Tomas Jurco (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG, +2) probably has the best hands in the hockey world. Don’t believe me? Have a look. It’s likely that Jurco doesn’t just have the best hands in the hockey world, he might be the talented young player out there right now and with all due respect to Tomas Hertl, he has the highest offensive upside, too. Last season he was fourth on the Sea Dogs in scoring despite missing 20 games and posted a ridiculous 13 goals, 16 assists, plus-24 in 16 playoff games. He earned the nickname “YouTube guy” because of his sick moves and it actually peeved him something severe. Not wanting to be a one-trick pony he has since stopped all the fancy-pants circus tricks with the puck and is now focused on becoming a complete hockey player. That couldn’t be better news for the Wings and fantasy owners alike and so far it seems to be working. As the Wings battle a rash of injuries he’s making the best of his opportunity with a goal and an assist, plus-3 with eight shots in his first four NHL games. With hands like his you’d think he would be on course to be a sniper but he excels in just about every aspect of the game and shows flashes of a possible power-forward future and given the Wings’ struggles this season, it seems like it’s time to give the kid a chance to stick with the team, something he’s more than capable of doing. He’s an absolute must own in keeper and deeper leagues and worth very close scrutiny for standard leagues. He has the ability to be a top-six guy right now. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in fantasy hockey recently:

Chris Stewart (3 G, 1 A, 4 SOG, +3) is officially on fire and should be picked up everywhere. His four point outburst gives him 7 goals, 8 points, plus-6, 7 PIM and 10 SOG in his last five games. His shooting percentage is through the roof, so don’t expect this pace to keep up. He can, however, still find a way to score 30 goals this season. He’s only owned in 53% of Yahoo! Leagues and 49.9% in ESPN leagues. Get him while you can, he can carry your team with his goal scoring ability.

Alex Stalock (2 GA, 44 SV, W) took advantage of an extremely rare chance to start and beat the Stars 3-2 in the shootout. Alex is a big boy and takes up a lot of space in net, the key thing that makes him hard to beat is his positioning. He’s always where he needs to be, before he needs to be there. He’s unflappable under pressure and it’s a shame he’s stuck being Antti Niemi. Stalock might be good enough to make the Sharks consider trading Niemi, but probably not for a few more years.

Tuukka Rask (1 GA, 34 SV, W) is what Henrik Lundqvist was about 6 years ago, only on a much, much better team. Not hating on Hank, he’s still elite, but Tuukka’s top o’ the crease right now.

Ryan Getzlaf (3 G, 1 A, 3 SOG, +3) is on pace for 40+ goals and just under 100 points (97) this season. That’s Hart material fo’ sho’! I drafted Getz everywhere I could, but I didn’t expect this. It looks like his dominant, albeit short 2012-13 season was truly a return to form after a dismal 2011-’12 campaign that saw him put up a season line of 11 G, 46 A, 57 PTS, -11.

Brian Elliott (0 GA, 23 SV, W) got back on track after a few rough games, though he did beat the hapless Leafs despite giving up 3 goals in just 22 shots a week and a half ago.

Antoine Vermette (3 G, 5 SOG, +1) scored in the second, then to tie the game 1-1, then in the third to tie the game 3-3, then in OT to win the game 4-3. That’s one baller hatty right there! He has worth in very deep leagues that count beyond the usual stat categories, other than that he’s meh. Still, this was a pretty game for Vermette.

Jaromir Jagr (1 G, 2 A, 5 SOG, +2) has been on a tear lately with 8 points in his last five games; 2 G, 6 A, +3 with 16 SOG over that span. He’s now on pace for 73 points powered by 29 goals and even though he may slow, it’s Jagr, so add him while he’s scoring if he’s available.

Dainius Zubrus (1 G, 1 A, 6 SOG, +3) now has five points in his last five games with four goals. Jagr assisted on each of them. What is this? 1995?

Sidney Crosby (1 G, 2 A, 4 SOG, +3, 2 PIM) is now on pace for 117 points with 10 in his last five games. Yep.

Justin Peters (3 GA, 47 SV, L) played better than his line may make it seem. He stood up to 50 shots and held the Bolts to two goals through regulation, but lost it a little over 2 minutes in to OT on a Radko Gudas slapper from 30 feet out. With Anton Khudobin on his way back from injury this week, it remains to be seen what the ‘Canes will do with Peters. As good as he’s been, you have to think they’d be better off trading Ward for help up front and letting the young duo handle the net, but most likely they’ll send Peters down to the AHL again.

Corey Perry (3 A, 3 SOG, +3) took a break from scorin’ goals and throwin’ elbows to help Ryan Getzlaf along to his hatty.

Kyle Palmieri (1 G, 1 A, 6 SOG, +2) is a talented guy with a decent scoring touch, but it remains to be seen whether he’ll end up a top or bottom six player. His game is solid top to bottom with very few holes. But like anyone who is good a lot, he doesn’t seem to excel in any one area so he could end up on a checking line and largely fantasy irrelevant. He’s a wait-and-see just aboot everywhere.

Kari Lehtonen (2 GA, 37 SV, L) was on the losing side of a beautiful goalie dual with San Jose’s Alex Stalock. Kari pushed away 37 of 39 but lost in the shootout. If he can stay healthy he’s on pace for 74 starts this season and that’d be a career high. He’s always had the ability, he’s just too damn brittle.

Semyon Varlamov (2 GA, 37 SV, L) had his domestic charges dropped and can now focus fully on playing top notch hockey, and then promptly lost to Kings rookie upstart Martin Jones 3-2 in another shootout. Still, Varlamov owners have to be happy to hear that he won’t face jail time this season. He should be full steam ahead on a solid Avs squad despite the loss, only his second in his last six games.

Andy Greene (1 G, 2 A, 3 SOG, even) now has points in three straight with goals in back-to-back games. He’s scoring and worth owning like anyone while they’re scoring. I know I often have a fourth dman slot that I stream, if you do the same, stream some Greene!

Ryan Johansen (2 G, 5 SOG, +2) continues to have a great third year and is now on pace for 32 goals and 66 points this season. This season seems to be a huge step forward for the big Canadian, he has the talent to break out in a big way next year.

Jaden Schwartz (1 G, 1 A, 5 SOG, +2) now has six points in his last five games and is shaking the sophomore jinx with a solid season so far. It helps that he plays for one of the best teams in the league, but the Schwartz has been strong with this one in the offensive end. His upside is pretty huge, honestly, so grab him where you can.

Jiri Tlusty (2 G, 4 SOG, +2) was the 13th overall pick in the 2006 draft and the Czech winger has been a huge disappointment for six years now. He shows no signs of changing that course this season, despite this good game.

Mike Smith (3 GA, 37 SV, W, 2 PIM) snapped a personal three game losing streak beating the Senators 4-3 in OT. The three game skid is deceiving as Smith played well in all three games but received squat for offensive support as the ‘yotes only managed 3 goals over that span. It took an Antoine Vermette hatty to win this one, and if Smith is relying on games like that to help him to wins, it’s going to be a long second half for him and his owners.

Corey Tropp (2 A, 3 SOG, +3) is a checking-line guy to the bone and fantasy irrelevant.

Tomas Vanek (2 G, 3 SOG, +2) seems to carry his team’s hopes of winning with him every game. In the six, yes, just six games this season that Tomas played on the winning team he has seven points (4 goals). In the 28 games in which his team lost he’s posted just 18 points (9 goals) and a minus-7.

Marek Zidlicky (2 G, 2 SOG, +2) is actually flirting with a 40 point season. He has hasn’t done that since he played for the Wild back in 2010. I don’t buy it.

P.K. Subban (1 G, 6 SOG, +3) on the other hand, is an easy buy and is on pace for 58 points.

Reilly Smith (2 G, 3 SOG, +1) needs only to bulk up so he can withstand the rigors of the physical game at the NHL level and he will be something special. His offensive upside is somewhere just short of the moon, and he’s on pace to score in the mid-60s this season. He’s 6’0” and just 161lbs. Whaaat? Someone get that boy some protein, stat!

Victor Hedman (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG, +1) has points in back-to-back games and is finally living up to his potential. The former second overall pick in the 2009 draft took around five seasons to get into form, but he’s on pace for 46 points with 18 goals this season and it’s safe to say, Victor has finally arrived. So why is a defenseman with huge offensive upside, flirting with a 50 point season available in 30% of Yahoo! and ESPN leagues? Did you have someone better in mind? Pick him up!

Derek Roy (2 A, 2 SOG, +1, 4 PIM) continues to thrive because he no longer plays for the Sabres. We all hope the same is true for Ryan Miller very soon.

Jonathan Bernier (1 GA, 25 SV, L) replaced James Reimer to start the second after Reimer allowed 3 goals in the first. He held his ground and made 25 saves as the Leafs climbed back into it, but eventually lost 4-3 in the SO. It seems like every few games Reimer relives Bernier or vice versa. Bernier’s peripherals are still very nice, but the wins remain elusive.

Curtis McElhinney (3 GA, 33 SV, W) beat the Flyers on his second try in three days behind a six goal outburst by the Jackets. He coughed up five to the flyers last Thursday and four to the Devils earlier this month. He’s as up-and-down as you’d expect and will lose his starting job to Sergei Bobrovsky as soon as he returns from his LBI.

Martin Jones (2 GA, 23 SV, W) still owns the net in LA and they’ll run him out there until he stumbles. I doubt he’s available anywhere, but if he is, I’m not sure what you’re waiting for.

Craig Anderson (4 GA, 34 SV, L) remains so Craig Anderson-y. When are the Sens going to give up on this guy?

Frederik Andersen (3 GA, 18 SV, W) is AndersEn-y, which is far superior to Anderson-y. Unfortunately Jonas Hiller has been more than steady for some time now and Victor Fasth will likely displace the stellar Frederik as backup for the Ducks when healthy.

  1. Someone dropped Jeff Skinner. I was considering if he is worth adding. He appears healthy this year and is resembling the same player who won the Calder trophy in 2010-11. I would have to cut Mikhail Grabovski or Gabriel Landeskog. Grabby is a streaky performer, but provides FOW’s that Skinner will not. Landeskog fills a lot of fantasy categories, even when he can’t find the net, which seems to be the case lately. I hope you have a great Christmas JD (even w/o any games for a few days…)!

    • JD

      JD says:

      @madden_curser: That’s a tough call. I think it’s kind of a wash no matter who you choose to drop for Skinner; I think all three will finish the season in the mid 60s. Of all three, Skinner has the most upside, but the biggest risk. If you can afford to stash him on IR if he goes down again and there’s enough on the wire to fill the gap, I’d add him, but who to drop? Flip a coin. And Happy holidays to you, too!

  2. willy says:

    So, I saw this post yesterday and then went to check if Jurco was available. He was, but then I noticed he was sent down. Have you heard anything about how long he might stay down for? Jurco is interesting and I’m wondering why he was sent down. I guess a player got healthy in Detroit or something?

    • JD

      JD says:

      @willy: He was sent down a few days ago, it looks like the Wings want to give him some more time in the AHL, where he continues to score in bunches. He’s keeper gold, but barring injuries he’s likely a season or so off from being worth owning in standard leagues.

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