Studs and Duds for today can be found here.
Despite the struggles of the Montreal Canadiens team as a whole, fans and fantasy owners have to be pleased with the offensive performance turned in by 23-year-old winger Max Pacioretty. The Habs winger notched a hat trick Thursday evening in a 4-2 road win over the host New York Islanders. He’s steadily getting more ice time (17 minutes, 25 seconds per game), which has led to more shots and more production. The team’s first-rounder from 2007 provides a much-needed scoring boost for the Habs and is a worthy pickup for fantasy owners in need of some goals. He has been on a bit of a productive streak lately, posting five goals in his past seven games.
Scott Hartnell has 26 goals in 53 games in 2011-12, one more than he had in 82 games last year and four less than his career high of 30 he had in 2008-09. There’s no doubt the veteran winger is on pace for a career year, but something tells me his .175 shooting percentage is going to come down a bit. Hartnell’s career shooting percentage stands at .112, and he’s never finished a season shooting better than .147. Just an FYI.
Brayden Schenn is starting to make an impact on the NHL level. One of the top prospects in the game heading into the season (he was ranked fourth on Corey Pronman’s Top 100 List for Hockey Prospectus), Schenn now has four goals in his past seven games. His hockey sense and top-line potential cannot be questioned. Schenn dealt with some early-season injuries, but now he’s showing some glimpses of his incredible talent. He played 17:06 and scored a goal Thursday night in a 4-3 win over Toronto. Expect more goals to come and consider Schenn a high-upside speculative add in very deep one-year formats.
Who would have thought Phil Kessel would’ve notched his 30th assist in his 55th game of the season? Those who draft/own Kessel do so for the goals and shot totals, but the assists have made Kessel an elite fantasy asset. The once-maligned winger deserves a ton of credit, but linemate Joffrey Lupul’s breakout campaign has also helped boost Kessel’s fantasy value.
Devin Setoguchi tallied a goal and an assist for the Minnesota Wild in 5-2 home loss to the Vancouver Canucks Thursday evening. It certainly helped he played on a line with Dany Heatley in Mikko Koivu, as opposed to newly-acquired Erik Christensen and Darroll Powe (whom he played with in Minnesota’s loss to Columbus on Tuesday). Setoguchi had scored just two goals in the 12 games prior to Thursday’s contest. Keep an eye on who Setoguchi’s linemates are, as they will playing a significant factor in his value moving forward. If they are Koivu and Heatley, Setoguchi is capable of 25 goals this year.
I own Shane Doan in a number of one-year leagues, and it’s hard not to see the value in rostering the veteran winger as a solid bench option. He’s eligible at LW and RW in Yahoo leagues, he doesn’t miss many games, and he can still put up some points. Yes, he’s on the downside of his career and toils away for a Phoenix franchise whose future is extremely uncertain, but Doan is the perfect guy to plug into your lineup when one of your top wingers goes down with injury. His power play goal Thursday night lifted the Coyotes to a 2-1 overtime win over visiting Calgary.
Jeff Carter took eight shots in Thursday evening’s loss to Dallas and has a total of 12 in the past two games. Keep shooting, Jeff.
On Thursday night Evander Kane scored his first goal since returning from a concussion that kept him out of the lineup from Jan. 19 to Feb 7. The Kane Train was a point-per-game player during the months of November and December, but his production has slipped in the New Year (3 points in 11 games). Somehow, some way, Kane is still available in one-third of Yahoo leagues.
Dallas defenseman Alex Goligoski has been quite productive after missing most of December with a broken thumb. Goligoski is not a flashy player, but he’s productive on the power play and has been a pretty consistent d-man. He’s a guy I targeted in one-year drafts, and I think he’s even more underrated now that he’s not playing in Pittsburgh.
Three more points from Jason Spezza Thursday night in Ottawa’s 4-3 victory Nashville (a game in which Alex Auld defeated Pekka Rinne, which obviously means the apocalypse is upon us). I must admit, I was too low on Spezza coming into this season and missed out on the opportunity to draft him at a bargain price in a few leagues. He is coming off two seasons in which he played 60 and 62 games, but Spezza has been close to a point-per-game player in each of them. He’s proving his doubters wrong this year.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have dealt with some significant injuries to members of their forward corps this season. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal are prominent examples. Now Tyler Kennedy is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a high-ankle sprain. Kennedy posted a career-high 45 points last season, but has just six goals and 16 assists (22) points this season. Those who own Kennedy in deep one-year leagues can feel free to cut Kennedy, as there are no assurances he’ll be productive or garner any more ice time if and when he returns this season.
According to the Washington Post, there is no timetable for the return of Capitols forward Nicklas Backstrom from a concussion sustained in early January. He is one of the only Washington stars who is meeting preseason expectations this year, as he has posted 42 points in 39 games. The uncertainty that comes with trying to assess returns from head injuries makes trying to trade for the productive top-line center a risky proposition.
You knew this was coming... After 369 days and 53 games, the nightmare is over… Scott Gomez has scored a goal. Since Feb. 5 of last year, Steven Stamkos has scored 47 goals, Corey Perry has scored 45 goals and Sidney Crosby has scored two goals (in eight games played). Thanks for bearing with me on this, as it was kind of fun to look up those numbers. Here’s the Gomez goal…