Going into Monday's game, Braden Holtby was 14-0-1 with a 1.85 GAA and .940 sv% in his last 16 starts. Naturally, he found a way to even improve on those on Monday as he stopped all 31 shots he faced in the 2-0 win over the Sabres, including an incredible point blank stop on Evander Kane to maintain the shutout in the final minute. At this point, he's running away with the Vezina Trophy and the only thing that will stop him from winning it is injury or himself. He's the clear cut #1 fantasy goalie and will have a shot at finishing as the #1 player in the player rater based on RCL categories. Here's what else I saw in last night's games:
Riley Sheahan (1 A, 1 SOG, even) has five points in his last five (2 G, 3 A) and is currently on pace for 10 points in 15 games this season since being called up from Wings’ AHL affiliate the Grand Rapids Griffins. It will be interesting to see which of the Wings’ dynamic young forwards will get sent down when Pavel Datsyuk returns after the Olympic break, but Sheahan is making a serious case that it shouldn’t be him. Gustav Nyqvist is making a similar claim with his play, so it might be Tomas Jurco that gets the boot given his inability to generate consistent offense in his time with the big club. I’ve mentioned Sheahan before, and it probably went something like this: “This kid has some serious offensive chops with a big shot and great playmaking ability. He has all the tools to become a top-six power forward in the NHL and already knows how to use his big frame to help his puck possession game, which is pretty damn good to begin with. He can play both ends of the ice, has a solid hockey IQ and should be on everyone’s radar as we come down the stretch this season in fantasy hockey.” Wow, sounds like that guy knows what he’s talking about, you should listen to him. I’d grab Sheahan in deeper leagues if you need a scoring boost with the caveat that he may end up drawing the short stick and heading back down to the AHL at some point this season, but if not, he’s well worth owning for the remainder of this season if nothing else. Anyway, here’s what else I saw on a seriously short night o’ fantasy hockey:
Tyler Bozak (2 G, 1 A, 3 SOG, even) seems to be working really hard to make up for the fact that he listens to Miley Cyrus. No, seriously, he does! He chose the Leafs’ postgame song once earlier in the year and put on the ole’ wrecking ball herself. That might be why he sucked so hard to start the season despite having the mighty duo of James van Riemsdyk and Phil Kessel on his wings. Just how well has he been doing? Over the last five games he has four goals and six points with three goals coming in the last two games. Stretch that out a bit more and he has 15 points in his last 12 games and if you look at his whole year he’s rockin’ a line with 22 points in 24 games with a plus-12 rating to boot! This is easily Bozak’s best season as a pro and had the first half not been, well, cut in half, he might be among the league leaders in scoring if it wasn’t for one scary indicator, his shooting percentage which sits at an obese 28.1% so far. Why obese? Because that shiz is not healthy and it screams regression to the mean, that’s why! Sorry, didn’t mean to get uppity there. I digress, his track record to date isn’t that great and with that big shooting percentage gut of his hanging over his belt I doubt we can expect him to continue this torrid pace for the rest of the season. With that being said, he plays with some seriously nasty snipers and even if he slumps a bit he can still live off their table scraps and his TOI has spiked up over 20 minutes per. He’s basically gone in ESPN leagues (~99% owned) but he’s only owned in 33% of Yahoo! Leagues. Oh, Yahoo, you let me down again. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey last night:
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:
Aleksander Barkov (1 G, 2 SOG, +1) scored a very sexy goal after stealing the puck in the offensive zone and has started his NHL career with the same type of success he’s had since he was 15 years old. Unbelievably enough that was just three effin’ years ago and Barkov turned just 18 years old on September 2nd of this year! That’s just days before the 2013-14 training camp was set to kick off. Despite his youth he’s already averaging 16 minutes a night and shows no signs that he can’t handle the speed and strength of the game at the NHL level. The rookie has points in back-to-back games and is on pace for 30 points with 12 goals this year. Aleks is wise beyond his years in hockey sense and has an uncanny ability to read situations quickly and make good decisions with the puck. He’s technically sound in almost every area and will can be an elite defenseman in the NHL as soon as next year. The Panthers have a rich crop of talented young defensemen and the 2nd overall pick in the 2013 draft is already the brightest star among them. He’s a must own in deeper/keeper leagues and will be relevant in most formats soon. Anyway, here’s what else I saw on a short night o’ fantasy hockey: