It is really amazing how we can look down upon elite players after injuries. Jason Spezza was down in everyone’s minds at the age of 28. I, too, am part of this because I could only see value in Alfredsson and whatever other winger they put on his line. Spezza has proven himself to be elite again as he has made everyone around him better. 2 goals 2 assists and 17 faceoff wins on Friday. Yes we will see ups and downs, bumps and bruises, but at the end a 30-50-80 season is more likely in store. He’s more like a 3 wish genie. Not like Aladdin’s genie who goes above and beyond. Now that is good value.
Jared Cowen - along for the magic carpet ride was Cowen. Hasn’t ever been an elite offensive producer but 1 goals and 3 assists gets your eyes open wider. Cowen is a physical defenceman who will take the body a lot. Defence first, offence later. It’s just like how I approach a slide of cake. I would probably chalk this up as just a good game. Gonchar is said to return soon, so keep that in mind.
Adam Henrique - so far I’ve been right about Kovalchuk and Parise finding their game. I didn’t think that this line would become one of the hottest lines in hockey. I still do think Henrique will slow down (he doesn’t get enough SOG, PP time, and is getting short handed points, which are hard). Kovalchuk and Parise can be a point-per-game from here on out.
Jamie Benn - I still think we’re witnessing the berth of a great player. But we’ve “Benn” there and done that. He still feels like he is leaving us with something more. He still is young.
Tyler Ennis - good things come in small packages. I saw that in my dream when I got a box from Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg. Ennis is getting some well deserved points right now. No reason to not own him. I just don’t know if he will improve on last year’s numbers.
Cam Fowler - I’m only a little worried about Fowler. I’m not sure what the problem is because I haven’t seen him play recently, but his ice time has decreased, his SOG are down, his PP time is also going down. This is hard to see from such a talented skater, puck handler, and passer. I would hope this is more of a mental lapse and lower confidence kind of thing. But under a new head coach you never really know.
Ray Emery - the guy just keeps on coming back. I still wonder about his long term health. I am also a fan of Corey Crawford. But enjoy his great play. This emery board is tougher than we think.
I just wanted to share that video of Shea Weber. Watch out for the little blurb I have on him later!
In other news, Kyle Okposo has 3-3-6 in his last 7 games. Is this what we’ve been waiting for? With the paper thin Right Wing position you should pick up Okposo. He’s hurt me in the past, but I am willing to forgive and forget. Don’t expect anything crazy as he is playing with Frans Nielsen as his center.
Chris Pronger - announced to be out for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs. This is very scary news because Pronger is yet another elite player hit by a concussion. I wish him the best of luck in his recovery because his condition is probably unbelievably in bad shape now. “Severe post-concussion symptoms”. Something nobody wants to hear.
Kimmo Timonen - will get the bulk of time at the point on the PP for the free flying Flyers (thank you, alliteration). It won’t turn him into an all star. Somebody else has to step up and I don’t really know who. Matt Carle, Andrej Meszaros, and a bit of time for Braydon Coburn will fill in the 2nd unit. At the other point on the top PP with Timonen was Voracek -which btw is bad for a forward who doesn’t have a strong shot or great passing.
James van Riemsdyk - his value takes a hit without Giroux. He isn’t much of a two-way player, and his offensive abilities haven’t shown up without Giroux around yet. Just don’t be surprised in close games if his ice time is pretty low. ATM JVR will BRB in those situations FWIW umm BBQ?
Mike Cammalleri - he seems healthy and had a pretty decent game on Thursday. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets an ugly goal and he went hot for a while. Be patient with him. He’s healthy, that doesn’t happen all the time.
Brandon Dubinsky - I don’t know what is wrong with him. He usually is physical, and ge has been slowly improving each season. All I can think of is that from all the times in the past where he has gotten hot in the beginning of the season and then cooled down, he is currently in a cool down phase. This leads to a demotion and less time on ice. I would like to say buy low, but I need a sign. Help me, Ace Of Base!
Shea Weber - he’s my favourite defenceman in fantasy. There is 0 reason to believe he will jump into plays and get you those 4th forward kind of points (like Mike Green). As non exciting as that is, I want all my points to come from a safe distance because they are steady. He might be a bit unexciting, but you are never disappointed. Why go to Starbucks when you can go to Tim Horton’s (Canadian reference!). Why go Green when you can cast a nice web instead?
Taylor Hall - got the hall pass from coach Renney and is back. Potted 2 goals on Thursday but only on 3 SOG (meaning he didn’t really dominate the entire game). Hall still has a good shot at 30-30-60 in his 2nd NHL season. I’m surprised at his power play points, but then again I’m surprised by almost everyone on the Oilers right now. Expect him to pick up his play as the season wears on because Hall’s gears are always running.
Radim Vrbata - I would like to call him “verb” or better yet “the action”. He is playing some good hockey right now, but he is getting lucky. He is a guy who has a great shot and is definitely not afraid to shoot. He isn’t much of a passer, though. At “verb’s” maximum vocabulary I can see 30-30-60. Realistically 28-25-53.
Semyon Varlamov - you would like him to be better, and you know he can be better, so let us put the blame on others. Joe Sacco is a big one. They might be giants but the defence isn’t so great. And, well, Varly has troubles. When he is dialed in and focused, he is really good. But that is really hard to do night in and night out. Just imagine trying to be super intense for all these games. A smarter coach would probably give like a 65-35 split in starts, but remember we’re talking about Joe Sacco here.
That was Kane with an absolute revealing shootout goal for the Blackhawks. Revealing as in Backstrom is not aggressive at all on that play. I wonder if anyone else noticed? Anyway, like any goal scorer, you want to score goals. Hope that Patrick Kane starts streaking. Did you misinterpret that?
As a side note. Check out HBO 24/7! Really awesome start to the series.
Ilya Bryzgalov - the universe is so massive and we’re only a little tiny part of it. And if you kill a tiger in some countries, they can kill you for it. Weird how that is what you learn of a top goalie instead of his daily routine? It is like he’s high most of the time. I wouldn’t worry about Bryz because he probably would absorb some cosmic power to keep himself calm and collected in goal. The coaches seem to like him, too.
Daniel Alfredsson - whatever I said about him last time, I take it back. He looked great on Wednesday. Maybe that hit motivated him and his sweeping moustache.
Billy Butler - getting a top 6 role with Milan Michalek (MiMi) out. Butler didn’t do much this season, but last year had a top 6 role and was a bit streaky. He has a great shot and if he can get open he can score. But like a lot of smaller name players, he is invisible most of the time. Worth a watch, but don’t flex those biceps to pick him up just yet.
Niklas Hagman - hurts me to recommend him, but he has been playing well. Hagman can score a few goals so if you’re desperate then…pick…him…up. Don’t expect too much even if he is playing with Getzlaf and Perry. Hagman would rather get a highlight reel goal than anything.
Kevin Poulin - won’t save your season, but with Montoya struggling, DiPietro on the IR, and Nabokov healing, Poulin is once again the man. Who is he? Patrick Roy named him the best goalie in the QMJHL before. The Poulin Wall could get an extended look for the Islanders.
Calvin de Haan - young defenceman who surprised everyone at the draft by being selected 12th overall in 2009 is now called up by the Islanders. Offensive and could get PP time with Streit. But he might not be ready for the big show. He is also very injury prone so I would just watch him for now.
Travis Zajac - coming back from a big injury but probably going to be eased in. Adam Henrique is still up at the top. Zajac will probably move up by the end of the game. He will get PP time and it will only increase as time goes on.
It is almost Christmas time and us hockey fans are getting a treat. HBO 24/7 is coming back and the first episode airs tomorrow. If you don’t know what that is, it is a total behind the scenes look at the lives of hockey players, coaches, GMs, etc. leading up until the Winter Classic. Last year’s edition was amazing, and I expect the same this year -starting tomorrow!
Antti Miettinen - so Antttttti was claimed by the Jets. You have to wonder why these players want to play in the KHL in the first place as they end up leaving right away (see Evgeni Nabokov. But don’t see Nikita Filatov). Miettinen can be somewhat useful in fantasy as he plays the wing. Not sure where he fits in with the Jets.
Chris Stewart - his struggles continue even as the team is winning. Same start last season with Colorado. I would say as long as he isn’t getting scratched from games, try to buy him as he could make a 2nd half surge that would make you want to draft him all over again in 2012-2013.
Jared Cowen - nevermind David Rundblad, you might as well give the PP time to a strong physical defenceman. JCow is in the house.
Brad Marchand - he is one annoying little man to play against. He doesn’t get a lot of PP time but he does quite a bit of damage during the game as a huge pest. He’s projected to go 23-32-59, that is realistic for him this year. Start the marching band!
