The story of the weekend around the league was the goaltending performances. There were quite a few duds and a bunch of outstanding starts, including 3 shutouts Friday, 4 shutouts Saturday and one more on Sunday. The best of the bunch was a 38 save shutout by Fredrik Andersen in the 4-0 win against the Bruins on Friday. It's rare for the Ducks to be outshot but they buried their chances and were continually bailed out by Andersen. We all know that Andersen is very good at this point so the most telling thing was that in their next game, John Gibson received the start despite Andersen coming off a shutout. Bruce Boudreau is giving both of his goalies plenty of action and seemingly has a set schedule so you have to pay attention every day and start whoever gets the nod. Here's what else I saw around the league this weekend, starting with Friday's games:
He's always piled up the assists but Jason Spezza has never been known as a goal scorer. This year, it's a different story because if he wasn't injured, he'd have set a career high in goals. On Friday, Spezza scored a goal and an assist on four shots against the Blackhawks before Spezza scored for the fifth consecutive game Saturday, burying two goals on seven shots against the Blues. Spezza now has 28 goals and 25 assists in 64 games; his career high is 34 goals. Spezza is now a top 50 skater on the year and with the talent the Stars have, he should be around there next year. Here's what else I saw around the league this weekend:
Out of all players, Devan Dubnyk was on the most fantasy hockey championship teams last season. Dubnyk went from waiver wire fodder to start the season to arguably the best goalie in the league once he went to Minnesota. He started off slow this season in the percentages while accumulating wins but has started to turn things around, including a 23 save shutout against the Predators on Saturday. His numbers are starting to improve and should only get better behind a strong Wild team. He won't approach last year's totals, those are completely unsustainable, but he should still push towards being a top 10 goalie come the end of the season. Here's what else happened on an action packed weekend:
It's isn't rare for a goalie to steal a game in the NHL. That said, I don't think anyone does it more than Roberto Luongo does. Luongo puts up crazy 35 save performances with regularity and on Monday, Luongo posted a 39 save shutout against the Lightning, winning 1-0 on an Aaron Ekblad goal with 21 seconds left (I told you to target him yesterday!) The Panthers were outshot 39-20, the Corsi was 55-34* Tampa and had only one player have a positive Corsi in the game, yet Luongo shut down the Lightning and stole two points for the Panthers. His numbers on the season are about what you'd expect, winning half the time but with a solid goals against average and an elite save percentage. His owners have to be happy so far with his overall performance and thrilled with the great start to the week.
Here's what else happened on Monday night:
This weekend, we saw some amazing statlines from players around the league, including 3 hat tricks. Mats Zuccarello scored all 3 goals for the Rangers in a 3-1 win over Toronto on Friday, all assisted by Derick Brassard and Rick Nash. Long time fourth liner Dale Weise had a hat trick on Friday against Calgary and added an assist on Sunday, totaling eight shots between the two games. In the battle of Alberta on Saturday, Michael Frolik scored a hat trick on seven shots. Going forward, Zuccarello is obviously must own. I still wouldn't own Weise in leagues unless it's a super deep league where you include hits. Frolik is an interesting case. On one hand, those were his first three goals of the season. On the other, he now has 8 points in 12 games, is close to 3 shots per game and is now in the top six. I'd call him a streamer in 12'ers for now since he isn't getting much power play time but if he starts to get it, things will change.
Here's what else happened in an action packed weekend...
Not many teams have played on both Wednesday and Thursday this week but again, the Desert Dogs have garnered my attention. In an impressive performance against on Wednesday against the Ducks and the Wild on Thursday, Anthony Duclair buried a hat trick on Wednesday and scored another on Thursday. He's an excellent prospect who was the main piece the Rangers sent to Arizona in the Keith Yandle trade so he's well respected around the league. You obviously can't expect four goals in two games and the Coyotes are due to regress but in all dynasty leagues, I'd own Duclair and in 12 man leagues or deeper, I think he's must own.
Here's what else I've seen the last two nights:
After Devan Dubnyk, G (W, 24 SV, 1.000%, SHO) was dealt to the Wild I took a deeper dive into his numbers and quickly jumped on the bandwagon and you should too. Since joining the Wild Doobie is 6-1-0 with a 1.48 goals-against average and a .943 save percentage with three shutouts. Obviously those aren’t sustainable numbers, but given his season line now sits at a robust 15-6-2/2.35/.923 in 27 games and taking into account he’s amassed much of that line while playing for the woeful Coyotoes, that’s pretty damned impressive. Hell, those numbers would be impressive anywhere, but for some strange reason people aren’t flocking to pick him up before it’s too late. Owners in CBS leagues know what’s up and he’s owned on 60% of teams there with Yahoo clocking in at 53% and ESPN way behind the times at 41% owned. These numbers are about as ridiculous as Doobie’s. There’s no way he shouldn’t be owned just about everywhere by now, so if you need help in the crease you should definitely go ahead and pick him up. Don’t be shy. I know his time on the Oil might have you looking at his name on the wire and rolling your eyes, but don’t pass on him this season, you’ll regret it. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey recently:
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:
Phil Kessel posted a hat trick and erased a two-goal deficit as the Toronto Maple Leafs doubled up the Anaheim Ducks 4-2 last night. James van Riemsdyk came back to the lineup and had a pair of assists for the Leafs. Please, blog, may I have some more?
At the end of Shawshank Redemption, Andy Dufresne crawls through a sewage pipe and finds his freedom outside of jail. That’s the best analogy for the Florida Panthers in 2013. Crawling through 48 games worth of shit-smelling foulness and the light at the end of the tunnel was the off-season. Please, blog, may I have some more?