Clarified my sophomore slump statement below, with examples. I also fixed that video that didn't copy over properly. ~ Dobber
My Playoff Draft List is uploaded and ready for your download. Those of you who miss my Ultimate Fantasy Pack, I have a similar offer for you - if you buy the Keeper League Pack and the Playoff List at the same time, use coupon code ULTIMATE and get $3 off. That means that you can get the Prospects Report, the Fantasy Guide, the Preseason Draft List and the Interactive Playoff Draft List for $22.49
We're down to the final five days of the season - technically four days, if you don't count the one Sunday game. Make sure you check our Looking Ahead feature to best take advantage of the schedule - for those in daily leagues that allow for some streaming. Of note, Winnipeg is the only team done their schedule after Thursday. So after Thursday, drop your Byfuglien, Wheeler, Kane, Ladd, Little and Pavelec - and grab guys on Minnesota, Chicago, Phoenix, Ottawa and Colorado!
The Jets, speaking of, are against the wall now. They have to win that last game and hope that the Rangers lose two or the Senators lose three. Not seeing it, although the Sens will lose one of their three games - they play Washington. And as the Jets just discovered, the Capitals are unstoppable right now.
The Rangers lost - they're really doing everything they can to slink meekly into the playoffs.
Alex Ovechkin is suddenly a realistic Art Ross Trophy winner. By the numbers:
Crosby 56 (two games left if he chooses to play them)
St. Louis 55 (three games left)
Ovechkin 53 (two games left and the hottest player in the Top 4 right now)
So whose thanking me for encouraging you to buy low on him in February? Even I was a little uncertain, the way things were going. But I snagged him in mid-February for Eriksson, Hemsky, Atkinson and I gave him Del Zotto for Green and Carlson (which at the time looked like I was upgrading his D). I'm going to win that league for the second straight year and could not have done it without this trade. And these are against a group of guys who write/edit/publish the annual Forecaster hockey magazine, so no slouches.
Two points for Steve Sullivan last night. This is probably his last season. The two lockouts cost him getting 300 goals and 800 points in his career - achievements that would be well deserved.
Carl Soderberg picked up his second assist of his career (three games). He's seeing over 15 minutes per game on significant lines - so far so good on his outlook for next year. Here were the Boston line combos:
Marchand - Bergeron - Seguin
Soderberg - Kelly - Jagr
Lucic - Krejci - Peverley
Sophomore slumps hit about 67% of players who were rookies over the age of 21, but just 33% of rookies under that age. So Craig Smith and Matt Read were in the 'high risk' group. Were it not for Read's injury, he would have come through with flying colors. With Smith, not so much. And if it were any other team but Nashville, I would tell you that Smith will bounce back. I can't say that though. Too many other players on that team who can be considered for scoring roles.
~To further explain this, I did this study for The 2010 Hockey News Ultimate Pool Guide. I looked at the seasons after the lockout, so four groups of sophomores. And 34.8% of players under the age of 21 saw their points-per-game average decline. But that number nearly doubled if they were 21 or over. So I identified the following players as high risk for a sophomore slump in 2010-11:
Bergfors, Regin, Anisimov, Bozak, Tim Kennedy, Schremp, Yip and Sexton.
I think we can all agree that this group, other than Bozak and Anisimov, turned out to be terrible... and maintained the 67% (give or take) average that I had already identified. I haven't looked at the numbers in the seasons since.
Montreal's Raphael Diaz played 40 minutes over two games since his return. He picked up an assist last night, but was minus-1. It was on the power play.
If Martin Brodeur didn't win three of his last four games - and instead he retired, he would have finished his career with 666 wins. Not bad for the Devils' netminder.
And now for a little feature that I'd like to call "all about the B's". It's regarding players whose last name starts with B. Okay, not really a feature, I just noticed that my next four blurbs happened to turn out that way. But it would make for a cool feature, eh? No? Alright then.
T.J. Brodie has six points in his last seven games.
Sven Bärtschi has eight in his last six.
Josh Bailey has 14 points in his last 18 contests. Were it not for injuries, I'd really like him for a breakout next year.
Some are saying that Dustin Brown will get suspended for two games for this hit on Jason Pominville. I beg to differ. Brown had position, Pominville came in crouched - how is that Brown's fault? He held his position and leaned with the shoulder, raising the elbow almost marginally. But it was more along the lines of pushing an oncoming freight train out of the way with his arm, as opposed to elbowing a defenceless victim. See for yourself:
Did you enjoy the Abbotsford/Milwaukee game last night? Brodie, Aliu, Byron, Street, Cundari, Bancks, Bärtschi, Horak, Hanowski, Reinhart, Mueller, Henderson, Bang, Watson and Bartley were in action…for Calgary and Nashville. And if we're talking next year - you can add Forsberg to that list as well.
Alex Galchenyuk is picking up ice time. His production can no longer be ignored, so none of this "10 minutes" stuff. He saw 15:28 last night and that's his second highest all season. He has 10 points in his last 11 games.
Jiri Tlusty has points in each of his last six games. He also has his 35 points in his last 40 games, which would make him a 70-point player. Did you see that coming? In my 2008 Fantasy Prospects Report I had his upside at 75+, with 90% certainty of making it to the NHL and 50% certainty of hitting that upside.
In back-to-back games, Jacob Markstrom faced 38 shots and stopped 36 of them. One was a win, one was a loss. Both were against playoff teams. He'll find his way. He seems to be at his best facing a ton of shots, similar to how Luongo was when he played for Florida.
Robbery! The Wild needed the win and with 10 seconds left, Niklas Backstrom gives it to them: