Going into this season one of the bigger questions in goaltending was who would start for the Devils; perhaps the greatest goalie of all time or Cory Schneider (2 GA, 14 SV, W)? Sounds like an easy call, right? I figured it’d be Schneider. Why else did the Devils bring him in but to grab the torch from Martin Brodeur and run with it? And had anyone seen this guy play in Vancouver, stuck behind Roberto Luongo? It was a bittersweet symphony that Cory conducted, showing that he was all too capable of handling the starting job somewhere. While Marty is a legend, he’s over 40 and most guys don’t last until they’re 40 so don’t get me started on being productive in your forties. So I drafted Schneider everywhere, and as the season started and Marty came out of the gates hot my heart sank. Still, I stuck with Schneider and preached you do the same as often as it made sense, secretly hoping Brodeur would break down and Schneider would get his chance, and ho ho! It has happened. Schenider has started 10 games this month after only seeing a combined 16 starts in the first three months of the season. What’s more, he’s been absolutely stellar, Vezina worthy, with a season line that now sits at 10-10-7/ 1.87/.926/3 compared to Brodeur’s 13-11-4/2.52/.899 line. Marty’s implosion against the Rangers in the Stadium Series game his grip on the starting job had completely slipped away. Now Marty is saying he wouldn’t be surprised if the Devils traded him. Oh come on, old man, what’s this? A pity party?! I doubt very highly the Devils move him, but it’s safe to say Schneids is the man for the Devils moving forward. I said it before, Ill say it again, if you have a question that starts with “Who do you like ROS, Cory Schneider…” and you can stop there, the answer is always Cory Schneider. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey last night:
Zach Parise (2 G, 2 A, 9 SOG, +2) has taken it upon himself to handle the scoring for the Wild these past two games. With four points last night and three against the Ducks a few days ago, dude has seven points in his last two games! Unfortunately that comes on the heels of just four points (all goals) in his previous 12 games. He’s only on pace for 56 points and that’s after this two game explosion, so it’s still looking like a bust of a season for Parise.
Ondrej Palat (2 A, 1 SOG, -1) continues to light it up for the Bolts with a couple more helpers last night in a 5-3 loss to the Sens. The kid has nine points over his last give (2 G, 7 A) and will remain valuable for the rest of the season. Add him where you can!
Ryan Miller (2 GA, 38 SV, W) has the fifth highest save percentage of any goalie in the league that has started at least half the games for their team. That’s awesome! What’s better? He faces the fifth most shots in the league while doing it. Ryan, you so impressive!
Jussi Jokinen (1 G, 2 A, 3 SOG, +1) is pretty much the main reason I default to the “If he’s scoring and he’s on the Pens, add him.” maxim and it hasn’t lead me astray yet. He’s streaky, but his streaks are beefy. That and he plays with Evgeni Malkin, so that helps. He remains a secondary scoring option in deeper leagues because he can’t quite get to the point where he’s on pace to score more than 60 points, but hey points is points, ya’ll!
Ryan Johansen (2 G, 5 SOG, +2) should be interesting come next season. I don’t think anyone expected him to blow up like he has; so far he’s on pace for 61 points and 32 goals and that’d be Calder winning play if this was last season, but is isn’t, so it isn’t. It remains to be seen whether he can repeat this performance or step up from it next year, so he’s running the danger of being over priced in next year’s drafts. Still, with 30 goals and 60-plus points he’s valuable everywhere.
Nazem Kadri (3 A, 3 SOG, +1) looks like he’s finally regaining the form he showed last year. Not only has he posted 12 points in his last eight games (3 G, 9 A) but he’s also tossed in 14 PIM, 14 Hits and a trio o’ power play points for good measure! If owners in your league got tired of waiting for him to get it going, go get him immediately.
Cam Atkinson (1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG, +2) has been as streaky as you expect from a young guy, but he’s got four points in his last two games powered by back-to-back 1 G, 1 A games. He has not quite equal the production of his buddy Ryan Johansen, but he’s damn close. Not close enough to be worth owning in standard leagues, but still, close.
Zemgus Girgensons (1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG, +1) has a name that sounds like a pickle company, doesn’t he? “Enjoy delicious, crunchy Zemgus Girgenson’s pickles! You won’t find a better pickle in upstate New York!” Unfortunately, that’s about all he has going for him because he plays for the Sabres and he’s more of a two-way guy with defensive upside for a forward rather than the way we want it for fantasy hockey.
Fedor Tyutin (2 A, 2 SOG, +3, 2 PIM) had a shorthanded assist yesterday, which is pretty baller. He’s pretty yawnstipating, though he’ll end up in the mid-30s by season’s end.
Max Pacioretty (1 G, 5 SOG, +2) could be an elite fantasy asset if he’d just pass the freakin’ puck. I get that he’s a sniper, and what a sniper! He’s on pace for 37 goals, that’s as rare to find as a drab Don Cherry suit. But man, 37 goals and he is only expected to post 54 points? That’s pretty terrible. I own him, and I love his goal scoring, but even I want more than 16 assists in 73 games!
Craig Anderson (3 GA, 35 SV, W) was back out there after Robin Lehner looked pretty terrible in his rare opportunity to displace Anderson. The Sens really need to give the kid more than one game every month to see if he can take over for Anderson, but it seems like they’re completely unwilling to do so. At this point I treat the Sens goalies almost like I do the Oil; neither is worth the headache.
Frederik Andersen (3 GA, 27 SV, W) might be the most valuable backup in the league this season, and by that I mean true backup. I can’t imagine they’ll just shuffle him down to the AHL when and if Viktor Fasth returns; he’s been too good. That’s my way of saying pick him up if you want, he’s worth holding as a third goalie in two start leagues.
