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:
Ryane Clowe (1 A, 0 SOG, -2) had some pretty solid seasons as a member of the San Jose Sharks from 2008 to 2012 and after getting dealt to the Rangers last year because there was just no room for him on the Sharks, he signed a $24 million deal with the Devils. His first five or six games this season were just awful, and then rookie defenseman Jacob Trouba elbowed him in the head and he fell like a sack o' potatoes. After missing the last two-and-a-half months with a concussion he's returned with a vengeance quickly establishing himself as an important cog in a seemingly rejuvenated Devils offense for the second half of the season. He's everywhere out there right now; clearing space, getting shots on goal, creating offensive chances where earlier in the season the Devils couldn't buy an opportunity and what's more, he's scoring consistently since returning from injury with 10 points in his last 10 games. While I don't expect he can keep that pace up, the Devils brought him in to win battles and help generate offense and it appears that's exactly what he's doing while healthy. Even on nights where the Devils have struggled (like last night) he still manages to look good out there with line-mates Adam Henrique and Michael Ryder. While most owners probably hoped he'd see more time on the top line with Jaromir Jagr, he seems to be doing just fine on what appears to be New Jersey's new second line so don't hope to fix what isn't broken. By this point in the season the wire is pretty thin getting thinner making finding fresh legs almost impossible so that gives Clowe a bit more value than he might otherwise have had at this point in the season. That being said, 10 points in his last 10 games, are you going to ignore that? Well, you go right ahead, but the rest of us are paying attention. While everyone else is going to be digging deep after the Olympic break Clowe is going to be churning on fresh legs and that could help him score more and you win more. He's not sexy, he's not fast, he's not going to wow you, but when other guys are slowing and getting hurt when you need them the most, Clowe is likely to be happy, healthy and fairly productive. Would you buy that for a dollar? Doesn't matter! Clowe's probably out there for free, so cash in now y'all! Anyway, here's what else I saw last night in the world o' fantasy hockey:
I went to sleep a little early last night and decided to do the post this morning. Having a two-week old baby messes with your sleep schedule so you gotta take it when you can. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Brad Richards scored twice and Rick Nash added a pair of assists as the New York Rangers knocked off the LA Kings 3-1 as part of a light night of on-ice action. Please, blog, may I have some more?
The New Jersey Devils missed the playoffs primarily because of injuries to their star players and poor performances by those filling in for them. Injuries killed the Devils’ chances in the 2013 season with two of them standing out. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Alex Ovechkin was one of five goal scorers for Washington as they knocked off the Winnipeg Jets 5-3 to claim the Southeast Division title and the #3 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Please, blog, may I have some more?
James van Riemsdyk scored twice and James Reimer made 49 saves as the Toronto Maple Leafs downed the Ottawa Senators 4-1 for their first playoff berth in nine years.
SPIN: The Leafs look ready for the playoffs on the night they made the playoffs. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Sergei Bobrovsky’s hot streak hit a mustard-colored wall in Nashville as the Predators pounded Columbus 5-1 and sent the Jackets to their first regulation loss in 13 games. Nashville scored four in the first period and chased Bobrovsky from the net by the middle of the period as they scored four goals in three minutes. Please, blog, may I have some more?
The Montreal Canadiens became the first Eastern Conference team to hit the 40-point mark with a 4-3 shootout win over the slumping Ottawa Senators. PK Subban, Lars Eller and Brendan Gallagher scored for Montreal. 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?