When John Tavares blew out his knee in Sochi the fantasy hockey gods mocked us and Kyle Okposo (3 A, 3 SOG, +1) might have died a little inside. We all knew that Thomas Vanek was on his way out the door after he turned down a sizeable, long term deal from the Isles and when he was shipped to the Habs at the deadline Okie and his owners had to wonder what the hell he’d be doing for the rest of the season and who he’d be doing it with. Well, wonder no longer because he’s doing what he’s been doing and that’s scoring mad points y’all! I said trade him if you can when Tavares went down and at this point I still stand by that, but I assumed he’d dip below a point-per-game pace at best, not flirt with maintaining it. His new look like wouldn’t raise any eyebrows on paper, but on the ice it seems there’s some serious chemistry between Okie, rookie Anders Lee (1 G, 1 A, 1 SOG, +1) and veteran Frans Neilsen (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG, +1) as they lead the way in a 7-4 whoopin’ of the Canucks. I mentioned Lee yesterday but he’s worth expanding on today because the kid just keeps on scoring, and if he’s going to spend time with Okie, that’s probably going to continue. The kid is big, mobile and fast for his size with a long reach, a big shot and a ton of grit n’ determination, Lee can also deliver some monster hits, works well along the boards and drives hard to the net. He knows how to score and does so often, don’t believe me? So far Lee has seven points in seven games played with five goals to his name. Playing with Okie and Frans is going to give him a real opportunity to keep that roll going, so grab him where you can for the playoffs! It’s guys like Lee on tears like this that win leagues. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey last night:
Rich Peverley collapsed on the bench last night due to a cardiac arrhythmia and required CPR and a shock from the defibrillator before he came to. When he did the medical staff asked Rich if he knew who he was, he did, and where he was, he did and he then proceeded to tell the staff that he wanted back in the game. Are you kidding me?! What a effin’ champ this guy is! Everyone at Razzball sends our thoughts and best wishes to Rich and his family, may your recovery and return to the ice be swift!
Eddie Lack (6 GA, 21 SV, L) was given a golden opportunity to take over as the Canucks’ undisputed starter in net when Roberto Luongo was traded back to the Cats and what has he done? This! What’s this?! That! No, this; six bloody goals allowed on 27 shots! Ahh! I said pick him up and I stand by that, why wouldn’t you add the guy that was given a starters job on a silver platter for a playoff contending team? That said; expect Jacob Markstrom to get a look in net sooner than later. Lack’s leash is probably a bit long, but it’s getting shorter with each goal allowed.
Ondrej Palat (2 G, 1 A, 6 SOG, +2) now has five points in his last two games and if Nathan MacKinnon and Chris Kreider weren’t doing what they’re doing he’d easily be a Calder favorite. Alas, his efforts will not earn him a Calder but they will earn him the love and adoration of fantasy owners everywhere! He sure as hell has mine and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Palat is good for another 15 or so points, but it could be more if he surges to the finish line.
Steven Stamkos (Zip, zilch, nada) is now scoreless in three games since returning from his broken tibia and he has to be wondering why the hell Martin St. Louis was traded. Marty’s value cannot be underestimated when it comes to Stamkos, who clearly fed off of the mighty mini scoring machine, and is now suffering without him on his wing. This isn’t to say Stamkos is bad, or not going to produce, far from it, but it does show that Stamkos might see a bigger dip in production than we thought he might without Marty in town. That being said, he’s also coming back from a long absence from an injury that would have cost many other players the rest of their season, so it could just be rust. It’s just rust… right!?
Seth Jones (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG, +3) has some offensive chops worth noticing, but good lord does that plus/minus scare me away (-21 and counting the wrong way). He’s worth a look next year if the Preds get their act together, but this season notsomuch. Still, it’s likely that he’ll finish the season with 30 points in 82 games and I’d buy that for, well, like 25 cents right now because damn son, that’s one nasty rating you’ve got there.
Tyler Bozak (1 G, 2 A, 2 SOG, +2) continues to inexplicably produce at a point-per-game pace and at this point I see no reason why it will stop. He does put those points up in fits and spurts, so it can be a bit of a bumpy ride, but he’s showing the ability to put up big points if he stays healthy. His value for next year’s drafts is rising quickly, but I think due to his missed injury time he’s going to be a great mid-round steal next season. I figure he’s got another 10-15 points left in the tank this year.
Chris Kunitz (2 G, 3 SOG, +2) has 18 games to score 9 more goals to hit the 40 goal marker and I’m still not buying it. I figure he finishes with around 38 goals and 40 assists, which is still baller, but not 40 goals baller.
Jason Spezza (1 G, 2 A, 4 SOG, +1, 2 PIM) is loving having Ales Hemsky on his line and it showed last night with a huge showing from both guys. If the chemistry holds true Spezza could finish the season on a 20 point tear could give him 70 points in 76 games when all is said and done. Considering the guy is made of glass and the Sens have been a bit of a disaster this season, that’s pretty damn impressive!
Ales Hemsky (3 A, 3 SOG, +1) is finally producing, but can it last? Talk about being made of glass, if you breathe too hard on Ales he’ll blow out a knee. That has nothing to do with the fact that he’s an incredibly talented playmaker, however, and throwing him in the mix with Spezza and the struggling, but capable goal scoring Milan Michalek (2 SOG, +1) looks like it could be a recipe for scoring goodness. Ales is owned in ~25% of ESPN leagues and 18% of Yahoo leagues, so grab him if you can.
Jonathan Bernier (1 GA, 43 SV, W) breaks the mold when it comes to solid goalies playing on teams with porous defenses that allow an ungodly amount of shots on goal. Normally I avoid these types of netminders and recommend everyone else do the same, but Bernier says screw that and despite facing a bucket load o’ shots, he continues to hold fort and lead the Leafs to win after win.
Pekka Rinne (3 GA, 34 SV, W) looks like he’s starting to get back into game form, but it’s going to be a few more games before he really finds his groove. I figure that will happen just as the Preds are eliminated from playoff contention and the front office decides they don’t want to risk Pekka’s health and he gets shut down until next season.
Bryan Little (2 A, 7 SOG, even) continues his surprisingly consistent and solid season with a bucket o’ shots and a duo o’ helpers to put his season line at 20 G, 32 A, 52 P in 66 games. If he played for a team that wasn’t the Jets these numbers could be bigger, but not by much. I figure Little has about 10 points left in the tank this season and a date to be overvalued in next year’s drafts.
Lee Stempniak (2 A, 1 SOG, +2) gets a mention here because if anyone proves that a corpse could score for the Pens, it’s Stemps! Don’t get me wrong, I love the guy for his work ethic, he does what you need him to do to win games in real hockey, but in fantasy? Schmohawk… until now? Maybe. Stemps is playing with Chris Kunitz and Sidney Crosby and lets be real, if you put me on that line I could bungle my way into a few points here and there. Am I recommending you pick up Stemps? Uh, I can’t go quite that far yet, but considering his line and the fact that he even saw a few minutes of powerplay time, he is worth a look in deeper leagues. Yeah, he is.
Dustin Byfuglien (2 G, 3 SOG, even, 2 PIM) didn’t get traded and I bet he’s just slightly upset about it. I know the good people of Winnipeg love their Jets, but man it must be rough to play for them. It’s as if someone took the Atlanta Thrashers and shipped them up north or something! Big Buf should finish with 20 goals and 60 points, but with a terrible -20ish plus/minus.
Tyson Barrie (2 A, 1 SOG, +2) has been surprisingly dominant since the start of 2014 with 20 points in 23 games since the New Year. What’s more, he’s tallied seven goals over that stretch and he’s looking like an elite scoring defenseman right now. Long coveted by scouts for his soft hands, a stellar vision and playmaking ability, Barrie’s offensive surge isn’t completely out of left field. He’s owned in ~77% of ESPN leagues and just 34% of Yahoo leagues, so if you need scoring help on the blue line? Here’s your guy!
Chris Higgins (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG, even) only scores when I don’t endorse him, ugh. Damn you, Higgins!
John Carlson (1 A, 3 SOG, +1) was struggling a bit to start the season but he has slowly improved and now he’s looking at finishing the year with around 35 points in a full 82 games, which is pretty solid but likely the ceiling for Carlson. There was a time where I thought he could routinely put up 40-45 points, but that just hasn’t materialized. I figure he’s good for another five points this season.
Craig Anderson (3 GA, 26 SV, L) continued to be his usual Andersony self and lost yet another game. He didn’t last, either, getting yanked to start the third in favor of my boy Robin Lehner (1 GA, 12 SV, L), who allowed one goal on 13 shots. I would say that Lehner is likely to get the next start for the Sens, but who the hell knows what they’re doing to do? Anderson, Lehner, Anderson, does it matter? Anderson is terrible and Lehner’s chances are so erratic that he can’t find any sort of groove. You should have punted long ago.