Luke Adam - you didn’t think he would be that good, right? Adam isn’t a great skater. His PP time is going way down, as well. The center situation in Buffalo sucks, and he doesn’t even get ice time. Also their defencemen are not very good. Oh yeah, welcome to the 2 first names club. With Chris Kelly, Bobby Ryan, Stefan Elliott…
Tim Connolly - 2 goals on Tuesday. First of all, so much for him proving his good health to the Maple Leaf fans. Second, he isn’t much of a scorer. He was brought in to center Phil Kessel, Kessel doesn’t even need him now! I’m sure Brian Burke still wants the Jerry Maguire ending between Kessel and Connolly, though - “You complete me”.
Cam Ward - what? He had a good game? Is he out of the “ward” right now? Why are there so many questions? Don’t be surprised if he goes on a little roll now because Ward is much better than him stats show.
Loui Eriksson - been in a slump lately but is still projected to get 64 points. I wouldn’t worry too much, this is the universe equaling things out. Now, if he is the son of Erik, will his son be ___ Louisson?
Daniel Cleary - last season’s career year might not be his last. He is struggling to score a bit, and his PP time has been going down…but there is hope. Cleary has been following his success last year by improving his SOG. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him get a few more goals and be a pretty solid winger for a bit. If he does I can finally say that Cleary is seeing clearly now (the rain has gone).
Scott Hartnell - goals in 6 straight as he stays hot even without Giroux. Expect Hartnell to cool down sooner rather than later, but can improve on his 30-30-60 career year in 08-09. Now, what he can’t improve on are his great locks of hair
Beautiful in an ugly way
Kurtis Foster - 4 SOG in 21:53 with 5:56 on the PP. It is not often you get almost 6 minutes of PP time. Foster will probably average like 18 minutes a game -he should learn something from Kovalchuk about ice time. I would say now to probably pick him up right about now. These offensive defencemen are just too hard to find.
And the firings just keep on happening. Scott Arniel, where you at? Or where art thou, if you’re from the past. Terry Murray was fired as the head coach of the L.A. Kings and the only importance is how does it affect your fantasy players. Hope that Justin Williams and Drew Doughty can come back to fantasy relevance now. If you were to make a buy low move on Doughty, now could be a good time.
Sorry for the delay. I added some more players to this huge post just for you.
Martin Brodeur - hate to say that he is losing steam in his illustrious career, but it certainly looks so. Just know that last season in the second half he played much better. But the Devils’ have a horrible defence, so I don’t think he will put up #1 goalie stats.
Daniel Alfredsson - took a cross check to his shoulder and played through it of course. But don’t be surprised if he slumps and misses a couple of practices.
Erik Karlsson - has reallllly been a horrible defenceman as of late. I would usually think that would lead to a major decrease in playing time, but with Gonchar out and the other dmen being pretty bad, Karlsson will get lots of ice time. He is a main stay on the top PP unit, but his play on Saturday was poor. Here is to him not getting punished because he has too much offensive power.
David Rundblad - how dare I mention 3 Senators back-to-back-to-back. Gosh, how many backs can exist on a Senator? Rundblad was probably an ‘expert’ pick because he has experience in the Swedish Elite League. He really isn’t doing so well in the NHL. He is getting PP time as the Gonch is out, but hasn’t done anything. Desperation pick up for those hurting at D or if your name is David Rundblad.
Evgeni Malkin - surprisingly the last man standing at center. You gotta give props to Dan Bylsma. He finds ways to win with this team that looks different all the time. And Malkin hasn’t dominated, but he is always putting up those points and still has a chance at being the MVP. Oh, he’s hurting a bit right now. Who will center this team?
Brian Elliott - still on fire. If you have both him and Halak, you are probably in pretty good shape right now. Note that they will keep splitting as the Blues keep winning. I still think Elliott is streaky, and is capable of going on very cold streaks. But if he is sharing time, his stats won’t suffer as much. Your fantasy stats might, though.
Bobby Ryan - “B-ry” was playing center again on Saturday. Remember last year when he did? Yeah, he wasn’t that good there. The Ducks are obviously very top heavy in talent. I guess that is better than being bottom heavy, because you might need some Pepto Bismol for that.
Ilya Kovalchuk - I talked about how he could get hot again, and he is looking mighty attractive right now. Could go at a point-per-game pace now. Kovy is ummm back-yyy? It reminds me of my high school English teacher who taught us how ”shadow” and “play-doh” rhyme. I didn’t get it. My rapping career is in jeopardy!
Kyle Brodziak - has been playing some good hockey as of late. Although for the last 2 seasons he had been invisible at times and then gotten hot at random times like this before. I can’t imagine him keeping this up for the rest of the season, but he is hot now on a winning team soooooo… work those biceps out and pick him up why don’t you?
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - I know he is playing on both PP units, but playing a 2 minute shift is something that nobody can survive. I still think RNH’s value is at its highest right now, but his value won’t get that much lower I predict.
Richard Bachman - well he got the start and he won. Might be a case of right place at the right time because Dallas was bound to win and LA have lost 4 straight. Like I said before, if there is a goalie starting, pick him up.
Erik Gudbranson - so the Panthers intend to keep him on the team to play 10 minutes a game? Even a forward wouldn’t be happy with that. He scored his first NHL goal on Sunday but he really is more of a defensive defenceman who has a heavy shot. Don’t go thinking that because he is too valuable for the Panthers (rather than the Canadian World Junior team) that he will have value in the immediate future.
Derek Stepan - Stepan has stepped on the gas pedal again and is on a little streak. Last year he was streaky, this year he is streaky again. He’ll still a young player who can be inconsistent at times. But take note that he is getting massive ice time. He could have a great second half surge. Or he could stay streaky. It sucks owning him.
Adam Henrique - I haven’t seen him play, but I hear he is a big center who makes the smart play, doesn’t over play plays, and plays a 200 foot game. Pretty similar to how Travis Zajac plays. I don’t think Henrique will keep this pace, but could be a surprise 50+ point center. But that might be his ceiling, not his floor -don’t even ask about the table and chairs!
Sidney Crosby - out with concussion like symptoms again. It doesn’t appear to be as bad as last time, but there is never a timetable for a return this early after the incident. Until you hear he is symptom free, and is feeling good at practice, can you exhale.
Erik Johnson - They want him to score more. Look for lots of PP time and SOG if things work out correctly. Is EJ the biggest bust at #1 pick overall in the last few years?
Kurtis Foster - hard to tell how he will do in New Jersey. But I don’t think he will get a lot of time on ice, but he might get a lot of PP time. More like how he has been played ever since that one season in Tampa. If the PP clicks, then and only then will Foster have any value. Otherwise it is hard to recommend him.
Sean Couturier - promoted to the top line with Giroux out. Couturier has pretty good vision, but is more of a passer and not much of a finisher. I would think lots of even strength time on ice, but not a lot of PP time. Couts is more of a mold of Jordan Staal, but remember he is still really young.
It is rare to see a hat trick in hockey. It is rarer when it comes from a defenceman. It is rarest when…okay you get my point. Wideman had an incredible 3 power play goals and tacked on another power play assist as he was bored. This is just a situation in which everything just so happened to go right instead of wide. Wideman is having a career year so far in Washington, just keep everything in check, though. He did not morph in Mike Green. Although if he did, would he take out a morpher, stick both arms straight out in front while holding it and yell “Mike Green”? (Power Rangers reference, anyone?)
Tomas Kaberle - traded to Montreal. Could actually be a good move. Montreal is used to having dmen who play under 20 minutes but get PP time. As long as he can set up the big shot from Subban, he can have value. This also might be bad news for Markov, he is still out indefinitely. He might be closer to the skill level of Enstrom than A.Greene in Montreal.
Brayden Schenn - hurts his shoulder before the season stars. Plays a few games and breaks his foot. Rehabs, plays a game and now has a mild concussion. Rough and tough season so far for my rookie of the year pick. He’s so talented but when you aren’t playing, you can’t have any impact.
Jamie McBain/Justin Faulk - both are getting lots of PP time with Kaberle gone. McBain is probably the guy to look at first. Still not a great situation there. If I haven’t mentioned it before, I love dmen who get PP time. Those are easier points than they will ever get. Sometimes it doesn’t work out, but sometimes you are desperate for a defencemen.
Blake Wheeler - had 3 assists on Friday (or Friiiiiiday, if you are Rebecca Black). Wheeler is more of a big body who has little hockey IQ. Sometimes he looks good, most of the time he doesn’t. His line on the other hand (Little and Kane), are on fire. If he is available, you might as well pick him up and hope he wheels himself a long ride on their coattails.
Sam Gagner - after a frustrating start filled with minor injuries, Gagner seemed to get fired up and ready to play. This effort was seen and he has been raised to the top line and playing the wing (left). Sometimes this is a great move because playing the wing is a bit simpler than center. It is also much easier because you have an elite visionary like RNH there. Gagner is playing great hockey now and is probably going to be on fire for as long as RNH and Eberle keep up their play.
Every year there is a surprise team or two. Sometimes all it takes is a new coach, a few new players, a new GM. Florida did all those and they are having a miracle season. Jose Theodore has been a revelation and continues to add on to his great season. He shutout the Bruins on Thursday after coming back from an illness. Remember Craig Anderson in his first year in Colorado. I believe Theodore can do something like that in Florida. But keep things in check. His numbers now are Vezina worthy, he is not Vezina worthy. Freakin’ Panther’s goalies! Mysterious like how the ‘J’ in Jose is actually a J sound.
Milan Michalek - he’s always looked quite good when he is healthy. The problem was that he was hardly ever healthy. He will have numbers like 35-25-60, but he’s for real. At least the fans of Ottawa can feel better about Dany Heatley trade…or not -they still loathe him.
Marian Hossa - if it isn’t Toews, Kane, or Sharp, it is Hossa who can step up. The Blackhawks are a deadly threat and you can always bet those star players will put up points. Oh yeah, Hossa is great when healthy.
Michael Grabner - best you believe his 34 goals last year would be hard to come by again. Who does he think he is, Alex Burrows? His goals are all at even strength or short handed. Not the easiest way to score by the by. Not saying he can’t get hot and score 30, but his goals will be really hard to come by.
Wayne Simmonds - keep an eye on him because he might be turning into what people thought he would be a few years ago. He was told to shoot the puck more. When you shoot the puck, you’re giving yourself a better shot at getting points. Not a large sample size yet, but he might be shooting more starting from now on.
Derick Brassard - another reason why Scott Arniel should be fired. If Brassard played so much before and was relatively successful in his young career, why not play him? Is it an attitude thing? An effort thing? If it is one of those problems then why is he put on a top 6 line when he gets back, and then back to the press box? Horrible coaching job. I hope he gets traded because a team that wants him can use him. Brassard has pretty good vision and passing, that is so valuable to umm ANYONE?
Mason Raymond - from a top 9 role to a top 6 role due to injuries. Had a nice looking goal today and he looks pretty fast (as per usual). Pick him up if available because the Canucks are surging.
Devante Smith-Pelley/Brett Connolly/(Erik Gudbranson) - might be loaned to Canada’s World Junior Team. I think Canada really needs the win after a couple of losing years and the GMs probably realized they made a mistake by letting these kids play while being unprepared. Let them play in a great tournament and gain some confidence and maybe they’ll come back and put up some points. I would watch Connolly carefully because he is an offensive talent.
Jiri Hudler - ughh I don’t like this recommendation but he has a few points in the last couple of games. He usually does nothing for a long time, then comes back and slowly gets some points. Not exciting at all, but can be useful if you’re desperate.
Richard Bachman - I don’t really know anything about him, and I don’t know if you do either (unless you ARE Richard Bachman). He is the back-up to Andrew Raycroft in Dallas. Why make a post about him? Raycroft has been shelled in the last couple of games. I will guess Raycroft will get another start on Saturday, but the leash is short. My advice is to pick up any goalie who is playing. If he plays, pick him up.
I tried to spell Claude Giroux but the letters M, V, and P kept getting mixed in somehow. Giroux is having a season to remember. He has: great skating, tremendous vision, a scoring touch (literally unbeatable 1 on 1), physicality, and a bunch of confidence playing with great players. He’s the total package and more. He took the scoring lead on Wednesday with his 16th goal and reached his 20th assist in 26 games. He probably won’t score 50 goals like he is projected to, but 30-50-80 is seeming like his floor talent level right now. You can faint now, Giroux will cure you, and also tack on an assist while doing it. *A note - for the future I want to say it here. Jonathan Huberdeau is extremely similar to Giroux
Drew Stafford - uh oh…He scored a goal today. When he scores, they keep going in for him. Pick him up, start him, he can win you your head-to-head weekly battles.
