Elias Lindholm (1 G, 2 A, 2 SOG, +2) was the fifth overall pick in the 2013 Entry Draft and at the ripe old age of 19 made his NHL debut this season. The ‘Canes were kind enough to loan him to the Swedes for the WJC, but he just got back and decided to throw a party with three points to help the surging Hurricanes crush the Leafs 6-1 last night. Just before he did that, he scored nine points in seven games (2 G, 7 A) in the World Junior Championship helping to drive the Swedish team to the gold medal game; sadly they fell to the Fins 3-2 in OT. Lindholm then almost immediately flew back to the states, crossing who knows how many time zones, to make practice and take his place on the Carolina roster. After practice Wednesday morning he worried he would be too tired to play well, saying he hoped he would “feel better tomorrow.” Welp, it looks like he was feeling just fine! Impressive, maybe the Swedish media wasn’t going insane touting him as the next Peter Forsberg last year. So what’s this kid all about? Well, Lindholm plays like he’s much older than his 19 years, and not in a bad way. His hockey IQ seems to be at least above average and given his age the hope is he’ll only get smarter and better as he continues to play. He displays a strong set of great qualities to see in a guy his age with superb hands, good vision, and very tasty playmaking and passing abilites. He keeps his head up, can play both ways, works hard, has a great attitude and gets results on the ice. What more could you want? Plant fields of this kid! So far he has 10 points in 22 games and despite his recent surge I don’t think he’s worth owning just yet. That being said, he could see his worth skyrocket and fast if he brings some of his overseas success back to the NHL. The ‘Canes called him up in hopes that he would help their fight for a playoff spot and if he does he’ll stick around. He’s young, and he might get tired fast, but by the time your fantasy squad is gearing up for the playoffs, he may end up as a key guy you stream to win. Until then he’s keeper league material and a must own there for sure. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey last night:
John Carlson (1 A, 5 SOG, +1) is having a typical John Carlson season so far on pace for 31 points. Every year you expect him to break out, pot around 25 goals and hit the 50-point mark, and every year he seems to let us down. I’m about settled on Carlson’s upside being around 35-40 points and my hopes that he’ll step up to the next level and become an elite fantasy blue liner are fading fast.
Justin Faulk (1 A, 3 SOG, +2, 5 PIM) has taken Carlson’s place as the next big thing on the blue line. He’s on pace for 31 points so far this season and that would be a nice step forward for the third year defenseman. This kid is no secret to anyone, but if for some reason he’s available in your keeper league, you best grab him right away. For standard leagues he’s absolutely worth owning if you need help on the back end of your blue line, especially with the ‘Canes scoring in bunches right now.
Justin Fontaine (3 G, 4 SOG, +3) tallied the first hatty of his career last night and continues a largely meh season on pace for just 29 points in 72 games. Who is this kid? No one you should care about, honestly. He was the Houston Aeros’ top scorer for a few season, but that’s like saying someone lead the Florida Panthers in scoring, whoop-dee-freakin’-doo! He isn’t a top six guy, but might develop into a secondary scoring option in a few years.
Jordan Staal (1 G, 3 A, 2 SOG, +2) has six points over his last five games and has stared his “I’m going to score a bunch for a short spurt, make you think I’m worth adding, you’ll add me, then I’ll stop producing immediately.” Do you want to fall victim to that game? I sure don’t. This recent surge has more to do with a bunch of talent getting healthy in Carolina than it does with Staal’s ability to give you points.
Ryan Getzlaf (2 G, 1 A, 4 SOG, +3) is my top choice for the Hart trophy this season, who else means more to their team than Getz does this year? Even if you factored in the monster scoring the rest of the lineup is engaged in so far this season, if you look closely enough, you’ll see Getz is the lynchpin more often than not.
Kari Lehtonen (1 GA, 33 SV, L) lost his fourth straight start but at least he did’t cough up seven effin’ goals like he did on Monday against the Isles. Man that was ugly. Still, this was a good game despite the loss so I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Kari, deploy him as you normally would and he’ll turn it around soon.
Jonathan Quick (2 GA, 20 SV, W) continues to be his usual ridiculously awesome self with his second win since returning from his injury. Ben who? Martin what?
Matt Beleskey (2 A, 5 SOG, +3) has no business scoring seven points in his last five and the fact that his points streak is mostly fueled by helpers, you can expect it to end sooner than later.
Eric Fehr (2 G, 4 SOG, +1) has been around for almost a decade and hasn’t ever done much. This game was mostly a fluke. Moving on!
Joe Pavelski (2 G, 4 SOG, +2) continues to score goals like whoa with 5 in his last five games. He remains on pace for nearly 40 this year and I think he’ll get there.
Jeff Skinner (1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG, even, 2 PIM) does nothing but score goals lately, and it’s a thing of beauty. His play seems to be elevating the entire team down there in Carolina, and with Anton Khudobin white hot in net and finally offering some stability in the crease, it seems like the ‘Canes might not be as awful as they looked to start the season. I’m sure Cam Ward will return from injury and make sure this team doesn’t go anywhere this season.
Anton Khudobin (1 GA, 25 SV, W) is playing great and like I said before, is worth owning everywhere while Cam Ward is out hurt. Frankly, I think the Hurricanes’ coaching staff has to sit down and seriously consider what their chances are of winning with Ward in net vs. Khudobin, because it sure looks like they keep running Ward out there because of his 6.3 million/year salary more than anything else.
Philipp Grubauer (3 GA, 33 SV, W) is absolutely the no. 1 goalie in Washington now, in case anyone was still wondering.
Craig Smith (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG, +2) continues to have a great third year despite playing for a really woeful squad down there in Nashville. His rookie season showed some promise, last year was a step back, but since it was the lockout shortened year we can look past it, especially considering he seems to have taken another step forward again this year. It says a lot that without much help the kid is on pace for 50+ points in 79 games with 24 goals mixed in. He isn’t going to break out anytime soon and flirt with a point-per-game pace or anything, but he’s definitely worth owning in keeper leagues and deep leagues as a secondary scoring option. Next season he should be worth owning in standard formats and put up around 60-65 points.
Jeff Carter (1 G, 10 SOG, +1) has always been a goal scoring machine that gives you little else, so it’s boom or bust when you draft him. For the last few season’s it has been nothing but a bust, though last year he scored 26 goals in 48 games, that’s pretty good! This year he seems to be returning to his old Philly form and tossing in 30 or so assists for an all-around solid year, but his goal scoring pace is down from last year and he’ll “only” end up with 30-35 goals.
Zach Boychuk (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG, +2) is nothing special. He tends to coast around when he doesn’t know what to do with himself, which is often when he’s not in the offensive zone. His mental lapses cost him and his team, and keep his value at nil. He has 4 points in eight games so far this season, but I wouldn’t pay much attention if I were you.
Michael Ryder (1 G, 6 SOG, +1) always manages to get to right around 30 goals, but beyond that he’s pretty much worthless fantasy wise, but hey if you’re building an actual team he might be worth taking a look at! I digress, if you really need some emergency goal scoring in the playoffs he’ll be worth a stream, but he isn’t worth owning outside of the deepest o’ leagues.
Vladimir Tarasenko (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG, +1) keeps on rollin’, remember a few days ago when I said pick him up? Well then, go ahead, you know you want to!
Corey Perry (1 G, 3 SOG, +3) keeps scorin’ goals and throwin’ bows, yo.
Brent Burns (1 A, 4 SOG, +3)’s beard still manages to accrue valuable stats when he isn’t scoring goals, but worry not, he’s always scoring goals these days! Dude is on pace for 56 points in 69 games, can you imagine if he played all 82?
Vladimir Sobotka (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG, +1) is trying to make me look bad extending his points streak to four games, with three straight two point performances including last night. I still don’t see him doing much, but hey, if he’s scoring and you have a slot to stream him, do it up! Don’t rely on him for more than spot starts, though.
Joe Thornton (2 A, +2) is currently on pace for just nine goals with 82 assists this season. Seriously, less than ten goals with 82 freakin’ assists? Are they all for Brent Burns? I don’t own him, but I wouldn’t kick him off my team, even with my penchant for hatin’ on peeps that don’t score goals. You gotta love Thunder Joe, yo!
Nino Niederreiter (2 A, 2 SOG, +1) has consistently rated highly in most aspects of his game wherever he has played throughout his young career and he’s continued to build on that reputation at the NHL level. He’s on pace for 43 points in 82 games this season, but that’s for the Wild, so you have to adjust a bit and probably tack on like 5-8 more points if he played for a decent offensive team. I expect him to have a good career, but like a lot of guys on the list today, he’s not worth much this season outside of keeper leagues.
Jimmy Howard (4 GA, 19 SV, L) coughed up four goals in the first two periods and was pulled for Mrazek, who only had to face three shots in the third. If you own Jimmy (I do, sadface.) you have to ride it out. You can’t drop him, you can’t trade him, so you just have to hope. The upside, if it can be called that, is that with Jonas Gustavsson hurt, there’s little chance Howard will get displaced as the team’s starter by…
Petr Mrazek (0 GA, 3 SV, L) stopped all three shots his faced in the third period of a 4-1 loss to the Sharks. He won’t be taking Howard’s job, but the Monster might when he gets healthy.
Ondrej Palat (1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG, even) doesn’t seem like he’s going to slow down anytime soon, does he? Last night’s two points stretch his point scoring streak to eight games with four goals, six assists and a whole lot o’ fantasy managers drooling over the possibilities. If he stays on the top line with Martin St. Louis when Steven Stamkos returns, he could be one of the most valuable wire grabs this season come playoff time. Don’t get left out, grab this kid where you can.
Ian Cole (1 G, 1 SOG, +3) is a two-way defensemen, but his offensive skills are mostly found with his crisp, accurate passing abilities than goal scoring, and that’s a big yaaaawn in fantasy world for us. He’s worth keeping an eye on as he develops, but right now he’s another upstart young defenseman that could go either way as he grows.
Matt Cooke (2 A, +2, 2 PIM) should have been kicked out of the league a few years ago, but I’ll give it to him, he really has cleaned up his game. I mean for him that means not intentionally ending other players’ careers (We miss you, Marc Savard), but still I can’t fault anyone for trying to better himself.
Jaroslav Halak (0 GA, 33 SV, W) must have been getting worried about Brian Elliot’s current insanely awesome winning streak, so he came back and decided he’d show the Blues front office why he should remain the no. 1 in St. Louis. Granted, he shut out the Flames, but hey it is what it is. Doesn’t it seem like every gets a shutout against the Flames this season? Anyway, both St. Louis goalies are worth owning and it seems they’ll ride the hot hand regardless of whom that might be.
Chris Stewart (1 G, 2 SOG, +1, 2 PIM) did it again. He had that lovely outburst in the middle of December and scored eight goals in just six games, then went on a five game scoreless streak, now has goals in back to back games. Ugh. He’s tough to own, and not really worth much outside of deep leagues due to his wild inconsistency.
Jamie McBain (1 G, 4 SOG, +1) showed serious promise in his second and third seasons with Carolina when he scored 30 and 27 points in 76 games respectively. Now he plays for the Sabres, so, yeah. Unless the Sabres get real good, real fast, or they deal McBain, his value and potential are limited in a big way. I wouldn’t lose track of him, but for now he’s a non-factor.
John-Michael Liles (1 G, 1 SOG, +2) started his career in Carolina with a goal on one shot, that sounds kind of lucky, doesn’t it? Probably is, as Liles hasn’t been healthy or good since he was on the Avs back in 2010. JML was once a guy who was hovering juuuust outside of the elite pack of defensemen in the league, but now he’s not even worth owning. That said, the skill is still there, and if he’s healthy and gels with his new team he could prove to be a valuable add down the stretch.
Niklas Backstrom (1 GA, 39 SV, W) has won three straight games now as he tries to get his horrible season back on track. Luckily for him he has nothing to fear losing the no. 1 job with Josh Harding on IR, and because of that he’s worth owning in deeper leagues, but his season has been mediocre to say the last so far and I’ve considered him past it since before this season. He’s talented, but old and injury prone. No thank you.
Cory Schneider (0 GA, 26 SV, W) shut down the Stars for his third shutout of the season. One-day, some day, maybe even next season, he will be the starter but this season is not that season. That’s a shame, but when his time comes, you’ll want to be on board. He remains valuable in deep leagues because of just how damn good he is and actually retains decent value as a third goalie in standard formats, if you can afford to hold a third.
Jhonas Enroth (1 GA, 34 SV, L) took advantage of a rare start to, err, lose to… the Panthers? Aw, Jhonas, you didn’t. Gross.
Chad Johnson (1 GA, 16 SV, L) has now lost four straight starts despite only allowing just one goal in his last two games. His limited value as Tuukka Rask’s backup is further diminished by this kind of play, and with a very talented, young and hungry Niklas Svedberg waiting in the AHL for his chance, Chad better get his act together quick before he loses the job he only barely won out of training camp to start the season.
Frederik Andersen (3 GA, 23 SV, W) continues to impress in very limited work. So long as Jonas Hiller is rolling like he is, there’s no chance Andersen sees more action than he does now. When Viktor Fasth returns from injury, he’ll see even less.
Mike Smith (3 GA, 25 SV, L) is making Thomas Greiss look like an awfully attractive option for the ‘Yotes.