At this point in the season the wire has been picked clean and then picked clean again like so many bones days after Thanksgiving. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and an owner who dumped some key guys who had no games remaining last week but lost so they’re still sitting there for you to bolster your roster with in the championship round, but normally there isn’t much to work with. Given that, the emergency recall of high scoring prospect Stanislav Galiev might be worth your attention. A former third round pick in 2010, Galiev posted 45 points (25 G, 20 A) in 64 games with the Hersey Bears this season and gets a chance late this season due to the mounting injury woes the playoff bound Caps are facing. They’ll want to rest some of their key guys and that gives Galiev a chance to play a couple games on big ice. You can’t expect a ton from the kid given his past struggles; he bounced back and fourth between the ECHL and AHL in two seasons prior to his successful campaign this year, so he hasn’t exactly torn it up and skyrocketed to big ice as a result, but like I said to open this little blurb, it’s slim pickings right now and you can expect Galiev to get decent minutes and maybe pot a goal or two over the next two games and at this point in the season that can make all the difference. If you’re in a deep league he’s absolutely worth streaming. If you’re in a more shallow league I might hold off, but not too long as the Caps only play two more games this week and if you’re going to get anything from this kid you’ll need both games to make it worth your while. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey recently: 
After Devan Dubnyk, G (W, 24 SV, 1.000%, SHO) was dealt to the Wild I took a deeper dive into his numbers and quickly jumped on the bandwagon and you should too. Since joining the Wild Doobie is 6-1-0 with a 1.48 goals-against average and a .943 save percentage with three shutouts. Obviously those aren’t sustainable numbers, but given his season line now sits at a robust 15-6-2/2.35/.923 in 27 games and taking into account he’s amassed much of that line while playing for the woeful Coyotoes, that’s pretty damned impressive. Hell, those numbers would be impressive anywhere, but for some strange reason people aren’t flocking to pick him up before it’s too late. Owners in CBS leagues know what’s up and he’s owned on 60% of teams there with Yahoo clocking in at 53% and ESPN way behind the times at 41% owned. These numbers are about as ridiculous as Doobie’s. There’s no way he shouldn’t be owned just about everywhere by now, so if you need help in the crease you should definitely go ahead and pick him up. Don’t be shy. I know his time on the Oil might have you looking at his name on the wire and rolling your eyes, but don’t pass on him this season, you’ll regret it. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey recently:
When you think of the Sabres lately one name generally comes to mind and he isn’t even in the league yet, yes I’m talking about McJesus himself, Connor McDavid. The Sabres are well on their way to winning the McDavid sweepstakes by bungling their way through the 2014-15 season looking like hot garbage from top to bottom, save one bright spot; Zemgus Girgensons. Girgs was the Sabres’ second first round pick in 2012 and he’s paying off pretty quickly for a team that desperately needs someone to do something positive. I mean the fact that the Sabres had two first round picks should say something in-and-of it self, but I digress, the 20 year old Latvian pivot works his butt off out there from whistle to whistle. He’s hard to knock off the puck, isn’t afraid to fight for position in traffic and while he isn’t a traditional dangler, he definitely has solid hands and fore-checks like whoa. He’s now the Sabres top line center and spends time on their top power play unit as well. Given that it’s the Sabres you can’t expect him to score a ton, but he’s posted a respectable season line so far with 8 G, 6 A, +3 (on the Sabres!), 48 SOG and 9 PIM to date. Wait, that doesn’t look as sexy as I made it sound, does it? Well! That’s because his real value comes from his ability to win faceoffs (161), deliver hits (57) and even block shots (24). There’s basically not much this guy doesn’t do and in roto leagues that’s pure gold. In deep category H2H leagues he has value too. ROS I expect him to end up with around 50-55 points, he has tremendous upside over the long term and it’s clear that the Sabres envision him as a team leader moving forward. Those in keeper leagues would do well to grab him and hold on tight. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey last night:
Red Wings General Manager Ken Holland is a pretty solid GM as far as GMs go. He always manages to pluck these unknown Swedes out of, well, Sweden and the Wings system turns them into legitimate players in fairly short order. This time he set his sights on a gifted Canadian winger out of Longueuil, Quebec by the name of Anthony Mantha and you'd do well to track his progress in the AHL because he has all the tools to be a top six player for the Wings sooner than later. Before he went down with a broken leg in the pre-season Mantha had a shot to crack the Wings’ NHL roster, alas it wasn’t meant to be, yet. Well, he’s healed up now and the 6’5” 206lb scoring threat is healthy and recently made his AHL debut and he set to work right rining the puck off two posts, but didn’t find the back of the net. No worries, he potted his first goal in his second game. That’s going to be a theme for the youngster and it can be argued that he’s one of the best pure goal scorers to come up since Steven Stamkos. Yes, you read that right. He sports a heavy wrister that he can fire off before you even considered he was going to shoot and man, it’s accurate. Beyond his ability to shoot the puck he uses his big frame to force through traffic with general ease and knocking him off the puck is no easy task. He’s proven himself to be a great positional player with outstanding on ice awareness, but there are of course some negatives as with any young player, and the big fella might be a bit too offensively focused leaving his defense as the weakest part of his game. There has also been some criticism that he lacks consistency, but hey, he’s young and nobody’s perfect (except Victor Hedman). Word has it that the Wings would rather he spend his time getting solid minutes with the Griffins than sitting on the bench for the Wings, but considering the fragility of their key top-six forwards (We’re all looking at you, Pavel Datsyuk) I wouldn’t be surprised if the kid gets a shot at big ice this year. While he’s not worth adding outside of deep dynasty leagues for the time being, keep an eye on him because he’s going to be something special. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey last night:
In October Cam Ward (W, 22 SV, 1 GA, .957%) started four games. In those four games he allowed 16 goals on a 100 shots, good for a .840 SV%. I suppose saying it was “good” for anything is a lie, as that kind of effort is good for nothing. Flip the calendar over to November and Ward is a different man all together. In five starts this month he’s faced 130 shots and pushed 123 of them away, good for a .946 SV%. That’s not just good, that’s absolutely sparkling and wholly unsustainable for most, especially Ward. Still, a five game win streak while allowing no more than 2 goals in any tilt while mixing in a shutout cannot be ignored. So, is Cam Ward in danger of becoming a good goalie again? I doubt it. If you take a look at what he’s done it’s easy to say yeah, he’s getting back on track, but when you look at whom he’s doing it against, then the cracks start to appear. He’s compiled this run against the likes of the ‘yotes (25th in Goals Per Game), the injury devastated Blue Jackets (18th in GPG) twice, the Kings (24th in GPG) and the Flames (8th in GPG). Of all those teams the Flames are the only team clicking on offense right now. By contrast, in his opening four games in October the Isles, Sabres, Flames and Canucks spanked him. Yeah, those Sabres, from Buffalo. I’ve seen a lot of peeps talking about adding Ward because he’s suddenly found his form again. I won’t deny that he looks good right now, and if you need goalie help you should add him, but don’t expect this to last. Yeah, the Canes’ defense doesn’t help his situation much, but that only lends credence to the assertion that the well will dry up sooner than later with Ward. Ride him while he’s hot and drop him like a bad habit when he gets blown up, because he will. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey yesterday:
Normally I'd start one of my daily rewind posts with a blurb about a guy who is notable for his production and well worth your attention, but this struck me as far too karma conspiracy to not lead off with today, also, its actually really important news. James Neal is out indefinitely with a concussion. Yes, Neal owners, you read that right, try not to cry too much, your tears are made of salt water and that shiz can really eff up your computer/phone/tablet/whatever you damn kids are using these days. Why do I think this is karma catching up with him? Lest we forget, earlier this season Jimmy was suspended for nealing Boston's Brad Marchand in the head while he was down on fall fours trying to get back to his feet. It was a henious move by Neal's part, but he has no real history of dirty play (well, excessively dirty, anyway) so we can forgive it given the tone of that game prior to the incident. Still, it's hard not to see this as cosmic payback for the move. I won't call this a schadenfreude moment for me because I don't wish head injuries on anyone, even if they absolutely ruin my team every time they face Neal and the Pens. At any rate, this weakens the Pens significantly and fantasy owners even more. There is no way to replace Neal, so the best you can do is scope out the wire and hope perhaps one of these guys is available:
Hallelujah the NHL has returned and so have I! With only 24 games left in the regular season our first taste of post-Olympic hockey featured Ryan Miller (2 GA, 38 SA, W, 2 A) picking up right where he left off before the break carrying the Sabres to a 3-2 victory over the Canes. It must be a nice feeling for Miller to come back and cleanse the bitter taste of defeat out of his mouth after the Bobby Ryan-less US team didn’t even medal. To be fair, they totally phoned in that bronze medal game against Finland after a terrific effort against the Canadians in the game prior, so they probably didn’t give a rat’s ass about anything but the gold. I don’t endorse that attitude, but it is what it is. Miller looked absolutely brilliant all night stopping shot after shot because man that Sabres D is something awful. Hell, to even have a chance at winning Miller had to throw in a pair of helpers, too! Put this guy on a team with a halfway decent defense and a bit more scoring and he’s top 5, so where will he go? No one knows. Every other day it seems the Buffalo front office flip flops on whether they want to focus on signing him or trading him. Let’s be real here; the guy is a UFA after this season and why on earth would he resign with the Sabres? They have to rebuild, Miller is 33, he wants a cup and he’s not going to get it in upstate New York. With the trade deadline looming the Sabres have a week to move the franchise tender and new Sabres GM Tim Murray claims to have “between two and 10 teams” who have inquired about Miller. Sounds promising, and if you own the guy you’re dying for news that he’s been traded to St. Louis. It’s hard to imagine a team so mediocre that it can make a top 5 goalie give you the stats of a guy ranked ten or so slots below him, but it could be worse, you could own Ondrej Pavelec! Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the first game back from Sochi:
Jacob Trouba, the ridiculous rookie beast on the blue line that’s been so good the Jets were able to shift Dustin Byfuglien to wing and not only have they not missed a beat, the experiment seems to be a success given the Jets’ recent offensive surge. How beastly you say? 16 points in his last 26 tilts, and when you break it down his line over the last two months goes a little something like this; 6 goals, 10 assists, a plus-10 rating, 15 PIM and 49 SOG. Damn, son! That’s some solid production from the back end, eh? Normally it takes young defensemen a few seasons to get into gear offensively, mostly because they’re defensemen and they need to, you know, focus on learning to play defense. But Trouba decided he’d debut in the NHL and not only bring home the bacon, but the whole damn pig. Ryan McDonagh is a perfect example of the natural course of evolution of the elusive, complete package defenseman. This is McDonagh’s third season and he’s only starting to realize his offensive potential with 29 points in 54 games so far, on pace for around 45 by season’s end. Trouba has the potential to flirt with that point total right now, and he’s five years younger than McDonagh. Why on earth do I need to sell this kid this late in the sesaon? The fact that he’s owned in just 18% of Yahoo! Leagues boggles me mind! I can usually count on ESPN Leagues to offset that, he’s still available in well over a third of leagues there! Well, that actually sounds more reasonable, but it could be higher. It’s time to make the moves that either get you into the playoffs or leave you waiting for next season for another chance to not suck! Do you want to win? Do you need points from the blue line? You in trouble?! Then add my boy Trouba! Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey yesterday:
Craig Anderson (3 GA, 35 SV, L) lost again last night and does that surprise anyone? He helped the Sens stay with it through the shootout but came out on the losing end with the Bolts' Ben Bishop standing tall for another win. During the post game interviews Anderson was a bit cranky about his recent performance and who wouldn't be? I mean, if I was Craig Anderson, I'd feel pretty bad about myself on a daily basis, but I digress. When asked about the outcome Anderson dismissed the shootout as just a "skills competition," uhm, isn't the entire sport a skills competition? How is that a valid argument against the format? Wow. Unfortunately for him he kept speaking, adding  "Flip a coin and call heads. That might be a better way to settle it.” Awww, who needs a diaper change?! Maybe it's nap time, too! Give me a break, Anderson. You think the shootout is the problem? Take a look in the mirror and you'll see your problem. I'm sure his comments have nothing to do with the fact that he's 20-26 all time in shootouts with an embarrassing .625 save percentage to go with it. Just when I thought Anderson couldn't find a way to be worse, here it is! Unfortunately for him everyone loves the shootouts, hell even most of the players do, the only guys that really complain about it are the goalies who get burnt more often than not. I don't know what he's complaining about, it's not like there's a huge difference in the quality of his play in the game before the shootout or during, it's all bad. He's bad. At this point I'd have one thing to say to the Ottawa coaching staff; start Robin Lehner for crying out loud! And wouldn't you know it? Lehner is slated to start tomorrow night. Don't make me look bad, Robin! On the upside, even if you do, none of us will ever look as bad as Anderson does out there. Anyway, here's what else I saw in the world o' fantasy hockey last night:
Michael Del Zotto was finally traded away from Broadway to Nashville in a straight up deal for defenseman Kevin Klein. No, not the actor, though given that Klein has only put up three points all season he might as well be the freakin’ actor for all the good he’s doing fantasy owners (there are none). The Rangers need offense and Del Zotto sure wasn’t providing that, but Klein is a big step down offensively regardless of how poorly Del Zotto's performing, so this move boils down to money and roster considerations for both teams. How does it affect their fantasy values? Well, If you haven’t gathered already Klein has no value at all so lets move on to who really matters, eh? Del Zotto should find himself on the top pairing with Shea Weber sooner than later and that could do wonders for his production and your chances of winning. Right now the Preds have second year upstart Roman Josi playing opposite of Weber and that seems to be working quite well, but put Del Zotto on Weber’s left side and you could see sparks fly. This is a low-risk move for the Preds because Del Zotto is an RFA at season’s end and if he signs an offer sheet with another team the Preds get some draft picks and if not they re-sign him at a discount. Win-win! For Del Zotto it's a chance to get his act together and earn himself a decent contract next season. He’s shown the ability to put up monster numbers in the past with 41 points (10 G, 31 A) back in 2011-12, but hasn’t reached that point total again with his production from the last two seasons combined. Granted one of those is the lockout-shortened season but still, that’s horrible! At any rate, keep an eye on Del Zotto moving forward and if he even hints at a good streak and you need scoring help on your blue line? Add him without a moment’s hesitation. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey last night: