Going into the season Sergei Bobrovsky, G (L, 9 SV, 3 GA, .750%) was one of the most sought after fantasy asset in goal and for good reason, the former Vezina winner was coming off of two straight fantastic years for less than stellar teams and at just 26 years old and entering his fifth year on big ice all the stars seemed like up not only for Bob to maintain his Vezina quality play but for the Blue Jackets to step up to his level, too. So far this season that hasn’t happened and yesterday everything went from bad to worse for Bob as he suffered an apparent LBI making a routine save in the first. There’s no word as to the extent or severity of the injury, but he needed to be helped off the ice after staying on all fours for a few minutes and from the looks of it it’s going to be a groin thing, and he might be out for a while.
Before the injury Bob wasn’t exactly on point and the streaking Jets were in the process of chasing him in the first period after he coughed up three goals on just 12 shots. Curtis McElhinney becomes the starter if Bob misses more time and I would say add him, but why would you do that to yourself? Do you want to lose? I know I don’t, and regardless of how good or bad the team in front of him is, McCurtis isn’t very good. In fact, Bobrovsky is worlds better than McElhinney and even he’s had a horrible year, so don’t expect much good to come from starting him while Bob is out. If you do like losing, then McCurtis is most definitely your man as he and the Jackets are in for another rough patch without their starting goalie.
As for Bob, his season line gets worse after this one and it wasn’t pretty to begin with. In fact, it’s so ugly I won’t even write it out here. Suffice it to say Bobrovsky is basically a bust this season, with very little time left to shake the label. If you’re unlucky enough to have blown your third round pick on Bob and need to replace him for the stretch run target guys like Devan Dubnyk for a longer term replacement or cobble together some sort term starters like Joni Ortio and Petr Mrazek. Failing that, you could try to buy low on Jon Quick or catch a sleepy owner willing to part with Roberto Luongo because he plays for the Cats. There are a lot of options here, but none of them are as good as Bob getting his act together for a stretch run, which was possible until this sad happenstance. Lets hope Bobrovsky isn’t out for long, but if he is, you have my condolences Bob owners, it has been a tough year. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey recently:
Kris Letang is now out indefinitely with concussion symptoms. The Pens aren’t saying he has an actual concussion, just the symptoms, but from my experience when one exhibits the symptoms of a suspected injury that tends to mean they have said injury. Stash Letang on your IR and hope the ASB can help him heal up and get back out there quickly, but be prepared to lose him for an extended period of time.
Craig Anderson, G (W, 37 SV, 3 GA, .925%) – Ugh, stop playing so damn well all the time. You were supposed to have an awful season.
James Reimer, G (L, 22 SV, 4 GA, .846%) – Afte coming into spell Jonathan Bernier a few days ago Reimer stopped all 18 shots he faced, so naturally the Leafs went with him in the next game and of course he coughed up four goals on 26 shots. The Leafs just can’t win. Literally.
James van Riemsdyk, LW (1 G, 1 SOG) – JvR reached the 20-goal marker with this biscuit, but he sports a minus-17 to go with his 41 points in 48 games so far. The Leafs are in their traditional mid-to-late season free fall and the typical culprits of a porous defense and weak goaltending aren’t the only pieces of the Toronto puzzle to blame, the offense has been stagnant as well. Guys like JvR and Phil Kessel, RW (1 A, 3 SOG) aren’t droppable but you might want to try and package them in a trade before it’s too late. They both carry solid name value and maybe you’ll find an owner that doesn’t realize the Leafs have completely fallen apart.
David Clarkson, RW (1 G, 4 SOG, -1) – I’m mentioning a David Clarkson goal. It’s that bad for the Leafs, y’all.
Mike Hoffman, LW (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG) – I would love to see what The Hoff could do on a better team, alas, that isn’t going to happen anytime soon. That being said, with the Sens’ penchant for trading away their home grown, elite level talent so they don’t have to pay them, it shouldn’t be long before Hoff is on his way to greener pastures. In the meantime his goal last night gives him 16 on the year as he pushes for a 30-goal rookie season, a feat I believe he can achieve by the end of the year. He’s worth owning just about everywhere.
Erik Karlsson, D (2 G, 6 SOG, +1) – There was only so long you could expect EK to be human, but luckily for his owners that first half stint as one of the normies is over and he has four goals and five points in his last five games. That pushes his season line to a robust 11/22/33/-5 in 46 games and puts him on pace for a 60-point season. That’s not the normal 70ish that you expected, but after a very pedestrian first half you’ll take a strong post All Star push from Karly and you’ll get it. Enjoy.
Mika Zibanejad, C (1 G, 2 SOG, +1) – Zibachmadenijad was supposed to break out this year but given he’s sporting a season line that’s nearly identical to Erik Karlsson, that’s not going to happen. He has an outside chance at 20 goals but hitting the 50-point marker is going to be tough. I don’t know that Mika’s lack of production this year is entirely his fault, the Sens are laughably bad on most nights, but that doesn’t change the fact that he has little value outside the deepest leagues in fantasy hockey right now. He could rebound next season, but that will depend on what the Sens front office does to bolster their roster and give him something better to work with. I’m not holding my breath.
Corey Crawford, G (W, 33 SV, 2 GA, .943%) – After a bit of a slump since returning from his drunkenly broken foot, Crawdad finally looked right in this one and held off the potent Pens for a 3-2 victory. Even after slumping his numbers remain strong and he sports a season line of 18-10-2/2.26/.921% in just 30 starts. Given the less than heavy workload in the first half I could see him starting 20-25 games after the All-Star Break and provide some of the most valuable minutes from a goalie in fantasy hockey moving forward.
Brandon Saad, LW (1 A, 7 SOG, +1) – Saadly I don’t have Brandon on every keeper team, because he’s a beast now and he’s going to get more beastly next season. After bouncing around the lines in the first half he’s settled in on the top line and he’s producing along side Jonathan Toews, C (1 A, 3 SOG, +1) with nine points (7 G, 2 A) in his last 10 games. That puts him on pace for around 25 goals, but with a surge here or there, he could end up with 30.
Marc-Andre Fleury, G (L, 24 SV, 2 GA, .923%) – With a loss last night to the Hawks Flower has dropped three straight and there are rumblings of concern that he’s suffering from fatigue. He denies it, his club denies it, I believe them. That being said, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Thomas Greiss get a few more starts moving forward. It would behoove the Pens to learn from the Rangers and keep their start stopper fresh for the playoff run; it really does make all the difference. If they do, Greiss should see a minor uptick in value.
Steve Downie, RW (1 G, 2 SOG, +1) – Snuggle Soft finally snapped his six game scoreless streak with a goal on two shots last night. Over that six game spell he had zero points and just 11 PIM. Hopefully this is a sign that he’ll get back on track, but the chances of him hitting the 50-point marker are now all but gone. He should still provide solid scoring for a guy whose primary use is for hits and PIM.
Marian Hossa, RW (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG) – I expected that Hossa would only put up around 60 points this year, but I figured it would be because he missed time due to injury, not because he was finally past it. Well, after missing exactly zero games due to injury in the first half, he’s on pace for less than 20 goals and around 60 points. I’d say he’s avoidable in drafts next year and in fact, I would advise it. The years of guaranteed production from Hossa are over.
Michael Hutchinson, G (W, 29 SV, 1.000%, SHO) – So, is Hutch the starter yet? No? Hmn. How about now?
Evander Kane, RW (1 G, 4 SOG, +1) – You might be gun shy about rolling with Kane, but he’s showing signs of being a solid to great contributor down the stretch. He has three goals in his last four games, a power play goal, game winning goal and a short handed goal included among them. He’s up to 20 minutes a night over his last three games, has regained his place in the Jets’ top six and now slots in on the second power play unit, too. The only thing holding him back to this point has been injury, and he sure looks healthy to me lately, so go get him.
Blake Wheeler, RW (1 G, 4 SOG, +1) – Oh Wheels, how do we love thee? Let me count the ways; 13 G, 23 A, +12, 53 PIM, 140 SOG, 7 PPP, 3 SHP, 3 GWG and 19:35 TOI per game. Yeah, that’s a lot of love. He’ll pot 25 goals and top 60 points before it’s all said and done. That might not sound sexy, but he’s really solid production from a fairly quiet source.
Semyon Varlamov, G (W, 22 SV, 2 GA, .917%) – After a brief two game losing streak Varly is back in the win column after pushing away 22 of 24 shots for the 3-2 shoot out victory over the Bs last night. Bonus points for Varly, this was just the second game since November 15th, 2014 that he faced fewer than 30 shots. It’s almost like a night off for him, seriously.
Jarome Iginla, RW (1 G, 4 SOG, +1) – Iggy moved into passed Hall of Famer Mike Bossy on the all-time goals list with the 574th goal of his career last night. A shame he didn’t score all of those this season! He has 14 this year and he’s probably going to finish with fewer than 25, but he still has some gas left in the tank to get to 25 if he gets a few lucky bounces.
Torey Krug, D (1 G, 4 SOG, +1) – After an abysmal November that saw Tiny Torey post just one point in nine games he’s bounced back in a big way over the last two months with 17 points in his last 24 games. He’s on pace to top 40 points and 15 goals by season’s end and for an undersized, sophomore defenseman that’s baller like whoa. He could see an uptick next year, but even if he didn’t, he’d remain one of the more valuable fantasy defenseman out there. I see no reason why he’d slow after the ASB.
Ryan O’Reilly, C (1 G, 4 SOG, 2 PIM) – At just 23 years of age RyRo will bounce back next season, but this year is a lost cause. Last night’s goal gives him just nine in 48 games and I don’t see why he would suddenly snap out of the funk and roll after the ASB, so if you own him be prepared for a whole lot of the same moving forward. That being said, there is one tiny light in the long dark tunnel of RyRo’s 2015 season, he’s shooting at an 8.8% clip which is slightly above his career mark of 10.1% so you could reasonably expect a very small uptick in goals moving forward, but don’t’ count on it.
Joni Ortio, G (L, 7 SV, 4 GA, .636%) – And thus ends the Joni Ortio ride of 2015. No, he’s been pretty beastly the past few weeks and frankly I have no idea what the Flames are going to do, but based on just one game I doubt they’ll up and send Ortio back to the AHL. That being said, his lease was just shortened by quite a bit and it won’t take too many more of these performances before he finds himself back in the minors.
Mikael Backlund, C (1 G, 3 SOG) – One of my post ASB sleepers, Backs potted another goal last night giving him eight points (5 G, 3 A) in his last nine games. He failed to register a point just once over that span. He spends most of his time on the third line with Mason Raymond, LW (2 SOG, -4) and Joe Colborne, RW (1 G, 1 SOG) but he’s also getting time on the Flames’ top power play, too. Backlund has been held back by injury more than anything else and he’s healthy and scoring right now. There’s no reason not to grab him in deeper leagues, though in redraft leagues he’s not quite a must add yet. He’s working on it, though and should have a strong stretch run.
Sean Monahan, C (1 G, 3 SOG, -1) – Last night’s tally gives Money goals in four straight games now as my mancrush reaches critical mass with the talented, goal scoring pivot. I own him in a few keeper leagues and you better bet your sweet ass he’s a no-brainer keeper for next season. This year? He’ll flirt with 30 goals and easily hit the 50-point marker as a sophomore. Yes, please.
Ben Lovejoy, D (1 G, 1 A, 1 SOG) – He’s usually only good for hits and PIM, but the good Reverend decided to donate to the collection plate last night and chipped in two points to go along with three hits and three blocks. He won’t keep doing that, but the blocks, hits and PIM will keep coming in bunches.
Antti Niemi, G (W, 26 SV, 2 GA, .929%) – Nemo the Sieve might be taking over for Craig Anderson as my most hated goalie. Anderson earned my ire by starting last year over Robin Lehner despite playing like hot garbage all year. This year he’s doing really well despite the shiz team in front of him, so props to Craig. Nemo, though. Good game, bad game, good game, bad game and all the while my boy Alex Stalock can’t get any kind of groove going because he can’t get consistent starts. Why, because Nemo is consistently good? No, because the Sharks coaching is consistently bad. Boo this situation. Boo Nemo. BOOOOOOO!
Patrick Marleau, C (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG) – After a hot start that saw him post 12 points in his first 12 games, Marleau went on a three month skid posting 8 points in 13 games, 7 points in 13 games in December and then 6 points in 10 games last month. He does have five points (3 G, 2 A) in his last five, though. So there’s that. I wouldn’t expect a ton out of Marleau ROS, but he’ll have a few streaks like this here and there.
Jeff Carter, C (1 G, 2 SOG, -1) – The last man standing from That 70’s Line hasn’t quite been the same since he lost the kids on his wings. It seemed like moving up to the top line would help his production, but he has just 15 points in his last 23 games and is looking like he’ll end up with just barely 20 goals and maybe 60 points. That’s not too bad, but you definitely want more goals from a guy like Carter. Ten or twelve more, to be exact.