If you drafted Mikael Granlund expecting a solid season after he burst onto the scene late last year you’re in the same boat with me so lets cry together. Eh, it’s not that serious considering his ADP, but if Mike has spurned you you might consider taking a look at his brother Markus Granlund, C (2 A, 1 SOG, +3). Markus has four points in his last two games and eight points in nine games since being called up to big ice and makes him absolutely worth a look. He’s not unlike his brother in that he’s a bit small at 5’11”, 185 lbs and generally offensively gifted, especially in dishing the puck out. He’s poised, has great hands and great vision and can be counted on for exactly what we hoped to get out of his brother Mike. The downsie is that his defensive game can make him a liability, but he wins faceoffs so that helps mitigate the problem. With sheltered minutes he could be a solid contributor while playing most of his time on a line with Johnny Gaudreau (1 A, 1 SOG, +2) and Jiri Hudler (1 G, 2 SOG, +1). That’s a unit with a solid mix of veteran stability and young talent on the rise, so it bodes well for Granlund’s continued production given he’s primarily a playmaker. That line is a microcosm of what the Flames are as a team this season and that’s not a bad thing. Moving forward I figure you can expect Granlund to keep the pace up with a bit of regression. I don’t see a 60-point season in the works, but I think around 45-50 points is definitely within reach. For those of you in deeper pools this guy has a lot of value and he’s worth taking a flier on now. If he keeps it up, those in more shallow leagues might find themselves picking him up sooner than later, so why not sooner? Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey last night:
Frederik Andersen, G (L, 16 SV, 3 GA, .842%) – It wasn’t pretty and Freddy lost this one in the shootout. He’s in the valley right now and I’m glad that John Gibson isn’t healthy enough to capitalize on it, mostly because I own Andersen and not Gibson. I’m selfish like that; I make no apologies!
Jonas Hiller, G (W, 3 GA, 27 SV, .889%) – His save percentage (.920) remains inflated because of his hot start, but make no mistake, Hiller has regressed to his natural form. He’s allowed 11 goals in his last three games to the likes of the ‘Yotes and Canes, so take that for what you will. You take that, and I’ll leave Hiller on your team.
Sami Vatanen, D (1 G, 2 A, 2 SOG, -1) – Sami was part of all three Ducks goals with his helpers both coming on the man advantage. He has 16 points in 20 games so far and I was not a fan until recently. That’s my bad.
Jiri Hudler, LW (1 G, 2 SOG, +1) – Hudler isn’t a sexy name, but he’s going to give you 25 goals and 60 points, so he’s worth holding in all but the shallowest o’ the shallow pools.
Tuukka Rask, G (W, 33 SV, 1.000%, SHO) – Rage Monster is back on track for now! After allowing just one goal in his last two games his season line sits at 10-5-0/2.38/.915% and that’s not too shabby. I’d still rather have Tyler Seguin and his 24 points in 19 games as my first round pick, but whatever floats your boat!
Brian Elliott, G (L, 15 SV, 2 GA, .882%) – Even when he loses he only allows a couple in at most. A couple goals on 17 shots is pretty meh, though.
Torey Krug, D (1 G, 2 SOG, +2) – It took him five games since returning from injury to get on the board but here it is. I like Krug going forward. With Zdeno Chara out for who-the-hell-knows how long, Krug is the Bs’ top offensive rearguard and with that will come first unit power play time.
Patrice Bergeron, C (1 G, 2 SOG, +1) – Last night’s game winner gives Berge goals in back-to-back games to push his season total to 15 points in 20 games. That puts him on target for 20-plus goals and 60-plus points by season’s end. That’s the ceiling.
Jimmy Howard, G (W, 28 SV, 1.000%, SHO) – Who needs rest? Howie don’t need no stinkin’ rest. After getting roughed up by the Habs in his last start allowing four goals on just 19 shots Howie bounces back in this one to blank the Jackets. Right now he’s on pace to start 79 games this year. That’s not going to happen. Howie’s best seasons have come when he’s started just 42 and 57 games respectively. I figure Babs runs him out there for around 60 games, but he can be fragile so I doubt he’ll push much beyond that mark. That gives Petr Mrazek some value in deep leagues until Jonas Gustavsson returns from his shoulder injury.
