At just 5’9” he is one of the smallest players in the league, but Torey Krug’s game is anything but. Debuting with four goals in five games in last year’s Eastern Conference Semifinals he helped the B’s topple the Rangers and hasn’t slowed down one bit to start his rookie season. Currently tied for first in goals scored among defensemen with seven, he averages nearly 18 minutes a game and what’s more, he’s getting top powerplay minutes as well. Amid a roster dripping with talent from top to bottom it has been Krug, the rookie, that boosted the B’s lackluster powerplay and that’s just what the league needed, the B’s strengthening one of the few weak parts of their game. At any rate, being as small as he is as a defensemen does come with some increased injury risk, but so far Krug has shown himself to be tough as nails taking big hits and quickly shaking them off. To be successful he’ll have to avoid those hits rather than endure them, as even the biggest guys have been felled by the plague of concussions in recent years. Most of the time he relies on his quickness and good vision to avoid getting hit too hard and while there are some concerns about his ability to handle larger power forwards on the defensive end, it’s all cylinders go where it matters to us. Going into the season Krug was more known than he would have been because of last year’s playoff performance, but he’s still available in 27% of Yahoo! Leagues. Listen, he has a booming shot, great hands, explosive acceleration and a tremendous hockey IQ so this rookie isn’t just for keeper leagues. If he’s on Team USA’s radar he should definitely be on yours, so add him where you can. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in fantasy hockey last night:
Zach Parise is down for 2-3 weeks with a left foot contusion, shocking! I’d expect that to be a hit to Mikko Koivu’s recent scoring outburst. He was bound to return to earth sometime, but this well quicken the decent.
Claude Giroux (1 A, 6 SOG, +1) – is finally starting to show signs of life with points in five straight. We all expected a top 5 scorer in Giroux that would deliver mid-90s points, but at the quarter mark of the season he has just 16 points in 23 games. Even if you toss out the first five games of the season where he didn’t score, it’s not pretty for Giroux who has points in just 13 of his last 18 games. You can reasonably expect Giroux to give you at close to a point-per-game(ish) moving forward, but unless the Flyers right the ship offensively as a unit (25th overall in scoring with a paltry 2.2 goals-per-game) Giroux will continue to struggle to live up to his pre-season rankings.
James Wisniewski (2 A, 1 SOG, +3) – I mentioned him almost two weeks ago and his ownership has not changed much. He’s ninth overall in scoring for defensemen, has 8 PPP, 25 PIM so far and is on pace for a monster year. What else do you people want?! Pick him up!
Evgeni Malkin (1 A, 2 SOG, +2) – is finally heating up with eight points in his last four games. You knew Geno would get it going at some point sooner than later so enjoy the ride.
Ben Bishop (0 GA, 37 SV, W) – pushed aside 37 shots to shut out the Rangers 5-0 yesterday. He continues to impress and with Lindback’s continued struggles he will remain the no. 1 for the Bolts. With his whopping 6’7” frame he basically just has to sit there and fill the goal up, right? He’s actually deceptively quick, plays the angles well and keeps himself in good position most of the time. These are all ingredients for a delicious pie o’ continued success! He’s owned in 82% of Yahoo! Leagues and I’m not sure why it isn’t 10-15% higher. Who exactly are these people holding onto with Bishop on the wire? Brian Elliot? Pick him the hell up already!
Brandon Saad (2 A, 2 SOG, +2) – now has seven points in his last seven games and is enjoying his time on the top line with Toews and Sharp. He’ll continue to produce and should be owned in all formats, especially keeper leagues.
Marek Mazanec (2 GA, 29 SV, W) – beat the ‘yotes last night and has won four of his last five games since taking the ball, er puck, from Carter Hutton. I was never high on Hutton and he fizzled out pretty quickly but Mazanec is another story. The 21 year old netminder is athletic and very talented but raw. With Rinne is out for at least another 17 games and Mazanec getting the lion’s share of those starts you should grab him where you can while you can.
Ben Scrivens (2 GA, 37 SV, W) – is a sell high candidate if I’ve ever seen one. With an excellent defensive team in front of him and Jon Quick at least another month away from returning, he owns the no. 1 job. Everything’s great here, but if Quick takes longer to get back than expected it will be interesting to see if Scrivens can handle the workload. If he starts to fade in the second half, sell sell sell.
Jaroslav Halak (0 GA, 22 SV, W) – is pretty damn good, isn’t he? John Davidson’s legacy in St. Louis is, of course, centered on the goaltending situation and man it’s sitting pretty for the Blues. Halak should finish the season among the elites, but Brian Elliot and his pesky stellar play will continue to be a bit of a threat.
Martin St. Louis (2 G, 1 A, 4 SOG, +3) – is a tiny point scoring machine and will continue to be. Even with Stamkos out he still gets his, you gotta love him.
Teddy Purcell (2 G, 1 A, 3 SOG, +3) – only scored because I dropped him. Seriously. I let him go for Saad, so I’m not too… bummed, but it seems like if I drop a guy he starts getting hot. Maybe I’ll start posting a list of all the players I’ve recently dropped so y’all can grab ‘em!
James Neal (2 G, 1 A, 5 SOG, +2) – is the real deal and now that he’s healthy and skating with Geno all is right in the worlds of his owners. Consecutive two goal games give him six on the year with five in his last three games alone.
