As if losing Dan Boyle to the dreaded broken finger curse just one game into the season and John Moore to a five-game suspension wasn’t enough for the Rangers, they decided to go the next month or so on hard-mode with both Ryan McDonagh and Kevin Klein falling victim to their own injuries over the weekend. McDonagh suffered a separated shoulder on a hit from Evander Kane and he’s down for three to four weeks, but reports are that the Rangers expect he may be out for longer than a month. The big issue here is the injured shoulder in question is the same shoulder that Mac injured late last season, so this could turn out to be pretty bad for Mac and the Rangers. Klein suffered a foot contusion that will cost him at least a few games, but he should be back within a week or so. Regardless of how quickly Klein gets back the situation is dire on the Rangers blue line with four of their top-six defenseman now injured. How does this affect your fantasy fortunes? Well, obviously if you own McDonagh this is a fairly substantial blow. He wasn’t exactly lighting it up with just three helpers in 10 games so far, but given his ADP most of his owners were holding out hope that the points would start to flow sooner than later. The real problem here is for Henrik Lundqvist owners, who might be in a bit of trouble now too. Hank hasn’t been his normal stellar self to start the season but he’s largely been solid. Now that the Rangers defense is even more depleted it’s going to test Hank and I fear there’s going to be some ugly games in there. If you own Lundqvist all you can do is start him, but brace yourself, it could get nasty. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey last night:
Taylor Hall sprained his MCL and he’s out for 2-4 weeks. That’s a huge blow to his owners and to the Oil and I’m left with a sad face as well. I’m a big fan of Hall’s and he’s been filthy this season as expected and should be again once he heals up. That said, he’s starting to earn a reputation for being injury prone.
Paul Stastny has been cleared for contact and could return to action this week. Keep a close eye on his status and get him back in your lineups as soon as he’s active.
Valeri Nichushkin is back with the Stars and practiced on the top line today. There’s no word whether he’ll be back for Tuesday’s game, but it appears as though he will be and the top lines for the Stars are going to get shuffled.
Derek Stepan was on the ice for practice without his no-contact jersey so he should be getting closer to returning. Ryan Malone cleared waivers and can be sent down to the AHL any time now, another possible indicator that Steps is almost ready to return.
Michal Neuvirth (W, 36 SV, 2 GA, .947%) – A solid start for Neuvirth and he’s doing fairly well in limited work so far with a line of 2-3-0/2.96/.918% in five starts so far. Like I’ve maintained so far this season; don’t own Sabres goalies.
Jimmy Howard (L, 19 SV, 2 GA, .905%) – So far Howie has allowed more than two goals in a game just twice; once against the Ducks in a 3-2 loss and once against the Pens in a 4-3 OT win. He’s a wall this year and while I expect his microscopic GAA (1.95) to rise a bit, it shouldn’t go up much. Chock this loss up to the Wings not giving him much offensive support.
Pavel Datsyuk (1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG) – Dats has been absolutely on fire since he returned from his latest injury and now has 10 points in just six games so far this season. He’s been so baller he’s tallied at least a point in every game he’s played this season. As long as he doesn’t get hurt the magic should continue especially while he’s on a line with Henrik Zetterberg (5 SOG) and Justin Abdelkader (1 A, 4 SOG).
Chris Stewart (1 G, 2 SOG) – Remember back in 2010 when he had that one awesome season for the Avs and everyone was blow away when they traded him away to the Blues? He’s been hot garbage since and he’ll be hot garbage moving forward. He plays for the Sabres, too. That helps.
Cam Ward (W, 30 SV, 2 GA, .938%) – Wow, is that two quality starts and two wins in a row for Ward? Have I gone back in time or is this actually happening? After he shut out the ‘yotes on Saturday he followed up with this gem last night. He’s been so bad before these two starts that his GAA is now just barely under three (2.98) and his save percentage is trying mightily to reach the .900 marker, but it falls well short at .885%. I wouldn’t get too excited.
