20 Fantasy Thoughts: Look for Condon, Plekanec to heat up

Habs captain Max Pacioretty discusses the team's Winter Classic win over the Bruins, including the performances of Brendan Gallagher and Mike Condon.

Every Sunday this season, we’ll share 20 Fantasy Thoughts from the writers at Dobber Hockey. These thoughts are curated from the past week’s “Daily Ramblings” on DobberHockey.com.

1. Mike Condon had his best game in over a month at the Winter Classic, turning aside 27 of 28 shots and making some timely saves. Look for him to really get going here.

2. I keep reading articles talking about giving up on Tomas Plekanec. Stop it. December was death. He scored just one goal and four points in 14 games. I get it. But he just registered two assists to kick off 2016 the right way. He skates with Max Pacioretty and guess who? Gallagher.

3. Plekanec’s numbers with Gallagher out: eight points in 17 games. Plekanec’s numbers with Gallagher in: 22 points in 23 games.

4. Shea Theodore jumping into the NHL and onto the Ducks’ top power-play unit with Cam Fowler on the shelf is extremely intriguing. Too bad it’s the Ducks’ power play and not one of a strong scoring team.

5. That’s nine straight scoreless games for Alexander Edler. He is in such a great spot as the top offensive defenseman in Vancouver but he has not done nearly enough with the opportunity. Too often he can go silent despite so many minutes with the Sedins. Still a great option in rotisserie leagues though. Edler had four shots, two hits and three blocks, all categories in which he offers tremendous production.

6. Jack Eichel is flinging rubber, with 19 shots in his past four games. The Sabres have really been pressing of late. Eichel has 11 points in his past seven games.

7. Only nine players have fired more shots than Eichel so far this season. That’s why I can’t let him go in my one-year league. Well, that and a dearth of juicy options on the waiver wire.

8. I continue to like what I have seen from Zemgus Girgensons skating on Eichel’s wing. No points but four shots for the Latvian.

9. Thursday night was a clear indication of Kris Letang’s importance to the Pittsburgh offence, as he factored in on both of their power-play goals. He added an empty-netter to end the game. Full stat line for Letang: two goals, one assist, six PIM, five SOG, four hits, three blocks. Imagine if he could stay healthy.

10. Staying with the Penguins, I think most folks drafted Patric Hornqvist figuring 55 points was the bare minimum, but he’d have to go at a point-per-game pace the rest of the way to do that. Let’s aim lower. Say 28 points in the second half. That gives him 43 for the season, which isn’t great, but 28 in the second half is awesome. Consider that 28 points puts you in the top 50 scorers right now.

11. All of this assumes Sidney Crosby, Malkin and Letang all stay healthy in the second half, which we can’t just assume will happen.

12. By the way, Crosby now has 20 points in his past 19 games. I’m having fun tracking this.

13. Tomas Tatar briefly made an appearance on the scoresheet for Detroit Thursday, but his assist was eventually transferred to Gustav Nyquist. Both players could have used it as they each had just two points in the past 10 games. Now Tatar is at two in 11, while Nyquist is at three in 11. Tough times.

14. These two have basically become third liners for the Red Wings. Though Detroit does a good job of rolling their top three lines and both of their power-play units, this still isn’t an ideal situation.

15. Dylan Larkin continues to impress. He has certainly slowed down with just seven points in 12 games in December, but I don’t know that the rookie will hit a wall. He can tear a team to shreds with his speed at any moment. It’s that type of game-breaking ability that prevents slumps from going on too long.

16. Eddie Lack now has four wins in his past five games. I still want no part of this guy, but he seems to be turning a corner.

17. Alex Steen is having his best season yet. Injuries are always a concern, of course, but with 35 points through his first 41 games, Steen is on pace for his first 70-point season. Who thinks he gets there? The smart money says he misses about 10 games and finishes with between 60 and 65 points because that’s basically what he has done the past two seasons.

18. Jori Lehtera opened the season with seven points in his first nine games and has just eight points in 31 games since. Third line duties are not treating him well.

19. John Gibson of the Anaheim Ducks is grabbing a thorough hold on the crease, but given their desperate situation this is really more of a win and you’re in situation. I’m still partial to Freddie Andersen, but Bruce Boudreau is just going to take whoever gives him a shot at the W.

20. Charlie Coyle jumped onto the Wild’s second line with Mikko Koivu and Jason Zucker, notching an assist. Coyle has seven points in his past six games now.