As a chance of pace, instead of doing a big weekend recap, I'm going to highlight some injuries, trades, and line shuffling that could have some impact on teams and players for fantasy hockey. I'll be back to my usual set of daily notes on Wednesday morning. Let's get to it!
We talked about Mikael Granlund on last Friday's podcast for a few minutes. Granlund was on an 11 game point streak, the longest of any player during this season, going into Saturday's game. You can say that he extended it in style. Against the Canucks, Granlund scored his first career hat trick on six shots while also having an assist and finishing +4. That brings his totals to a ridiculous 15+33 in 51 games while being +30. He's now a top 10 forward on the season based on RCL categories finally delivering on the hype surrounding him entering the league. As for where he'll be ranked going into next season, check out the podcast. Here's what else happened around the league this weekend:
I think most fantasy hockey players would agree that Antti Raanta is worth streaming every time he gets the start. The problem has been that Raanta rarely plays because he's behind one of the best goalies in the world, Henrik Lundqvist. A healthy Lundqvist never sat three games in a row while healthy. Until this weekend. After a game on Thursday, Vigneault turned to Raanta again and he posted a 26 save shutout in the 1-0 win over his former team in Chicago. To the surprise of everyone, Raanta started again on Sunday and posted another shutout, this time an easy 5-0 win over the Devils in which Raanta posted 19 saves. If you streamed Raanta on Sunday, hold him until Tuesday to see if he gets another game. This certainly isn't going to last, this is Lundqvist's team, but ride the hot wave while you can. At the least, Raanta is a must-stream every time he gets the nod. Let's take a look at everything else that happened over the weekend:
At this time last year, the Columbus Blue Jackets were a trendy pick to make a jump into the playoffs. Let's just say that almost any chance of that was shot down in the first two weeks of the season. The Blue Jackets starting 0-8 and lost the first 7 by at least 2 goals. The team was a complete mess leading them to fire their coach and hire John Tortorella, who let's just say belongs nowhere near an NHL bench. They also altered the core of their franchise with the Seth Jones - Ryan Johansen blockbuster and look for the team to breakout post-hype. The Jackets have a lot of interesting young forwards along with some older guys who still carry plenty of value so let's take a look!
To start the year, John Gibson was stuck in the AHL because the Ducks wanted to get him playing time. It took an injury to Fredrik Anderson for Gibson to start getting playing time and now Bruce Boudreau has realized that Gibson, their goalie of the future, is their present as well. On Thursday, Gibson had his second consecutive 1-0 win stopping all 21 shots against the Oilers. On Sunday, Gibson stopped 19 of 20 shots in the 4-1 win over the Jets. In 15 starts, Gibson has an absurd 1.63 GAA and a .932 save percentage. After an absolutely dreadful start, the Ducks are in a playoff spot thanks mostly to Gibson. Here's what else has happened around the league going back to the 31st of last year:
I'm back! I hope all of the Americans reading enjoyed their Thanksgiving and that everyone had a good weekend. I have a whole week's worth of games to recap so instead of listing every player individually, I am going to go game by game and highlight the key points in each game. This way, I won't mess up adding up players stats across a bunch of games or miss a player having a big impact in one game. In the latter case, Ryan Getzlaf had arguably the game of the week on Tuesday, dishing five assists in the 5-3 win over Calgary. After his appendectomy, he has 14 points in 12 games (13 assists) so he's getting back to his elite status. The goals should come with 46 shots and only 1 goal on the season. Here's a look at every game at every game from last week:
Petr Mrazek was the goalie waiting in the wings, for the Wings, for a couple years until the end of last season. He took over the job and played well through the playoffs until they lost to the Lightning in 7 games. Now, he's on the better side of the Wings platoon in net and he showed why he should get the majority of the starts on Tuesday, stopping all 38 shots against Washington in the 1-0 win, including a whopping 15 shots from Alex Ovechkin. Ideally, you would still own Jimmy Howard with Mrazek but Mrazek looks to be on the better side of the split right now. Here's what else I saw on the massive slate on Tuesday:
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.
Since Corey Crawford went down with his latest injury the Blackhawks have had six games and Scott Darling, G (L, 38 SV, 3 GA, .927%) has started four of them until Antti Raanta, G (W, 23 SV, 1 GA, .960%) won last night in the second game of a back-to-back. In fact, Raanta has only played in six games so far this season to Darling’s seven so it begs the question, has Darling usurped Raanta as Crawdad backup? It sure seems that way. It’s clear that Raanta isn’t a guy you can count on for long streaks of solid play. He’s fine in spot starts and sheltered minutes, but some time in the AHL wouldn’t hurt him at all, and so far it seems that the 6’ 6” Darling has caught the attention of Blackhawk’s Head Coach Joel Quenneville. When asked about the situation Quenneville didn’t offer much insight, but does he ever? He did have this to offer on Darling though "He's played well, every time he's been in the net he's been consistent, looks big (and) handles the puck well. Keep him going." That bodes well for Darling sticking around, but either way it doesn’t seem like we’ll have to wait very long to find out how this situation is going to shake out because Crawdad was a surprise participant in the morning skate for the Hawks this past weekend. He didn’t speculate on when he’ll return to the lineup but the fact that his foot is well enough for him to skate on is a good sign that he’ll be back in the next few weeks at most. If I had to put money down I’d say Darling has earned the backup job and it’s Raanta who will head down to the AHL when he returns. In the meantime, both should be owned in deep leagues. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey this weekend:
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: