As if losing Dan Boyle to the dreaded broken finger curse just one game into the season and John Moore to a five-game suspension wasn’t enough for the Rangers, they decided to go the next month or so on hard-mode with both Ryan McDonagh and Kevin Klein falling victim to their own injuries over the weekend. McDonagh suffered a separated shoulder on a hit from Evander Kane and he’s down for three to four weeks, but reports are that the Rangers expect he may be out for longer than a month. The big issue here is the injured shoulder in question is the same shoulder that Mac injured late last season, so this could turn out to be pretty bad for Mac and the Rangers. Klein suffered a foot contusion that will cost him at least a few games, but he should be back within a week or so. Regardless of how quickly Klein gets back the situation is dire on the Rangers blue line with four of their top-six defenseman now injured. How does this affect your fantasy fortunes? Well, obviously if you own McDonagh this is a fairly substantial blow. He wasn’t exactly lighting it up with just three helpers in 10 games so far, but given his ADP most of his owners were holding out hope that the points would start to flow sooner than later. The real problem here is for Henrik Lundqvist owners, who might be in a bit of trouble now too. Hank hasn’t been his normal stellar self to start the season but he’s largely been solid. Now that the Rangers defense is even more depleted it’s going to test Hank and I fear there’s going to be some ugly games in there. If you own Lundqvist all you can do is start him, but brace yourself, it could get nasty. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey last night:
This has to be one of the busiest deadline days that I’ve seen in a few years with 19 trades getting completed today and 32 deals going down since the Miller to St. Louis deal kicked everything off post Sochi. We saw ten goalies change hands, two captains trade places and guys like Vanek and Halak who were traded for the second time just this season! I went through the list and picked out what I thought which moves had the biggest fantasy impact and highlighted those. If you’re looking this over and think I missed a few, check out these posts from yesterday for more trade analysis;
Roberto Luongo Back To Panthers, Add Lack!
Ilya Bryzgalov To Wild, Fasth To Oilers, Penner To Caps
Ryan Miller To Blues For Halak, Stewart, Picks
Martin St. Louis (F-TB) for Ryan Callahan (F-NYR), 2014 conditional 2nd-round pick, 2015 1st-round pick
In what was perhaps the biggest deal of the day
the Rangers and Bolts swapped captains moving two guys who had never played anywhere else, well, elsewhere!
This move creates a few fantasy ripples and they tend to center around the return of goal scoring machine Steven Stamkos
. When Stamkos broke his tibia a lot of folks though Marty’s production might slip at a bit and that’s a fair assumption to make, however, it didn’t happen. He has 61 points in 62 games with a plus-12 and 167 shots on goal and a shift to the Rangers isn’t going to slow him down either. The move could lead to a possible reunion on a line with Brad Richards
, but considering how bleh Richards has been this season even St. Louis might not be able to snap him out of it. But fear not, St. Louis owners, there are plenty of places Alain Vigneault can slot in his new weapon and get the usual point-per-game production from him. Stamkos, on the other hand, may see a dip in production without Marty on his wing, and Cally isn’t going to be able to fill that gap, so expect a few fewer assists from Steve-o, but the goals should continue to pour in. In the end, both St. Louis and Stamkos are so good that their production will more or less stay the same, but Callahan becomes an intriguing option. Owned in just 44% of Yahoo leagues and ~84% of ESPN leagues, if Cally ends up playing alongside Stamkos he’s going to see a scoring boost for sure. He isn’t without offensive ability, but everyone knows he’s a grinder more than anything else. If he’s out there in your league and you need a scoring boost, you could get that on the cheap from Callahan. Anyway, here's the rest of the deals that I thought would make a splash in the world o' fantasy hockey:
Lately everyone wants to know if they should drop Braden Holtby (13-10-2/3.00/.915/1) for rookie upstart Phillipp Grubauer (5-2-2/2.02/.938) and while I preached patience with Hotly initially, I think it’s time to get on the Grubi train. Both goalies are young, and with any young athlete there are ups and downs, so it’s hard to make a move with such a small sample size to go on from the rookie who was only given a chance at the NHL level because of an injury to backup Michal Neuvirth earlier this season. Neuvirth’s agent has been whining to the media stating unequivocally “Let me just put it this way, I want Michal out of Washington.” Caps head coach Adam Oates was none too pleased to hear that, but Neuvirth had been completely displaced long before this anyway. It's starting to sound as though his time with the Caps is coming to a close. So, Grubi isn’t headed back down to the AHL and since Neuvirth went down on Dec. 3 Grubi has started eight of the last 13 games for the Caps, including the last four in a row. He’s not only getting the starts, he’s getting starts against tough opponents that used to fall to Holtby and performing exceptionally well every time he hits the ice. Holtby, on the other hand, has imploded each time he’s been given a start over that span and was relieved by Grubi twice. Oates initially said that Holtby was their guy, but he seems to be talking out of the side of his mouth with that nonsense as they keep rolling Grubi out there game-after-game. At this point I have to endorse the rookie, though that comes with words of caution. Don’t lose track of Hotlby. He’s not a bad goalie, he’s just a young, struggling goalie and Grubi isn’t the second coming of a young Martin Brodeur, he’s a rookie performing well at the start of his career and that can end in a hurry. Still, the hot hand is the hot hand so go ahead and grab him if he’s available in your league as he may hold on to the starting job for some time. Given that he’s only owned in 16% of Yahoo! Leagues and 44% of ESPN leagues, you’ve still got a shot, so get to it! Anyway, here’s what else I saw in fantasy hockey yesterday:
Hockey is a dangerous sport, apparently, and enough key players have been bit with the injury bug recently that I felt it warranted an injury roundup post to keep y’all appraised of the situations. I will make injury update posts periodically when enough build up like they have this week.
Sergei Bobrovsky was helped off the ice with a lower-body injury Tuesday night with about 15 minutes left in the third. He was replaced by Curtis McElhinney. Bobber hurt himself being all fancypants and doing a split while making a glove save on just the 18th shot he faced all night from the Bolts. He’ll have an MRI later today.
UPDATE: Bobrovsky is out for four to five weeks, Curtis McElhinney is the new starter.
Pavel Datsyuk participated in morning skate this morning, his first in more than a week. Wings GM Ken Holland said that Dats needs a solid week of practice before he can be cleared to play again. Still, it’s encouraging for his owners to hear that he’s skating again, at least.
Henrik Zetterberg is out for at least two weeks with a herniated disc in his back. This has been a problem for Z going on a few years now, though he hasn’t missed any significant time because of it in recent memory. How screwed are the Wings without Dats AND Zetterberg?
Backup goaltenders are among the most important players to track over the course of the season if you want a real chance at winning your league. Like closers in fantasy baseball or running backs in fantasy football, goalie turnover can be rather high due to injuries, poor performance or trades, so knowing whom to own before they get their shot is key. What’s more, the idea of the “no. 1” goaltender doesn’t mean what it used to in terms of games started. In the past, 70-75 games for a starter was not unheard if your team is lucky enough to have a Tuukka Rask or Corey Crawford between the pipes, but these days it’s much smarter to limit even the elites to around 60 games started. Even with a guy who can start 70ish games, it does more harm than good to roll your starter out that many games during the regular season leaving him too exhausted to perform up to snuff in the playoffs, when it matters most. The need for teams to strike a good balance between riding their work horses in net and giving them a break leaves open a wealth of opportunity for fantasy owners to exploit.
Alexander Ovechkin scored twice as the Washington Capitals erased a 3-0 first-period deficit and downed the Calgary Flames 5-4 in the shootout. Ovehckin now has three goals in two games and is not suffering from a slow start that plagued him last season. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Sidney Crosby dished out five assists to help Chris Kunitz net a hat trick and Pascal Dupuis score twice as the Penguins thumped the Islanders 6-1.
SPIN: Kunitz has goals in seven of his last nine games and is an absolute dynamo for Pittsburgh this season. Please, blog, may I have some more?