Normally when Alex Ovechkin is involved in a play and another player gets hurt, it’s because Ovie hurt him but this time Ovie wasn’t at fault when Kevin Shattenkirk tried to put hit on Ovie, failed, and crumpled to the ice unable to get up under his own power. It was a fluke, a freaky accident that has apparently ended the regular season for the Norris Trophy candidate and he’ll miss around six-to-eight weeks after undergoing abdominal surgery in Philadelphia last week. The Blues peg him as week-to-week but Mark Letestu and Brandon Dubinsky have both undergone the same procedure for the same problem, with the same physician, this season, and the took the full two months for either skater to return to action. Given that the final day of the regular season is April 11th, just two months from tomorrow, it’s safe to assume that Shattenkirk could be back in the playoffs for the Blues, but fantasy owners won’t be as lucky. So what do you do with a guy like Shats when the Blues list him as week-to-week and the doctors say two months? Honestly, I’d listen to history and the doctors. Unless Shats is super human, and despite his play this season, he isn’t, there’s no way he gets back in anything less than six weeks. After that, he’ll have to knock off some rust for a few games, so that takes another week. That means he could be back to form by the final week of the regular season. That’s the most optimistic scenario for Shats, and the Blues have no reason to push him back into action if it means he could reinjure himself and miss the playoffs, too. The Blues don’t care about your fantasy team, though they definitely should. At any rate, stash him if you have an open IR slot but if you get log jammed at IR because you have one of the sixty guys that suffered injuries over the last few weeks, it’s probably safe to jettison Shats to the wire to make room. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey recently:
Kris Versteeg is set to return this Wednesday after missing more than a month of time due to a broken hand. He was rocking it offensively in the Hawks’ top six before going down and I would imagine that he’ll regain that role again shortly after he’s back. That being said, a few guys have broken their hands this season and when they came back it took them a few weeks to get back into the groove, so get Steeger back in there as soon as he’s activated from IR, but temper your expectations a bit at first. He might need a little time to get going again.
Taylor Hall was supposed to have a bone bruise but now that’s become a bone fracture and it looks like he’s going to be out for four-to-six weeks. Not like it matters much, he’s been pretty horrible all season long.
Steve Mason now has a timetable for his recovery and it’s 2-3 weeks. Robb Zepp and Ray Emery will split the starts in what should be one big crapshoot for the Flyers and any fantasy owner brave enough to bring either of them into the fold.
Frederik Andersen has been put on IR with a head injury and will be out for at least a week. John Gibson was called up to likely dominate the starts over Ilya Bryzgalov while Freddy is out. That being said, there’s only two starts this week so they may split them depending. If Gibs goes out there and wins the first game in solid fashion, he could get them both. If Bryz takes the first one and bombs, Gibson is absolutely going in the second game.
Ben Scrivens, G (W, 13 SV, 1 GA, .929%) – It’s not often I get to mention Scribbles, but I like the guy so I take the opportunity when I can. He pushed away 13 of 14 Devils shots for the 2-1 victory last night, but he has zero value, I just feel bad for him. He really is better than his numbers indicate; no goalie can thrive on the Oilers. Hell, look at Devan Dubnyk, he was terrible until he moved to Arizona, did well and now he’s killing it for the Wild. He didn’t take some magic talent pills, he was always good, it’s just that the Oil really are that bad.
Cory Schneider, G (L, 22 SV, 2 GA, .917%) – Schneids took the loss in this one but it wasn’t his fault. Am I goalie apologist? Perhaps! But really, in a season where a bunch of goalies are playing for good teams and getting wins, but generally offering bleh peripherals, Schneids is the exact opposite. The Devils can’t buy a win and Cory’s 19-20-5 record paired with his 2.29 goals-against average and .923 save percentage can attest to that. It was a rocky start for him this season, but it should be a strong finish.
Nail Yakupov, RW (1 G, 2 SOG, -1) – Yakupov isn’t a fantasy bust; he’s an actual bust. Not like a statue bust, but a bust-bust, ya dig? He’s sporting a robust minus-27 rating and has a whopping 14 points in 54 games this season. Can you detect the sarcasm through your monitor? Because it’s just dripping from my keyboard and this season could be another Nail in the coffin that has been Yakupov’s NHL career.
Jordan Eberle, RW (2 A, 4 SOG, +1) – I’m convinced that Eebs is playing his heart out in hopes of a trade at the deadline. He probably wouldn’t admit that, but come on, who on earth would want to be in Edmonton right now? At any rate, Eebs has six points (3 G, 3 A) over his last five games and 14 points (8 G, 6 A) over his last 16 games. He should continue to play well down the stretch regardless of where he plays, but if for some reason he gets moved out of Edmonton, his value could skyrocket.
Oscar Klefbom, D (1 G, 3 SOG, +1) – If I asked you who you though the Oil’s top defenseman was the most common answer I’d get would be Justin Schultz, D (4 SOG, +1) and that wouldn’t be a bad answer. Really, it’s been Klefbom for the better part of this season and the 19-year-old Swede is looking better and better by the game. He has some offensive upside, but not this season. He gets a mention here just to get on your radar; he could be something special in a few years.
Patrik Elias, LW (1 G, 2 SOG, +1) – I’m thinking it’s about time for ole’ St. Patty to retire. He has just 23 points in 44 games this season and sports a minus-12 rating. He really has no value at all.
Jon Quick, G (W, 23 SV, 3 GA, .885%) – Tuukka Rask might be salvaging his horrible (for him) first half, but Jon is Quickly sinking as the Kings roll on. He won his second straight game, but allowed three goals on just 26 shots pushing his save percentage below .910 and his goals-against average up to 2.52. Those numbers are a far, far cry from what you expected from Quick and from what I’m seeing, the defending Stanley Cup champs and their star netminder won’t be offering up much for you down the stretch.
Curtis McElhinney, G (L, 40 SV, 4 GA, .909%) – For the last couple games McMeh has looked like a real netminder pushing away 31 of 32 shots to down the Blues and 34 of 35 in the next game to beat the Senators. Good thing everything is back to normal after he coughed up four goals on 44 shots. To be fair, that’s a lot of shots. That being said, he’s still not very good and a broken clock is right twice a day, ya dig?
Tyler Toffoli, RW (1 G, 3 SOG, +1) – If you threw out the first month of Toffoli’s season he’d have just 17 points in 30 games and that’s pretty meh, but I still have high hopes for him moving forward. He has goals in two straight now playing along side Jeff Carter, C (1 G, 1 A, 5 SOG) on the Kings’ second line and that pair anchors their second power play unit as well, so Toffoli still has value in deep leagues. He’s also a pretty valuable keeper considering his offensive upside.
Scott Hartnell, LW (1 G, 1 SOG, +1) – extends his four game points streak with a goal last night and has put up six points (3 G, 3 A) over that span. He had a woeful October and missed half of November with an injury, but he’s been generally consistent since returning in late December. He’s on pace to finish with around 55 points, 20 goals, 115 PIM and around 200 shots on goal. What more could you ask for?
Devan Dubnyk, G (W, 22 SV, 3 GA, .880%) – Doobie wins another one, but he finally looked human coughing up three goals on just 25 shots. That being said, he’s finally on a team that can pick up the slack on nights that he isn’t his sharpest and the Wild potted five behind Ryan Miller for the 5-3 victory. Doob deserved it, he allowed just two goals over his previous 240 minutes of play posting shutouts in three of his last four games before this one, so he gets a pass. I love Dubnyk down the stretch and see no reason why he would lose the starting job to the recently recalled Darcy Kuemper, but expect that Kuemps to get some starts soon and he should be Doobie’s backup down the stretch, not Niklas Backstrom.
Ryan Miller, G (L, 13 SV, 5 GA, .722%) – It wasn’t Miller time last night, it was Doobie time as Miller was pounded for five goals on just 18 shots before getting yanked in favor of backup Eddie Lack, G (14 SV, 0 GA, 1.000%) who stopped all 14 shots he faced. Miller continues on as expected and Lack will likely get the next start for the Canucks.
Kyle Brodziak, C (1 G, 5 SOG, +1) – Cool story, bro!
Nino Niederreiter, RW (1 G, 3 SOG, +2) – He might not skate in the top six for the Wild, but he does get time on the second power play and if you couple that with his offensive upside, he retains some value in deep leagues. With three points (1 G, 2 A) in his last four games he’s also on a modest scoring run, but I don’t know that he can hit the 30 goal marker this season like I expected he would early on. 25 goals is still doable, though.
Marian Hossa, RW (2 G, 3 SOG, +2) – So I bag on Hoss yesterday despite the two goals and talk about the twilight of his career and he comes back and scores two goals for a second straight game. Remember what else I said? Sell high before the deadline if he goes on a streak. I know it might be hard to part with him; he has name recognition and spends time in the Hawks’ top six, but it doesn’t matter. He isn’t the guy he used to be, but at his age, you can’t expect him to be.
Mike Smith, G (W, 36 SV, 2 GA, .947%) – Yeah, that’s the third straight solid game for Smith but until he gets his goals-against average under 3.00 and his save percentage above .900 I don’t really care what he does. He’s a mediocre goalie on an injury riddled, mediocre team. No thanks.
Antti Raanta, G (L, 27 SV, 2 GA, .931%) – Raanta was solid in this one despite the loss and has generally been pretty stellar as Corey Crawford’s understudy this season. In 13 starts he’s posted a 7-4-1 record to go with a 1.81 goals-against average and a .938 save percentage, and I’d buy that for a dollar!
Jonas Hiller, G (W, 33 SV, 1 GA, .971%) – Hiller continues his solid play with another victory last night and has generally looked great lately save that four goal blip against the Pens last Friday. In fact, he’s allowed more than two goals just twice in his last eight games since returning from an injury in late January and you know what that means? Sell high, my friends. Sell high.
Antti Niemi, G (L, 23 SV, 3 GA, .885%) – I mostly mention Niemi to enjoy some sweet, sweet schadenfreude when he has a junk game, which is more often than not.
Brent Burns, D (1 G, 5 SOG, 4 PIM) – A commenter asked me today if they should drop Burnsy for Aaron Ekblad and last night’s game is why no one should. The idea of letting go of Burns for Ek isn’t as crazy as it sounds off the bat, but it shouldn’t be done. Burns also has four points (1 G, 3 A) over his last five games and remains on pace for a 15 goal, 60-point season from the blue line. That makes him one of the top 5 most valuable rearguards in fantasy hockey this season. Treat him accordingly.
Mayson Raymond, LW (1 G, 3 SOG, +1) – MayRay has scoring chops and he’s showcasing them lately with goals in three of his last four games and four points (3 G, 1 A) over his last five. He was actually off to a solid start with seven points in his first 10 games, but after he broke his hand and missed all of November and clearly looked less than 100% in December, he’s starting to show some flickers of life again. He nearly potted 20 goals last year for the Leafs and skates on Calgary’s third line and second power play units, so there’s some value here in the deepest of leagues.
Jiri Hudler, RW (1 G, 2 SOG) – Yeah, trade Hudler before the deadline. He always has a suck second half after a strong first half. It’s like clockwork.
Mikko Koivu, C (3 A, 3 SOG) – With a triple helping o’ helpers Koivu has five points (1 G, 4 A) over his last three games after putting up his best month of the season with nine points (2 G, 7 A) in 13 games in January. He skates on the Wild’s top line and while his first half was abysmal, he seems to have righted the ship and should be good for 0.5-0.65 points per game for the remainder of the season.