Marian Hossa scored twice to help the Chicago Blackhawks post a 4-3 shootout win over Vancouver last night and tie the 2006-2007 Anaheim Ducks for the longest undefeated (in regulation) streak to start a season at 16 games. Please, blog, may I have some more?
The beginning is nigh! Yes my dear readers we’re drawing near to the start of the season so I won’t waste your time with a long blurb to kick this post off. I will say that this list is pretty comprehensive and if you can’t fill out your D based on this list you’re either playing in the deepest of leagues of you’re not very good at this fantasy hockey thing and should take up knitting. I covered as many guys as I could, but when I hit around the 65th rearguard there wasn’t much to say about the last ten guys so they became the honorable mentions. I guess that makes this a top 65 in some ways, but whatevs. There’s 75 names and sets o’ projections so I’m sticking to my guns. Plus, 75 sounds so much better than top 65, you know? As usual if I missed your guy or you have any questions, hit me up in the comments! At any rate, without further ado (there’s that word again), here are the 2014-2015 Fantasy Hockey Top 75 Defensemen:
Jonathan Bernier (2 GA, 25 SV, W) got the win and looked good doing it until he was hurt when Leafs defenseman Paul Ranger checked Patrice Bergeron (1 G, 1 A, 8 SOG, +2) into Bernier. Bergeron fell awkwardly on Bernier’s leg and he left without being able to put any weight on it. He’s scheduled for an MRI today and is listed as day-to-day with an LBI. He just returned from another injury only to get reinjured and honestly I think his season is done. That’s truly a shame, he deserved more considering how outstanding he has played for the Leafs this season, a team in the process of letting themselves and their fans down in a big way. Oddly that makes me happy. It’s Toronto, what can I say? At any rate, James Reimer (1 GA, 10 SV, W) came in to a standing ovation and held fort allowing one goal on 11 shots helping the Leafs to two critical points with the win. Reimer is what the Leafs have moving forward, it doesn’t look good for Bernier’s chances of returning this season, playoffs or not, but the results of the MRI will tell us more later today or tomorrow. Any Bernier owners should have already handcuffed Reimer to Bernier, but anyone looking for some goalie help can grab Reimer now. It’s the Leafs, and you’ve seen how they have been playing lately, so temper your expectations a bit. That said, a starter is a starter right now and Reimer is talented and the schedule is fairly favorable over the last four games with matchups against Winnipeg, Tampa Bay, Florida and Ottawa coming up. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey yesterday:
EDIT (21/2/14): Kane is now on LTIR and is out for the rest of the regular season. You can safely drop him in any yearly leagues. Patrick Kane (1 A, +2) apparently injured his left knee in a 4-0 victory over the Blues last night and it sounds like he’s going to be about for the rest of the regular season, or at least long enough to make sure he contributes nothing to his fantasy owners’ hopes and dreams of winning their leagues. Some reports say two weeks, others say three weeks, I say the rest of the regular season because why would the Hawks tempt fate and rush Kane back before the playoffs? Pro tip: they won't. I guess Brendan Morrow accidentally rolled into Kane’s knee after a hit from the Hawks’ Sheldon Brookbank. Well that’s great; it’s good to know two mostly worthless guys took one of the most valuable fantasy assets off the board for the playoffs. Can you sense my bitterness? Oh, I’m bitter. Like sour patch kids bitter. What, that’s sour? Fine, I’ll happily donate some of my bitterness to bitter it up further. So what do you do if you just lost Kane? Drink and cry, my friends, drink and cry. Before you get too deeply into the bottle, though, consider that Kane’s absence opens up TOI for some of the younger guys and will demand a reshuffling of the lines. It’s hard to say who will end up where, the Hawks have a ton of options, but Andrew Shaw (1 G, 3 SOG, +1, 2 PIM) has goals in back-to-back games and has seven points in nine games this month, so he might be worth a flier. A former Blackhawk now turned Panther is also worth a look as Brandon Pirri has been a roll since being traded to South Florida with seven points in his last eight games. Right now Kane owners are looking at this advice and cringing, thinking; “Shaw? Pirri? These are the guys you expect to replace Kane?” No, bitter Kane owner, I don’t! You can’t replace him, but you might be able to mitigate the impact to your hopes by looking into some of these guys, they might just be available to save your (and my) skins:
The Red Wings have been plagued by injury all season and when news that Henrik Zetterberg needed to have his herniated disc removed and was down for at least eight weeks, Wings fans and fantasy owners alike cried in their Molsons. You shouldn’t cry into your Molson though, no one likes watery beer; if we did we’d drink PBR or some shiz. Though Zetterberg is down his line mates remain good options for late season scoring boosts and if last night’s game was any indication, I’m not just blowing smoke here. Both Gustav Nyquist (1 G, 2 SOG, +1) and Johan Franzen (2 A, 3 SOG, +1) are skating on relatively fresh legs and though Z’s absence is a loss, it could open up more chances for both of them. Nyquist scored the game winner with OT winding down on a rebound when Peter Budaj kicked away a Franzen shot from the top of the circle and it was a nice display of soft hands by the young Swede. Though he’s returning from his own groin injury, Nyquist is immensely talented and he should sieze the opportunity to help drive the Wings’ offense in Z’s absence. He’ll need to put up more than two shots a game to do it, but he has the ability and could put up 20 more points down the stretch. As for Franzen, he isn’t without talent and opportunity either. He assisted on both goals for the Wings; first on a nice pass to Todd Bertuzzi and then on Nyquist’s game winner. The assist for the game winner was a bit fluky, but everyone knows that when in doubt put the puck on net and hope for the best, and here’s proof positive that’s a solid maxim to live by! The Mule has only played in 32 games so far due to injury but is 100% healthy now and has the potential to give you 20 or so more points before season’s end. He’s only owned in 61% of Yahoo leagues, and ~87% of ESPN leagues, so if you need a late season scoring boost, he’s among the better options available. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey last night: