Pekka Rinne has been assigned to the AHL on a conditioning stint. his return to the NHL is getting closer...
Morning updates -
Carey Price re-injured himself during the Olympics and will miss the next two games.
Beau Bennett apparently suffered a setback (per Josh Yohe on Twitter) and will need another four weeks to heal his broken hand. A terrible blow for a decent prospect who really needed this development year. Missing the better part of a season like this has, more often than not, destroyed any fantasy potential of dozens of prospects over the years. So look for the Penguins to once again turn to the trade market, and until that happens Brian Gibbons will be the guy on the Crosby line.
Just three days left at this price - $5.99 gets you the sixth annual Fantasy Baseball Guide and cheat sheets.
Let's talk some prospects. Based on requests via the forum and/or the comments section below, I have gathered a list of prospects to discuss. And as always, you can see all you want of prospects over at DobberProspects - with over 20 writers watching young players around the world and updating their thoughts, I don't think you'll find a better source.
Mark Arcobello - here is a guy with some upside, and the heart and will to see it through…if only given a chance. I think he can be a Tyler Bozak-type of player if forced into such a role. But with Gagner around, he'll never be more than a 20-point player. And even with Gagner traded, there is no guarantee that Arcobello will perform. I'm rooting for him, but would not want him on my keeper league team at this time. Get more info on him here.
Jeremy Morin - Morin has good upside as well, but his "flaw" in fantasy hockey is that he would make an excellent checker as well as scorer. And on Chicago, he may be pigeonholed on the third line. So there is a risk. Another player I would not want on my fantasy squad if there were less risky options available. More info on him here.
Valentin Zykov - Not high on him. At all. Besides not really improving this season in junior and disappearing at the WJC, he was drafted by the Kings! See you in five years Valentin. Maybe. More info on him here.
Charlie Coyle - A promising prospect, but another kid I would not go out of my way to acquire. He strikes me as a future second liner who may have the odd injury issue - something like 72 to 75 games per season and 57 to 63 points in a couple of years. Good, not great. Read up on him here.
Zack Kassian - I've said all along that I think this promising power forward would be seven or eight years in coming into his own. This is year three. You just have to wait. In many league formats, I wouldn't have even drafted him until maybe this coming summer or the summer of 2015.
Kevin Connauton - A ton of information on this player here (our Dallas correspondent Clayton Bailey is one of the best). The Stars are bringing him along slowly. Were it not for waivers, he would have been in the AHL to start the year and perhaps his outlook would be better. But don't give up on him. He'll gradually get it right. Look for something special by 2016.
Slater Koekkoek - Another heavily-scouted player (our TB correspondent Randy Buschmann has been really thorough), you can get all you need about him here. It wouldn't surprise me if, five years from now, Koekkoek was a Top 10 scorer among NHL defensemen. Much depends on how Barberio develops, since Hedman will have one of the PP spots locked up for the future.
Adam Clendening - A great future and he's in the right system. Most other teams would have him on the pro roster by now, but Chicago can absolutely wait on him. Look for a recall for good around mid-2014-15, and then two or three years of apprenticing before stepping up with the numbers. More on him here.
Brayden McNabb - I like McNabb a lot and the upside is there, but this is Buffalo. And the Sabres need a star player or three, or McNabb won't have anyone to pass to. Furthermore, he's not as certain as a lot of top defense prospects. He could be another TJ Brennan (not quite that risky). He's 23 now, so we'll know what we have here by next season. More here.
Justin Goldman, as some of you know, has put out a book. Pick it up here.
"Dallas Stars goaltending coach Mike Valley and USA Hockey goaltending scout Justin Goldman have joined forces to co-author a comprehensive book dedicated to elevating and enhancing your mental game. Through the carefully constructed concept of the Three Pillars of Elite Goaltending, readers will receive professional and exclusive insights from a handful of NHL goaltenders and goalie coaches on a multitude of performance-related topics. Whether you are just learning how to play the position or you’re at the junior, college, or pro ranks, this book is a terrific guide to help you discover your own unique path to becoming an elite goaltender."
The Islanders announced that John Tavares will not need surgery and that, through rehab, he should be ready to go again in about seven to 11 weeks. That puts him back in action just in time for tee-off…
Good article in the Tennessean on Michael Del Zotto - and how the team loves his talent, but would like more intensity. How he has fallen. Watching him in Oshawa, I thought he was had the most intensity on the team - a team that included John Tavares.
Fedor Tyutin will be out until mid-March with an ankle injury suffered in Sochi. That should get one of (or both) Ryan Murray and/or David Savard going. My money is on Murray, but I wouldn't rule out Savard, who can be streaky. Savard was used on the PP early in the season but not so much these days. Perhaps that changes now for a couple of weeks.
And still with Columbus - Marian Gaborik is targeting Thursday's game for his return to the lineup. This should have a negative impact on Cam Atkinson early on, unless they move one to the opposite wing - something that was actually done in preseason play when they were linemates.
OH, and hey - there was NHL hockey!
First thing to stick out at me was Andrej Sekera picking up where he left off, notching another assist. He has nine points in his last 10 games and saw nearly 22 minutes of ice time last night. In fact, the last time he saw fewer than 20 minutes was November 12th. And that was the only time he saw under 20 minutes in a game this year. I'm pulling for him to stay healthy, because this season was a long time coming for him. He's looking like a solid 45-point+ player.
Even better - John-Michael Liles saw more ice time and more PP time than Sekera, but again fell short in the production department. So the Hurricanes are still pushing for Liles to get back to where he used to be…but at least it's no longer at the expense of Sekera. Sekera saw 4:43 of PP time.
And probably what stuck out first thing for the majority of poolies was Cam Ward. It's no secret that Anton Khudobin has been (and probably is) the better goaltender this season. It's also no secret that Ward is the Golden Boy. It's always hard to unseat the Golden Boy. But when he craps the bed time and time again, it starts to become possible. Well, Ward was between the pipes. And the Hurricanes clamped down defensively and allowed just 18 shots. And they played the worst team in the league.
Ward still managed to allow three goals and take the loss.
Everything's coming up Millhouse for Khudobin. Carolina is fighting for their playoff lives, and Kirk Muller isn't going to mess with that. So look for Khudobin to get several starts in a row or close to it - before they give Ward another shot. And those chances that they give Ward will happen with less frequency if he doesn't get a win.
Here is my THN article yesterday on eight players you should target right now before they get traded.
And here are five forwards to watch who are under 20% owned, courtesy of Anatoliy Metter and The Hockey Writers
Wanna know why Nate Gerbe gets hurt a lot? When someone catches him, this happens: