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.” Ā 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,Ā Lindholm plays like heās 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!Ā So far he has 10 points in 22 games and despite his recent surge I donāt think heās 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 heās 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)Ā 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. Iām about settled on Carlsonās upside being around 35-40 points and my hopes that heāll 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)Ā has taken Carlsonās place as the next big thing on the blue line. Heās 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 heās available in your keeper league, you best grab him right away. For standard leagues heās absolutely worth owning if you need help on the back end of your blue line, especially with the āCanes scoring in bunches right now.
Justin Fontaine (3 G, 4 SOG, +3)Ā 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 Aerosā top scorer for a few season, but thatās like saying someone lead the Florida Panthers in scoring, whoop-dee-freakinā-doo! He isnāt 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)Ā has six points over his last five games and has stared his āIām going to score a bunch for a short spurt, make you think Iām worth adding, youāll add me, then Iāll stop producing immediately.ā Do you want to fall victim to that game? I sure donāt. This recent surge has more to do with a bunch of talent getting healthy in Carolina than it does with Staalās ability to give you points.
Ryan Getzlaf (2 G, 1 A, 4 SOG, +3)Ā 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, youāll see Getz is the lynchpin more often than not.
Kari Lehtonen (1 GA, 33 SV, L)Ā lost his fourth straight start but at least he didāt cough up seven effinā goals like he did on Monday against the Isles. Man that was ugly. Still, this was a good game despite the loss so I donāt think thereās anything wrong with Kari, deploy him as you normally would and heāll turn it around soon.
Jonathan Quick (2 GA, 20 SV, W)Ā 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)Ā 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)Ā has been around for almost a decade and hasnāt ever done much. This game was mostly a fluke. Moving on!
Joe Pavelski (2 G, 4 SOG, +2)Ā 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 heāll get there.
Jeff Skinner (1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG, even, 2 PIM)Ā does nothing but score goals lately, and itās a thing of beauty. His play seems to be elevating the entire team down there in Carolina, and withĀ Anton KhudobinĀ white hot in net and finally offering some stability in the crease, it seems like the āCanes might not be as awful as they looked to start the season. Iām sureĀ Cam WardĀ will return from injury and make sure this team doesnāt go anywhere this season.
Anton Khudobin (1 GA, 25 SV, W)Ā is playing great and like I said before, is worth owning everywhere while Cam Ward is out hurt. Frankly, I think the Hurricanesā 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)Ā is absolutely the no. 1 goalie in Washington now, in case anyone was still wondering.
Craig Smith (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG, +2)Ā 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 isnāt going to break out anytime soon and flirt with a point-per-game pace or anything, but heās 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)Ā has always been aĀ goal scoring machine that gives you little else, so itās boom or bust when you draft him. For the last few seasonās it has been nothing but a bust, though last year he scored 26 goals in 48 games, thatās pretty good!Ā 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 heāll āonlyā end up with 30-35 goals.
Zach Boychuk (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG, +2)Ā is nothing special. He tends to coast around when he doesnāt know what to do with himself, which is often when heās 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 wouldnāt pay much attention if I were you.
Michael Ryder (1 G, 6 SOG, +1)Ā always manages to get to right around 30 goals, but beyond that heās pretty much worthless fantasy wise, but hey if youāre 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 heāll be worth a stream, but he isnāt worth owning outside of the deepest oā leagues.
Vladimir Tarasenko (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG, +1)Ā keeps on rollinā, remember a few days ago when I said pick him up? Well then, go ahead, you know you want to!Ā Ā
Corey Perry (1 G, 3 SOG, +3)Ā keeps scorinā goals and throwinā bows, yo.
Brent Burns (1 A, 4 SOG, +3)ās beard still manages to accrue valuable stats when he isnāt scoring goals, but worry not, heās 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)Ā 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 donāt see him doing much, but hey, if heās scoring and you have a slot to stream him, do it up! Donāt rely on him for more than spot starts, though.
Joe Thornton (2 A, +2) isĀ currently on pace for just nine goals with 82 assists this season. Seriously, less than ten goals with 82 freakinā assists? Are they all for Brent Burns? I donāt own him, but I wouldnāt kick him off my team, even with my penchant for hatinā on peeps that donāt score goals. You gotta love Thunder Joe, yo!
Nino Niederreiter (2 A, 2 SOG, +1)Ā has consistently rated highly in most aspects of his game wherever he has played throughout his young career and heās continued to build on that reputation at the NHL level. Heās on pace for 43 points in 82 games this season, but thatās 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, heās 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 canāt drop him, you canāt trade him, so you just have to hope. The upside, if it can be called that, is that with Jonas Gustavsson hurt, thereās little chance Howard will get displaced as the teamās starter byā¦
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 wonāt be taking Howardās job, but the Monster might when he gets healthy.
Ondrej Palat (1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG, even)Ā doesnāt seem like heās going to slow down anytime soon, does he? Last nightās two points stretch his point scoring streak to eight games with four goals, six assists and a whole lot oā 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. Donāt get left out, grab this kid where you can.Ā Ā Ā Ā Ā
Ian Cole (1 G, 1 SOG, +3)Ā is a two-way defensemen, but his offensive skills are mostly found with his crisp, accurate passing abilities than goal scoring, and thatās a big yaaaawn in fantasy world for us. Heās worth keeping an eye on as he develops, but right now heās another upstart young defenseman that could go either way as he grows.Ā Ā Ā Ā Ā Ā
Matt Cooke (2 A, +2, 2 PIM)Ā should have been kicked out of the league a few years ago, but Iāll give it to him, he really has cleaned up his game. I mean for him that means not intentionally ending other playersā careers (We miss you,Ā Marc Savard), but still I canāt fault anyone for trying to better himself.Ā Ā Ā Ā Ā Ā Ā Ā Ā
Jaroslav Halak (0 GA, 33 SV, W)Ā must have been getting worried about Brian Elliotās current insanely awesome winning streak, so he came back and decided heād 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. Doesnāt it seem like every gets a shutout against the Flames this season? Anyway, both St. Louis goalies are worth owning and it seems theyāll ride the hot hand regardless of whom that might be.
Chris Stewart (1 G, 2 SOG, +1, 2 PIM)Ā 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. Heās tough to own, and not really worth much outside of deep leagues due to his wild inconsistency.
Jamie McBain (1 G, 4 SOG, +1)Ā 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.Ā I wouldnāt lose track of him, but for now heās a non-factor.
John-Michael Liles (1 G, 1 SOG, +2)Ā started his career in Carolina with a goal on one shot, that sounds kind of lucky, doesnāt it? Probably is, as Liles hasnāt 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 heās not even worth owning. That said, the skill is still there, and if heās 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)Ā has won three straight games now as he tries to get his horrible season back on track. Luckily for him heĀ has nothing to fear losing the no. 1 job with Josh Harding on IR, and because of that heās worth owning in deeper leagues, but his season has been mediocre to say the last so far and Iāve considered him past it since before this season. Heās talented, but old and injury prone. No thank you.
Cory Schneider (0 GA, 26 SV, W)Ā 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. Thatās a shame, but when his time comes, youāll 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)Ā took advantage of a rare start to, err, lose toā¦ the Panthers? Aw, Jhonas, you didnāt. Gross.
Chad Johnson (1 GA, 16 SV, L)Ā has now lost four straight starts despite only allowing just one goal in his last two games. His limited value as Tuukka Raskās backup is further diminished by this kind of play, and with a very talented, young and hungryĀ Niklas SvedbergĀ 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, thereās no chance Andersen sees more action than he does now. When Viktor Fasth returns from injury, heāll see even less.
Mike Smith (3 GA, 25 SV, L) is making Thomas Greiss look like an awfully attractive option for the āYotes.