Iâ€™ve always been a big fan ofÂ Ryan Miller. Iâ€™ve been following his career since he lead Michigan State Â to the Frozen Four back in 2001 and won the Hobey Baker for his efforts. It was just four short years ago that Miller won the Vezina and lead the US national team to the Silver Medal at the Winter Games, remember that? They even came up with a word to describe him: unscoronable.
Well, since then he has been in a slow, steady decline and at 33 he’s staring down the twilight of his career with no Stanley Cups in tow. You know he wants one, but does he have enough left in the tank to make the difference for a contender? Well, he stopped 47 shots to finally get his second victory of the season on Tuesday in an impressive showing, but that’s what it takes for him to notch a W. The wins will remain elusive for Miller on the leagueâ€™s worst team and the victory brings his record to a miserable 2-10-0.Â His GAA will continue to hover in the 2.80 to 3.10 range, which is mediocre at best but his .919 SV% is beautiful and on par with what youâ€™d expect. Though the GAA might make you cringe, those numbers are impressive considering he has faced fewer than 30 shots just twice this season with 97 SA in the last two games alone.
If you own him, you need him to get traded and the Sabres need to move him just as badly so there is hope! Does it matter where he ends up? Not really, anywhere is better than Buffalo. You know where he wonâ€™t be going, though? North of the border, eh! Apparently he has a complete no-Canadian team no-trade clause. I love him even more now. When the trade deadline looms he becomes a risky buy-low candidate, but donâ€™t sell the farm because if he stays in Buffalo for the remainder of the year his value remains a shadow of what it should be. Anyway, hereâ€™s what else I saw recently in Fantasy Hockey:
Matt MoulsonÂ 2A in a 5-4 win over the Sharks last night. The guy continues to score since getting traded to the worst team in the league and while thereâ€™s a chance it could continue, you should absolutely sell high here.
Mikko KoivuÂ 1G/2A in his best game of the season so far. It was a great overall game for Koivu who contributed in every category he could, including 1 block, 1 hit and 2 PIM. Heâ€™s always been talented but made of glass and itâ€™s no different this year. Heâ€™ll score until he gets hurt.
Alex OvechkinÂ 2G/1A in a 6-2 win over the Isles. Ovie now has 12 goals in 13 games and 18 points over that span. Honestly, I thought he would have started to decline a bit scoring goals, but he remains as godly as ever.
Craig AndersonÂ took Stars rookie Valeri Nichushkinâ€™s knee to the side of the head when Nichushkin went hard to the net with the puck. It sounds like this looked worse than it was as Anderson continues to skate in practice but there is no timetable for his return yet.
Robin LehnerÂ shut down the Blue Jackets in a 4-1 win stopping 32 of the 33 shots he faced filling in for the injured Anderson. Lehner can be a bit inconsistent but has good skills, good size and is absolutely worth adding if Anderson hits the IR.
Viktor StalbergÂ 1G/1A finally scoring his first points of the season in a 6-4 W over the Avs last night. An inauspicious start for Viktor since leaving Chitown for Nashville, but heâ€™ll get it going soon and is a decent buy low candidate but vonâ€™t expect more than 35 points from him this year.
Jonas HillerÂ picked up a W stopping 24 of 26 shots and continues his strong play. When he gets hurt, which he will, the big question will be who to own? Fasth or Andersen.
Victor FasthÂ is nearly ready to return from his injury. Heâ€™s the guy to own behind Hiller and could pull a Harding if Hiller goes down for more than a few games. Heâ€™s good, albeit a bit old for a sophomore (31). Heâ€™s got more upside than Andersen and his game is considerably more developed than the raw Andersen.
Frederik AndersenÂ has been magnificent in limited work (4GS) so far, but like I just said, Fasth is the guy to own.
Braden HoltbyÂ continues to play very strong hockey for the Caps with a win against the Isles. He stopped 34 of 36 shots and his peripherals look fantastic at 2.67 GAA and a hefty .923 SV%. Holtby remains one of the best young goaltenders in the league. There are doubters, they are silly folks with silly walks, donâ€™t listen to them.
Colin WilsonÂ 2G/2A in a monster game with 2 points (1G/1A) coming on the PP. Tasty! Sadly he did that on just 3 shots. Heâ€™s a former top 10 pick but this nearly doubled his season point total and heâ€™s averaging barely more than a shot a game. Unless he gets more pucks on net this will be a very rare performance for Wilson.
Evander KaneÂ says heâ€™s ready to go, but Noel wonâ€™t let him dress yet. Sounds like theyâ€™re being careful but Kane should be activated soon. Get him back in your lineups as soon as heâ€™s available.
Jonathan ToewsÂ 1G/+2 and had two meh games before last night. Heâ€™s as automatic as they come, no worries here.
Duncan KeithÂ 2A/+3 last night and has assists in seven of his last eight games. Notice how I said â€śassistsâ€ť and not â€śpointsâ€ť? Yeah, thatâ€™s because Keith is still sporting a goose egg in the goal column. He scored 14 goals in 2009, then 7, 4 and 3 for the next three years, respectively. Yikes.
Corey CrawfordÂ stopped 24 of 25 shots and nearly shut out the Jets 4-1. Heâ€™s one of my favorites for the Vezina this year. In a year where my goalies have purposely thrown games to make me lose (Damn you, Jimmy Howard!), Crawford cruises along, right and true. We heart you, Corey.
Ryan Oâ€™ReillyÂ 1G/1A and has scored goals in consecutive games giving him 5 goals and 9 points on the year. Evidently heâ€™s a big fan of yoga and claims it helps stave off injuries. Oh yeah? Well, downward dog your way to a 30 goal season and make me a believer, boyâ€™o!
Matt DucheneÂ 1G/2A as the Oâ€™Reilly/Duchene/Parenteau line continues to score in bunches. The Avs are ridiculous this year and a big chunk of their roster is well worth owning in most formats.
PA ParenteauÂ 1G/1A and holy hell are the Avs rolling or what? Even when they (rarely) lose they score 4 goals. Parenteau scored at nearly a point-per-game pace last year and should continue to be valuable in most formats.
Carter HuttonÂ won while allowing 4 goals on 27 shots. Like I said a few days ago, Huttonâ€™s value will continue to dwindle until Rinne gets back and thatâ€™ll be that. Heâ€™s only worth owning if youâ€™re really hurting at goalie.
Hampus LindholmÂ 1G/1A/+2 and now has 5 points in 15 games. Hamper is top level prospect with great hands, good mobility and extraorindary hockey sense. The Ducks are an offensive powerhouse but this rookie is only worth owning in deeper/keeper leagues. His high upside makes him worth keeping an eye on, at any rate.
Ryan GetzlafÂ 1G/1A on 6 shots with 3 hits and 1 block and is as talented as he is bald and maaaan, heâ€™s damn pretty bald.
Mike RibieroÂ 1A and now has assists in consecutive games. He hasnâ€™t done much since scoring 4 goals in 2 games back in October. He always puts up solid numbers, but heâ€™s getting a bit long in the tooth so the decline will likely be hard and fast. If he goes on a streak you best sell high!
Martin HanzalÂ 1A and now has 13 points in 15 games. The former first rounder has been an offensive dud since joining the league and heâ€™s a two-way guy with little upside at this point. Expect the scoring to slow considerably, but heâ€™s worth owning while hot if youâ€™re desperate for a scoring boost, but you canâ€™t be that desperate, can you?
Shane DoanÂ 1G/3 HITS in a 5-2 loss to the (still Mighty!) Ducks. He has 4 goals in his last 5 games, goals in consecutive games and despite the fact that heâ€™s been in the league for 1,000 years; heâ€™s worth owning right now.
Al MontoyaÂ took the loss to the Hawks yesterday allowing 4 goals on 28 shots. Thatâ€™s more of what I expect out of Montoya, who was a top 10 pick for the Rangers back in 2004. There was some who had high hopes for Montoya out of UofM, but he never panned out and that pesky Henrik Lundqvist came to town. His numbers look good, but the sample size is small and heâ€™ll regress. Avoid the Jetsâ€™ goaltender situation.
Henrik LundqvistÂ stopped 29 of 28 shots for the W as the Rangers toppled the Pens 5-1. His Majesty has won 4 of his last 5 games and has been his usual magnificent self since returning from an injury in late October. You werenâ€™t actually worried, were you?
Derrick BrassardÂ 1G/+2 in the 5-1 win against the Pens which has more to do with this good game than Brassardâ€™s talent level. Heâ€™s a 4th line guy on a team that despite their recent surge, has struggled to score and whose best offensive asset (Nash) remains in concussion limbo. Heâ€™s meh.
Jordan SzwarzÂ had 10 PIM the other night. This isnâ€™t really relevant, I just wanted to mention him because are you kidding with that name? Szwarz. Schwartz? The Schwartz is strong with this one. Heâ€™s worthless. I mean, fantasy wise that isâ€¦ Iâ€™m sure he has some value as a person.
David LegwandÂ 2A/+1 and has 7 points in his last 3 games and 9 points in his last 5. Pick him up! I know I said you shouldnâ€™t expect him to keep this up and guess what? Thatâ€™s still true, but heâ€™s scoring soâ€¦ pick him up.
Andrew CoglianoÂ 1G/+1 but remains mostly worthless despite playing for an immensely talented offensive Ducks team. I remember a few years back, Oilers fans were going on and on about how great Cogliano was going to be, whatever happened to that anyway?
Brad RichardsÂ 1A/+1 and has 3 points in his last 2 games, all assists. He has 12 points in 15 games overall and is likely to post around 65 points this season. Yet another overpaid Ranger past his prime; just when I thought Glen Sather was starting to get some of that old Oilers sense back in him, he went and signed Richards to a mega deal. I think we all saw this coming.