Sergei Bobrovsky, G (L, 35 SV, 5 GA, .875%) – Bob has allowed 11 goals in his last three games, but it’s not all his fault, the Jackets are in complete free fall after being decimated by injury in the early goings. He’s definitely a better goalie than his 2.85 GAA says, but until the Jackets get healthy and back on track it might be a bumpy ride for his owners.
Gustav Nyquist, C (1 G, 2 SOG) – Gustav is a natural goal scorer, so he could very well give you 35 goals this season. He’s on pace for 40-plus, and while I think that’s a stretch, as long as he keeps getting top power play minutes he’s going to keep scoring goals.
Tomas Tatar, LW (1 G, 1 A, 6 SOG) – In a world where LW scoring talent is a bit shallow, Tatar is worth taking a look at in most pools while he’s hot. He has five points in his last five games with three goals over that span, so he’s hot right now. So pick him up and stream him while the streamins’ good, y’all!
Riley Sheahan, C (1 G, 1 A, 5 SOG) – He’s centering Tatar’s line with Justin Abdelkader (1 A, 2 SOG, +2) on their wing, which brings Abs’ value down a bit since he was playing on the Pavel Datsyuk/Henrik Zetterberg (4 SOG) line. He might still be there if Dats could stay healthy, but we all know that’s a pipedream. Oh right, Sheahan; not a huge fan.
Tomas Jurco, RW (1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG) – I was really excited about Jurco when I saw video of his work in the minors. I was even more excited when I saw what he could do with the puck. Apparently that hurt him more than helped him and he’s since dropped all the sweet puck dangling fun for basic hockey 101, and that’s probably best for his career. Right now Wings head coach Mike Babcock sees Jurco as a “solid support guy” and that’s how it’s going to stay for the foreseeable future. Last night was an example of what I think he’s capable of as he matures, though. He’s best left on the wire for now.
Jaroslav Halak, G (W, 26 SV, 2 GA, .929%) – Halak has really turned his season around after a pretty bleh start. He’s won his last five games posting stopping 132 of 137 shots for a crazy .950 SV% over that span. That includes two shutouts. I can’t even knock him for his quality of competition, either. He’s beating the likes of the Ducks and Bolts, but inbetween it was the Avs, Cats and ‘Yotes, so there’s that. Okay, I guess I can knock him for his QoC.
Evgeni Nabokov, G (L, 31 SV, 5 GA, .861%) – Wow, he looks awful this year. Like, so bad that I don’t think he’s going to finish the season with the Bolts bad. To be successful in the NHL you have to have a solid backup that can start 20-30 games or more if necessary if you’re going to win and right now the Bolts seriously lack that. They know that. You know that. I know that. Martin Brodeur has to be looking at least somewhat attractive to them right now, no?
Ondrej Palat, LW (1 G, 2 SOG, 2 PIM) – Last night’s tally gives Palat five points in his last five games and pushes his season total to 15 in 20. That puts him on track for 60 points and I absolutely think he can hit that mark. The Bolts offense is beastly and when Victor Hedman gets back it’s only going to get better. Palat is skating on a great line and getting top six minutes, so stop asking if you should drop him.
Brock Nelson, C (1 G, 1 A, 8 SOG) – People keep asking if Nelson is going to keep it up, and honestly I don’t know, but I see no reason why he shouldn’t be owned. He has 18 points in 18 games, who cares if it will last? Add him and deal with the drought if and when it comes. Word has it he’s shifted to RW lately, too and if that sticks long enough he’ll earn dual eligibility increasing his value further.
Ryan Strome, C (1 G, 4 SOG) – Strome is quietly having a strong season and with four points in his last five games he’s on pace for 50-plus. That sounds about right. In keeper leagues he should absolutely be owned, he’s a no-brainer there. He’s even starting to creep into the periphery of worth owning in standard re-drafts as well. It’s going to be mostly assists, but the plus/minus should remain healthy too.
Jhonas Enroth, G (W, 19 SV, 1 GA, .950%) – He allowed 11 goals in his previous two starts and sports a season line of 2-8-0/3.63/.900%. Why on earth would you own him?
Troy Grosenick, G (L, 10 SV, 3 GA, .769%) – Trust me on this, Alex Stalock has zero worries when it comes to Grosenick taking his job. If anyone should worry about losing his job it should be Antti Niemi. Three goals allowed on 13 shots to the lowly Sabres really puts that 45 save shutout into perspective, eh? Hey, even a broken clock is right twice a day.
Brent Burns, D (1 G, 3 SOG, -3) – Folks were worried that Burns’ shift back to the blue line would hinder his offensive production but that has certainly not been the case. After last night’s tally he’s on pace to score over 25 goals and 70 points. Honestly, I think he can get there. It’s the beard.
Brian Gionta, RW (2 G, 1 A, 3 SOG) – Gionta hasn’t retired yet? Get on that.
Pekka Rinne, G (W, 29 SV, 2 GA, .935%) – A minor blip a few starts ago and he’s back on track to Vezinaville.
Jonathan Bernier, G (L, 9 SV, 3 GA, .750%) – Bernie was yanked after just 20 minutes of play after allowing three goals on 12 shots in the first. James Reimer (25 SV, 6 GA, .760%) fared so much better allowing six goals of his own. I know defense and possession are a problem or the Leafs, but this is just embarrassing. I don’t own Leafs goalies and this is why.
Filip Forsberg, C (1 G, 1 A, 1 SOG) – Of course Fil the Thrill was part of the scoring party and potted a goal on one shot and added a helper to boot. He now has 22 points in 18 games as his ridiculous rookie campaign steamrolls ahead. I don’t know if and when this will stop, but it has to slow down eventually.
Roman Josi, D (1 G, 6 SOG, +3) – I really don’t know why there isn’t more love for Josi. Yeah, he started slow, but after five points in his last five games he’s on pace for 46 points and around 15 goals. His plus/minus is going to be beefy because he plays for the jacked Preds, and he’s getting power play time. What else do you want from your second defenseman? Honestly.
Mike Ribeiro, C (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG) – So long as he’s playing with Forsberg he’s going to keep producing. Right now he’s at 16 points in 18 games and I think that’s a bit much for Ribs to maintain over the course of the season. Both he and Forsberg are due for a regression, but not enough to worry about.
Shea Weber, D (3 A, 3 SOG, +3) – A trio o’ trinity on his score sheet and Weber is getting back on track. Don’t worry about him, just plug him in your lineup and set it and forget it like Popeil-style, son.
Marc-Andre Fleury, G (W, 27 SV, 1.000%, SHO) – It seems like there’s a lot of guy swith sub-2.00 GAAs right now. It won’t be that way by the end of the year and you can best your rearguard that Fleury won’t be there either. He’s still a top 10 goalie, but more towards the bottom o’ the ten.
Carey Price, G (L, 18 SV, 4 GA, .818%) – The up and down season for Price continues. I don’t know what to say. Maybe that knee injury he suffered against the Rangers in the ECF last season is a lingering issue?
Beau Bennett, RW (1 G, 2 A, 2 SOG) – This kid has all the tools and the drive but he’s made of glass. Since returning from his latest injury he has three points in four games, so I’m going to tell you to pick him up because he plays for the Pens and he’s scoring. And he’s talented. But I don’t know how long he’ll stay healthy and that really limits his value. Still, the ceiling is high enough that you’ll probably be happy in a few months when you look back and cackle with glee that you grabbed him before the rush.
Steve Downie, RW (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG) – Man I love Downie, seriously. Nine points in 16 games isn’t great, but pair it with a plus-five rating and 60 PIM and you have a guy worth owning on your hands. He’s seriously valuable in roto leagues and I think he’ll score 50 points to go with his 200+ PIM.
Mike Hutchinson, G (W, 21 SV, 1 GA, .955%) – Hutch is the hot hand and with two starts in a row now he’s worth owning in deeper leagues and absolutely worth streaming. Ondrej Pavelec might have started the season strong, but we all know he was playing above his head and Hutch here does have some skills to spare. I’m not saying I think Pavs has lost his starting gig, but there is definitely a challenge brewing here.
Cory Schneider, G (L, 31 SV, 3 GA, .912%) – For the love of all that is holy give this guy a night off!
Michael Frolik, RW (1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG, +2) – He has four points in his last four games playing on a line with Mark Scheifele, C (1 G, 2 SOG, +2) and Adam Lowry, LW (1 A, 2 SOG, +2). He’s not going to keep scoring, in fact the well might have already dried up, but for those of you in the deepest pools, he’s worth streaming right now.
Cam Ward, G (W, 23 SV, 4 GA, .852%) – Ward bungled his way to this win, mostly on the backs of his teammates who put up six goals in support of his poor play. That’s more of what I expect from Ward than his recent hot streak. I wouldn’t be surprised if he fell apart or got hurt sooner than later.
Kari Lehtonen, G (L, 12 SV, 4 GA, .750%) – I warned against treating Lehtonen as a no-brainer starter on Monday and he quickly showed why that sadly remains the case. He lasted about 35 minutes before getting yanked in favor of Anders Lindback, G (L, 7 SV, 2 GA, .778%) who didn’t do much better. The Stars score goals like whoa, but they can’t seem to stop them. Until they do their forwards will suffer with bleh plus/minus ratings, too. We’re looking at you, Jason Spezza (1 A, 1 SOG, -1).
Eric Staal, C (2 G, 1 A, 4 SOG) – Staal now has 13 points in 15 games since returning form his injury and he should be all system’s go for the remainder of the season. That means 30 goals, around 70 points and a horrible plus/minus. Yay?
Jeff Skinner, RW (1 G, 4 SOG, -2) – Speaking of injuries, 30-plus goals and a horrible plus/minus, here’s Jeff Skinner lady and gentleman! If he’s healthy, he scores goals.
Jiri Tlusty, LW (1 G, 3 SOG, +1) – If you need some temporary goal scoring, you could tap this well, but you’re going to get an unhealthy does of minus ratings to go with the goals. It’s a give and take with any Carolina forward, really.
Tyler Seguin, C (2 G, 3 SOG, +1) – 24 points in 19 games with 14 goals and his plus/minus is even. That’s about as good as you can hope for from a Stars team that I expected to be a hell of a lot better than they are. Hopefully they can make some moves to shore up what is clearly a porous defense. Regardless, Seguin should finish with 100 points. Yep.
Jamie Benn, LW (1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG) – Benn has had a somewhat slow start with 15 points in 19 games, but he’s too good to not pick it up soon. His chances of finishing with 30 goals are dwindling fast, but 25 goals and 70 points is still well within reach. If he really gets going, 80 is doable. But the clock is ticking. He’s a solid buy-low candidate.
Braden Holtby, G (W, 23 SV, 1 GA, .958%) – I’ve always liked Holtby. I’m going to continue to like him, too. The Caps mishandled him last year, but they’ve trusted him with their starting job this year and he’s looked great sporting a season line of 6-4-2/2.28/.918% so far. Considering how poorly Justin Peters has played behind him, he has absolutely no reason to worry about losing his starting gig and that’s a big change from last year when one bad game could cost him the job. That’s a good thing.
Mike Smith, G (22 SV, 2 GA, .917%) – Heh, Mike Smith. Paging Devan Dubnyk, Devin Dubnyk to the crease, please.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, D (1 G, 5 SOG, +1) – With 10 points in 19 games he’s scoring at about the pace I expected but man, that minus-nine rating hurts my heart. I blame Mike Smith.
Jon Quick, G (W, 30 SV, 2 GA, .938%) – Another solid game for Quick. Ho-hum.
Roberto Luongo, G (L, 21 SV, 4 GA, .840%) – I honestly believe it’s only a matter of time before his GAA rises to bleh levels, but his SV% is going to stay high because he’s still a talented netminder and he’s still going to get bombed routinely. The Cats are growing, though; slowly but surely.
Marian Gaborik, RW (1 G, 1 SOG, +1) – If there’s one thing you can count on from Gabby it’s that you can’t count on him to do anything consistently but get hurt. I could only laugh when the Kings locked him up on a sizeable deal after he won the cup. Gaborik’s drive has been questioned in the past, how hungry do you think he is after finally winning a cup?
Jeff Carter, C (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG) – I hope you sold high on Tanner Pearson (1 SOG) when I advised selling high on the entire line, because he’s fallen off as expected. In fact, it was a deeper dive than even I thought. Carter on the other hand is good for 30 goals at least and 75 points at most. He’s worth holding all year.
Jake Muzzin, D (1 A, 4 SOG) – The Kings D is getting spanked by injury and that’s left the door open for, well, whoever the hell the Kings have left healthy enough to walk through it. That guy is Jake Muzzin. He’s put up seven points in his last five, is playing on the top pairing with Drew Doughty and is absolutely worth streaming. He might even stick long term.
Jimmy Hayes, RW (1 G, 1 A, 1 SOG) – Speaking of getting hot and falling off, Hayes is hot and he’s absolutely going to fall off big time. That said, you shouldn’t ignore six points in his last five games with a plus-five rating over that span. Stream him while he’s hot. Drop him when he’s not.