Something about Henrik Zetterberg and Gustav Nyquist. Currently not linemates at all, Zetterberg has been back for one game and Nyquist scores. Nyquist has three points in eight games with Zetterberg out of the lineup, but six in seven with him in.

I like the kid line that Nyquist is on - Tomas Tatar and Joakim Andersson are the linemates. But I don't like the ice time they're getting (just over 10 minutes last game). Until Nyquist is back on a line with Zetterberg, he's worth a point every two games.

*

This has been a year of easy solutions when you get screwed by your goaltending early on. How many other years were you able to pluck a Ben Scrivens or Antti Raanta…or Marek Mazanec, Frederik Andersen, Jonas Gustavsson, Philipp Grubauer or Martin Jones off the waiver wire? None. On the flip side, it also means that a lot of your key starters are going down, but still with so many options on the wire - as long as you were fast, you were okay. And anyone who suffered from slumps (i.e. Anderson or Lundqvist owners) have had the opportunity to be bailed out thanks to the waiver wire this year. Never seen anything like it.

But that all will start to come to an end this week. Jimmy Howard is scheduled to face Nashville tonight. If he does well, that will be it for Gustavsson. Corey Crawford is back as early as Thursday (bye Raanta!). Jonathan Quick is still on target to return within nine or 10 days (so long Scrivens and Jones!).

Get the latest starting goalie information by bookmarking Goalie Post.

When Crawford is back, I can see the Blackhawks keeping Raanta up. It's clear he is ready, while Khabibulin is terrible and LaBarbera is weak. But what will happen is - Crawford will get a ton of starts and after Raanta is idle for a couple of weeks he'll be sent back down for a few spot starts. Any way you slice it, Raanta will be lucky to have 10 more NHL starts in the second half.

As for Jones - he'll go to the minors when Quick returns. The Kings won't let him rust on the bench and unlike Chicago, they have a pretty good backup in Scrivens. It seems strange to send a near-NHL-record-breaking goaltender to the minors, but that's what you can expect.

Regarding Grubauer - it's looking as though the Caps are going to keep him up until Braden Holtby gets rolling. Right now, Grubauer is their most trustworthy backstop. Until that changes, he stays. And it's pissing Michael Neuvirth off. But a Neuvirth trade is not assured. Granted, there are teams that need goalies, but there are also many goalies available. Let's not forget that Jonas Hiller is a free agent in the summer and the Ducks have plenty of options in net. But back to Grubauer - short term, I think he's a stud. But after two weeks, I think Holtby gets his game back, or Neuvirth gets a spot start that impresses brass enough to send Grubauer down. He should be Washington's backup next season, I'd be surprised if he wasn't.

*

I haven't opened any mailbags in the forum over the past couple of weeks because I've been so active in there just answering every question I see that doesn't have enough responses. Over 700 posts - from me - in the past six weeks. So I urge you, if you have any fantasy hockey questions, jump in the forum and ask it. Anywhere in the forum - I'll find it. The major forum bugs are fixed, now it's just some of the 'perks' that forums offer that aren't working right (yes, we've been spoiled over the years - we're no longer happy with just asking a question and getting feedback, ha!).

I'm going to answer 50 questions in the forum today. But my goal is 100. 100 in a day. Doable? We shall see!

*

Back to Grubauer. He got the start Sunday and stopped 16 of 17 shots, but took the shootout loss. Can't blame the Caps or Ovechkin can you? They wired 50 shots at Ryan Miller and Ovy was responsible for 12 of those shots on goal.

Troy Brouwer has seven points in his last six games. Better late than never. I have him in my big points-only keeper league in which my bottom three roster spots are taken up by players with 21, 22 and 22 points - Brouwer is one of 10 players between 18 and 22 points fighting for those three spots to count on my roster. So at the end of the year, the best three out of: Frolik, Wingels, Brassard, Atkinson, Gionta, Anisimov, Marchand, Setoguchi, Brouwer and Read will count. Unless of course I trade some of them. Now that's depth.

*

Well, at least Linus Omark is off the Matt Ellis line:

 

24.6%

EV

63 ENNIS,TYLER - 28 GIRGENSONS,ZEMGUS - 26 MOULSON,MATT

24.21%

EV

65 FLYNN,BRIAN - 9 OTT,STEVE - 21 STAFFORD,DREW

16.27%

EV

82 FOLIGNO,MARCUS - 23 LEINO,VILLE - 17 OMARK,LINUS

7.94%

EV

27 D'AGOSTINI,MATT - 37 ELLIS,MATT - 32 SCOTT,JOHN

Actually, I like the makeup of that line and it would probably do really well if this was Ville Leino circa 2010. Omark is seeing about 12 minutes per game, but if he doesn't find a way to get some points soon, he's down to the minors. And at that point there will be no coming back. Hopefully he gets at least 12 games. I'd hate to see him done after five or six.

Amazing fact 1 - Omark was not one of Buffalo's three shootout selections.

Amazing fact 2 - Omark did get to take a shot as the fourth shooter for Buffalo. He missed.

Amazing fact 3 - The NHL still has shootouts to decide games.

*

Aleksander Barkov has eight points in his last nine games. He's tied for third in scoring for Florida. Future 75-point player, you heard it here. When that happens will depend on when the rest of the lineup and prospects mature around him.

I can't believe that, if the pace keeps up, the Panthers may not have a player reach 40 points. The curse of Scott Gomez? Fleischmann leads the team with 20.

Scott Clemmensen, speaking of waiver wire goalies, has started seven of the last eight games and he's won five of them.

Jacob Markstrom has stopped 68 of 74 shots since being sent back to the AHL. Again, I'm happy to see that he bounces back after getting rocked in the NHL.

*

With five points, two power play goals and five shots on goal last night James Neal was an absolute stud for many of us last night. The four PIM helped some, too.

I know he didn't get any points last night and was minus-2, but how perfect is Jussi Jokinen for the Penguins? He can play both wing and center, and with Crosby or Malkin out of the lineup about 30 games each season between them, Jokinen is the perfect fill-in on a temporary basis for that scoring-line spot. And he lines up on the point on the power play when it's Malkin who is out. Just a great, underrated addition that adds so many options both tangible and intangible. He's on pace for 52 points but that could go up 10 or down 10 depending on the health of the Big 2.

*

Look at this goal by Corey Tropp. Nice!

*

Here we go again (sorry - more goalie talk) - if Jaroslav Halak gets injured again, we could see another goalie controversy in St. Louis. Here are the numbers:

 

PLAYER

GPI

W

L

OT

MIN

SO

GA

SHA

GAA

SV%

Jaroslav Halak

28

17

6

3

1522

2

61

653

2.4

0.907

Brian Elliott

15

9

1

2

795

2

27

335

2.04

0.919

The situation is the same as a couple of years ago - one has better numbers, the other is the Golden Boy.           

*

Alex Chiasson has five points and is minus-8 in his last 13 games. He is now on pace to finish with 42 points.

*

Tyler Bozak was back in the lineup for the Maple Leafs. When last he left us, he was riding a four-game points streak. He's picked up where he left off, playing with Kessel and JVR en route to a three-assist game. He has 14 points in 17 games now and if he can stay healthy - and I think he can, since he's had his injuries for the year already - he's a decent bet for 50 points in just 58 games. He's the modern-day Brendan Morrison, as great linemates could make him a 70-point player for a couple of years.

Toronto line combos:

 

23.2%

EV

42 BOZAK,TYLER - 81 KESSEL,PHIL - 21 VAN RIEMSDYK,JAMES

18.95%

EV

71 CLARKSON,DAVID - 41 KULEMIN,NIKOLAI - 11 MCCLEMENT,JAY

18.63%

EV

43 KADRI,NAZEM - 19 LUPUL,JOFFREY - 12 RAYMOND,MASON

8.17%

EV

29 D'AMIGO,JERRY - 24 HOLLAND,PETER - 28 ORR,COLTON

And there you have it. Holland playing with Joe Meat-head and Tommy Stone-hands. But what other choice is there? Kadri and Bozak have the contracts, the track record and the pedigree. So Holland, as I said earlier, will play a couple of games with these guys, then a couple of games in the press box, and then off he goes to the Marlies. Not his fault, just the numbers game.

*

I'll give Leafs fans a moment here to scroll down and comment about how D'Amigo doesn't have stone hands.

*

Nathan Gerbe has six points in his last six games. Here's his linemates - pick him up if he's available:

 

22.22%

EV

14 GERBE,NATHAN - 28 SEMIN,ALEXANDER - 11 STAAL,JORDAN

22.22%

EV

15 RUUTU,TUOMO - 53 SKINNER,JEFF - 12 STAAL,ERIC

11.44%

EV

32 BOYCHUK,ZACHARY - 18 DVORAK,RADEK - 22 MALHOTRA,MANNY

9.15%

EV

21 BOWMAN,DRAYSON - 39 DWYER,PATRICK - 20 NASH,RILEY

Line combos courtesy of Frozen Pool.

*

With three points last night, Mats Zuccarello has 27 in his last 30.

Benoit Pouliot is now riding a seven-game points streak. He's not stopping, folks. Worth a short-term grab if you didn't heed our advice last week.

*

Valtteri Filppula has 10 points in his last seven games.

*

Ryan Suter scored his first goal of the season last night? Ryan Suter scored his first goal of the season last night! After an assist in seven of his eight prior games, scoring the goal is icing on the cake. Suter is in the zone and I have a hunch that he'll be taking Jonas Brodin along for the ride.

Josh Harding gave up five goals and took the loss - his numbers are still out of this world and unsustainable, but the Sunday game gave his stats a market correction for sure.

*

With two points last night, Blake Wheeler has 19 in his last 20. He's a great fantasy own, even if he does have slow starts (this has happened for three years now). Bottom line is he'll play 82 games (gold!) and flirt with 65 to 70 points regardless of the start.

More goalie talk - how could I ignore my buddy Al Montoya? Injuries at the worst possible times have held Montoya back and now it would take a miracle for him to ever be a starting NHL goalie, but maybe we're seeing that miracle? While Pavelec implodes, Montoya keeps winning. And the Jets are fighting to stay relevant in the playoff picture, so if this situation continues, Montoya will get more starts. He must stay healthy though, this is a big chance.

*

McGrattan went high on Alberts here. Then fights Sestito:

*


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Comments (8)add comment

mattforte3 said:

mattforte3
Drop Halak for Howard? Or do I stick it out? Basic hockey pool, 2 pts for a win, that's it.

Howard or Halak?
December 30, 2013
Votes: +0

C.J said:

C.J
... @Big Ev,

I guess you are the only one who watches your favorite teams games eh big time.....lol

Do us all a favor and find another site to waste your time on, your contributions to this site are generally useless and a waste of space.

Another one of these clowns who's head had inflated because of their forum post count....
December 30, 2013
Votes: +0

davidgoodburn said:

davidgoodburn
... @littleranger - I don't see Phaneuf's situation improving this year. Franson has emerged as a capable PP guy and he has two young offensive defensemen (Reilly, Gardiner) who need sheltered minutes. I think until a trade happens he is stuck playing the tough defensive minutes to the detriment of his offence.
December 30, 2013
Votes: +0

littleranger said:

littleranger
DION Ramblings of late have been absolute gold!
Any idea what's going on with Phaneuf? Guy is on pace for his lowest point pace in his NHL career. He's also on pace for his lowest shot total per game (1.82 in 2013-14, 1.83 in 2012-13, 2.4+ per game every season prior). Is it time to buy-low on Dion or time to try to sell the name for high?
December 30, 2013
Votes: +0

Dobber said:

Dobber
... I haven't seen any Penguins games eh Big Ev? Thanks for the info.

On a side note, I'm not sure I've ever seen a more negative person. Is there anything I can do to cheer you up?

PS - I'm a Pens fan and I don't think he'll get shipped out. Sooner, nor later.
December 30, 2013
Votes: +1

Big Ev said:

Big Ev
... You haven't seen penguins games if you think jokinen has been good...pens fans think he will get shipped out sooner than later
December 30, 2013
Votes: -3

mojavedesert said:

mojavedesert
Carolina The J Staal line was much better defensively than the E Staal line. The players on the latter line each were -4 against the Leafs.

And of course Colton Orr has stone hands - it is how he survives in this league!! smilies/cheesy.gif
December 30, 2013
Votes: +2

Shenanigans said:

Shenanigans
... Al Montoya does not have stone hands !!!

...oh wait.. I think I screwed that up. smilies/cheesy.gif
December 30, 2013
Votes: +1
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