more in the NHL. At just 5’7” he’s especially small, but he’s on pace for 24 goals, 42 points and a nice step forward for the young winger. He’s worth keeping an eye on in keeper leagues, but don’t expect many more night’s like this out of him this season.
Tyler Toffoli (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG, +2) continues to impress in his rookie season with five points in five games so far this month. He’s a top-six forward that mostly needs to work on his skating, I think he could finish the year with 30 goals.
Robin Lehner (1 GA, 35 SV, L) started for the first time in five days, allowed just one goal, lasted through OT and into the shootout but was still unable to secure another win. His season line to this point is 4-6-3, 2.36 GAA, .933 SV% in 8 starts and 11 games played. He’s lost five straight and it doesn’t seem like the Sens have much confidence in the youngster as the mediocre Craig Anderson continues to get starts and look terrible.
Thomas Greiss (1 GA, 29 SV, W) got the start last night because Mike Smith was out with an illness. Smith hasn’t been pretty lately, losing six of his last eight, but it doesn’t seem like there’s any goalie controversy brewing in Phoenix just yet.
Kevin Poulin (2 GA, 46 SV, W) faced a season high 48 shots last night against the Sharks and let just two slip by. It was a stellar performance by the young netminder filling in for the injured Evgeni Nabakov. His season line sits at 4-11-0, 3.06 GAA, .899 SV% and don’t bother picking him up.
Martin St. Louis (1 G, 2 A, 6 SOG, +2) is trying his hardest to make the Bolts faithful think “Steven who?”
Carter Hutton (1 GA, 28 SV, W, 2 PIM) won his first game since November 6th, yikes.
Patrick Kane (1 G, 2 A, 4 SOG, +2) is flirting with a 100 point season as things stand right now. On pace for 42 goals I think Kane is one of the few guys capable of breaking the century mark, but in all likelihood he falls short and ends up in the 90s. With as good as the Hawks are this year they might clench a damn playoff spot before the Olympics, so Kane might get rested a bit down the stretch.
Tuukka Rask (1 GA, 26 SV, W) sure is good at stopping pucks. This will be his first full season as a starter, believe it or not.
Tyler Johnson (1 G, 2 A, 3 SOG, +2) has six points in his last six games, but that’s deceiving as he’s see-sawed from goose eggs to big numbers each night over that span. This is typical of rookies and he’s mostly getting ice time because Stamkos is out.
Philipp Grubauer (2 GA, 32 SV, W) won his second start in a row and will see more starts in the short term serving with Michal Neuvirth still hurting on IR.
Ondrej Palat (1 G, 1 A, 6 SOG, +2) hasn’t changed much since I last noted he isn’t worth owning despite a good game here.
Brandon Saad (2 G, 2 SOG, +2) has five points in five games this December and continues to be a great secondary scoring threat for fantasy owners. He’s owned in 100% of ESPN Leagues and just 56% of Yahoo! Leagues. Are all the Yahoo Leagues just abandoned or what?
Duncan Keith (2 A, 3 SOG, +3) added even more assists! He’s on pace for 67 points this season, 65 of those would be assists. Two goals?! Dude, come on.
Patrick Sharp (2 G, 5 SOG, +1, 4 PIM) also plays for the Blackhawks and it seems I can’t get through a roundup without mentioning a bunch of them. They just score so often, what am I supposed to do?
Antoine Roussel (2 G, 4 SOG, +2, 16 PIM) is the new Steve Downie! If you’re looking for a PIM boost with decent offensive numbers from an agitator, Roussel is your man. He’s on pace for 243 PIM with 20 goals. Yes, please.
Brian Elliot (1 GA, 20 SV, W) is most definitely taking a back seat to Jaroslav Halak this season, but he continues his sparkling play even in limited action. If Halak get shurt, Elliot’s value will skyrocket overnight, so don’t lose track of the St. Louis goalie situation.
Antoine Vermette (2 G, 4 SOG, +1, 2 PIM) has come alive again after a hot start to the season with points in four straight and six in his last seven. Despite that, he’s streaky and not known much for his offensive prowess anyway, so his value is marginal in most formats though owners in deeper leagues might find a use for him.
Mike Richards (2 A, 1 SOG, +3) was scoring 30 goals a year regularly from 2007 through 2010, but those days seem behind him since he moved to L.A. The defensive minded Kings have more use for his two-way abilities than his goal scoring and his role fits that. Still, he’s finding ways to score points and is worth owning everywhere.
Jordan Eberle (1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG, even) has steadily improved over the first two months of the season and finished November at a point-per-game pace (for the month). He’s not Taylor Hall, but his ceiling is pretty damn high regardless.
David Legwand (2 A, 3 SOG, +2) scored his first points in two weeks. He goes through fits and spurts, but in the end he’s only marginally valuable in the deepest of leagues.
Ryan Garbutt (2 A, 2 SOG, +2, 2 PIM) is playing on the second line for the Stars now, opposite my new best friend Antoine Roussel and Cody Eakin. An offensive powerhouse this line is not, but Garbutt continues to contribute in various categories and is worth owning in deeper leagues for now.
Dan Boyle (2 A, 3 SOG, +1) is old as dirt but keeps on rollin’! Boyler is on pace for 44 point this season despite missing time earlier this year. Someone in one of my leagues actually dropped him when he was slammed jaw first into the boards, believe that? Patience wins leagues, friends.
Patrick Marleau (1 G, 1 A, 7 SOG, -1) doesn’t seem like he’ll ever slow down.
Jimmy Howard (2 GA, 25 SV, L) lost again and then hurt his knee in practice today. He’s getting evaluated tomorrow and I’ll update you, but if you own him and you haven’t added Jonas Gustvasson as a handcuff by now, you better go get him before Howard hits the IR.
Curtis McElhinney (4 GA, 30 SV, W) coughed up four goals but still held of the Devils, of all teams, in a 5-4 goal fest. He’s the start with Bobrovsky out, uh… yeah that’s about the best way I can quantify his worth.
Ondrej Pavelec (2 GA, 18 SV, L) couldn’t hold off the Blues (who can?) and lost despite a good game.