The Minnesota Wild seem to have a bit of a goaltending problem. It’s not that they don’t have the personnel, in fact, to start the season you would have tought their duo of Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding would again be among the better goaltending situations in the league, but then the curse set in. Backstrom finally realizes how old he is and can’t keep it together, Harding starts the season healthy and finally gets a chance to take the no. 1 job for himself, does, plays like he’s going to win the Vezina and then gets laid low by his MS. And now, in what seems like an inevitability, Mr. Darcy is toppled by an injury during practice?! You read that right, Darcy Kuemper suffered an UBI in yesterday’s morning skate and is day-to-day for now, but it doesn’t sound very promising. That leaves everyone’s favorite Russian goofball, Ilya Bryzgalov (2 GA, 18 SV, W), all alone in the crease and he becomes the de-facto starter for the Wild. What the hell is going on with the Minnesota goaltending? Are they cursed? Does Paul Maurice sit in his office with a little goalie voodoo doll after hours or what? Breezy is a good option (depending on matchups) if you’re looking for some help in the crease towards the end of the week. Owned in just ~13% of ESPN leagues and 17% of Yahoo leagues, he should be available if you need him and I’m willing to bet there’s a handful of Kuemper owners who are sadface today, so turn that frown upside down and add Breezy! Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey yesterday:
When I took a look at the box scores from yesterday’s tilts all I saw was a bunch of yawnstipating schmohawks filling the score sheets! Outside of a handful of regulars like Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf getting their usual helpings o’ goals and assists, guys like Damien Brunner and Patrick Maroon were all I saw! Seriously, Maroon? What is this guy, from an old Bugs Bunny cartoon? These guys are boring as eff and you’d have to be a maroon to pick most of them up, so to kick this round up off I’m going to go over a few key free agent grabs that didn’t play last night, but could actually help you win starting with Boston’s stellar backup Chad Johnson. Johnson’s season has been absolutely stellar posting a season line of 16-3-0/2.04/.925/2 in 23 starts this season, so his track record is solid and his team is ridiculous. Despite the fantastic numbers Johnson is only owned in 60% of ESPN leagues and 20% of Yahoo leagues so he’s most likely available if you want to take advantage of Boston’s back-to-back game riddled schedule over the next few weeks. You know Boston want to keep Rask healthy and fresh and with a playoff spot already locked up Johnson might see starts even on nights that aren’t typical rest days for Tuukka. What does all this mean? It means you need to cash in on that shiz right now and add Johnson before someone else does. Mike Cammalleri is another key guy to grab like, yesterday, and if you’ve been living under a rock for the past week you might not have noticed that he’s posted 16 points over his last 12 games and nothing else really matters save that he’s posted 16 freakin’ points over his last 12 games. Big names don’t matter right now, goals and assists do, and Calamari is providing much o’ that! Add him? Yes. When? I already told you like four lines up, yesterday! Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey last night:
The race for the Calder trophy has been razor thin from the start of the season. Early on it looked like the Sharks’ Tomas Hertl was well on his way, but then he blew out a knee and that opened the door for the Rangers’ Chris Kreider, but he has since cooled, though he’s still getting good minutes with Rick Nash and Derek Stepan and remains valuable in deeper leagues. Ondrej Palat jumps into the mix with his recent surge of 15 points in his last 16 games giving him 31 points, which actually puts him ahead of Kreider’s 30. Regardless, it’s Nathan MacKinnon’s (1 A, 5 SOG, +1) turn to be the front runner and this time the edge might not be so razor thin. MacKinnon has eight points in his last five games with goals in three straight until last night, but he figured he’d keep the trend going and chipped in a helper. With less than 30 games to play MacKinnon leads all rookies in goals (20), assists (21) and points (41) putting him on pace to finish with a Bobby Ryan-esque 30 goals and 31 assists in 82 games. It’s not every day that you get a rookie that can score 30 goals, it’s even more rare to find a kid who will match his goal scoring with assists and a decent plus/minus to boot! You’d think given his recent streak and general good play all year he’d be owned in 100% of leagues everywhere, but alas, Yahoo fails us once again and his ownership sits a platry 68% as we approach the stretch run to the playoffs with Palat coming in at just 16%. ESPN sits at 100% for MacKinnon but just 81% for Palat. These are the guys that give you the edge moving forward, so if you’re in a league where either is available, do yourself a favor and pick them up yesterday. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey last night:
A few goalies changed addresses last night with Devan Dubnyk getting shipped off to Nashville for Matt Hendricks which left a hole in Edmonton, so they added Ben Scrivens for a third round pick. Wait, a third rounder for Scrivens? Talk about over paying! Scrivens is 27 years old and only now has he done anything worth note and that came on the heels of starter Jon Quick getting hurt. Had Quick not gone down this trade would have been missed by almost everyone and dismissed as a nonevent and it still should be. The Oilers' defense is terrible and Scrivens' incredible run was largely driven by that staunch LA defense, not Scrivens' newly discovered skills. Don't get me wrong, Scrivens played well, but not well enough to lose his job to Martin Jones in fairly short order, so it couldn't have been that good. So, if you take that staunch Kings D and replace it with a porous Oilers' D, what do you think will happen with Scrivens' numbers? Right into the toilet, that's what. While he may see a modest uptick in starts if he can earn a 1-B status to Ilya Bryzgalov's 1-A, and that's a big if, this move does little to improve his fantasy value.
In the same vein, Devan Dubnyk will likely do the same thing he always has done, under perform and blame it on the D. Not saying that he personally blames his mediocre play on the defense, but he has a handful of apologists north of the border who love to sing that song. Well, it's a lame song, like Kenny G lame, so don't listen! Don't get me wrong, Dubnyk does have an upside and it's true that he hasn't had an opportunity to show what he can do yet, or is it? Wouldn't a better goalie have made more of the situation that Dubnyk did? I think so. Does he get the chance to prove the haters (me) wrong now? Nope! Pekka Rinne should be ready to return within the next few weeks and it seems the Preds are sick of the bleh duo of Carter Hutton and Marek Mazanec, so there you go. Dubnyk is a UFA after this season so you can expect him to walk and try and find a team that will offer him more opportunities than sitting behind Rinne in Nashville, so like the Scrivens deal, this does little to add to his value.
In the end it sounds like there was a lot of noise about nothing here. Neither move helps your fantasy team and if you need it to, you're already done with this season of fantasy hockey. Hey, baseball is getting ready to spin back up again, so there's that! Anyway, here's what else I saw in a short night o' fantasy hockey last night:
Henrik Lundqvist and the NY Rangers continued to make life miserable for the Buffalo Sabres. Lundqvist recorded a 29-save shutout as the Rangers blanked Buffalo 2-0. Chris Kreider and Derick Brassard scored the goals. Please, blog, may I have some more?
David Backes scored and Alexander Steen scored twice but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Winnipeg Jets who posted a shootout win 4-3 last night.
Evander Kane, Olli Jokinen and Tobias Enstrom each scored for the Jets. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Henrik Lundqvist looked more like the goaltender we came to expect this season. Finally. Lundqvist turned aside all 22 shots he saw and picked up a 2-o win over Washington. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Will the real Henrik Lundqvist please stand up?
In the fantasy community we’re used to Lundqvist being a reliable and dominant goaltender. He’s one you could build a team around and feel confident with. Please, blog, may I have some more?
It’s not sunny in Philadelphia right now when it comes to hockey. The Flyers dropped a 3-1 decision to the Carolina Hurricanes to fall to 0-3-0 this season and they have scored just three goals in three games. Please, blog, may I have some more?
The Ducks had six players score at least 10 goals on the season and two goaltenders with at least 15 wins each. They won the Pacific Division, yet couldn’t get out of the first round of the playoffs. Please, blog, may I have some more?