Alexander Ovechkin - the Great 8 scored just a tremendous goal on Wednesday. Of course if Erik Karlsson is on you, you have an easier time than with others, but nonetheless he scored. Ovechkin was stoned a couple times earlier but came back in the third period with that goal. He can easily explode now. But also remember last year he scored that great goal against the Islanders and that didn’t start any hot streak. Pray to your high entity (or for you agnostics, just keep doing what you do).
Alexander Semin - Semin’s flow has been restricted this year. I never published my work, but I wrote in the off-season that Semin would either play great OR he would play horribly. It was a year where even his teammates called him out for being unmotivated. Now with all these healthy scratches (that would feel nice, wouldn’t it?) and injuries, you have to wonder if they want to ship him off somewhere. Semin is still a tremendous talent and can put together stretches of great hockey. I wouldn’t want him on my team, though.
Jeff Skinner - a slow NHL day so I will talk about one of my favourite youngsters in the league. How can anyone not love this kid? It is not luck why he is in such great positions to score all the time. Other than his powerful skating and puck protection, he has this ability to read the situation so well. To think that a 30-30-60 floor is his talent at 19 is outstanding.
Sidney Crosby - don’t press the panic button yet. Wait those 2 games and see what is going on. I can’t offer you any other kind of relief for this situation, although I have some old Rolaids if you want them.
Imagine how much Little was teased back in school. Who is laughing now? Those guys are probably still laughing, but Bryan can block that out with 100 dollar bills stuffed in his ears. Little had 1 productive breakout season which was succeeded by 2 very sub-par years. It looks like he is playing some inspired hockey right now and really could put up a career year. With 12 points in his last 10 games, Bryan Little is officially little no more.
There is also the huge news of the new conference realignment. 4 conferences being divided by 8, 8, 7, and 7 teams in each. Seems unfair to be in the 8 team conference doesn’t it? The playoff picture gets a bit weird as 4 teams in each conference can make it into the playoffs. My friend brought up a good point, “what if the two top teams are in the same conference?” I guess we’ll see when this takes place next season. At least the travel scheduling is better.
Mathieu Garon/Dwayne Roloson - The Lightning are 28th in the league in goals against at 3.22. That number can stay up there all year and that means the Lightning will not be winning games. GM Yzerman I am guessing will have to make a move. There are two young prospects in the system who are a starter’s injury away from playing time in the NHL.
Matt Hackett - nephew of former NHL goalie, Jeff Hacket, got his first career NHL win after replacing an injured Harding. These Wild goalies just keep churning out wins and putting up great ratios. Hard to see him staying up for the rest of the season, but for now it seems like Backstrom is injured, and Harding is injured. Pick him up if you have room.
Andrew Ladd - had 1 Goal and 8 SOG today. He’s been cold lately, but might be starting to heat up soon. Ladd was a fantasy sleeper last year and was probably overrated coming into this season. 30-30-60 is his ceiling, but his floor isn’t much lower because of his on ice presence and leadership. Unfortunately, he is streaky like bad Windex. Hope he is on his game at this moment.
Eric Staal - 2 goals and one of them being just an “I out worked you for this”. Hope he is back, folks. I think I said earlier that he can go long stretches while scoring bunches. He isn’t stalling for time anymore.
Daniel Sedin - made it rain hats in Vancouver today. Crazy weather, huh? Henrik assisted on all 3 of them, as per usual. When the Sedins are on, the Canucks win. I wonder if the Sedins each have a half of a magic amulet which they use join together before every game they score in.
TJ Galiardi - one of the better players for the Avs on Tuesday. Watch him, because there have been times where he has been productive but was injured afterwards.
Bobby Ryan - he’s slowly coming back to life. They should document his rise in a show. Maybe call it “Bobby’s World”. Let me get a quick google check on this idea! Awwwww.
Jonathan Toews - he’s like white hot right right now. Wait, what is hotter than the colour white? I’ll tell you what. Jonathan Toews. Up to 17 goals now in the year and playing the best hockey of his career. Think of how Ryan Kesler played last year. Toews can do that, too.
Drew Doughty - had a good game on Saturday against the Canadiens. Was great in the first period, especially. I would hope that a scoring streak starts soon. My doubt in Doughty has become less of a doubt now.
James Reimer - returned and lost to the Bruins who not only destroy the Leafs, but all other teams out there right now. Even if Optimus Reim brought his autobots, I don’t know if they would have helped him against a streaking Bruins team. Great to see him back after a concussion.
Tyler Seguin - shown a lot more confidence this season and is really flying out there. He’s hit a little bump which is to be expected because his shooting percentage is still very high. I don’t think he is a point-per-game player yet, but young kids like to prove you wrong. This little blip in the season Seguin has can now segue into…
Daniel Alfredsson - Is he really Alfred’s son? Anyway, he’s gone cold and hasn’t scored in 7 straight games until Monday. He hasn’t quite been the same after that concussion and at 38 years old he might get written off soon. I don’t think he is quite done but I think he will be better than has been unless he’s injured.
James Neal - could realistically hit 40 goals this season. Enjoy the ride on the Neal train. Get your “Kneel for Neal” placards ready!
Tomas Kaberle - hasn’t it seemed like the Leafs have squeezed amazing value out of players and smartly traded them off? Kaberle was an all star in Toronto. Ponikarovsky, Stajan, Dominic Moore, etc were great before being traded. Kaberle has always been a defensive liability. He gets by with amazing puck handling on the PP, but if you don’t shoot, you are pretty much Andy Greene. The Hurricanes are going down this season. Kaberle is also signed until 2013-2014. Not a pretty picture.
Evander Kane - is breaking out in a big way. Each season he has improved and he is in line for a big new paycheck. Kane is a powerful forward who gets off as many scoring chances as possible. I can see him being close to a 30-30-60 guy this season.
Patrick Kane - the Kane brothers! Obviously a joke, but I digress. He’s in a slump. Good players find ways out of slumps so I would say look for Kane to get a couple of goals and he will and streak like mad. Raise your hand if you would like to see that! He also scored on Monday after a long goal drought. I wouldn’t be surprised if he took off soon.
David Perron - would just like to say a big welcome back, David! He scored and I hope he is back to his normal self again.
Ryan Miller - glad to see he got the win on the weekend. Especially in such an ugly game where Jordin Tootoo ran him over. My thoughts are that Tootoo should obviously be suspended. Lucic should have, too, if anyone cares. Goalies don’t practice with body contact. Yes, you do treat them differently in my opinion.
Matt Moulson - Matt Moulson is scorching thanks to the Tavares factor. 4 goals on Saturday and goals in 4 games straight. It seems like every season he gets a hat trick as he makes his way to 30 goals. Really quite a come out of nowhere player and is still looked down upon in fantasy. The Islanders got hit bad with injuries to Grabner, DiPietro, Niederreiter, and Macdonald. Look for maybe Kyle Okposo to be penciled in again for big minutes. Although, that guy is quite untrustable so far this season.
Ryan O’Reilly - just when we thought he had no upside at the age of 20. O’Reilly has incredible work ethic and has been playing a great 200ft game. He isn’t the most talented goal scorer, but could be similar to a Jordan Staal type who can put up 40+ points a year. He’s at 21 points now with 55 games left. If he goes cold, he can still hit the upper 40s.
Marco Scandella - if this were Jeopardy the answer in a form of a question would be “who is leading the Wild defencemen in PP time?” BTW The Wild have a 2.41 goals/game ratio and a 2.18 goals against/game. Not something you see often in a number 1 team. Even with this PP time, I can’t see Scandella being totally useful in fantasy because their offense is still meh, and they are going to get scored on more and lose more. Sorry to all the Wild fans out there!
Derek Smith - who? Defence for the Flames and showing off more than TJ Brodie. He wasn’t ever really offensive in his career but we’ve seen players come out of nowhere before. Worth taking a look at because we all know Jay Bouwmeester is worthless in fantasy and slightly less worthless in real life.
Joffrey Lupul - the pallindromic one’s clock still hasn’t struck midnight as he scored his 13th goal of the season on Monday. I still don’t think Lupul is a natural goal scorer, but it would be hard to see him not getting 30-30-60 this season.
Zack Smith - has been exceeding expectations in Ottawa. Out of Da Costa, Zibanejad, and Regin, Zack Smith has looked great. He isn’t getting a lot of PP time but he has been crashing the net, winning faceoffs, hitting, getting a few PIMS, and pretty much doing whatever the coach loves. In fantay he can be useful, especially in deeper leagues or leagues with all those categories I listed before (especially the satisfying your coach category, that one is special).