Coming into the season, I was all aboard the Dallas bandwagon. As far as their goalies went, I had Kari Lehtonen ranked behind their big free agent acquisition Antti Niemi but suggested owning both parts of the platoon since it looked be close to an even split in starts. Well, they both have been struggling lately but Lehtonen put an end to their recent run of poor form. He stopped 32 of 33 shots last night in the 2-1 shootout win over the Jets. Things can certainly change with goalies but in the short term, look for Lehtonen to start getting a higher percentage of the Dallas starts. His overall numbers aren’t great outside of wins but that’s mostly because of a couple horrendous starts. Here’s what else I saw in a very low scoring Thursday around the league:
Braden Holtby – 34 saves on 35 shots in the 4-1 win over the Islanders. If for some reason you were worried about him after a few poor starts, this should put that to bed.
Alex Ovechkin – Goal on eight shots and two PIM. The goal put him at 497 goals and he just turned 30. Wow. He’s also over five shots per game now on the season dwarfing everybody else as he always does.
Nicklas Backstrom – Goal and an assist with three shots. He’s right at a point per game doing what he always does. The shots have fallen off even more now but it’s hard to complain with a point per game with elite special teams points.
Roberto Luongo – 30 saves on 32 shots in the 3-2 win over the Senators, extending the Panthers winning streak to 11 games. He’s absolutely rolling right now and like his former partner in Vancouver, Cory Schneider, they’ve overcome my biggest preseason concern (lack of wins) to be posting top 5 seasons so far. He’s pushing his way into the discussion for the Vezina even though he’s still a step behind Holtby.
Jonathan Huberdeau – Two assists with a shot. Hotter than a pistol right now. He’s on pace for a 48 assist season and his goal total should surely increase; he’s not going to shoot 5% all season.
Aleksander Barkov – Goal on his only shot. If he didn’t get injured, he’d be getting a lot more attention. Even with the injury, he has a good shot of getting to 60 points.
Craig Anderson – 13 saves on 16 shots. Yikes. For every 38 save, 1 goal against game you get from Anderson, you seem to get a massive dud like this one. The Senators have been the worst possession team in the league over the last month to six weeks so it doesn’t look like things are going to get better for him.
Sean Couturier – Goal on four shots with two PIM. I talked about it the other day but could the offense finally start to coming through for Couts? He is only 23 still so it’s not out of the realm of possibility. If he starts to get power play, I think he’ll be a must-add. For now, I’m leaving him on waivers.
Michael Del Zotto – Two goals on five shots. He had more goals in this game than he did in the first 36. Seems like an eternity ago that he put up 50 points as a rookie in New York.
Brayden Schenn – Two assists with a shot. If I’m deciding between him and Couts, I’m taking Schenn for the stable power play minutes but I wouldn’t want either right now in a 12’er outside of streaming.
Mikko Koivu – Six shots with two PIM. He was back without missing a game after going to the hospital following an awkward collision into the boards which was great to see.
Zach Parise – Goal on eight shots. Can’t stop, won’t stop.
Connor Hellebuyck – 23 saves on 24 shots in the shootout loss to Dallas. A bunch of people in the comments yesterday asked if they should sit Hellboy and I told them I could support that. Well, after yesterday, I’m rolling him in every start from now on. The numbers are staggering, albeit over 14 starts.
Nikolaj Ehlers – Assist with two shots. After a massive cold streak, he’s starting to put together some quality games which has increased his minutes. It’s worth monitoring over the next couple games.
Tyler Seguin – Goal on three shots. Life away from Jamie Benn isn’t so bad.
Mattias Janmark – Assist with two shots. Two things here: he played with Seguin the whole game and played almost 18 minutes. I’m adding him in all 12’ers right now for the massive upside he has given this opportunity.
Louis Domingue – 25 saves on 26 shots in the 2-1 win over the Flames. I’m still not buying in because the second I do, he’s going to get rocked like Mike Smith did earlier in the season. Can’t trust a Coyotes goalie.
Anthony Duclair – Two assists with a shot. I can’t explain the poor shot rate at all; it’s barely over one per game and it doesn’t make any sense. That said, he’s 20 years old and should work his way out of this. He’s a great target in dynasty leagues.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Goal on six shots. The numbers are starting to look outstanding down the line against outside of plus-minus, which isn’t horrible.
Karri Ramo – 31 saves on 33 shots in the loss. Ramo has played 29 games and that’s with being injured, then waived. Not bad for somebody who went unclaimed through waivers a few months ago.
Johnny Gaudreau – Goal on two shots. Despite his linemates regressing, Gaudreau is still finding a way to put up a point per game. Amazing stuff.
James Reimer – 39 saves on 41 shots in the 2-1 loss to the Kings. Expect the Leafs goalies to be splitting in the short term since both have been in good form, especially Jonathan Bernier.
Jonathan Quick – 25 saves on 26 shots. Not much else to say about Quick at this point.
Jeff Carter – Goal on two shots. Good to see him get back on the scoresheet after a brief time out with injury.
Jake Muzzin – Goal on six shots with two PIM. He’s very dependable as your last defenseman in a 12’er as he hits all the categories and would be an absolute stud if Drew Doughty was to miss any time.
Petr Mrazek – 35 saves on 36 shots in the 2-1 win over the Sharks. It’s his job and his job alone at this point. You can safely cut Jimmy Howard if you’ve been holding onto him.
Dylan Larkin – Assist with six shots and two PIM. No slowing this kid down. He’s just shy of being on pace for a 30+30 season being +30 (on pace for +46) as a 19 year old. That’s with only two power play points as well. If the power play points start to come in, look out.
Brent Burns – Assist with seven shots. You almost expect a point and five plus shots at Burns at this point, it’s insane. 170 shots in 38 games from a defenseman is jaw-dropping.
Joe Thornton – Five shots and 14 PIM. I don’t know what’s more unlikely; Thornton taking five shots or getting fourteen penalty minutes!
Friday Streamers – There are only six games on the docket for tonight so streaming should be more prevalent than usual on a Friday. Here are my top options:
Andrew Shaw (3.9%) – He’s playing on the first line and second power play unit and gets to go against a struggling Sabres team.
Colin Wilson (23.1%) – Early indications are Wilson is going to start on the left wing with Ryan Johansen and James Neal. Excellent spot to be in, especially against the Avalanche.
Vladislav Namestnikov (0.1%) – Going back to the well here. He’s playing on the first line and second power play unit and has a great chance to get on the scoreboard against the Oilers.
That’s all for now guys. I’ll be back on Monday recapping the weekend’s action. As always, feel free to post any questions or comments below. I hope everyone has a great weekend, take care everyone!