Ryan Johansen (2 G, 1 A, 5 SOG, +1) – and his aircraft-carrier of a forehead potted two goals in a 6-0 whoopin’ on James Reimer and the Leafs. This kid is good and he’s worth owning in all deeper/keeper leagues, but he’s probably a bit undeveloped to be worth a serious look in standard formats.
Andrew Shaw (2 G, 1 A, 2 SOG, +2) – joined the Blackhawks goal scoring extravaganza of a season with a few of his own last night. Dubnyk was in net so don’t get too excited. It’s starting to seem like the Blackhawks could just roll a corpse out there and it’d probably find a way to score a few goals.
Sergei Bobrovsky (0 GA, 18 SV, W) – shut out the Leafs last night, that’s good! He allowed six goals to the Canucks last Friday, that’s bad. He beat the Flames 2-1 in OT last Wednesday, that’s good! He coughed up SEVEN goals to the Oil last Tuesday, that’s bad. I think there might be a pattern here.
Nikita Kucherov (1 G, 1 SOG, +1) – scored his first goal, on his first shot, in his first period, in his first game in the NHL. Not a bad way to say hello for the young Russian sniper! He has a one way game, to the net, and is immensely talented but his defensive liability will keep his TOI down. Still, he’s an explosive skater and natural scorer worth consideration in deeper/keeper leagues.
Loui Eriksson (1 G, 2 A, 5 SOG, +1) – used to be a guy I tried to draft every year and often rewarded me for my dedication. His lockout shortened campaign last year was a disaster and it was likely due to poor conditioning, but what’s up this year? He’s not a primary scoring option for the B’s and his TOI has dipped roughly 2:30 a game over last year. I figure he ends the season around 60ish points.
Ondrej Pavelec (1 GA, 25 SV, W) – has improved on his meh October with a pretty solid November posting a .922 SV% and at one point won five straight games. That all being said, he’s Ondrej Pavelec. Moving on…
Corey Crawford (1 GA, 24 SV, W) – will contend for the Vezina again, but there are some other guys having incredible years. Still, it’s only a matter of time before he gets one.
Sean Bergenheim (2 G, 4 SOG, +1) – is fast, strong and largely irrelevant. The ceiling isn’t very high, move along.
Ryan Murray (1 G, 1 A, 1 SOG, +3) – should be on every keeper league managers’ radar. He’s a top prospect with good hands, vision and passing skills with a booming shot that finds the net more often than not. The Jackets’ lackluster offense and his youth will keep the numbers low this season, though.
Evander Kane (1 G, 6 SOG, +2) – finally found the back of the net after a nine game drought. He’s only on pace for 23 goals in 80 games this season and that’s not going to cut it for his owners who were hoping for a step forward this year. You can’t drop him and you won’t get value in a trade, so you’re stuck with him for now.
Alexander Steen (2 G, 2 SOG,+2) – continues to score at a Ovechkin-like pace with a few more yesterday. He’s obviously having a career year but it’s hard to have faith that it will continue until season’s end. He has 19 goals this year but only twice breached the 20 goal marker since he debuted in 2005. It’s possible he’s already given you half of what he will all season, or less… you might want to consider selling high.
Dustin Byfuglien (2 A, 1 SOG, 2 PIM, +3) – Mr. by-FOO-glee-ən continues to have a stellar month with 12 points in 12 games and he’s pouring the shots on net again. Fun fact(ish), Big Buff tipped the scales at 302lbs by the end of the 2013 season making him the heaviest player in NHL history. He’s back down to 265 now. Fewer burgers, more goals!
Jussi Jokinen (2 A, 2 SOG, +2) – was pegged by some other ‘perts a sleeper going into this season but man, I could not understand why. Yeah, his value takes a hike moving from the abysmal Hurricanes to the top flight Pens, but he’s never done much and he’ll continue to not.
Duncan Keith (2 A, 2 SOG, +2) – still isn’t scoring any goals and I doubt he will. Luckily, everyone else on his team does and he’s racking up the assists with 19 on the season. He has a four game point streak with five points in that span, all assists.
Shea Weber (1 G, 4 SOG, +2) – seems to be slipping out of the elite category as the games go by. He’s on pace for his fewest points since 2007, he’s minus-6 even after a plus-2 last night and has just 50 shots on goal so far. He isn’t going to put up a bad season per se, but it will be subpar by his standards, and yours, and mine.
Valtteri Filppula (2A, 0 SOG, +2) – plays with St. Louis and Purcell with Stamkos down, so Flip’s worth a look in deepish formats. With his LW eligibility he’s worth keeping a close eye on in standard leagues as well.
Devin Setoguchi (1 G, 3 SOG, +1) – scored a goal! Remember when he scored 30? Since then…20, 22, 19, 13 (48GP)…yep.
Alex Killorn (1 A, 1 SOG, +3) – seems like he’s a streaky player, but I haven’t seen enough of him to officially give him that label. He’s worth owning in deep leagues, but can be safely dropped in standard leagues if you still own him. Stamkos’ absence haunts that entire team.
Anze Kopitar (1 G, 2 SOG, +1) – made his two shots count potting the game winning goal in OT to drown the Sharks. Igor is doing what you’d expect, ghoulishly going about his goal scoring ways.