When the Anaheim Ducks made what many consider to be a very smart move and traded Bobby Ryan to the Senators a few years back the primary return in the deal was a talented young winger with a killer wrist shot and a knack for finding the back of the net. Everything was going swimmingly at first. He potted four goals in his first four games with the Ducks but then doom descended from the heavens; he broke his hand and finished his rookie campaign with just 23 points in 50 games played. Sadface. Fast-forward to now and he’s finally regaining his early rookie season form and with eight points (3 G, 5 A) over his last eight games, Jakob Silfverberg, RW (1 G, 2 SOG, +1) is once again worth a look in deep leagues.
Sometimes it takes a few years for a skater to find their groove and it seems like that’s exactly what’s happening with Jake. In 52 games last season he finished with just 10 goals, 13 assists and a plus-two rating. You can chock most of that poor performance up to the broken hand that will take a guy whose primary weapon is one of the best wrist shots in the NHL today and make him about as useful as your grandma on a bad day. It’s conceivable that it has taken this long for him to find his touch again, but either way he’s set new career highs in goals (12), assists (23) and points (35) this season. When you take into account the fact that he’s needed 70 games to reach the 35 point mark it sounds a lot less appealing, but consider over his last 21 games he has 16 points (6 G, 10 A) and he starts to sound a lot more appealing, eh?
If you do decide to add Jake you’re adding a wildcard, so don’t get your hopes too high. At the moment he’s skating on the third line with Nate Thompson, C (1 SOG, +1) and Andrew Cogliano, C (1 A, 3 SOG, +2) and getting zero power play time, so the ceiling is limited for now. That being said, he’s been scoring over the last few months despite not spending time in the Ducks’ top six, so there’s that. The long and short of it is if you need some scoring help in deep leagues he’s absolutely worth a flyer for the remainder of the season. If you’re in the playoffs and you lose a critical guy to injury, Jake can be a solid streamer while you wait for your big gun to get back in the lineup, too. Don’t sleep, he’s not going to win your league for you, but he’s scoring right now and that’s all that matters. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey recently:
Jaroslav Halak is on the mend and should be available for Saturday’s game. Whether he starts is another matter, but as soon as he’s healthy enough look for the Isles to turn back to him as the Isles fight for first place in the East.
Brandon Dubinsky didn’t play last night and he remains day-to-day. It sounds like he’s close, but who knows with Dubs.
David Krejci is travelling with the team on their current road trip, so that bodes well for his imminent return to the ice sooner than later. When? The B’s aren’t saying, but it sounds like it will be very soon. He’s probably worth a speculative pick up for the playoffs if some frustrated owner let him go.
Roberto Luongo returns to the crease for the Cats tonight, but he faces stiff competition going up against the Red Wings. Either way, if you own him you have to start him so get him back in there.
Michael Del Zotto returns to the lineup tonight as well. He’s been on a tear for the last month and change so get him back in your lineups if you own him.
Scott Darling, G (W, 25 SV, 1.000%, SHO) – Scott put up a Darling of a game here taking down the high octane Rangers with a 25 save shutout, it was the first of his career. Given how well Corey Crawford has been playing lately this was just a maintenance day for Crow and he should be back between the pipes in the Hawks’ next tilt. That said, it looks as though Darling and his new two-year deal are on big ice to stay for the remainder of the season and likely the playoffs as well. It sounds like Antti Raanta is going to get dealt at some point in the off-season.
Cam Talbot, G (L, 30 SV, 1 GA, .968%) – Even in a loss Talbot stands tall and pushed away 30 of 31 shots against the Hawks last night. The only goal he allowed was late in the third, a dirty tally by Brad Richards, C (1 G, 6 SOG, +1) making the loss sting that much more. Granted Richards is so over the hill it’s not like it brought pangs of “Oh god why didn’t we keep this guy?” but it might be a bit worse that he’s hot garbage now and you never want to be beaten by garbage.
Curtis McElhinney, G (W, 44 SV, 3 GA, .936%) – Sergei Bobrovsky has been solid if not unspectacular since returning from injury so it’s no surprise that they didn’t go back to McMeh earlier than this, but he did his job shrugging off 44 of 47 shots for the 4-3 OT victory over the lowly Oilers. Bob is the man in Columbus so you can expect McMeh to ride the pine for another week or two before he sees another start.
Ryan Johansen, C (1 G, 2 SOG, +1) – Joey held out for a sizeable deal in the off-season and nearly missed some time doing it. Early on it seemed like he’d maintain a point-per-game pace all season long but down months in December and February have ruined that hope. Still, on a team often in disarray and plagued by injuries Joey’s season line of 23/36/59/-14 in 70 games played is pretty respectable. He’s probably good for another ten points, four or five goals and a somewhat meh plus/minus over the last 12 games.
David Savard, D (1 G, 2 SOG, +2) – Last season Savard posted 15 points (5 G, 10 A) in 70 games while averaging 17:50 TOI per game. Last night marked the 70th game of this season and he’s taken a fairly big step forward posting 27 points (11 G, 16 A) so far. There probably isn’t much left in the tank for the young defenseman, but he clearly has a bit more upside than your standard blue liner and could take another step forward in 2015 and emerge as a 40-45 point guy. That, or he’ll regress and put up 20. It’s really hard to say at this point, but he’ll be worth a flyer in later rounds of deeper leagues next season.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C (1 G, 6 SOG, +1) – For a while it seemed like Jordan Eberle was the only Oiler who was going to even approach living up to pre-season expectations, but with a late season surge The Nuge is joining the team and trying like hell to save some face. With seven points (1 G, 6 A) over his last four games powered by three straight two helper contests Nuge has pushed his season line to a respectable 20/30/50/-11 in 69 games played so far. He could flirt with 60 points by the end of the year if he keeps this up and that won’t be too bad. The top line trio in Edmonton is still loaded with talent and they’re all still young, so next year could very well be the big breakout season we all expected from them this year. Could.
Jordan Eberle, RW (1 A, 3 SOG, +1) – Speaking of Eebs, here he is with yet another point. Since the New Year kicked off Eebs has exploded with 35 points in his last 33 games. That’s ridiculous. That’s a pace I didn’t expect from him at all this season, I figured he’d be more of an even, consistent guy all season that you get kind of bored with but by the end of the season you look at his line and think “Oh damn, this guy is good, eh?” Well, beggars can’t be choosers and if you stuck with Eebs through his abysmal first half you’re reaping the rewards now. He’ll have to maintain a point-per-game pace over his last 12 games to flirt with the 70 points I pegged him for in the preseason, but he’ll flirt with the mark either way and end up around 65 points and 20 or more goals and I’d buy that for a dollar!
Benoit Pouliot, LW (1 A, 2 SOG, +1, 2 PIM) – Pool-ee-ot isn’t going to give you much on a typical night, but when he’s earned a place on the top line alongside Eebs and The Nuge he’s going to score and score he has. Last night’s helper extends his points streak to four games, he has five points (3 G, 2 A) over that span. There’s no telling how long this will last, but for now he’s scoring and this late in the season he’s worth a flyer in deeper leagues.
Oscar Klefbom, D (1 A, 3 SOG, +1) – The promising young rearguard for the Oil continues to put up points at a decent pace and has three (3 A) over his last five games. He’s not going to wow you on the scoreboard yet and I doubt he’s even worth a flyer in most leagues at the moment, but he should stay on your radar for next season. The sky’s the limit here and he could take off as soon as 2015.
Nail Yakupov, C (1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG) – The former 1st overall selection in the 2012 draft has done nothing but disappoint since his selection. This season was no different and through the first four months of the season he posted just 12 points with a minus-25 rating to go with it. That’s about as bad as you can get. I could do that. You could do that. Pay us millions! Anyway, lately he seems to have found a spark of life and has 16 points (7 G, 9 A) over his last 20 games. Even better, he has seven points over his last eight games and he’s widely available in most leagues. You’re going to take a plus/minus hit, but he could definitely help you with some counting stats in the playoffs if you’re so inclined. No promises, though.
John Gibson, G (W, 29 SV, 2 GA, .935%) – Given he’s started the last four games in a row winning the last three one has to wonder if Gibsy is going to be the starter for the Ducks in the playoffs instead of Frederik Andersen. He did nothing to dissuade his coaches from that notion with another stellar performance last night pushing away 29 of 31 shots to help down the Kings 3-2 in OT. The actual playoffs mean little to us in fantasy land, but what’s clear is that Gibson is the 1A for the Ducks right now and games like this will make sure it stays that way. He may very well get the bulk of the starts over the last few weeks of the season.
Jon Quick, G (L, 23 SV, 3 GA, .885%) – What’s that I hear? Is it Jon Quick’s ADP falling off a cliff for 2015? Why yes, I think it is. All for the better don’t draft those high priced, elite goalies in the first round or two. Skaters first! Laces out! Wait… yeah, lets go with it.
Jeff Carter, C (1 G, 3 SOG, -1) – This goal gives Cater three goals in his last five games and 25 on the season. With just 12 games left to play it’s possible that he reaches the 30-goal mark, but I doubt it. Still, he’ll finish with a respectable season and could improve on it a bit in 2015 when the Kings get their shiz together.