It was a rough weekend for defenseman in the NHL and a rougher one for the poor saps that own the newly fallen. The biggest blow due to injury fell from the heavens like Mjölnir and smashed me right in the face when my sun and stars Victor Hedman broke his finger while trying to block a shot. He’s out 4-6 weeks after successful surgery to fix his mangled digit. Now where can I go to get successful surgery on my broken heart? Nowhere?! What a world. I guess I’ll just have to pine away and gaze longingly at his stat line over the last week plus and wonder what could have been had he not tried to block a slap shot with his damn hand. The Rangers lost Dan Boyle to a similar injury and it makes me wonder, why the hell are these guys trying to block shots with their hands? Have they not seen the fastest shot competition? Do they not know they’re trying to use their hands to stop a frozen piece of vulcanized rubber flying at nearly 100mph in their direction? I’m all about sacrificing the body for the good of the team and some of us totally need those blocks, but come on! Suffice it to say there is no replacing Hedman but Anton Stralman is reportedly moving to the Bolts’ top powerplay unit with Jason Garrison slated to get time on the second unit, so the value of both jumps a bit with this news.
Unfortch for fantasy owners broken fingers (and hearts!) weren’t the only issue that plagued some of fantasy hockey’s defenseman since last week. Slava Voynov was suspended indefinitely today due to a domestic violence incident that apparently left the victim hospitalized. I won’t joke about this because there is nothing funny about it. I also don’t know the details of the situation, but what I have read says that whoever he attacked (assuming he did) was rushed to the hospital and the extend of their injuries was such that the hospital staff called the cops on Voynov. This doesn’t sound good at all, but details are scant right now so if you can afford to, I’d try to hold off on dropping him until we get a clearer idea of how long he could be out. That being said, since this is non-hockey related absence he won’t be eligible for IR or IR+, so if you can’t afford to have a deadweight defenseman clogging up your bench, drop Slava and add whomever you can to fill the void. Luckily his season started somewhat slowly so the void isn’t that big. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey this weekend:
Paul Stastny suffered an upper-body injury and is listed as “week-to-week” for the Blues. Apparently he hurt his shoulder, but they aren’t telling us what he did or how badly he’s hurt, but designating a player week-to-week is a pretty bad sign. He could have done something as benign as straining some ligaments or as bad as tearing his rotator cuff. No one knows and the Blues aren’t talking. Seriously though, are you kidding me with this week-to-week BS? I thought the day-to-day shiz was getting out of hand. What’s next? Month-to-month? How about year-to-year? Well, that’s Martin Havlat territory right there!
Dan Girardi left in the third and did not return. Turns out he needed stitches to close up a wound suffered when he blocked a shot, which is basically Girardi’s main source of value. He’s going to be day-to-day for a bit, but he’s a moose, so he’ll be back on the ice sooner than later.
Valeri Nichushkin was finally put on IR on Sunday so stash him there until he returns. Can we stop talking about dropping him now?
Niklas Svedberg (W, 32 SV, 1.000%, SHO) – With all the talk of Tuukka Rask getting like 105 starts this season not many remembered just how good his understudy really is. Granted he’s a rookie and you never know what will happen to rookies once they hit big ice, but Svedberg’s pedigree was pretty solid coming in and so far he’s living up to it. In three starts and four games played this season he’s posted a line of 1-1-0/0.91/.969. Man, that’s sexy. A small sample size sure, but hey! Don’t be a size queen! He wasn’t widely owned because of the Rask factor, but he should be in all deeper and/or keeper leagues.
Zdeno Chara (1 G, 7 SOG, +2) – Slowly the big fella is working his way into form. He’s still among the best in the league, but that nerve thing with his hand still freaks me out a bit. The points should start coming as the rest of the Bs heat up.
Torey Krug (1 G, 3 SOG, +1) – And here’s where the rest of the B’s start to heat up.
Carl Soderberg (1 G, 3 SOG, +1) – Eventually I’m going to be right about his scoring slowing down. Eventually.
Calvin Pickard (L, 33 SV, 3 GA, .917%) – Captain Pickard faired a bit better in his second start than he did in his first game, but not by much. The kid just isn’t ready to handle this kind of pressure and it shows. Did you see how P.K. Subban (2 G, 3 SOG, 2 PIM) undressed him for one of his two goals in this one? No? Scope it out here. It was beautiful and devastating all at the same time. (http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?id=2014020064-439-h)
Matt Duchene (1 G, 10 SOG) – It’s hard not to give this guy a nickname that involves the word “douche,” it really is, but I’ll do my best to avoid it. It helps that he’s waking up now and with 10 shots on goal in his last game with a goal to show for his efforts I’m pretty sure his engine has officially started. He can still finish the season on a point-per-game pace and I fully expect him to.
Alex Galchenyuk (1 G, 1 A, 5 SOG) – Wow were the Habs right on this kid or what? I liked him in the preseason, but I really like what I’m seeing from him now. That’s six points in six games so far and while a point-per-game isn’t sustainable, he should finish the year with around 55-60 points.
Niklas Backstrom (L, 14 SV, 2 GA, .875%) – In his first start of the season he showed why Darcy Kuemper should remain their starter. When Josh Harding returns I can see Backstrom being the odd man out until Harding gets hurt again.
Jon Quick (W, 40 SV, 1 GA, .976%) – After what some might call a “slow start” coughing up seven goals in his first two games, Quick has rebounded and allowed just two goals in his last three with a shutout of the Blues mixed in for flavor. All system’s go, but amongst the sane, was there ever any doubt?
Tyler Toffoli (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG) – That 70’s Line is really killing it so far. I remain skeptical that they can sustain this pace, but for right now it seems like anyone on this line is a safe bet for some quality points. Of course I had Toffoli on the bench for this one and lost goals and assists by one each. Damn you, Yahoo mobile app!
Tanner Pearson (1 G, 2 SOG, +1) – Toffoli is one matter but Pearson is another. I just don’t see him keeping this up at all. He has seven points in his first six games mostly powered by five goals. The problem is he has only taken nine shots to score those five goals. That just isn’t sustainable.
Matt Cooke (1 G, 2 SOG) – BOOOOO!
Jonas Hiller (W, 34 SV, 1 GA, .971%) – Careful! You might start thinking Hiller is a good tender. Wait for a few more starts and if it keeps up sell high, my friends.
Ondrej Pavelec (L, 25 SV, 4 GA, .862%) – A Clockwork Ondrej sports a line as horrifying as any Stanley Kubrick nightmare and that seems about right. Honestly his peripherals aren’t that bad, but I figured I’d just hedge my bets and bash him now because we all know it’s going to get worse as the season goes.
Mason Raymond (1 G, 2 A, 3 SOG) – No chance he keeps this up but he’s absolutely worth owning while he’s scoring. That’s seven points in seven games so far, but I only see him flirting with about 50 points by season’s end. That said, he’s going to score 25 or so goals, so there’s value here.
Mark Scheifele (1 G, 2 SOG, -1) – Despite the slow start Scheifelelele is still spending most of his time on the top line with Blake Wheeler so either the Jets coaching staff knows something we don’t, or they just don’t know much at all. While he is playing on the top line he’s worth holding. Who knows, maybe this game is the start of a decent scoring stretch for him.
Alex Stalock (L, 25 SV, 4 GA, .862%) – I’m going to assume Stalock just hates being in New York. He’s coughed up seven goals in his last two starts; the first coming against the white hot Isles as they tallied three on him and then last night the Rangers potted two goals in four seconds on route to a 4-0 shutout. Stalock looked pretty bad against the Rangers giving up some fat rebounds and making some poor decisions that led to goals, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this tipped the scales in Antti Niemi’s (W, 35 SV, 2 GA, .946%) favor for the time being. Remember, Stalock is young so there will be rough patches.
Henrik Lundqvist (W, 33 SV, 1.000%, SHO) – Hank is not young, but he’s past his rough patch for the season.
Rick Nash (1 G, 5 SOG, +2) – Nashty is a man possessed this year. He’s everywhere when he’s on the ice constantly pushing and setting the pace on offense for the Rangers. I saw one series where he carried the puck in and created a solid scoring opportunity for himself that Alex Stalock shut down. The puck was moved out of the Sharks’ defensive zone only to have Nashty back check like his life depended on it, steal the puck back and go back in for another quality scoring chance. He has seven goals and a single helper on the season, but no one drafts him for helpers. Goals. GOALS. GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOALS! Delicious.
Martin St. Louis (1 G, 3 SOG, +1) – Marty gets his first goal of the season because Nash is hogging all of them. St. Louis isn’t the guy he once was and playing for the Rangers and not the Bolts further erodes his value. On the high end I figure he gives you 65 points, which is still pretty baller, just not as baller as we’ve come to expect from mighty mouse.
Jonas Gustavsson (W, 30 SV, 1.000%, SHO) – With how good Jimmy Howard has been I don’t think The Monster will get many starts this year, but it’s encouraging to see that when he does he can still step up and perform. Petr Mrazek looms in the AHL waiting for Gustavasson to slip up.
Henrik Zetterberg (1 G, 2 SOG, +1) – Looks like that back surgery of his was well worth it because he’s flying around out there looking smooth and carefree. Sadly I figure it’s only a matter of time before he hurts something else, but hey, it’s nice while it lasts.
Jonathan Bernier (L, 31 SV, 1 GA, .969%) – Bernie finally puts up a solid game and what do the rest of the Leafs do? Nothing! If you got stuck with a Leafs tender and you’re crying in your corn flakes more mornings than not, wait for him to go on a decent streak and sell high if you can.
Robin Lehner (W, 8 SV, 2 GA, .950%) – Now this is the Robin Lehner I was expecting to see last year. Dude is mad talented, yo! Unfortch my nemesis Craig Anderson is actually playing well for right now so that will keep Lehner on the bench more than I’d like. Lucky for us it’s only a matter of time before Anderson collapses and hopefully Lehner is there to pick up the pieces.
Nick Foligno (1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG) – That gives Fogy seven points in his first five games. When asked if he can sustain this pace I can only reply “And then he says ‘I wonder if Foligno can maintain his current scoring pace’ Hahahahaha!” Take from that what you will.
David Legwand (1 G, 2 SOG, +2) – Why does Legs’ face look so crooked? Oh right! Hockey.
Jaroslav Halak (L, 35 SV, 2 GA, .946%) – Ironically takes his first loss of the season in the first game that he allowed fewer than three goals. Not a huge Halak fan this season, but the Isles look solid, so he’ll retain decent value as the season marches on.
Patric Hornqvist (2 G, 1 A, 12 SOG) – Doth thine eyes deceive thee? 12 shots on goal in one game? Yes please! I didn’t expect Horny to blow up like this but here we are. There’s no chance he keeps scoring more points than linemate Sidney Crosby (2 A, 3 SOG), but I see no reason why the scoring would slow dramatically and 30+ goals is absolutely a possibility.
Corey Crawford (W, 19 SV, 1 GA, .950%) – I love Crawdad, I draft him whenever I can but I’d like to see him get a bit more work. I love the tight peripherals and the wins, but one or two bad games and they’ll go to crap and then what? Ouch, my roto team, that’s what.
Carter Hutton (L, 35 SV, 2 GA, .946%) – Hutton looked solid in the win, but Pekka Rinne has looked like his old self so far so I wouldn’t expect to see Hutton between the pipes too often this year. That’s a good thing.
Jonathan Toews (1 G, 3 SOG, +1) – His first goal of the season and it’s a breakaway game-winning goal in OT. Showoff.
Kari Lehtonen (L, 31 SV, 6 GA, .838%) – All three goalies sucked in this one, but no need to panic, this was just a blip for Kari.
Steve Mason (14 SV, 4 GA, .778%) – Yeah, I rag on Mason a lot and this is why.
Ray Emery (4 SV, 1 GA, .800%) – What is it with Philly goaltending, anyway? Yuck.
Jason Spezza (1 G, 3 A, 4 SOG) – A nice breakout game for Spezza on the heels of a two-helper effort in the game before. That gives him six points over his last two with a solid helping of powerplay points to boot! Plenty more of this to come.
Trevor Daley (2 G, 2 SOG, -2) – Daley is a hot add right now and that’s fine, he is scoring, but he has absolutely no track record to say he’s worth holding beyond when the points stop flowing. He does, however, have a track record to show that the points will indeed stop flowing. Soon.
Ben Bishop (W, 30 SV, 2 GA, .938%) – He’s like clockwork this guy. I love him. Maybe I have a thing for Bolts?
Mike Smith (L, 30 SV, 6 GA, .833%) – Ha! Mike Smith.
Brian Elliot (L, 22 SV, 3 GA, .880%) – Despite fantastic peripherals (1.73/.924%) Elliot is only rocking a 1-2-1 record. I’m still waiting until after the All-Star Break when the other shoe drops here.
Jake Allen (W, 24 SV, 1 GA, .960%) – In his first game of the season Allen showed why he’s going to be nipping at Elliot’s heels all season until he eventually succeeds at both eating Elliot’s feet and taking his starting job. Well, I can’t guarantee that either of those things will happen, but I assume so.
Jaden Schwartz (3 G, 1 A, 7 SOG) – I like Schwartz. His Schwartz is strong. But I think this game is a bit of an aberration. He took seven shots on goal here and usually only tallies two or three. It makes me wonder what he could do if he took more shots, and with Paul Stastny out for some undetermined period of time, he might get the opportunity. The ceiling here is 60 points, and that’s optimistic.
Frederik Andersen (W, 28 SV, 1.000%, SHO) – If you haven’t figured it out already Andersen is the clear-cut starter for the Ducks and rookie John Gibson is going to have to wait to get his chance. If you own Gibsy but have been wondering if he’s droppable the answer is yes in re-draft leagues, no in keepers. Andersen should be considered a guy with the ability to finish this year as one of the leagues top 10 goalies.
Matt Beleskey (1 G, 2 SOG, +1) – No chance this keeps up, but like I said before, he’s worth owning whilst getting time on that potent top line.
Sami Vatanen (2 G, 2 SOG) – Two shots, two goals. You know how I feel about games like this. It’s quite possible that these two goals make up about 50% of the goal scoring you can expect from Sami all season. He’s worth adding if you just lost Hedman and he’s on the wire, anyway. *sniffs* Sorry, I have to go. Too soon.