The New Jersey Devils are the only winless team left in the NHL after Craig Anderson stopped 40 shots and the Ottawa Senators knocked off the Devils 5-2. Jason Spezza, Bobby Ryan and Erik Karlsson each scored in the win. Please, blog, may I have some more?
At this point, it's no surprise when Jamie Benn has a big night. You almost expect it against Carolina even though he was pointless in the previous three games. Well, it happened on Tuesday with Benn scoring his league leading 19th goal on his only shot of the game with three assists. He's now on a 120 point pace for the year with 39 points in 28 games; I don't know if it's crazier that he's on that pace or that he's not leading the league in points (more on that later). Bottom line is that last year's Art Ross winner is proving that it was no fluke. Here's what else I saw on a busy Tuesday night:
While I've talked about the Flames being a major disappointment in this space multiple times this year, Johnny Gaudreau certainly doesn't belong in that category. The young gun is keeping a point per game this season and he had his best game to date on Friday, scoring a hat trick, adding an assist with five shots and two PIM in the 5-4 OT win against the Bruins. The shots are a little lower than you'd like for Gaudreau to reach true superstar status but he's probably pushing the top 25 overall at this point. Not bad for a fifth round pick who most thought was too small to make it in the league. Here's what else I saw on a busy weekend:
Hey guys! The season starts in two weeks, so I wanted to power through these rankings so you have them in time for your upcoming drafts. I am going to keep the comments to each player shorter than in the past unless it's someone I feel most would be surprised at the ranking, but as always, feel free to ask anything in the comments section below. I will do these rankings through the top-200 and then have a separate post coming up for players that I like the most outside the top-200, mostly for upside reasons because that's what you're looking for with your last few picks. Let's get right to it!
Hello all! I'm back with the next addition of my rankings getting us through the top 75 overall players. At this point in the draft, you should still be targeting best player available. While I'm a proponent of waiting on goalies, unless your entire league is reaching for goalies, you're probably best off getting one goalie at some point in the top 75. At this part of the draft, we're reaching the end of the goalies who could put up an elite season that can carry you to fantasy glory. If your league is reaching for goalies, don't panic. Simply keep taking the top skaters available and take multiple goalies later on hoping someone takes the next step in their game. In this part of the draft, we are looking at a ton of young players with upside who could find themselves in the top 50 next season, especially the wunderkind leading off the list. Let's get to it!
If you hadn’t already seen or heard about the hit yet you’re about to get a heavy dose because the league has levied a four game suspension against Dustin Byfuglien today for his brutal cross-check to the back of the head of the Rangers’ J.T. Miller earlier this week. No one can deny it was a dirty play. It happened away from the puck and Miller was completely defenseless, so the suspension is absolutely warranted. I like Buff but I think he can get a bit out of hand sometimes and this is one of those times. This sort of thing is a risk with his style of play so it’s to be expected in small doses, but to pull this kind of crap when his team is fighting for their playoff lives and worse, fantasy owners are fighing for their own playoff lives and championship dreams this garbage costs his owners in the biggest way at the worst possible time. There aren't many options at this point in the season, but there are moves you can make to mitigate the damage.
Through nine seasons with the Buffalo Sabres Drew Stafford has mostly been a yawnstipating, forgettable skater that shows intermittent flashes of solid play but quickly regresses to his usual bleh. He did have a couple 20-goal seasons and even a 30-goal year back in 2010 when he potted 31 goals in just 62 games and it seemed like he might be poised to take a step to the next level. Alas, he never did and the Sabres didn’t help much by getting worse and worse until they hit rock bottom in 2014. Luckily for Staff he was traded to the Winnipeg Jets in the Great Tank for McDavid campaign and with 12 points (6 G, 6 A) in his last 11 games he’s playing at a level that he may never have achieved before on big ice.
Kris Versteeg did his best impression of Dan Boyle the other night and blocked an Eric Fehr shot with his hand. It didn’t work and predictably his hand is broken. Hawks Head Coach Joel Quenneville said it’s doubtful that the injury will require surgery, so that’s good, but Steeg is down for a month or so. That’s bad. Despite the recent slow down in production, Steeg hits the IR third in points for the Hawks with 27 in 34 games played. He was on pace for 65 points, 20 goals and a plus-32 and considering his 10.8% shooting percentage is right in line with his career average of 11.5%, it’s a safe bet that he’d have hit all those marks. All this from a guy you likely picked up for nothing. Sadface. There’s a silver lining in this dark cloud, though, and his name is Teuvo Teräväinen.
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:
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: