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:
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:
Jay Bouwmeester has been around the league for a while now, and once upon a time he was a reliable offensive threat from the blueline for the Panthers of all teams. Then he moved on to Calgary and he went from a top 5 guy to a fantasy non-factor overnight, not once hitting the 30 point mark for the Flames in three and a half seasons after averaging 42 points a year in the four years prior to being dealt.  Since joining the Blues he’s decided to change colors again and pulled a full 180 (dig the mixed metaphors!) and now he’s on pace for an insane 64 points this season. At first I thought “Puh! Not bloody likely…” but then I started thinking about how ridiculous the St. Louis offense really is this season. Shall we break it down? Let’s shall; the Blues are 2nd in Goals Per Game with 3.4 (just 0.1 shy of league leading Chicago and 2nd overall with the man-advantage at 25.5%(!) putting their GA/GF DIFF at +35. Jay has just two goals but 19 assists and there’s plenty more where those came from. Paired with Alex Pietrangelo he has climbed into the top five in scoring for defensemen with his performance last night (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG, +2)  and now has 21 points in 29 games overall. He has 11 points over his last 12 games, a plus-15 rating for the season and you should go ahead and pick him up if he’s still available in your league. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in fantasy hockey: