The Red Wings have been plagued by injury all season and when news that Henrik Zetterberg needed to have his herniated disc removed and was down for at least eight weeks, Wings fans and fantasy owners alike cried in their Molsons. You shouldn’t cry into your Molson though, no one likes watery beer; if we did we’d drink PBR or some shiz. Though Zetterberg is down his line mates remain good options for late season scoring boosts and if last night’s game was any indication, I’m not just blowing smoke here. Both Gustav Nyquist (1 G, 2 SOG, +1) and Johan Franzen (2 A, 3 SOG, +1) are skating on relatively fresh legs and though Z’s absence is a loss, it could open up more chances for both of them. Nyquist scored the game winner with OT winding down on a rebound when Peter Budaj kicked away a Franzen shot from the top of the circle and it was a nice display of soft hands by the young Swede. Though he’s returning from his own groin injury, Nyquist is immensely talented and he should sieze the opportunity to help drive the Wings’ offense in Z’s absence. He’ll need to put up more than two shots a game to do it, but he has the ability and could put up 20 more points down the stretch. As for Franzen, he isn’t without talent and opportunity either. He assisted on both goals for the Wings; first on a nice pass to Todd Bertuzzi and then on Nyquist’s game winner. The assist for the game winner was a bit fluky, but everyone knows that when in doubt put the puck on net and hope for the best, and here’s proof positive that’s a solid maxim to live by! The Mule has only played in 32 games so far due to injury but is 100% healthy now and has the potential to give you 20 or so more points before season’s end. He’s only owned in 61% of Yahoo leagues, and ~87% of ESPN leagues, so if you need a late season scoring boost, he’s among the better options available. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey last night:
Jimmy Howard (1 GA, 19 SV, W) was well on his way to a shutout but Brian Gionta potted one with just 27 seconds left, spoiling the perfect game. Despite only facing 20 shots, he damn near turned them all away, so lets hope Jimmy is healthy and happy for the stretch run.
Peter Budaj (2 GA, 28 SV, L) started in place of the injured Carey Price and did pretty well, but didn’t get enough offensive support to garner a win. Whatever Budaj does is irrelevant, the most important news here is that Price’s injury is minor and he’s only expected to miss one more start.
Anze Kopitar (2 G, 1 A, 4 SOG, +2) now has seven points in his last three games. That’s kind of deceiving because this was his first game back and those last two games were like, what, last month? Whatever, dude’s a rock and you should expect something in the range of 18-22 more points from him moving forward.
Zemgus Girgensons (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG, +2, 2 PIM) is here because he had a great game, I mean look at that line, right? What didn’t he do? Buy the guy in the first row a beer, that’s what. Mostly I just like his name because it seems perfect for a brand of pickles.
Jarret Stoll (1 G, 4 SOG, +2) was once confused with a Staal in a draft I was a part of years ago which caused the foolish owner to blow a high pick on what he thought was a then young, promising defenseman (Eric) and ended up with this bum. He did not do well that year, but then has anyone ever done well drafting Stoll?
Tyler Toffoli (2 A, 2 SOG, +1) looked great out of the gates but the rookie has slowed as rookies will. He put up a goose egg in nine January games but has four points in four February games, so he could be heating up again. Still, he’s a rookie, so I’d say you can only expect another 10 points from him moving forward.
Jeff Carter (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG, even, 2 PIM) will finish the season in fairly disappointing fashion regardless of his production over the next six weeks, but he should be good for another nine or ten goals before the season ends. Still, if he does meet that projection he’s still barely going to hit 55 points over 70 games. Gross.
Slava Voynov (1 A, 2 SOG, +3) came into the season with big expectations after a solid rookie and sophomore campaigns but hasn’t taken the step forward we all hoped he would. Last year he put up 25 points in 48 games, that’s huge! This year he has 23 points in 60 games and if he gives you 5-8 more points moving forward, you’re lucky.
Ryan O’Reilly (1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG, even) added a few more points to his season line in a 4-6 loss to the Kings yesterday. O’Reilly has been quietly solid for the Avs and fantasy owners this season putting up 22 goals and 21 assists in 57 games so far. Given how good he is and how powerful the Avs are, you can count on him for another 18-20 points putting him around 60 points for the season.
Christian Ehrhoff (1 A, 1 SOG, +2) keeps fighting to reach 40 points by season’s end but I remain doubtful despite the recent two game offensive blast by the Sabres. It’s hard to call before the trade deadline comes and goes and the dust settles, but the Sabres have been so bad all year I can’t imagine anything that happens at the deadline for them will increase Ehrhoff’s value. The new top line in Buffalo is comprised of Drew Stafford, Matt Moulson (likely to be traded) and Ville Leino, so don’t expect much form their blue line, yeah? He’s good for 5-8 points on the low end, but has skills to put up around 10 before the end of the season if he gets a few lucky bounces.