Jon Quick (L, 29 SV, 3 GA, .906%) – Even the best go through gold spells and here’s Quick’s cold spell. He’s coughed up 10 goals in his last three starts, all losses. He’ll right the ship sooner than later. All the blame isn’t his, the Kings are 26th in shots against allowing a whopping 33.5 per game, so their D needs to tighten up a bit and take some of the pressure off of Quick. He might look like a magician out there sometimes, but he isn’t.
Chris Terry (1 G, 1 A, 1 SOG) – Despite the seven points in 10 games so far I wouldn’t hope for much beyond him being a decent stream with the right matchup. He’s undersized, slow and plays for the Canes.
Jonas Hiller (W, 18 SV, 2 GA, .900%) – The other shoe is going to drop here sooner than later. Even if he doesn’t completely implode, there’s now way he can sustain a .938% save percentage or a sub 2.00 GAA.
Carey Price (L, 30 SV, 5 GA, .857%) – Somehow the Habs are allowing almost a full goal more than they are scoring per game while allowing over 30 shots a game on average, but Carey’s season line sits at 7-2-1/2.73/.913%. The GAA isn’t there yet, but the save percentage is pretty solid considering the workload he sees every night and you can’t argue with the wins. That said I don’t see how the Habs can maintain their winning ways with team numbers like that.
T.J. Brodie (3 A, 2 SOG, +2) – Last season Brodie set a career high with four goals in 81 games. That’s terrible, but hey, he’s a developing you player. Well, apparently his development track has a pretty steep curve because he matched that mark in just 12 games this year. I didn’t expect him to do much of anything this season, but he’s clearly ready to make another leap after finishing last year with 31 points. It goes without saying, though I’ll say it, that any guy with 12 points in 11 games so far should be owned everywhere.
Markus Granlund (1 G, 1 SOG, +1) – Markus is a lot like his brother Mikael; they both have amazing hands, great vision, solid passing skills and tend to be undersized and not as strong as you’d like. Markus started the season in the AHL where he tallied eight points in his first 10 games and earned the call up to play along side Johnny Gaudreau (2 A, 3 SOG, +1) and Jiri Hudler (2 A), which is pretty decent line for him to center and earn a few points. If you’re hard up for offensive help Granlund isn’t a bad add.
Josh Jooris (2 G, 5 SOG) – The Flames are loaded with young talent and Jooris is among the best they have to offer. Jooris is a multifaceted player that the Flames can deploy in almost any situation comfortably. He has great vision, can score goals and make plays when needed and wins most of his faceoffs, too! At 23 he’s no spring chicken and his stats look good, but it’s hit or miss with his TOI which can range from 12 minutes to nada on the drop of a dime, so he’s a risky grab in deeper pools.
Devan Dubnyk (W, 32 SV, 5 GA, .865%) – Dubnyk has clearly been taking goaltending lessons from Mike Smith.
Justin Peters (L, 24 SV, 6 GA, .800%) – Games like these are what prove that Peters isn’t ready to shoulder much more work than he gets now, which isn’t much. He’s talented, but he can’t quite seem to pull it together long enough to establish himself as a viable option. That being said, he was stuck behind a logjam in Carolina, so it will be interesting to see what he does with his 20ish starts this year. So far, so bleh.
Shane Doan (2 G, 1 A, 4 SOG) – If you’re looking for 20 goals Doan can likely provide, but I wouldn’t count on much more than that from the 18-year veteran. Right now he’s on pace for 60 points, but I doubt he breaks the 50-point marker by season’s end.
Antoine Vermette (1 G, 2 A, 5 SOG) – Here’s another ‘yote that can give you 20 goals and not much else. Coincidentally enough, he plays on a line with Doan right now. How fitting.
Alex Ovechkin (1 G, 3 A, 7 SOG) – Folks were getting a bit concerned with Ovi’s lack of Ovi-like production to start the season, but five points in two games later he’s at a point-per-game pace and rolling as usual. No worries, y’all!
Joel Ward (1 G, 2 SOG) – Right now Ward is lining up with Andre Burakovsky (-1) and Ovi on the top line, so he’s worth owning for some cheap goals while that lasts, anyway.
Nicklas Backstrom (3 A, 1 SOG, +1) – He might not be on the top line in 5-on-5 situations, but he’s still part of the team’s top power play unit and that’s where points are scored, y’all! Don’t worry about Backs, he’ll get his.
John Carlson (1 G, 3 SOG) – With a goal last night Carlson has points in three straight and eight points in 10 games this season. That pace won’t continue, but he’s currently the Caps’ number one defenseman paired with big Brooks Orpik whose physical game allows Carlson to focus on putting the puck on net more often, and you see the results. He’s in line to set a career best and break the 40-point marker this year for sure.
Troy Brouwer (1 G, 5 SOG, +1) – Last night’s tally gives him three goals in three games and you can’t ignore that, so stream him while he’s scoring.
Semyon Varlamov (L, 30 SV, 3 GA, .909%) – Speaking of goaltending woes, Varly put together another solid game and lost yet again. His line looks great if you ignore his win-loss record; 2-3-4/2.49/.931%. Like Jonas Hiller I have to think there’s no way he keeps his save percentage in the .930 range facing the third most shots per game in the league. The Avs continue to look really, really bad defensively and that does not bode well for even the best goalies.
Nathan MacKinnon (1 G, 3 SOG, 2 PIM) – Oh man, MacKinnon is overrated. Oh man, MacKinnon is falling victim to the dreaded “sophomore slump.” Oh man, ah shut up with that nonsense. I told everyone to just be patient with Mac and for those of you who did, here’s your reward; goals in three straight games with four over that span. His minus-five rating is ugly, but he’s shooting, he’s scoring and he’s looking a hell of a lot better than he did to start the season. I figure he continues to trend up as the season goes. He’s too good not to.
Jason LaBarbera (W, 16 SV, 2 GA, .889%) – HannaBarbera suited up for the Ducks to prevent them from making the embarrassing start of Dwayne Roloson, who currently serves as a goaltending consultant for the Ducks. He also suited up and served as backup for this one after John Gibson suffered an undisclosed LBI in practice. Frederik Andersen would have gone but he is now day-to-day with leg tightness. What is it with goalies this year? First the Avs lose both of their guys in one game and now the Ducks suffer the same fate. Forced to deal they dug deep and wouldn’t you know it? They managed a win. Andersen’s injury doesn’t sound serious but there’s no word on just how badly Gibson hurt himself, so it LaBarbera might serve as backup to Andersen for a bit while Gibsy is on the mend.
Corey Perry (1 G, 5 SOG, +2) – Goals n’ bows, man. Goals n’ bows.
Cam Fowler (1 G, 2 SOG, +1) – Fowler is one of those guys that everyone wants to drop all the time and I’m always like “Nah, man. Hold him, he’s pretty solid” and peeps are like “Okay JD, I’ll be patient” only to ask again the next week who they should pick up and drop Fowler for. I hope those days are over. He’s on pace for 50 points this season and he should at least hit 40. So be nice to Cam and yourself, don’t drop him.
Michael Hutchinson (W, 33 SV, 1.000%, SHO) – I wouldn’t get overly excited about this game, though Hutch has shown himself to be a capable goalie, he’s just can’t stay consistent and he’s just as likely to string off three straight shutouts as he is three straight games where he allows five goals a pop. He’s clearly behind Ondrej Pavelec on the depth chart for the Jets and that won’t change any time soon. Those in deep pools might consider adding him if they’re desperate, but you’ve been warned.
Corey Crawford (L, 26 SV, 1 GA, .963%) – Crawdad played well here, the Hawks offense or lack thereof is to blame for this one.
Pekka Rinne (W, 26 SV, 1 GA, .963%) – After coughing up four goals on 31 shots to the apparently pretty solid Flames, he rebounded quickly in this one holding the Canucks to just one goal on 27 shots. With his season line sitting pretty at 7-2-1/1.87/.931% he’s basically the best goalie in the league right now.
Eddie Lack (L, 30 SV, 3 GA, .909%) – Last season Lack looked pretty solid after Roberto Luongo was traded to the Cats, but this season isn’t last season and this season he looks terrible. He isn’t this bad, but with how good Ryan Miller has been, I doubt he’ll get many opportunities to get his shiz together.
Filip Forsberg (2 G, 1 A, 8 SOG) – I knew going into the season the Fors was a guy to keep an eye on but I did not expect him to roll to 11 points in 11 games to start the year. Well, I see the light now and how could I miss it? The high beams are on. He should be owned everywhere.
Tuukka Rask (W, 27 SV, 2 GA, .931%) – I’d like to see Rask win a few in a row and look good doing it before I stop worrying that he’s playing with an injury or something. I know the Bs defense is pretty depleted right now, so that’s a contributing factor you can’t ignore, but Rask wasn’t exactly looking great before they lost all their top defenseman to injury anyway.
Robin Lehner (L, 26 SV, 4 GA, .867%) – Why do you play with my emotions like this, Robin? Seriously. Every time you get an opportunity to earn a few starts in a row and maybe, just maybe start to pull away from the dreadful Craig Anderson, you play like this. It wasn’t horrible, but hey, four goals allowed is four goals allowed and he’ll need to be better than this to wrestle the starting gig away from Andy.
Mika Zibanejad (1 G, 3 SOG, +1) – Saturday’s goal marks goals in back-to-back games bringing his season total to… two. Two goals. Two points. 10 games played. Yikes. I’m not a huge fan of Ziby’s, but I don’t think he’s this bad.
Brad Marchand (1 G, 2 SOG, +2) – Do you want a 25-goal scorer on your roster? Because dropping Brad Marchand is not how you keep a 25-goal scorer on your roster.
Blake Comeau (1 G, 1 SOG, +1) – He had zero value until he slotted in next to Evgeni Malkin (1 G, 2 A, 1 SOG, +1) and now? Well, he has seven points in 10 games, goals in two of his last three games and a plus-three rating. In deep pools he’s well worth owning.
Ben Bishop (W, 35 SV, 3 GA, .921%) – Bishop has allowed three goals in each of his last four starts while the Bolts beastly offense keeps his W-L record nice and tight, his peripherals are slowly degrading as he keeps coughing up three goal games. I’m getting a little concerned, but when I see him play he looks just fine, so I’m expecting him to snap out of this sooner than later. I hope.
Nikita Kucherov (1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG) – Stop trying to drop Kucherov. I know he’s new. I know that’s scary. I know you don’t expect him to keep scoring, but I do, and hey look, he scored again on Saturday! No, you shouldn’t drop Kucherov for whatever schmuck you find on the wire.
Ondrej Palat (1 G, 4 SOG, +2) – See? Even Kucherov’s line mates are rolling.
Ryan Callahan (1 G, 3 SOG, +2) – Believe it or not, Cally has seven points in eight games so far this season. I doubt he can keep that pace up, but playing with Steven Stamkos (1 A, 3 SOG, +1) is going to create room for him to score some delicious goals.
Roberto Luongo (W, 36 SV, 1 GA, .973%) – Pressed again Lu pushed away 36 of 37 as the surprising and rising Cats win again. I continue to be impressed by both Lu and the Cats as a whole, but there are still serious issues here that can’t be ignored. Most important of those issues is the disparity between goals scored and goals allowed. The Cats are second in goals against but dead last in goals for. Lu can’t do it all.
Steve Mason (L, 28 SV, 2 GA, .933%) – Mason finally allows fewer than four goals in a game and still loses. He’s yet to win a game this season. Yup, you read that right.
Vladimir Tarasenko (2 G, 7 SOG, +2) – Saturday’s game gives Vladdy 11 points in 10 games with five goals in his last three games. All aboard the Tarasenko express!
Jaroslav Halak (L, 28 SV, 3 GA, .903%) – It’s getting pretty ugly for Halak, and while I wouldn’t drop him outright unless you’re in a shallower league, you can’t start him now either. I’d wait a few more starts and if he doesn’t show some signs of life, cut bait.
Antti Niemi (W, 19 SV, 1 GA, .950%) – Saturday’s start makers five straight for Niemi and he’s even rolling out there after losses. It’s clear that he’s taken complete control of the starter’s job for the Sharks leaving Alex Stalock and his owners to sob quietly in the corner and eat the crumbs that fall from Niemi’s table. I am among those owners. *sobs quietly whilst licking crumbs from the floor* Thank you for your generosity, Mr. Niemi.