The Los Angeles Kings have been devastated by injuries all season, most notably to their defense and it has cost them quite a bit so far this season, but they’re still in the playoff hunt and that’s all that matters. Still, going into the post season with their patchwork defense isn’t something the Kings were keen on, so you knew they’d make a deal before the deadline and sure enough they lifted Andrej Sekera from the humid hockey hellhole of Carolina to the royal court of the defending Stanley Cup Champions yesterday. While the move doesn’t make Sekera a must-add across all formats, he’s definitely going to see a significant bump in value from the move.
Johan Franzen can’t go very long without getting hurt and he kept the streak alive last night after hitting the IR with what the Wings are calling an “upper-body issue.” An issue? Like he has emotional baggage from his childhood issue? It’s an injury, call it what it is. Does calling it an “issue” make it seem less severe? Even if it did, why bother? Franzen’s 22 points in 33 games aren’t exactly bringing the house down, eh? Anyway, the point of this anti-Franzen rant is that his absence frees up an opportunity for AHL goals leader Teemu Pulkkinen and his cannon of a shot to get a chance on big ice and it will be exciting to see what he can do.
If you drafted Mikael Granlund expecting a solid season after he burst onto the scene late last year you’re in the same boat with me so lets cry together. Eh, it’s not that serious considering his ADP, but if Mike has spurned you you might consider taking a look at his brother Markus Granlund, C (2 A, 1 SOG, +3). Markus has four points in his last two games and eight points in nine games since being called up to big ice and makes him absolutely worth a look. He’s not unlike his brother in that he’s a bit small at 5’11”, 185 lbs and generally offensively gifted, especially in dishing the puck out. He’s poised, has great hands and great vision and can be counted on for exactly what we hoped to get out of his brother Mike. The downsie is that his defensive game can make him a liability, but he wins faceoffs so that helps mitigate the problem. With sheltered minutes he could be a solid contributor while playing most of his time on a line with Johnny Gaudreau (1 A, 1 SOG, +2) and Jiri Hudler (1 G, 2 SOG, +1). That’s a unit with a solid mix of veteran stability and young talent on the rise, so it bodes well for Granlund’s continued production given he’s primarily a playmaker. That line is a microcosm of what the Flames are as a team this season and that’s not a bad thing. Moving forward I figure you can expect Granlund to keep the pace up with a bit of regression. I don’t see a 60-point season in the works, but I think around 45-50 points is definitely within reach. For those of you in deeper pools this guy has a lot of value and he’s worth taking a flier on now. If he keeps it up, those in more shallow leagues might find themselves picking him up sooner than later, so why not sooner? Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey last night:
Patience is a virtue, that’s what they always said. Who are they? They don’t matter. What matters is the idea. As I’ve grown and aged like a fine wine I’ve discovered that patience is indeed a virtue. It doesn’t really matter what aspect of life you want to touch on, being patient is going to help you get where you want to go, and get what you want to get. So what do you need to achieve fantasy hockey glory? Say it with me now class, patience! Yes ladies, you need to relax and be patient. Every season some guys start slow. Every season some guys start hot. Every season the guys who started hot but had no business doing so, by and large, slow down or just stop scoring. Every season the guys who started slow but had no business doing so, by and large, start scoring. I’m fielding a lot of questions about whether or not to trade Nathan MacKinnon away for pennies on the dollar. Brock Nelson seems to be the guy everyone is willing to add and they don’t care who they drop to get him and Valeri Nishushkin is actually getting dropped after just two games. Two games, people. Are you kidding? Nelson has no track record, Nishushkin is playing sick and MacKinnon? You want to call what MacKinnon is doing a slow start already? You cray! If you want to throw away your fantasy season before it starts make those knee jerk moves now. If you want to win, sit tight and wait at least a few more games to see how the cookie crumbles. And for the record, no don’t trade MacKinnon. No, don’t drop Nuke for whatever wire fodder had a decent two game start and no, Nelson isn’t going to be the next big thing. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey this weekend:
The Detroit Red Wings are one of the few teams so well built that they can sustain a playoff run despite missing four of their top players, two of which are point-per-game guys or better. How, you might wonder, is this feat possible? That'd be solid drafting, a commitment to player development and a fantastic scouting department, all of which Wings GM Ken Holland has in spades. The idea that the Wings roster is loaded with wire gold is not a new theme for me, but right now it's more important than ever to remember. Tomas Tatar (2 G, 4 SOG, +2) now has three straight two-point games and seven over his last five. I’ve been preaching to y’all to pick up any Red Wings that are scoring due to their ridiculous injury woes and Tatar is high on that list. At times he can look like a weak option compared to his high flying Swedish buddy Gustav Nyquist, but Tatar has solid value right now and should be owned everywhere. Riley Sheahan (1 G, 1 A, 1 SOG, +3) is another one of those newly valuable Wings that I keep saying you should add. Sheahan has the potential to be something special pretty soon, but you can say that about most of the incredible crop of youth the Wings sport thanks to GM Ken Holland’s deft moves over the years. With six points over his last five and nine points in 13 March games, he’s definitely worth a stream. Sadly, Tomas Jurco (1 A, 5 SOG, +3) isn't among the new elite just yet, but returned from a broken rib to help out with an assist, but I don’t think he's worth an add at this point. He might be the best of the bunch for the Wings youth in terms of pure talent, but right now that's not resulting in many points. He remains very raw and needs more time to develop, and while this is that time, with just 11 points in 27 games so far this season I can’t really recommend him, even to stream. It’s a shame, really, I thought Jurco would be the one to burst onto the scene like Gustav Nyquist has. The moral of the story here is when in doubt, look to the Red Wings roster for scoring help, you can't go wrong! Anyway, here's what else I saw in the world o' fantasy hockey last night:
Jacob Trouba, the ridiculous rookie beast on the blue line that’s been so good the Jets were able to shift Dustin Byfuglien to wing and not only have they not missed a beat, the experiment seems to be a success given the Jets’ recent offensive surge. How beastly you say? 16 points in his last 26 tilts, and when you break it down his line over the last two months goes a little something like this; 6 goals, 10 assists, a plus-10 rating, 15 PIM and 49 SOG. Damn, son! That’s some solid production from the back end, eh? Normally it takes young defensemen a few seasons to get into gear offensively, mostly because they’re defensemen and they need to, you know, focus on learning to play defense. But Trouba decided he’d debut in the NHL and not only bring home the bacon, but the whole damn pig. Ryan McDonagh is a perfect example of the natural course of evolution of the elusive, complete package defenseman. This is McDonagh’s third season and he’s only starting to realize his offensive potential with 29 points in 54 games so far, on pace for around 45 by season’s end. Trouba has the potential to flirt with that point total right now, and he’s five years younger than McDonagh. Why on earth do I need to sell this kid this late in the sesaon? The fact that he’s owned in just 18% of Yahoo! Leagues boggles me mind! I can usually count on ESPN Leagues to offset that, he’s still available in well over a third of leagues there! Well, that actually sounds more reasonable, but it could be higher. It’s time to make the moves that either get you into the playoffs or leave you waiting for next season for another chance to not suck! Do you want to win? Do you need points from the blue line? You in trouble?! Then add my boy Trouba! Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey yesterday:
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: