My fantasy hockey mailbag is open once again - first time in almost two months. Ask your questions until Monday right here!
Jordan Staal is back tonight after missing 15 games. He is going to start the game with Cooke and Dupuis - should help him get off to a blazing start...
Cal O'Reilly is centering Steve Sullivan and Dustin Jeffrey.
James Wisniewski is back for the Jackets tonight. He's a great buy low for the rest of the season. Nothing to play for, but he is a good multi-category defenseman who can get hot.
The top three scoring duos in the league this season - Sedins, Lupul/Kessel, and Neal/Malkin.
Consistency is a very important quality to look for when constructing a fantasy lineup, especially in weekly head-to-head leagues. The most consistent players this season:
Patrik Elias (78 percent of games with a point), Malkin (76), and Stamkos (75).
Erik Karlsson has a point in 60 percent of Ottawa's games - incredibly impressive for a defenseman.
Corey Crawford's struggles continue. I finally dumped Dwayne Roloson in one of my leagues this week, and picked up Ray Emery. He hasn't been any good either, but I was about four months overdue on dropping Dwayne.
Brendan Morrison was a healthy scratch for the Hawks yesterday. Unsurprisingly, he's not working out as the second line center.
Did anyone expect such a strong season from JS Giguere? If so, kudos. He stopped 39 shots last night and has been Colorado's best player this season.
Today's Studs and Duds from the DobberHockey forums. Always a great read.
Two assists for David Jones. He's a likely trade target for some contending teams at the deadline.
Drew Stafford led Buffalo with seven shots on goal last night - he finished with only one assist, though.
To say I am excited to get back to rambling would be an understatement. Thanks a ton to Mike for covering me for the past two weeks. I really enjoyed his content and angle on the issues he covered. Always great to get a fresh perspective.
I was in Maui for 10 days with family – was great to get away from the computer, twitter, writing, etc. Needed a bit of a mental recharge after a tough January (lost some people close to me), and the trip did exactly what I was hoping it would.
I’ll have a fresh 15 Prime Cuts this Monday morning, and I’ll get back on the monthly fantasy mailbag wagon soon – likely in the next week.
A solid read from my buddy and fantasy hockey competitor, Rhys Richards. Rhys is a Wings fan and has a great read on the team.
“Nabokov has been unconscious of late, but his cap hit of just over a half million dollars will probably mean any team interested in him will have to overpay. In addition, several teams, not the least of which is last year’s surprise playoff Cinderella story Tampa Bay Lightning, may be willing to pay more than Detroit can or should.
The pre-cap Red Wings were known for substantial acquisitions at the Deadline. Holland may be downplaying Detroit’s interest in order to hook a big fish that may not be currently available due to ongoing playoff hopes or interconference rivalries. Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, Brenden Morrow, or Shane Doan could very well see their names scroll across the tv or computer screen at the Trade Deadline as they prepare to make the D home.”
Assuming or guessing what Detroit does this summer is premature, but they are in a great situation to make some significant additions to a very, very good club. I wonder if the Winter Classic next season is enough to lure Lidstrom back for one more season? I think a lot of that depends on how the playoffs go.
I didn’t catch any Canucks games while I was away, but I did see the Kings a few times (Hawaii picks up the LA Fox feed). The Kings have some good parts, but outside of Kopitar no forward creates offense. Richards can at times, but he’s a complimentary talent. Stoll is useless on the wing, and Penner is useless anywhere. The Kings need to add a winger – David Jones and Ales Hemsky would both be great fits.
An extremely comprehensive review of Montreal’s season to date. Some of the fantasy relevant stuff:
“After playing a high risk game over the first quarter (86 scoring chances against) Pacioretty has tightened up defensively and was on for just 59 scoring chances against. That he did this while his responsibilities increased is outstanding. Pacioretty also doesn't benefit from the same offensive zone starts that his linemates do, and drives the play up ice at a high rate. If Pacioretty's possession and play wasn't enough, the fact that he draws nearly twice as many penalties as he takes is a cherry on top.”
Good stuff on Subban as well:
“In essence, Subban makes more successful plays per game than most players make plays at all. The kid is a stud dealing with an impossibly low personal shooting percentage despite putting up elite level shot production at 22 years old. He's still driving the play towards the opponent's end consistently, and still positive at even strength.”
It sounds like the Blues may be hamstrung at the deadline by ownership issues. Too bad, as they aren’t far off from being a cup contending team (in fact, they could get there now with the current roster – I just don’t see enough scoring up front).
Speaking of scoring, Andy McDonald is returning this weekend. Great to see, as he has had a tough battle back from a concussion.
Martin Marincin is a really good defenseman with some offensive upside – check out more on him from the Copper & Blue.
“He's a player who has some offensive ability, but at the next level, will probably need to rely on his ability in other areas in order to be effective. So even though the offense is falling off, I'm encouraged by reports like Bruce's as well as my own viewings, which suggest that those kinks he needed to work out are coming along nicely.”
Jamie Benn has been a DobberHockey favorite for at least three years now. Defending Big D asks – is he the next Mike Modano? I’ll say this as a huge Benn fan, ever since his WHL days – no.
“One subject that everyone seems to ask me about lately is Jamie Benn, and how exactly he stacks up to Mike Modano. I've been asked if it's fair to compare the two, if I think Benn can fill the shoes, and if I think Benn could put up the same kind of numbers over his career. These are all different wants of asking the same questions, really, and the answer isn't exactly as cut and dry as most would hope.
Before comparing the two players, it's best to answer if indeed it is fair to do so. The way I look at it, all is fair in sports fandom. It simply comes with the territory. Jamie Benn isn't the first athlete to be scrutinized and compared to the ghosts of franchise history. It's simply human nature to try and compare someone new to someone you're already familiar with. It happens in all sports at every level.”
Nick Backstrom hopes to be back for the playoffs. Pathetic that Bourque only received a few games for one of the most blatant head shots you will ever see. Mathieu Perreault has filled in admirably, but he is no Backstrom. More on Backstrom and his frustrations here.
Mike Green continues to skate, and is on track. On track for what, exactly? Another injury? I feel bad for this guy.
“Mike Green skated again Thursday morning in full pads as he continues to work back into shape after sports hernia surgery on Jan. 17. The Washington Capitals defenseman was on the ice for the seventh time in the past 10 days and third in a row.
“He was on the ice today. So he's on schedule; that's what the main thing is,” coach Dale Hunter said. “He feels better. He feels more comfortable out there than he was before.”
Mats Sundin’s number gets retired tonight by Vancouver Toronto. All jokes aside, he was great for the Canucks organization. He cost them money they weren’t using, and he really helped the maturation and development of several players, most notably Ryan Kesler.
A totally irrelevant and awesome list by Justin Bourne – seven players who you wouldn’t want to go for a beer with.
“Jay Bouwmeester is very special type of Canadian. To the Americans reading this, if you haven’t met his type, let me explain it. (Caveat: my Dad’s side is from Kindersley, Sask and my Mom was born in Moose Jaw, raised in Saskatoon. Not hating on farm boys.)
There’s this certain type of Canadian farm boy who is slow in everything they do. Conversation, yes, but also tying their shoes, eating a bowl of cereal, whatever. They’re not dumb (quite the opposite, often), they’re just…dull. They’re in no hurry. Yet on the ice, they function just fine. They were born into the game, so they know that doesn’t work there.”
Minor concussions are b-s. Dobber has made this point before. A concussion is a concussion. Nathan Horton has stopped skating after his symptoms flared up.
Zone starts are a very fantasy-relevant stat, and they have propelled the Sedins to elite status. Vigneault has had great success creating defined roles for his forwards.
“Whenever a shift starts in the defensive zone, Vigneault will get his top defensive forward line on the ice as much as possible. This is the line of Manny Malhotra, Maxim Lapierre and Dale Wiese. In fact if you look at the NHL players sorted by zone start percentage, you find that these are the top three and bottom three players in the league.”