Brian Gionta (1 G, 6 SOG, even) has goals in back to back games but remains largely fantasy worthless. He’s good for maybe 10-15 points going forward, but I wouldn’t count on that.
Matt Moulson (1 G, 3 SOG, +1, 4 PIM) could be in for a huge bump in value if he gets moved to a contender before the deadline, as it stands his value is pretty limited in Buffalo for obvious reasons. That being said, he’s getting big minutes on their top line, so he’s going to be on the ice with a chance to produce, anyway. That being said, it also means his plus/minus is going to plummet fast. He’s making good on his big minutes though, tying the game with just seconds left when he put a puck that deflected off of Johnny Boychuk’s skate into the net. Even in Buffalo, he’s good for another 15 points before the end of the season, if he goes to a contender with a solid offense? It could be more like 20.
Torey Krug (2 A, 5 SOG, even) set up Milan Lucic with a nice pass from behind the net for a game-tying goal and continues to have a magnificent rookie season with 34 points in just 58 games so far. The best part about his 34 points is found in the 12 goals he’s scored so far and that’s beastly for the young defenseman. Hell, it’s beastly from any defenseman outside the top five. Expect another 5-6 goals and around 15 points from him.
Brad Marchand (1 G, 2 SOG, +1, 2 PIM) started the season horribly with just 19 points in his first 40 games, but has since reeled off 19 points in his last 18 games. That’s one hell of a turn around and I doubt he’s going to slow down the stretch. He has goals in back-to-back-to-back games and he’s likely good for another 20 points this season.
Dustin Brown (1 A, 3 SOG, +1, 2 PIM) has to be one of the biggest fantasy busts this season. No one expected 70 points from Brown, but his usual 50ish with 20-25 goals was definitely what his owners were hoping for when they drafted him. Well, 19 points in 59 games so far says thaaaaat’s not gonna happen, and not even close. If you own him, well, why do you own him still? Name recognition? He’s worth maybe 5-6 points before the end of the year, and he scored one of those last night!
Jaroslav Halak (1 GA, 34 SV, L) took a hard luck loss to the Stars after pushing away 34 of 35 shots. Trade rumors continue to swirl around Halak, but don’t expect him to move unless it’s to Buffalo in a package for Ryan Miller.
Eddie Lack (0 GA, 20 SV, W) shut out the powerhouse Blues and beat Halak 1-0. The only reason Lack is in there over Roberto Luongo is because Lu was in Sochi and man, that shiz is like 6,000 miles away from everywhere else, so some of the Olympians needed a day of rest when they returned. Expect Lu to be back in there next game despite Lack’s good performance.
Matt Duchene (2 A, even) continued to roll with a pair of helpers on the heels of his last NHL game where he scored two goals. For you math majors that’s four points over his last two and he’s well on his way to breaking the 70-point marker this season. You can happily expect another 20 points from Matty.
Andre Benoit (1 G, 3 SOG, even) has quietly been worth 5-6 points every month if you toss out December where he only posted two in 14 games. He went back to his usual six last month and seems to be on pace for that this month as well. If you have any injuries on your blue line and you need some quick filler, Benoit and the 8-10 points I expect he’ll notch before season’s end could help.
Zdeno Chara (1 G, 5 SOG, even) might have scored a goal, but he looked horrible on the final play the game with a lackluster effort going after an errant Loui Eriksson pass. Matt D’Agostini won that race and potted the game winner in OT. Chara isn’t what he used to be, but you can count on him for another 10-12 points.
Reilly Smith (1 A, 2 SOG, +1) has three points (all assists) in his last two games and continues to have a solid sophomore season with 43 points in 58 games so far. I’m pretty high on Smith, so I’ll go out on a limb and say he can give you another 20 points before the end of the year.
Drew Stafford (6 SOG, +1) poured six shots on goal but didn’t have much to show for his effort. Well, the Sabres won, and that’s rare, so he can enjoy that while it lasts! Protip: It will only last until their next game. Aw.
Matt D’Agostini (1 G, 3 SOG, even) beat Zdeno Chara to an errant Loui Eriksson pass and beat Johnson for the game winner in OT
Jhonas Enroth (4 GA, 29 SV, W) started a game and actually won! It didn’t come easy and it wasn’t pretty, but he did get the win. When you’re Jhonas Enroth you have to hold on to what little the Sabres can give you, and this is what he has. His record now sits at 2-12-5. Yes, this late in the season Enroth picked up just his second win in 21 GP (19 starts). Buffalo, where hockey goes to die.
Martin Jones (4 GA, 25 SV, W) coughed up four goals but still won because his team was on fire and put up five of their own, but not before going to OT. Jon Quick was sitting because he played a whole bunch o’ hockey for Team USA in Sochi, though I don’t think you can count that bronze medal game against the Fins, yeesh. Anyway, expect Quick back in there next game.