Kyle Turris (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG, +1) has goals in eight of his last ten games as his breakout season continues. He’s found a home on a line with Bobby Ryan and Clarke MacArthur and I don’t think the scoring stops as the season continues. In fact, with a small surge Turris could end up around 70 points and 30 goals, and those are borderline elite numbers. He’s owned everywhere in ESPN leagues, but there’s still a chance to snag him in Yahoo leagues where he’s only owned in 78% o’ leagues. Ugh, Yahoo.
Brendan Gallagher (2 A, 3 SOG, +2) has five points over his last four games on the heels of back-to-back multipoint efforts. This is a solid showing for the rookie who remains part of the Bobby Ryan All Parity Team with 14 goals and 14 assists. He’ll probably end up around 20/20 for the season, and if this was baseball that’d be hard to find, but it’s baseball, so it’s not that hard to find. That being said, it sets the stage for a nice sophomore season for the talented youngster.
Brandon Dubinsky (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG, +1, 2 PIM) remains his streaky self, but again, he contributes to so many categories that even when he’s not scoring, he’s giving you something. With this game he’s on pace to finish around 60 points with a solid plus/minus and strong PIM. What’s not to love? Pick this guy up!
Victor Hedman (1 G, 1 A, 7 SOG, even, 2 PIM) reinforces the idea that he’s an elite fantasy defenseman seemingly every time he touches the ice and last night was no different.
Jon Quick (3 GA, 4 SV, L) was quickly ousted by the Pens after coughing up three goals in the first, ouch. It was the Pens, so we’ll write this off as a rare off day for Quick.
Martin Jones (1 GA, 14 SV, L) came in to spell Jon Quick and did a solid job over two periods holding the Pens to just one more goal on 15 shots. It wasn’t enough to win, and this doesn’t change the depth chart at all in L.A.
Tyler Seguin (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG, +2) continues to have the monster season we all knew he would, but did the Boston front office? They’re doing okay with the returns from the Seguin deal, but it still doesn’t strike me as a good call to have moved him. I remember when I read about the trade and I was shocked, it seemed like the Bs had a guy to build around moving forward. I guess they didn’t agree, but Dallas did! Lucky them.
Matt Duchene (2 A, 3 SOG, +2) is on pace for his best season to date and will finish with around 70 points. For you math majors, that means he’s probably good for another 20-25 points for the rest of the season.
Nathan MacKinnon (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG, +1) should be right behind Chris Kreider in the Calder voting come the end of the season as he just keeps on scoring. He’ll probably top the 30 goal and 60-point markers in his rookie reason, and frankly, that might be enough to beat Kreider out for the Calder. That being said, MacKinnon is doing this on a far, far better offensive squad than Kreider is.
Jiri Hudler (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG, +2) seems like he shouldn’t be on pace for what he is, but he remains set to finish the season in the mid-60s for points. That’s good for a career best, but he’s just so effin’ boring. I own him, though, because I’m fine with boring guys that steadily produce and win me leagues. You don’t get points for style, folks!
Jason Pominville (1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG, +1) has six points over his recent four game streak with back to back 1 G, 1 A games in his last two. That seems to be a theme in this point, a handful of guys are going back-to-back with two points. Some of those other guys will keep doing it, Pominville will not.
Daniel Briere (1 G, 1 A, 1 SOG, +2) gets a rare mention because of how rare it is to mention him this season. How rare? He has 16 points in 41 games so far this season and won’t hit the 50 point mark, well, maybe ever again in his career.
Joffrey Lupul (1 G, 1 A, 5 SOG, even) has three points in his last two games, broke a six game goalless streak and remains Joffrey Lupul, so, not ownable.
Bobby Ryan (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG, +1, 2 PIM) has ruined his perfect parity in goals and assists, but remains on pace for 30 goals and 60 points. Considering how much Ryan costs you’d think by now he would have taken a step forward and be around the 35 goals, 75-point markers by season’s end. Alas, not. I’m starting to think this 30/60 shizz is about all he’s ever going to give fantasy owners.
Jaromir Jagr (2 A, 3 SOG, +1, 2 PIM) has seven points in his last five, two assists in three of his last four games, a plus-21 rating and counting the right way, and a distinct lack of a soul because he sold it to the devil in a Faustian deal to maintain his dominance on the ice. How else do you explain the 41-year-old winger’s season? ‘Roids come to mind, but I like to think that’s not the case, because it would break my hockey heart.
Travis Zajac (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG, even, 2 PIM) is streaking playing along side Jagr and though he has been disappoint for a few seasons, he does have the ability to go on a solid run and he’s doing that right now. Center is a deep position, but if you need scoring help, Zajac is a decent option while he plays with Jagr
Jeff Zatkoff (1 GA, 30 SV, W) has the best job in the league. He rarely sees ice time behind Marc-Andre Fleury, but when he’s out there he does a phenomenal job. Unfortunately for us, he’s not out there enough to be worth owning.
Karri Ramo (1 GA, 27 SV, W) might actually be turning himself into a decent goalie, go figure?
Thomas Greiss (3 GA, 25 SV, L) was basically beaten by Ryan Miller, but it was probably enough to keep him from taking the starting job from Mike Smith.
Niklas Backstrom (1 GA, 8 SV, L) replaced Darcy Kuemper after Darcy coughed up four goals in roughly two periods. I really wouldn’t want anything to do with this goalie situation either. It’s anyone’s guess who gets the next start and it’s anyone’s guess if it will be terrible or not. Oh, Josh Harding, where for art thou?! He art dealing with a chronic illness and it’s starting to sound like he’s going to be gone for the rest of the season.