It might be hard to believe but despite their struggles as a team there is still some fantasy gold yet left to find in the nearly depleted mines of the Edmonton Oilers. Though skaters like Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and to a lesser extent, Jordan Eberle have spectacularly failed fantasy owners this season, as we go headlong into the stretch run for fantasy hockey a 21-year-old defensive prospect is starting to show glimmers of his potential offensive prowess. With nine points (2 G, 7 A) in his last 13 games to pair with a TOI spike to around 22-24 minutes per game and an increased roll across the board, Oscar Klefbom is making a case for a late season pick up in deeper formats.

Clocking in at 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds the budding two-way defenseman is showing some real hop in his step lately and shouldn’t be ignored. Though he needs to fill out his frame and remains a fairly lanky defender as result, he shows no signs of holding back from laying hits, but his real value comes in his ability to move the puck with crisp passing and excellent skating. He’s in the infancy of his career on big ice, but he’s quickly showing that he can be a leader and that’s resulted in as much as 26 minutes of ice time recently for a team struggling to find any ray of light in an otherwise dismal season. Klefbom has excellent on ice vision and reads plays extremely well. Like any rookie, he’s far from a complete package, however. His positioning leaves something to be desired and on a team like the Oil, that’s going to kill his plus/minus but that isn’t keeping the Oilers from putting him out there for big minutes because of his potential.

To this point in his career he hasn’t been an offensive dynamo, but his combination of size, speed and raw talent make for a very promising young rearguard. Don’t pick him up this season expecting a monster finish to the season, though he is currently worth a flyer if you need scoring from the back end badly enough, because hey if a guy is scoring he’s worth owning until he’s not, but if you’re already looking at next season and you could use a solid keeper with upside at the back end of your blue line, Klefbom is a guy you should strongly consider. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey recently:

Robin Lehner has been diagnosed with a concussion and there is no timetable for his return. That leaves the 27-year-old Andrew Hammond as the starter for a Sens team that really couldn’t afford to lose another key guy like this. I can’t recommend you add Hammond, who has almost no experience on big ice and left nothing to be desired in the AHL this season putting up a 7-13-2 record to go with a 3.51 goals-against average and .898 save percentage.

Mikhail Grabovski was absolutely leveled in last night’s 5-2 spanking of the Preds and he was put on IR this morning. Given the hit and how he fell to the ice like a sack of potatoes almost instantly it’s probably safe to assume he has a concussion as well and will be out indefinitely.

Steve Mason is set to return next week, but it’s still up in the air as to when next week. It won’t make much of a difference for the hapless Flyers, but he will provide half-way decent value for his owners, anyway. 

Pekka Rinne, G (L, 35 SV, 5 GA, .875%) – The God of Goalies took it on the chin last night to the tune of five goals on 40 shots in a 5-2 spanking by the Isles. To put this game into perspective Rinne had allowed just five goals on his previous 130 shots before this game. Clearly this god is a fallible god, but we forgive him, because I’m pretty confident he’ll return to his usual magnificent self in his next start.

John Tavares, C (1 G, 1 A, 5 SOG) – Since the Isles lost Kyle Okposo to a detached retina JT has stepped up like the superstar he is and has 19 points in the 14 games since Okie’s departure. That’s why he wears the C and that’s what he’s a top 3 skater in fantasy hockey or otherwise. Believe it or not, he’s on pace to set career highs in goals, assists, points and could finish the season with a rating in the positive for the first time. All that and he’s one of my keepers in two leagues. Booyah!

Filip Forsberg, C (1 G, 4 SOG, -1) – A slow down was inevitable for the rookie and slow he has. After putting up a monster first half with 35 points (15 G, 21 A) in his first 36 games he’s since gone “cold” and registered 16 points (6 G, 10 A) over his last 22. That’s actually a pretty respectable pace, it’s just that compared to his early season surge it doesn’t seem like much. Expect more of the same as we go down the stretch, he remains the front-runner to win the Calder Trophy and should be at the top of your keeper list.

Josh Bailey, LW (1 G, 5 SOG, -1) – Playing with John Tavares when he’s hot is as good a place to be in the league as you can get and Bailey continues to cash in with another goal last night. He has five points (3 G, 2 A) over his last five games and it seems Isles Head Coach Jack Capuano is happy to keep the top line of Bailey, JT and Anders Lee, C (1 A, 6 SOG) together for the time being making Bailey and Lee must owns in most formats.

Ondrej Pavelec, G (L, 28 SV, 4 GA, .875%) – This was a typical start for Pavelec, but to be fair he was hanged out to dry when the Jets D completely broke down on the power play and the Caps strolled in on a 4-on-1 and predictably they scored. At this point every one of his starts is just another nail in the coffin of his chances to start for this team next season.

Braden Holtby, G (W, 19 SV, 1 GA, .950%) – Holtby didn’t get much work in this one but the rust didn’t settle in while he kicked back in his net all game and he pushed away 19 of 20 shots for the victory. Holtby quietly remains a contender for the Vezina with a season line of 28-12-9/2.15/.925 in 50 games played. That’s ridiculous and I think it’s sustainable for him going into next season. If you drafted him you probably picked him up in the middle rounds, so definitely consider him a keeper.

Alex Ovechkin, LW (1 G, 1 A, 6 SOG) – Ovie and Rick Nash, LW (1 G, 3 SOG) are going back and forth for the scoring title right now, but Ovie seems to have the edge lately with 10 points (5 G, 5 A) in his last 5 games with at least a goal in four straight. If I had to put money on the winner of this race, it’d be on Ovie.

John Carlson, D (1 G, 3 SOG, +1) – With goals in back-to-back games Carlson continues his Norris worthy campaign. He has four points (2 G, 2 A) over his last five and remains on pace for a 15-goal, 60-point campaign. He might fall just short of both of those marks, but not by much.

Troy Brouwer, RW (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG) – T-Brouw has no business repeating last season’s 25-goal performance but he’s on pace to do just that. He’s actually been pretty valuable in deeper leagues that count hits, he’s laid the boom 145 times so far this season and 11 of his 30 points so far come with the man advantage, so there is definitely value here.

Ryan Miller, G (W, 30 SV, 4 GA, .882%) – This wasn’t a pretty game for Miller, but he stood tall enough to hold on for the 5-4 win in the shootout. Man, I hate shootouts. I’ve made that clear and this game is a great example as to why. The Rangers dominated this game from start to finish; there was rarely a time when they weren’t in total control of the game, but they had goaltending breakdowns and ended up in the shootout and lost it. A shame. Miller remains a middling goalie that provides solid wins and meh peripherals.

Cam Talbot, G (L, 24 SV, 4 GA, .857%) – Since taking over for the injured Henrik Lundqvist Talbot has been a sieve. Yeah, he’s won 5 of his eight starts but he’s coughing up tons of goals in the process and credit for his solid record over that span sits squarely on the collective shoulders of the deadly Rangers offense. They provided leads of 1-0, 2-1 and 4-3 and Talbot couldn’t hold a single one of them. That’s a theme for the young netminder as I’ve repeatedly reminded everyone recently; Talbot should only get sheltered minutes for fantasy owners despite his starting role.

Carl Hagelin, LW (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG) – The third line for the Rangers was a bit of a mystery in the first half but since the All-Star Break the unit of Hags, Kevin Hayes, C/RW (1 SOG, 2 PIM) and J.T. Miller, C (2 SOG) has solidified and is showing some serious chemistry. That’s evidenced by Hayes’ recent surge, but Hagelin isn’t being left out of the fun either and has put up four points (2 G, 2 A) over his last five games. He isn’t a dynamic scoring option, but the speedy winger has the ability to provide some scoring depth in deeper leagues for managers dealing with injuries. Don’t be shy about picking him up, but don’t expect miracles either.

Martin St. Louis, RW (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG) – It’s clear at this point that age is finally catching up with Marty, but the future Hall of Famer still has some gas left in the tank. He’s put up five points (2 G, 3 A) over his last three games with at least a point in each tilt and could be a decent trade target for owners looking to find supplementary scoring on the cheap for the stretch run.

Derek Stepan, C (1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG) – If Step didn’t break his leg in the preseason he’d be among the league leaders in scoring. With 41 points in 42 games so far this season he shows no signs of slowing down and remains a fixture in one of the league’s best offenses. Keep him high on your keeper lists the 24-year-old is going to keep doing this for years to come.

Michal Neuvirth, G (W, 36 SV, 2 GA, .947%) – Back when he played for the Caps Neuvirth was pretty pissed about being left at the bottom of a large goalie stack and demanded a trade. Well, his wish was granted and he ended up with the worst team in the league. No one told him that though, and since taking over for the recently traded Jhonas Enroth Neuvirth has been pretty solid allowing more than three goals just once in his last five starts. In fact, he’s allowed just 12 goals over that span and pushed aside 154 of 166 shots he’s faced, good for a .928 save percentage. Maybe someone should make sure he read the memo about tanking for Connor McDavid.

Ray Emery, G (L, 30 SV, 2 GA, .938%) – Emery was pretty decent in this one, but the Flyers made up for his strong play with garbage play on offense and they fell to the lowly Sabres 3-2 in the shootout. If you own Emery you either want to lose, play in a razzy league or you’re a masochist.

Jakub Voracek, RW (1 G, 4 SOG, -1) – I figured Jake would slow down a bit from his early season pace, but with just three points in his last seven games, that’s a bit slower than I expected. He’s still on pace to finish with around 86 points on the year, so that shows you just how strong he was leading up to this cold spell and I’m pretty sure he’ll pick it up again soon. He won’t return to his early season 1.5 points-per-game form, but he shouldn’t be this bad for much longer.

Curtis McElhinney, G (W, 29 SV, 1 GA, .967%) – McElhinney shut down the Pens last night and looked good doing it pushing away 29 of 30 shots fo—Whoa, whoa, whoa. Wait just a damn minute! Who told McMeh he was a halfway decent goalie? Don’t fill his head with these crazy ideas, y’all. It’s just mean.

Brandon Dubinsky, C (1 G, 5 SOG, +2) – In standard leagues Dubs is pretty yawnstipating, but in category rich leagues he’s a freakin’ beast. Lately he’s been a beast in all formats with six points (4 G, 2 A) over his last four games with at least a point in each game over that span. He also sports a plus-5, 14 shots on goal, 35 faceoff wins, 20 hits and 7 penalty minutes. Hot damn, that’s a big ole’ serving o’ fantasy gold!

Kari Lehtonen, G (L, 14 SV, 3 GA, .824%) – Ugh, just when it looks like Lehtonen might just be getting his shiz together he only lasted 26 minutes and change before getting the hook in favor of Jhonas Enroth, G (9 SV, 0 GA, 1.000%) who stopped all nine shots he faced. Expect Enroth to get the next start for the Stars and you’d do well to avoid this entire situation if you enjoy winning.

Roberto Luongo, G (W, 37 SV, 2 GA, .949%) – Lu hit a rough patch about a month ago, but he has been absolutely fantastic this month allowing no more than two goals in each of his last seven starts. He’s faced a whopping 250 shots over his last eight starts and stopped 232 of them, good for a .928 save percentage and the awe and glee of his owners. The Cats are going to be dangerous next year and Lu will remain a strong play for the remainder of the season.

Carey Price, G (L, 19 SV, 2 GA, .905%) – When it comes to the Vezina race, the Price is Right and Pekka Rinne has fallen into second behind Carey who now sports a season line of 32-11-3/1.93/.934 in 46 games played. That’s ridiculous. Has anyone else noticed that scoring is down and unreal goaltending is up this season? There are no skaters on pace for a 100-point season for the first time in as long as I can remember. Fun fact! Since 2000 there have been just two Hart Trophy winners who earned the award scoring fewer than 100 points on the year; Corey Perry won with 50 goals and 98 points in 2010-11 and Marty St. Louis won with 94 points back in 2003-04.

  1. Everett says:
    (link)

    Took over a dynasty team going nowhere this season a few weeks back… worth picking up Malcolm Subban as a hold? 12-team league so # of goalies rostered is generally mid-40s. I have Rask, Elliott, Khudobin and Mike Smith currently (so I would be able to, hypothetically, lock in the Rask/Subban combo long term). Again, this season is meaningless as the team was eliminated from contention before I took it over.

    • JD

      JD says:
      (link)

      I would hold off until after the trade deadline. Niklas Svedberg is really talented and he’s likely to remain Rask’s backup next season. Word has it that the B’s were calling up Subban to start before the deadline as a showcase for a trade. If he’s moved, his value could go either way. If Svedberg is available you’re probably better off going after him. Also, drop Mike Smith.

  2. paz says:
    (link)

    would you take Kelft Bomb over Scandella or Sekera?

    Scandella scores goals, though not many lately, and Sekera may get traded to a good situation

    thoughts

    • JD

      JD says:
      (link)

      @paz: At this point I’d go with Klefbom because he’s the one who is scoring right now out of the three. Scandella hasn’t been the same since he returned from injury and Sekera was never as good as he was last season, though if he does get traded to a contender his value jumps above the other two. With the deadline looming I wouldn’t drop Sekera, but I’d keep my eye on where he may end up.

      • paz says:
        (link)

        @JD: side note: Toby Enstrom is also available

        • JD

          JD says:
          (link)

          @paz: I’d have to go with Enstrom then. He’s the only one of the three that gets time on their team’s top PP unit. Sekera and Klef both get time on their teams’ second units, but the Jets are easily the best team of the three. The Jets are 16th in the league on the PP, Canes are 20th, Oil are near the bottom at 27th. Also, Enstrom plays with Myers and that seems to be working well since the trade. Scandella has all but disappeared offensively for the last few months, I wouldn’t even bother owning him at this point.

  3. Toe Knee says:
    (link)

    I had both Lehtonen and Gibson go last night eff me. yes I also own Talbot. Till Anderson is back it’s Dire Straights. Now it’s Neuvirth and a prayer.

    • JD

      JD says:
      (link)

      @Toe Knee: Ah man, that’s brutal! I wouldn’t start Neuvirth vs. the Rangers, that’s asking for trouble. Though you have some hope because it’s the second of a back-to-back for them and they’re starting Skapski, so if nothing else a win could be in the books. Good luck!

  4. Ecstatic Giraffe says:
    (link)

    What are you thoughts on Seguin? With so few weeks left, should I drop him?

    • JD

      JD says:
      (link)

      @Ecstatic Giraffe: Unless you are dying to use your IR slot for someone else I would hold on to him just in case he comes back just before or during the fantasy playoffs. He’s too good to let go of until he’s officially out for the rest of the regular season, and that’s not the case yet. Initial estimates have him gone from 3-6 weeks, if it’s three, he’ll be back in time to help you. If you’re in a keeper league and can keep him, absolutely do so and do not drop him.

      I feel this pain, brother, I own Seguin on two teams. Sadface.

      • Ecstatic Giraffe says:
        (link)

        @JD: Well I currently have Lundqvist on IR, and league has daily add drops. So there’s value in streaming players, but yes I dont want to lose him and be burned in the playoffs. A month ago I was sitting pretty in first, then I lost Okposo, Kane, Lundqvist, and Seguin. Not fun.

          • Ecstatic Giraffe says:
            (link)

            @JD: Sure is, and now Krejci is out. Any idea on how serious his injury is?

            • JD

              JD says:
              (link)

              It’s a knee thing and it sounds serious. He’s getting checked out today but most folks seem to think he’s going to be out for at least a few weeks.

  5. JSF says:
    (link)

    Hey JD,

    I am in a keeper league with G, A, P, +/-, PIM, PPP, SOG. HITS, W, GAA, SVs, SV% as categories. We keep 7. Since I am in 4th place with little chance of cracking the top 3, I am starting to think about next year.

    I already unloaded Halak for a first round pick next year (might end up first overall) since I plan on only keeping Schneider as a goalie.

    I am definitely keeping:

    C. Schneider
    Stamkos
    R. Johansen
    PK Subban

    I have to keep three of the following:

    Hall
    MacKinnon
    Galchenyuk
    Drouin
    Simmonds

    I really want to keep Galchenyuk (Habs fan). I think he and PK will put up a lot of PPP together in the future. Was hoping to pair Drouin with Stamkos but Tampa is deep and they appear to be following the Red Wings path of development and are in no hurry to hand Drouin the keys to the kingdom. I love Simmonds, but the other guys are way younger and have more potential, but he is nice in the HITS department and also puts up a ton of PPP. I’ve put out feelers for Hall and Mackinnon, but I don’t think I will get fair value for them.

    Any advice?

    Thanks

    • JD

      JD says:
      (link)

      @JSF: My gut says keep Drouin, Gally and MacKinnon. I think Gally will break out next season, Drouin will take a big step forward and since you’re already stacked with veteran talent, keeping Simmonds over MacKinnon doesn’t make a lot of sense. Also, Mac’s ceiling is much, much higher. I think there’s two main factors to Mac’s subpar sophomore season. One, they tried moving him to center to start the season and he’s spent most of his hockey life on the wing. Playing the pivot is a role that comes with a ton of responsibility and there’s a lot to learn. It didn’t go well and they shifted him back to the wing. That’s going to mess with him a bit. Second, the reason they moved him to center in the first place, the departure of Paul Stastny. Those two had solid chemistry and allowed Mac to stay at his natural position on the wing and they thrived together. I think Mac likely learned a lot this season and will be great moving forward, or at the very least replicate his rookie season numbers, so I think he’s worth keeping.

      • Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
        (link)

        @JD: drouin over hall seems crazy though to me.

    • JD

      JD says:
      (link)

      @Montezuma’s Revenge… right now: You’re right. When I first read that list I read it as keeping Hall already. @JSF: Definitely keep Hall over Drouin, my mistake.

  6. Fastpitch says:
    (link)

    Still in 1st place because of you. I’m starting to worry about Hedman, he’s not doing much the last couple weeks. Boychuk, McDonagh,Stralman and Daley are FA. Any of the above I pick up for hedman?

    Also my goalie situation I’m not liking. I have Schnies,Andersen/Gibson and Hutch who likes to give up 4 goals a game lately. FA are Vasilevskiy,Ramo and Hammond along with Smith-Riemer types. Hold or I could drop Backus who is cold right now keep what I have and just add for depth. Trying to get ready for the playoffs. Your thoughts?

    • JD

      JD says:
      (link)

      @Fastpitch: You have to stick it out with Hedman. I wouldn’t drop him for any of those guys, though McDonagh is interesting. Is there any way you can add Mac but hold Hedman as well?

      Hold on the goalies. Keep Hutch on the bench unless he’s facing a weak opponent, fatigue is a factor for the rookie at this point. Gibson is the starter for the Ducks until Freddy gets back and they’ll split starts after that, Breezy just got sent to waivers today. Gibson is in the NHL for the remainder of the season.

  7. goodfold2 says:
    (link)

    anybody see rage monster accidentally try to break stick on goalpost after allowing a goal and slashing versteeg, funny ass shit.

    • goodfold2 says:
      (link)

      @goodfold2: sorry hitting versteeg was the accidental part, he def wanted to break the stick on sidebar.

      • JD

        JD says:
        (link)

        @goodfold2: Yeah, I saw that. Typical Tuukka. Dude really needs to get his emotions under control.

  8. alex says:
    (link)

    Hey im in a keeper league. My team is going nowhere so I’m looking to next year. Would you trade jamie benn for partick kane? Seems like a no Brainer but benn has been so good this year. Scoring system is head to head but the categories count as wins losses for that week. Thanks!

    • JD

      JD says:
      (link)

      Sure, you can’t really lose either way. Kane is the better play for sure.

  9. Slimbo says:
    (link)

    whats up…wanna win this year in my keeper league but also build for the future

    just got offered my Ribeiro for his Saad

    • Slimbo says:
      (link)

      @Slimbo: opps cut out

      do i accept?

      • JD

        JD says:
        (link)

        Yeah, that’s a solid move. Saad should at least come close to matching Ribs ROS and will be the superior player next season.

  10. Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
    (link)

    NYR in that game mentioned wouldn’t be helped by getting rid of shootouts, they likely would’ve just tied and got the same 1 pt they did get in current system. I also hate shootouts, but getting rid of them wouldn’t have made a difference here.

Comments are closed.