In a move that can only be seen as trying to tank for a better position in the McDavid sweepstakes, Sabres GM Tim Murry pulled the trigger on a deal that sent Jhonas Enroth to the Dallas Stars for backup goaltender Anders Lindback and a conditional third-round pick in 2016 today. This move comes right on the heels of another that sent arguably their best defenseman Tyler Myers to the Jets for injured winger Evander Kane. Regardless of whatever the thinking behind this move was, it radically alters the goalie landscape in Dallas and the number one job is most definitely up for grabs with Enroth in town. Maybe the Stars are looking for a way to motivate the struggling Kari Lehtonen to start playing up to his usual standards, but one thing is for certain, Enroth has the ability to take the job from Kari and it sounds like the Stars are going to give him every opportunity to do so.
It’s hard to gauge how well Enroth will do now that he’s been moved off the worst team in the league, but like I said yesterday, anyone who gets moved away from the Sabres is going to a better place. The question here is just how much better is Dallas defensively compared to Buffalo? Is Enroth really moving to a better place? The answer is yes, but only slightly. The Sabres offer up a league worst 34.8 shots per game and that’s a big factor in Enroth’s horrible 13-21-2/3.27/.903 season line. The Stars allow 31 shots per game, which ranks them 23rd overall. That’s not exactly a huge upgrade but it’s six teams better, anyway. The long and short of it is the Stars have their own defensive woes, but at the very least Enroth is no longer on the worst team in the league and he should start to see more wins at the very least.
In four games this month Enroth is 2-2-0 despite allowing no more than two goals in any game, pushing away 121 of 129 shots he’s face over that span. If he can do that with the Buffalo defense in front of him I imagine he can do something similar, or better, with the somewhat better Dallas D roaming in front of him. Do you rush out and pick up Enroth? I’d say no, but he’s definitely worth a flier in deeper, goalie starved leagues. If he starts to make headway into the starting job, that’s when he becomes a commodity worth owning in most formats, but we’re not there yet. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey recently:
There’s more news about the roles of Tyler Myers and Drew Stafford in their new homes in the great white north. Myers is slated to be pair with Toby Enstrom and see no time on the power play. Stafford will get a shot in the top six and skate on the “top” line with Mathieu Perreault and Mark Scheifele, though despite that assignment he won’t be getting time on the power play as well. These assignments can change in a heartbeat, but that’s the lay of the land for now.
Martin Hanzal is slated to have back surgery and will be out for the remainder of the season. That’s not a huge loss, but he did put up 24 points in 37 games for Arizona this season, so it’s a loss to his owners nonetheless. His name popped up in trade rumors recently and it could have been a boon for the talented winger, but alas, he’s done for the year.
Petr Mrazek, G (L, 13 SV, 4 GA, .765%) – I considered sitting Pete for this one. My gut told me to and I went against my gut and this is what I get. Pete’s likely done in the NHL for now with starter Jimmy Howard and his usual understudy Jonas Gustavsson both healthy and on the active roster for the Wings. It’s possible that Pete could get called back up next month if the Monster doesn’t perform, but in the meantime it makes more sense to keep him down in the AHL playing consistently with the Griffins than sitting behind not one, but two other tenders. Once he’s reassigned feel free to drop him. If you’re considering a replacement and own Gustavsson, I’d caution against going with a goalie who hasn’t suited up on big ice for almost two-and-a-half months because of shoulder surgery. Not only that, he wasn’t exactly stellar while healthy leading up to the injury, so tread carefully.
Blake Comeau, LW (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG) – Comeau wasted no time getting back on the board with a goal and an assist last night while skating in his usual top six slot on the what is technically the second line, but should probably be considered their first with Evgeni Malkin, C (3 SOG, +2) and Patric Hornqvist, RW (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG). That’s a very sexy place to be for Comeau, so if he’s available anywhere add him before someone else does.
David Perron, LW (1 G, 3 SOG, +1) – Though he hasn’t exactly been incredible since getting moved to the Pens, Perron remains a consistent source of secondary scoring with a decent upside down the stretch. He has goals in three of his last four games with four points (3 G, 1 A) over that span. He continues to skate on the top line with somewhat disappointing superstar pivot Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz, RW (2 SOG). It’s safe to assume he’ll continue putting up points down the stretch.
Sidney Crosby, C (2 SOG) – D’oh, dat ticker tease. The Pens put up four goals and Sid comes up with two freakin’ shots on goal? Come on! I know Crosby is still putting up more than a point-per-game but isn’t it totally underwhelming to own him this season? Ugh.
Marc-Andre Fleury, G (W, 23 SV, 1 GA, .958%) – If you throw out Flower’s bleh 4-1 loss to the Preds last Sunday he has only allowed two goals on 79 shots against over his last ~240 minutes of play. I’d say the fatigue concerns are being put to rest for now.
Eddie Lack, G (W, 37 SV, 4 GA, .902%) – Lack was the only streamer available in most leagues yesterday but I cautioned against it and this is why. At least he came away with the win, but coughing up four goals is always a bad night.
Corey Crawford, G (L, 31 SV, 5 GA, .861%) – Meh, he’ll be fine.
Daniel Sedin, C (2 G, 3 SOG, +2) – Clearly sticks and stones may break his bones but names will never hurt him. With points in three straight and five (3 G, 2 A) over his last five games Danny Sedin is rolling along to his best season since 2011-12 when he put up 67 points in 72 games. I doubt he maintains a point-per-game pace down the stretch, but he’ll be close enough to that mark to be useful, that’s for sure.
Marian Hossa, RW (2 G, 4 SOG) – On the heels of three straight two goal games Hossa’s value can’t get much higher. You should absolutely be looking to trade him before the well dries up because it will.
Brandon Saad, LW (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG) – It will be interesting to see what happens with Saad now that Kris Versteeg is healthy. He’s certainly earned the right to stay on the top line along side Jonathan Toews, C (1 A, 5 SOG, +1) and Marian Hossa with consistent play all season and five points (3 G, 2 A) over his last five games. There’s nowhere for him to go on the second line and even if there was, the left side is currently manned by Patrick Sharp, C (2 SOG, -1) and that’s Steeger’s old slot, so there’s a bit of a log jam here and we’ll have to wait and see how Hawks Head Coach Joel Quenneville deals with it before we know whose value is going to be affected.
Zach Kassian, RW (1 G, 2 SOG, +1) – Kassian is a guy who plays on the third line and gets no power play time at all, so his four game points streak and three game goals streak are nice, but don’t expect this kind of thing to continue for much longer.
Alex Burrows, LW (1 A, 5 SOG, +1) –Last night’s helper gives Burrows four points (2 G, 2 A) over his last five games. This can be directly attributed to his most recent, but not first reassignment to the top line with the Sedins. There’s no telling how long he’ll stick, he’s bounced from line to line frequently this season, but while he’s skating with the twins he’s worth owning in deep formats.
Braden Holtby, G (W, 26 SV, 4 GA, .867%) – Even after getting spanked in this one to the tune of four goals on 30 shots, he was able to hold on for the win and his sparkling season line wasn’t affected much at all and now sits at a robust 26-11-9/2.18/.924 in 47 games played so far. Those are Vezina quality numbers that Holtby’s putting up and I’m happy to see it after a few up and down campaigns. The Caps are finally handling him properly and he’s responded with stellar play that should continue down the stretch without many bumps in the road like last night along the way.
Antti Niemi, G (L, 28 SV, 5 GA, .848%) – Ah, sweet schadenfreude!
Brent Burns, D (2 G, 5 SOG) – Save November Burns has been fanastic all season long and continues the trend with five points (3 G, 2 A) over his last five games. That recent run is part of a larger showing; 14 points in his last 16 games as he marches on towards a 18 goal, 60-plus point season. It’s all systems go for Burnsy down the stretch.
Joe Thornton, C (1 G, 1 A, 1 SOG) – With 47 points (12 G, 35 A) in 52 games this season Jumbo Joe’s still got it. I’m not sure what “it” is, but I bet Sharks fans would love it if he’d rub some of “it” on Niemi. Gah! I just grossed myself out.
Logan Couture, C (1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG) – LoCo might come up just short of 30 goals, but he’s definitely going to put up the best season of his career. I’d say he’s taken the step forward that many expected last year and now dwells in the realm of the elite scoring forwards in the league. He’s capable of potting 30 goals and pushing towards a point-per-game pace next season, so he makes for a no-brainer keeper and one of the more valuable guys to have down the stretch. He’s good for another 9 or 10 goals and 10-12 assists ROS.
John Carlson, D (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG) – Carly is another one of those guys we’ve waiting for a breakout season and 2015 is definitely the one. He’s on pace to flirt with 60 points and should set career highs in goals, assists, points, shots and plus/minus all while averaging around 24 minutes of ice time per night. He’s a top 10 fantasy defenseman this season and should be again next season as well.