Pekka Rinne is headed to the AHL for a rehab assignment and should be back in the crease for the Preds sometime over the next two weeks. That’s great news for fantasy owners and Preds fans alike, but what can Rinne give you when he returns? Frankly I’d expect every ounce of what he normally would give you if he hadn’t been hurt. When asked about how he was doing Rinne said “So far I feel really comfortable, I'm happy how things have gone in practice and how things have gone so far. I think I'm actually a little bit surprised it's been going so well. But like I said, it's still a process but for sure I feel like I'm really close to game shape and now it's just a final couple of games before I jump on the ice with the Nashville team." You have to love the sound of that if you’re a Rinne owner. With Devan Dubnyk keeping the bench warm for de facto starter Carter Hutton (2 GA, 14 SV, W) you’d think that Hutton would get the backup job once Rinne returned, but Hutton’s two-way deal and Dubnyk’s one way deal say otherwise, so expect Hutton to be sent back down to the AHL so Dubnyk can continue to collect a salary on the bench. While most Rinne owners held him, IR slot or not, he is only owned in 75% of ESPN leagues and 84% of Yahoo leagues, so there’s a slim chance he’s out there for you to grab, so go scope out your wire and if he is? Grab him now, now, yesterday! Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey yesterday:
Going into this season one of the bigger questions in goaltending was who would start for the Devils; perhaps the greatest goalie of all time or Cory Schneider (2 GA, 14 SV, W)? Sounds like an easy call, right? I figured it’d be Schneider. Why else did the Devils bring him in but to grab the torch from Martin Brodeur and run with it? And had anyone seen this guy play in Vancouver, stuck behind Roberto Luongo? It was a bittersweet symphony that Cory conducted, showing that he was all too capable of handling the starting job somewhere. While Marty is a legend, he’s over 40 and most guys don’t last until they’re 40 so don’t get me started on being productive in your forties. So I drafted Schneider everywhere, and as the season started and Marty came out of the gates hot my heart sank. Still, I stuck with Schneider and preached you do the same as often as it made sense, secretly hoping Brodeur would break down and Schneider would get his chance, and ho ho! It has happened. Schenider has started 10 games this month after only seeing a combined 16 starts in the first three months of the season. What’s more, he’s been absolutely stellar, Vezina worthy, with a season line that now sits at 10-10-7/ 1.87/.926/3 compared to Brodeur’s 13-11-4/2.52/.899 line. Marty’s implosion against the Rangers in the Stadium Series game his grip on the starting job had completely slipped away. Now Marty is saying he wouldn’t be surprised if the Devils traded him. Oh come on, old man, what’s this? A pity party?! I doubt very highly the Devils move him, but it’s safe to say Schneids is the man for the Devils moving forward. I said it before, Ill say it again, if you have a question that starts with “Who do you like ROS, Cory Schneider…” and you can stop there, the answer is always Cory Schneider. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey last night:
Normally I focus on one player that stands out to me as I write these rundowns, but tonight I have to switch it up because the Edmonton Oilers have come alive! Semyon Varlamov stayed in the entire game taking an 8-2 pounding from the league’s youngest team. It's pretty ironic that back in 1995 when Avs Head Coach Patrick Roy was left in for all 9 goals scored effectively ending his career with the Habs (and he nearly retired completely) and now he's gone and done the same thing to Varlamov, classy. I never liked Roy. Anyway, here’s the rundown for the Oil: Taylor Hall (3 G, 1 A, 7 SOG, + 1) is elite and should be the guy that leads this team back to greatness. He’s got all the skills and he put them all on display tonight. Jordan Eberle (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG, even) is the other half of the core of this offensive unit that could be one of the best in the league in the second half. David Perron (1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG, +2) is having a career year and after not living up to expectations for years seems to have found a home in the Great White North. Ales Hemsky (1 G, 1 A, 1 SOG, +1) is showing signs of life as well. He’s one of my second-half sleepers. Mark Acrobello (1 G, 1 A, 5 SOG, +1) remains a risky add at best. He’s tiny and inconsistent, but could live well off the table scraps of others if the Oil take off like I think they can. Sam Ganger (1 G, 2 SOG, even) should take this opportunity to step up and be a leader for this young bunch. He was once a highly touted prospect himself. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (1 A, 2 SOG, +1) chipped in an assist, but should be right in the middle of all the scoring sooner than later. What would a mention of the Oilers’ potential be without the Nudge?! Nail Yakupov (1 SOG, -1) continues to be a huge bust and what a tickertease for his owners. I never buy in early on young Russians because so few of them pan out and Yakupov seems to be the same. On a team flush with young talent this kid is playing an embarassing season of hockey with a -17 rating and just 9 points in 28 games played so far. Nail, I think the KHL is calling. After a terrible start to the season it seems like this young team is getting its legs and finding their identity as a team. They’ve won four of their last five games and with performances like this there’s a possibility this team might, may be able to ull itself out of the basement and fight for a playoff spot. After adding Breezy to upgrade their goalie situation and a favorable schedule going up to the Olympic break facing the likes of the Flames, Jets, Blue Jackets, Hurricanes and Predators, things are looking up for the Edmonton faithful. Is the horrible start a thing of the past? Maybe, but you can’t deny tonight’s results, and this didn’t come against a bad team with lackluster goaltending either. Don’t miss out on this potential buffet o’ fantasy black gold, grab some Oil while you can get ‘em cheap! Anyway, here’s what else I saw in fantasy hockey recently: