Normally I focus on one player that stands out to me as I write these rundowns, but tonight I have to switch it up because the Edmonton Oilers have come alive! Semyon Varlamov stayed in the entire game taking an 8-2 pounding from the league’s youngest team. It’s pretty ironic that back in 1995 when Avs Head Coach Patrick Roy was left in for all 9 goals scored effectively ending his career with the Habs (and he nearly retired completely) and now he’s gone and done the same thing to Varlamov, classy. I never liked Roy. Anyway, here’s the rundown for the Oil:
Taylor Hall (3 G, 1 A, 7 SOG, + 1) is elite and should be the guy that leads this team back to greatness. He’s got all the skills and he put them all on display tonight.
Jordan Eberle (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG, even) is the other half of the core of this offensive unit that could be one of the best in the league in the second half.
David Perron (1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG, +2) is having a career year and after not living up to expectations for years seems to have found a home in the Great White North.
Ales Hemsky (1 G, 1 A, 1 SOG, +1) is showing signs of life as well. He’s one of my second-half sleepers.
Mark Acrobello (1 G, 1 A, 5 SOG, +1) remains a risky add at best. He’s tiny and inconsistent, but could live well off the table scraps of others if the Oil take off like I think they can.
Sam Ganger (1 G, 2 SOG, even) should take this opportunity to step up and be a leader for this young bunch. He was once a highly touted prospect himself.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (1 A, 2 SOG, +1) chipped in an assist, but should be right in the middle of all the scoring sooner than later. What would a mention of the Oilers’ potential be without the Nudge?!
Nail Yakupov (1 SOG, -1) continues to be a huge bust and what a tickertease for his owners. I never buy in early on young Russians because so few of them pan out and Yakupov seems to be the same. On a team flush with young talent this kid is playing an embarassing season of hockey with a -17 rating and just 9 points in 28 games played so far. Nail, I think the KHL is calling.
After a terrible start to the season it seems like this young team is getting its legs and finding their identity as a team. They’ve won four of their last five games and with performances like this there’s a possibility this team might, may be able to ull itself out of the basement and fight for a playoff spot. After adding Breezy to upgrade their goalie situation and a favorable schedule going up to the Olympic break facing the likes of the Flames, Jets, Blue Jackets, Hurricanes and Predators, things are looking up for the Edmonton faithful. Is the horrible start a thing of the past? Maybe, but you can’t deny tonight’s results, and this didn’t come against a bad team with lackluster goaltending either. Don’t miss out on this potential buffet o’ fantasy black gold, grab some Oil while you can get ‘em cheap! Anyway, here’s what else I saw in fantasy hockey recently:
Tomas Hertl (1 G, 6 SOG, even) continues to impress with his 14th tally of the season, the lone goal in a 5-1 drubbing from the Pens. You have to love seeing him take all those shots and they keep finding the back of the net. Going into the season I thought of him as keeper gold, but he’s worth owning in all leagues right now.
Carey Price (1 GA, 32 SV, W) lead the Habs to their ninth straight and outdueled Tuukka Rask doing it. He’s the best goalie in the NHL right now.
Martin St. Louis (2 G, 2 SOG, +2) finds a way to score regardless of who is on the ice, or not, with him. Two shots, two goals. Any St. Louis owners who may have panicked a bit when Stamkos went down can relax a bit.
Ben Bishop (1 GA, 33 SV, W) tallied his 15th win of the season already and outplayed a now struggling Robin Lehner at the other end. Word has it that Stamkos will be back BEFORE the Olympic break to get in a few games to “shake of the rust” so he can be primed for the games. Bolts are seeming like a dark horse candidate in the east, no?
Robin Lehner (3 GA, 19 SV, L) lost his third straight game and is both trying to make me look bad and give Anderson a chance to keep his starting job.
Max Pacioretty (1 G, 2 SOG, +1) keeps on rollin’ and remains on pace for 37 goals, but with just 11 assists. Yikes man, pass the freakin’ puck! Can no one else on the Habs put the biscuit in the basket?
Jeff Skinner (3 G, 6 SOG, +2) chased Mazanec with his second goal of the game on his way to a hatty. He has five goals in his last two games, 6 in his last three and is looking like himself again for the first time in what seems like forever. He’s worth buying low on, or even just grabbing off the wire since he’s available in 30% of Yahoo! Leagues.
Justin Faulk (1 G, 2 A, 3 SOG, +1) opened the scoring on the Preds and is looking fantastic lately. His offensive upside is well documented and mighty high, he’s worth grabbing and widely available if you’re so inclined.
Olli Jokinen (1 G, 4 SOG, +1) still manages to get signed? Seriously? Effin’ eh, Winnipeg, yous desperate.
Tomas Tatar (2 G, 6 SOG, even) took full advantage of a depleted Wings lineup to go off and supplied most of what Detroit had to offer Philly. It’s in the sauce, Tatar is a gifted young player with a ton of offensive upside. His TOI spiked to 16:13 with 6:09 of that coming with the man advantage. Great vision, good speed, great hands and a nose for the net make him worth grabbing while the Wings deal with their injuries.
Sean Couturier (2 G, 2 A, 3 SOG, +3, 2 PIM) is the real deal like Tatar but isn’t as polished at this point in his young career. He brings a good combination of size and skill, but his skating needs work, he could stand to gain a few pounds of muscle, too. At 6’4” and just 191, stringbean is worth a grab in keeper leagues.
Karri Ramo (1 GA, 29 SV, W, 4 PIM) won for the second straight game and has himself a mini-streak going… ish. He coughs up too many rebounds, his positioning is meh. Calgary fans seem to be trying to convince themselves he’s more than he is, I’m not buying.
Cory Schneider (3 GA, 27 SV, L) finally looked human and lost a tough one to the Habs in a shootout. The Devils lead 2-1 and then 3-2 in the third, but were unable to hold the lead, again. Bollocks. Expect Marty to take the next start, but seeing Schneider start three of the last four the Devils is encouraging.
Matt Read (1 G, 2 A, 3 SOG, +2) has been successful at every level he’s played at so far, and the Flyers might be limping along by their standards right now, but they are chock full o’ youth waiting to break out. Read is a must own in keeper leagues.
Scott Hartnell (1 G, 2 A, 4 SOG, even, 2 PIM) has been pretty crappy so far and this game doesn’t really change his fairly bleh prospects for a decent season. He doesn’t score 30 goals this year, or ever gain honestly. If he’s available you can take a Flyer, but I wouldn’t pick him up with your team.
Michael Ryder (1 G, 1 A, 5 SOG, +2) is always good for very short bursts of scoring that make you think “Oh man! Ryder’s finally going to produce!” and then as soon as you add him, slumpsville. He looked good last year with the Habs, but, eh. He’s a low-end secondary scoring option at best.
Brian Gionta (1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG, +2) is well past it himself. The diminutive winger hasn’t had his scoring touch since 2011 and I don’t think he rediscovers it now.
T.J. Brodie (1 G, 1 A, 1 SOG, +2) has some solid offensive upside to consider. He will flirt with 30 points and has the skill to get there, but he’s more of a keeper consideration than anything else, still, there are few young defensemen out there with his potential.
Andrei Loktionov (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG, +2) is touted as a guy that has a lot of upside, but I haven’t seen any. With a measly 31 shots on goal and just 7 points in 27 games so far, I can see why the Kings gave up on him and why the Devils are so offensively inept.
Steve Downie (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG, +1, 4 PIM) doing what he does best giving solid scoring with those delicious penalty minutes. There are only a few guys in fantasy that can give you solid PIM with the potential for 50ish points, so if you’re in need of a sin bin boost, snatch him up!
Claude Giroux (1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG, even) is officially back to form after a frighteningly bad start to the season. A lot of Flyers really sucked out of the gate, if they all get going at the same time Philly could make some noise in the East by season’s end.
Jiri Hudler (2 A, 1 SOG, +2, 2 PIM) has defied all odds and continues to score at a decent rate, though below a point-per-game now and likely to stay that way. You didn’t really expect that to continue, did you?
Steve Mason (3 GA, 32 SV, W) continues his unjustified stellar play. Noise, east, Season’s end, etc.
Mark Giordano (1 G, 1 A, 1 SOG, +1) returned from the IR and light the lamp getting right back to work. He could be in for a career year but there is no chance he keeps this up. On the high end he matches his career high of 43 points set back in ’10-11. Still, for a guy available in 62% of Yahoo! Leagues it makes me wonder, who is your fourth D-man right now? Hmn?
Peter Budaj (3 GA, 31 SV, W) stepped in for the injured Varlamov and out lasted the so-far-this-season-superhuman Cory Schneider for a 4-3 SO victory. Semyon is fine, just sore, but Budaj has been stellar so far.
Mikael Backlund (1 G, 2 SOG, +1) has a good set of wheels and a softer set of hands, but just hasn’t panned out and I don’t know how much longer the Flames will wait.
Tomas Plekanec (1 A, 3 SOG, +2) can be a decent secondary scoring option when guys around him are scoring, but he’s yawnstipating otherwise.
Johan Franzen (1 G, 4 SOG, +1) keeps on mulin’ it up with another goal. He has seven points in his last four games and will absolutely not keep that up. Still, he plays top-six minutes for the Wings one way or the other and has value in deeper leagues.
Kimmo Timonen (1 A, 4 SOG, +1) should retire.
Reid Boucher (1 A, 2 SOG, +2) notched an assist, +2 in his NHL debut. Looking at this kid makes me feel old and I’m not even that old! His baby face wouldn’t entice me to add him in standard formats, but this post seems to be (inadvertently) keeper heavy and he’s another good one to consider.
Lee Stempniak (1 G, 3 SOG, +1) has a -12-rating so far, yeesh. Does anyone own him? Probably not.
Keith Yandle (1 G, 5 SOG, even) has had a pretty horrible November after a great start to the season and he’s still on pace for a 50 point season. He won’t get there, but he’ll get his and he never misses a game. In fact, he hasn’t since a single game since 2008! Dude’s made of iron.
Mikael Samuelsson (1 A, 4 SOG, even) should also retire.
Lars Eller (1 G, 1 SOG, +1) is having himself a decent campaign, but he’s another one of those pesky playmakers that I frown upon. I know you need guys like that, but the life’s blood of fantasy hockey success is goooooals baby. GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOALS. And the lads that score ‘em.
Stephen Weiss (1 A, 2 SOG, +1, 2 PIM) ends up on the Wings’ top line for absolutely no other reason than they were too injury depleted to find someone else to take the job. Babs finds a way to make these guys produce, though. Weiss had a lot of potential, I even took a flier on him in a deep league this year, only to drop him and not look back. I suggest all twelve of you Wings fans that still own him can go ahead and do the same.
Mark Streit (1 A, 1 SOG, +1) seemed like he would do more coming into this season but is there ANYONE on the Flyers who hasn’t sucked an egg to start this season? He’s a good buy low candidate considering his track record and hey! There’s life in Philly’s offense yet.
Patrik Elias (1 G, 1 SOG, +1) can play as long as he damn well pleases.
Daniel Briere (1 A, 1 SOG, +1) is doing more than I thought he would with 10 points in 19 games so far. But I’ll stick with my theme and say he should retire.
Alex Galchenyuk (1 A, +1) continues to look good out there. It’s only a matter of time before he gets enough polish on his game to explode and man, I hope I own him when it happens.
Shane Doan (1 A, 3 SOG, even) rounds out this post continuing to be productive in his 19th season in the NHL. Lawds. He’s available in 29% of Yahoo! Leagues and is worth owning in at least another 10%.