Last night the unthinkable happened, Ben Bishop (5 SV, 1 GA, .800%) left the game late in the first period with what the Bolts say is a lower body injury. They call it an LBI, I call it a heart attack because that’s what I’m having watching Big Ben topple towards a possible stint on the injured list. Word has it he has to be re-evaluated before they can give a timetable for his return so they’ve called up their top prospect Andrei Vasilevskiy to help tend net with the woeful Evgeni Nabokov G (L, 18 SV, 3 GA, .857%) in the meantime. Proving he isn't the guy to carry the load in Bishop's absense, Nabby came in to replace Bishop and promptly gave up three goals on just 21 shots over two periods last night, gross. He has been awful in limited minutes this season and I sincerely doubt that he’ll do much better getting rolled out there as the starter in Bishop’s potential absence, so that makes Vasilevskiy an intriguing option if Bishop is out for an extended period of time.
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:
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:
Paul Stastny (2 G, 2 A, 4 SOG, +2) had his best game since, well, as long as I can remember last night with four points on four shots. Not since he last spent time centering the RPM line with Milan Hejduk and Ryan Smyth has he looked so good. When Stas burst onto the scene back in ’06 he convinced the fantasy hockey world that he’d be as good as gold posting 78 and 71 points in his first two seasons, respectively. He was rolling on into his third year when he broke his forearm, had surgery, recovered, and then returned only to break his foot and need to get that surgically repaired too. Showing real grit and a heaping load o’ talent, he came right back the next year with 79 points in 81 games and made you think injuries? What injuries? He’s good to go! Sadly since then, not so much. Despite staying healthy he wasn’t able to breach the 60 point mark in each of his last two seasons, finishing with 57 and 53 points, respectively.  And then came last season, the lockout shortened season. It’s hard to use last year as any sort of metric because of the wild amount of variables you can’t account for like how hard a guy worked out in the offseason, who he trained with, if he played overseas, the list goes on. Still, when you take Stas’ 40 GP last year and project out over 80 games he was on pace to score just 48 points, a career low. Effin’ eh, what happened?! Nothing much between this season and last considering this four point explosion comes on the heels of a nine game scoreless skid. He’s on pace to break that seemingly elusive 60 point mark this season and normally at this point I’d say don’t count on it, but with as good as the Avs are this season and as good as Stas once was, he might well make it. If not, he could always get Hejduk out of retirement and get the Avs to trade for Smyth, right? Anyway, here’s what else I saw in fantasy hockey yesterday: