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. Devante Smith-Pelly scored again Friday night. He’s got three points in two games since joining the Devils and skating some meaningful minutes. Perhaps this is finally his big break? Probably not but we should keep monitoring this situation.
2. The Stars lost John Klingberg to injury Friday night and Alex Goligoski picked up the slack skating with the top power-play unit. He picked up two assists, though neither were related to time spent on the power play. Expect him to have continued relevance if Klingberg misses significant time.
3. Joonas Korpisalo, ladies and gentlemen. He just keeps getting it done. Since the All-Star break, he is 8-3-2 with a 2.50 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage. Try telling me that your fantasy team couldn’t use that sort of production. For some perspective, Korpisalo is the last goalie to beat the Ducks. A real hidden gem and I won’t stop talking about him. Maybe he’s your replacement for Cory Schneider if he’s out for a while.
4. Seems like there is still some undercurrent of folks who believe that Eric Staal has more to offer than third line duties in New York. I’ve said it plenty, but I’ll keep repeating for new readers: Staal is a great fit as third line center. He isn’t passing Derick Brassard or Derek Stepan. He isn’t good enough. He can contribute to the Rangers, it just won’t be in a way that’s fantasy relevant.
5. On Friday, Staal didn’t even have a shot on net. Very reminiscent of his time in Carolina this season. He skated 14:56 with a bit of time on the second power-play unit. His contribution to the box score was a single blocked shot and a few faceoff wins. Time to start treating Staal like you treat Vinny Lecavalier.
6. Marc-Andrey Fleury started Saturday night for the Penguins, so look for Matt Murray to go Sunday against the Devils. Favourable matchup right there although the Penguins might be drained playing their fifth game in seven days. That’s another option for you off the waiver wire.
7. Some John Carlson news:
Ten games left means somewhere around Friday, March 25 at New Jersey. That may be too late in the season for some of you. For most this is the weekend of the H2H semi-finals, so it’s pretty important. This timing will also mess with the value of Matt Niskanen who looks like a stud until Carlson returns.
8. Radko Gudas scored two goals and added two assists on seven shots in the Flyers’ 6-0 whitewash of the Blue Jackets on Saturday. Yes, that Radko Gudas. In case you’re making a beeline to your waiver wire as you read this, we should safely assume this will be a career game for the rugged defenceman. He had not scored a goal in his last 66 games and had never scored more than two points in a game in his career.
9. In his first start in two weeks, Steve Mason hardly broke a sweat in recording a 19-save shutout. Michal Neuvirth has seen action in each of the last eight games, so don’t expect him to go away easily. But for those projecting starts between Mason and Neuvirth next week, the Flyers play three games, with two of them back-to-back. Each should receive one start, with the third one entirely up for grabs at this point.
10. Dion Phaneuf made his much-awaited return to Toronto on Saturday, with his only significant contributions to the statsheet being four shots on goal and a fight with Colin Greening, one of the players he was traded for. Checking in on Phaneuf since the deal, he has seven points (1g-6a) in 12 games as a Senator. He’s also averaging 24 minutes per game, about two minutes more than he had as a Leaf. You might frown on Phaneuf as a fantasy option, but he’s on pace for 38 points and could easily hit 40 with the bump in icetime and improved scoring options with the Senators.
11. I noticed Ondrej Palat ownership has slipped to 45 per cent in Yahoo leagues. With two goals against Carolina on Saturday, he now has three goals over his past two and four over his past five. You might want to check if he’s available.
12. With no Henrik, the Canucks’ first-unit power play consisted of Daniel Sedin, Sven Baertschi, Markus Granlund, Linden Vey, and Ben Hutton. Is there value in any of these players beyond the obvious Sedin? Both Baertschi and Hutton had strong games, each recording two power-play assists. Hutton has reached at least 24 minutes per game over each of his past three games. Expect Hutton to see more of these minutes with Alex Edler now on LTIR.
13. Interesting that Teuvo Teravainen has points in three straight since the acquisition of Ladd and Tomas Fleischmann. Seems like Fleischmann has been a nice fit and they are still finding power-play minutes for him on that second unit. Good to see. I figure these acquisitions would push Teravainen down the depth chart. Marian Hossa is still out of the lineup so we’ll have to see how this all shapes up when he returns.
14. Dougie Hamilton continues to be a beast with 10 points in 16 games since the All-Star break. Now, if you break it down he had seven in seven coming out of the break, followed by just three in the last nine but with defencemen you are always getting the rollercoaster ride. The overall trend is of upward production.
15. We’ve mentioned the hidden value of Korpisalo for a while, how about the hidden value of Cam Talbot? Since January 1 he has a .927 save percentage and a 2.25 goals-against average. He also has a losing record in that span, but he has been even more valuable than Korpisalo over a span of more appearances. Talbot is available in 52 per cent of Yahoo leagues.
16. The Filip Forsberg-Mike Ribeiro-Craig Smith line continues to be the main line of interest for Nashville. Forsberg had another three-point game this week, his sixth multi-point effort in 15 games since the All-Star break. He has 19 points in that span.
17. Pekka Rinne took another ugly loss Thursday, as far as the stat sheet goes, but he has been really good lately. That loss ended a stretch of six straight quality starts (a .917 save percentage or better). He should give you more good than bad as we close the season – and he bounced back with a 5-2 win Saturday.
18. Sidney Crosby catches hell all the time for how difficult it is to find wingers for him. How about Tavares? We could certainly blame guys like Anders Lee, Ryan Strome and Josh Bailey for not taking advantage of all the opportunities they get to skate with Tavares, but at the end of the day isn’t Tavares also supposed to make these guys better? Seems like the only guy who ever really clicked there was Kyle Okposo and the Islanders seem set on keeping those two split up for the most part.
19. Mark Scheifele has eight goals and 13 points in his past eight games. This is the mini-breakout that leads to the massive breakout next season. I could see Scheifele just completely usurping Bryan Little as the No. 1 centre. But take note of this proclamation now because if we’re hitting the pre-season next year with a ton of Scheifele buzz and Little is being undervalued I could easily reverse course. I care about value and a lot of times that means going against the grain.
20. You can probably forget about Carl Soderberg now. He had a really nice run November-January with 31 points in 42 games, but he has just six in 14 since the All-Star break and is now marooned on the third line with Blake Comeau and Shawn Matthias. Also, his top unit PP minutes have eroded as well.