Patrik Elias (3 A, 3 SOG, +2) was automatic at one point in his career, in fact he was almost always a sure thing and as recently as 2011-12 he was just shy of a point-per-game player. Fast-forward a few years and father time is finally catching up with Elias this season as he’s struggled to stay healthy and stay consistent. Still, a bad season for Elias means he’s going to top the 60-point marker by season’s end, even at his age, so he retains some value in most formats. Right now he’s absolutely on fire with 12 points in his last 10 games. Some speculate the recent birth of his second child has given Elias new life, and that might be true, but I think it has more to do with his pairing with surging rookie Adam Henrique (3 A, 1 SOG, +2, 2 PIM) instead. Henrique exploded after the Olympic break with 14 points in 12 games and that coincided with his being shifted to a line with Elias, so there you go! The trio of helpers he tallied last night serve as more evidence that he is going to keep producing, trying to get his team into the playoffs, so if you enjoy winning you might want to add Elias. It shouldn’t be hard if you’re a Yahoo player as he’s only owned in 58% leagues there, but sad news for you ESPN people, he’s at 100% ownership there. It’s kind of ironic that ESPN has all but abandoned any semblance of decent coverage for the NHL and yet their fantasy hockey system seems to be far more active than Yahoos. Not that Yahoo has been a pillar of support and good coverage for the NHL, but ESPN really has been that bad. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world of fantasy hockey yesterday:
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:
Evgeni Malkin (1 G, 3 A, 1 SOG, +3, 2 PIM) decided he wasn’t putting in enough effort lately and upped his game with 4 points against the toothless Panthers. He even chipped in 2 PIM for good measure! Geno is on pace for 103 points which wouldn’t in itself be historic, but being on pace for just 21 goals would make it a season for the history books, so expect that this torrid pace to slow a bit, and hitting the century mark? I don’t think he’ll get there. Lies! They say. Slander! They cry. Not so! Just 15 of the 270 (~5%) 100 point seasons by a player came with fewer than 30 goals:
Player Goals Assists Points Year
Bobby Clarke 27 89 116 ‘74-‘75
Paul Coffey 29 74 103 ‘89-‘90
Ron Francis 24 76 100 ‘92-‘93
Ron Francis 27 92 119 ‘95-‘96
Doug Gilmour 27 84 111 ‘93-‘94
Wayne Gretzky 23 79 102 ‘95-‘96
Joe Thornton 29 96 125 ‘05-‘06
Joe Thornton 22 92 114 ‘06-‘07
Henrik Sedin 29 83 112 ‘09-‘10
Adam Oates 23 79 102 ‘89-‘90
Adam Oates 25 90 115 ‘90-‘91
Bobby Orr 29 72 101 ‘72-‘73
Al MacInnis 28 75 103 ‘90-‘91
Brian Leetch 22 80 102 ‘91-‘92
Craig Janney 24 82 106 ‘92-‘93
I didn't even bother ordering those by year, or goals, or anything, why? Well, I entered it that way and editing a table is really annoying, seriously. My laziness aside, it doesn't matter because the point remains the same. Break it down even further and you'll see that less than half of those seasons came with fewer than 25 goals. Even Malkin's own 100 point campaigns were always supported by buckets o’ goals with 47, 35 and 50 goals scored respectively. Should he break the 100 point marker this year it would be a rare achievement amongst rare achievements, making it unlikely. When you rely on others to score goals for you to score points, the control that player has over his own destiny is largely in the hands of other men. Other men being the likes of Sidney Crosby and James Neal is nice, but what happens if Neal goes down again? I think Malkin is more likely to return to a point per game pace at some point and finish with 90ish points. Ho hum. Anyway, here's what else I saw in fantasy hockey recently:
Jimmy Howard is on pace to start 75 games for the Red Wings and win just 21 one of them. I don’t think anyone thought Howard would revert back to his 2010-11 form so completely, but the similarities between that abysmal season and this year’s campaign are startling. This isn't about Howard, though, as he's been so bad it has opened the door for a once lauded, since (somewhat) forgotten name to reappear on your fantasy radar! Jonas Gustavsson. As recently as 2009 the Monster was touted as the best goalie in the world outside the NHL. Think about that, the best goalie in the world! So what happened? When he arrived in Toronto expectations were high and he responded by posting a decent rookie campaign with 16 Wins, 2.87 GAA, .902 SV% in 42 GP (39 starts), but the wheels quickly came off and after two consecutive disappointing years he was shipped off to the Wings. Was this a case of not living up to the hype? I don't think so. Rumors have it that the Leafs’ coaching staff tried to eff with his mechanics because they felt his style was too unorthodox for long term success at the NHL level. If true, that could very well be the source of his less than stellar play and likely some injuries as well. This season it appears that the Wings' coaching staff aren't repeating the mistakes of others and the Monster is gobbling up pucks left and right. Last season is a throw away due to the lockout, but this year he looks a hell of a lot better than Howard, doesn’t he? The sample size is still small but he looks absolutely fantastic in limited work so far. If Howard continues to struggle and Gustavsson continues to play well it won’t be long before the Wings start giving the Monster more starts. Does he have a chance to take over the starting job outright? No, I don't think so. Howard has a huge contract and the Wings simply can't afford to relegate him to a backup. Despite that, he’s absolutely worth adding in deep leagues and well worth keeping a close eye on in standard formats. Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy hockey:

Sergei Bobrovsky’s hot streak hit a mustard-colored wall in Nashville as the Predators pounded Columbus 5-1 and sent the Jackets to their first regulation loss in 13 games. Nashville scored four in the first period and chased Bobrovsky from the net by the middle of the period as they scored four goals in three minutes. Please, blog, may I have some more?