Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson pulled his best Neo imitation when he turned aside all 42 agents, er, shots in a 2-0 blanking of Buffalo last night. Mr. Anderson has been taking the red pill and giving opposing offenses cold doses of reality through the first quarter of the season. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Things can change quickly in hockey. Matt Murray led the Pens to two Stanley Cups, then struggled mightily last season and to open this year. Now, Murray has caught fire once again. The netminder had a 33 save shutout on Friday against the Jets. That means in his last 6 games, he's allowed 6 goals total with his worst save percentage being .931. We've seen the upside before, and that's of a top 5 goaltender, if not more. First off, he's somehow available in 15% of leagues, which is absurd. If you're lucky enough to be in one, grab him immediately. Two, if you own Casey DeSmith, you can safely drop him. Lastly, I doubt you'll be able to trade for him given his hot run, but I'd much rather do that than sell high. The upside of Murray is too high to pass on, and with the Pens playing as well as they lately, the floor is fairly high too. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
No, I'm not talking about the musical. I've used "Teach Me How to Dougie" before, so I needed to change it up. Dougie Hamilton scored the first hat trick of his career on Saturday, albeit in a 6-3 loss to the Panthers. He probably won't match last season's 50 point total, but Hamilton has been just as good. He's over three shots per game, the plus-minus is solid, the PIM are there, and a career high in goals is a near-certainty (he needs one more). As someone who has a betting ticket on the Flames to win the Cup, I just wish Glen Gulutzan would play Dougie more. Their first pair is so damn good that there's no reason for Hamilton to be under 25 minutes per game. Regardless, he's a solid #2 fantasy D for the all-around contribution with upside to be a bottom-end #1. With his recent play (11 points in his last 10 games), hopefully that happens. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
It seems like forever and a day since Matt Duchene requested a trade from the Colorado Avalanche. His wish finally came true on Sunday in a massive three-way trade between the Avs, Senators, and Predators. The Sens acquired Duchene, the Predators received Reid's favorite Kyle Turris and the Avs get a ton of future assets. For the Senators, I'm not a big fan. Is Duchene better than Turris? I would say so and Duchene had one more year on his contract than Turris. However, adding a ton here, including a first round pick and Shane Bowers, their first round pick from the 2017 draft, is a lot to add. For Smashville, adding Turris without losing anyone from the current roster besides Samuel Girard is a nice move for a team positioned to go for it. It may be more futures heavy than Colorado originally wanted but boy, did they get a ton in this move. They effectively received 2 1sts, 3 2nds, a third and Andrew Hammond for goaltender depth in the organization. I love this move for Colorado long term, like the aggressiveness of Nashville using futures to push (and like signing Turris immediately to a 6/36 deal), and question Ottawa's decision here. For fantasy, Duchene probably gets a small boost because he should slide onto a line with Hoffman and Stone right away. Assuming Turris plays with Forsberg, I think this move could help him as well (at the least it's neutral). I'm very interested to see if Girard plays for the Avs right away. He looked great in his brief stint for Nashville and the former second round pick could becomes fantasy relevant immediately if he's in Denver. I'll be sure to talk more about this trade with Reid on Tuesday's podcast. Let's take a look at what else happened this weekend around the league:
Going into the season Sergei Bobrovsky, G (L, 9 SV, 3 GA, .750%) was one of the most sought after fantasy asset in goal and for good reason, the former Vezina winner was coming off of two straight fantastic years for less than stellar teams and at just 26 years old and entering his fifth year on big ice all the stars seemed like up not only for Bob to maintain his Vezina quality play but for the Blue Jackets to step up to his level, too. So far this season that hasn’t happened and yesterday everything went from bad to worse for Bob as he suffered an apparent LBI making a routine save in the first. There’s no word as to the extent or severity of the injury, but he needed to be helped off the ice after staying on all fours for a few minutes and from the looks of it it’s going to be a groin thing, and he might be out for a while.
I’m not a fan of shootouts. I think they belong in the All Star Skills competition, not playing a critical role in determining who goes home with two points and who goes home with regrets. In a sport where individual achievement is only possible through teamwork we’ve boiled down deciding games to a one-on-one competition that’s antithetical to the very nature of the game. A game where who you play with and the chemistry you have with those players has as much impact on your chances for success as your individual skill does. Why does it have to be this way? Do the fans really prefer shorter games this much? How often do teams really go into double OT anyway? Bah. If thats the worry, lets adopt the AHL's new three-on-three OT rules and watch the fun! Of course this rant is brought on by the longest shoot out in the history of the universe last night between the Cat and Caps. Twenty rounds this circus went. Roberto Luongo, G (W, 23 SV, 1 GA, .958%) stood tall and man was I too harsh on Lu in the preseason; he’s been fantastic all year. He must really love living in Florida. I digress, on the other side of this madness was Braden Holtby, G (L, 28 SV, 1 GA, .966%) who took the loss but not because he played poorly. He held his ground for 19 rounds until he finally cracked and gave one up to Nick Bjugstad (1 SOG) in what was Jugs’ second attempt of the night. Why second attempt? Because the Cats ran out of people to take the bloody shots so they had to give him another go. Ugh. This proves who the better team was last night how, exactly? And of course this wasn’t the only shootout of the night, the Wings and Jackets needed one to decide their game too. Shootouts are so bunk, man. They're about as useful as FoxTrax. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey yesterday:
For some time now the most talked about injury a player suffered in hockey has been the dreaded concussion. Well, this season we’ve got a new injury de jour, and it’s the broken finger. Everyone is breaking their freakin’ digits this season; Victor Hedman, Sergei Bobrovsky and Ben Lovejoy are all down for various amounts of time with broken fingers and yesterday Torey Krug and James Wisniewski joined the club with broken a finger each. Krug is out for two to three weeks and Wisniewski is out for one to two weeks. Mark Letestu figured Wiz was going to be lonely on IR so he pulled his groin and joins the IR crew himself for at least a few weeks, but who owns Letestu anyway? Hey, speaking of concussions, both T.J. Oshie and David Backes are both down with concussions with of course no time table for their return. As per the standard procedure both are out for at least a week at which time they’ll be evaluated and if they show know post concussion syndrome symptoms they can be cleared to play, otherwise they’re down for another week until they are reevaluated by team doctors. So they’re basically week-to-week. Is the entire St. Louis roster week-to-week now or what? Regardless, these aren’t the only injuries, they’re just the most recent and you know what that means? To the waiver wire we go!
When asked whether or not Anthony Duclair (1 G, 2 SOG) was going to stick with the Rangers or get sent back to juniors, Rangers Head Coach Alain Vigneault quipped, “Talent has no age.” True enough, but the question isn’t whether or not Duke is talented, it’s whether or not he’s ready for big ice. Few dispute Duke’s promise as a potential top-six forward in the NHL. Over the last few seasons in the QMJHL he ate up the competition to the tune of tune of 215 points in 183 games. Last season he nearly tallied 100 points in 59 games falling just short with 99 powered by 50 goals. Yeah, the QMJHL is known for inflated scoring numbers, but still, that’s baller. He’s shown himself to be useful at the NHL level already too, getting his NHL career off to a hot start with five points in seven games, points in three of his last four and sporting a healthy plus-five rating over that span. It sure seems like he belongs with numbers like that, but really, he probably belongs in the AHL.
A few goalies changed addresses last night with Devan Dubnyk getting shipped off to Nashville for Matt Hendricks which left a hole in Edmonton, so they added Ben Scrivens for a third round pick. Wait, a third rounder for Scrivens? Talk about over paying! Scrivens is 27 years old and only now has he done anything worth note and that came on the heels of starter Jon Quick getting hurt. Had Quick not gone down this trade would have been missed by almost everyone and dismissed as a nonevent and it still should be. The Oilers' defense is terrible and Scrivens' incredible run was largely driven by that staunch LA defense, not Scrivens' newly discovered skills. Don't get me wrong, Scrivens played well, but not well enough to lose his job to Martin Jones in fairly short order, so it couldn't have been that good. So, if you take that staunch Kings D and replace it with a porous Oilers' D, what do you think will happen with Scrivens' numbers? Right into the toilet, that's what. While he may see a modest uptick in starts if he can earn a 1-B status to Ilya Bryzgalov's 1-A, and that's a big if, this move does little to improve his fantasy value. In the same vein, Devan Dubnyk will likely do the same thing he always has done, under perform and blame it on the D. Not saying that he personally blames his mediocre play on the defense, but he has a handful of apologists north of the border who love to sing that song. Well, it's a lame song, like Kenny G lame, so don't listen! Don't get me wrong, Dubnyk does have an upside and it's true that he hasn't had an opportunity to show what he can do yet, or is it? Wouldn't a better goalie have made more of the situation that Dubnyk did? I think so. Does he get the chance to prove the haters (me) wrong now? Nope! Pekka Rinne should be ready to return within the next few weeks and it seems the Preds are sick of the bleh duo of Carter Hutton and Marek Mazanec, so there you go. Dubnyk is a UFA after this season so you can expect him to walk and try and find a team that will offer him more opportunities than sitting behind Rinne in Nashville, so like the Scrivens deal, this does little to add to his value. In the end it sounds like there was a lot of noise about nothing here. Neither move helps your fantasy team and if you need it to, you're already done with this season of fantasy hockey. Hey, baseball is getting ready to spin back up again, so there's that! Anyway, here's what else I saw in a short night o' fantasy hockey last night: