Crashing the Net: Who's Up, Who's Down?
With the trade deadline a week away there are plenty of players putting themselves in position to help a fantasy squad down the stretch as rosters get ready for a bit of a change per the general managers whims.
Justin Abdelkader (and seriously how funky is that name?) is hot for the Wings. That is if you note that he has six points in his last five games. He had a hat-trick and four points on March 22nd though which means he has only two points in the other four games. On the year he has six goals which means he has three goals in 32 games this season. Sometimes numbers can be deceiving. Context is always key.
Gabriel Bourque has recorded three points in four games for the Predators and he's scored four of his 10 goals in his last eight games. Going back just a bit further he has six goals in 12 games in the month of March. He's only a +1 skater though without a single penalty minute this month, not to mention just two assists, so it's pretty much been lighting the lamp or bust.
Damien Brunner was a superstar in the early going with 10 markers in 19 games. Unfortunately he's been unable to score a goal in his last 13 contests. Still, when a rookie is on pace for 26 goals in 82 games, how can you be upset with that?
Pierre-Marc Bouchard has been in and out of the lineup for years cause of ill health. He's finally healthy and producing (the last time he appeared in 70 games was 2008). PMB is likely on waivers in many a league, and he's hot-hot-hot right now with four games, in his last five contests, of two points.
Jeff Carter is now skating on a line with Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar in L.A. Carter is tied for 4th in the NHL with 18 goals though he's lit the lamp just one time, with one assist, in his last nine games. It's still fairly astounding to think that he has all of three helpers dished out in 32 games this season.
Tyler Ennis, the little spark plug from Buffalo, has got the point scoring touch in full swing right now as he's recorded two goals and four helpers in his last four games. Dating back to last season he's recorded 24 goals and 58 points in 79 games played.
Sam Gagner, and I've pointed this out before, has recorded between 41 and 49 points in each of his five NHL seasons. Remarkably he could get there again this season as he has 28 points in 31 games this season. Too bad he's been a (-5) skater though he entered the year at (-42) so it's not really a shock he's on the wrong side off the plus/minus ledger.
Martin Havlat was injured last season (39 games), and he's dealt with more woes this season as well (24 games). In 63 total games with the Sharks he has scored 11 goals with 37 points. That's not exactly the type of production anyone in San Jose was hoping for. At least he's picked things up of late with four points in four games.
Olli Jokinen, in his first year with the Jets, has been a total disaster. Not only does he have just nine points, but he only has scored five goals. He's also a (-15) skater. If he's not on waivers in your league, he should be.
Welcome back to the party Milan Lucic. He scored his first goal in 16 games Monday night.
Alex Ovechkin, welcome back to the world of the living. All of a sudden he is up to 16 goals as he has scored in 5-straight games (six goals total with three on the power-play). His current pace would lead to 41 goals over an 82 games, an improvement over his 32 goal and 38 goal efforts of the past two seasons.
Mason Raymond has 18 points and is +8 skater this season for the Canucks. He's also recorded a point in each of his last four games. He doesn't offer much else though as he has only 10 penalty minutes and 16 hits on the year.
Alexander Semin got a five-year deal worth $7 million a season with the 'Canes. He's had a strong season with 30 points an a +18 in 30 games, but he's only scored eight times including just once in his last six games. A career .137 shooter, that mark is way down this year at .082. He's never finished a season in single digits before, and he started playing back in 2003.
R.J. Umberger always flies a bit under the radar despite recording at least 20 goals in each of the past four seasons (that's what happens when you play for the Blue Jackets – no one notices). He's well off that pace with six goals in 32 games this season, but he's been able to post four points in his last three games. He's not taking enough shots on net though with seven shots in his last six games.
Francois Beauchemin has been a fantasy superstar. I'm not high on crack either. Check out the numbers, they are truly elite – 19 points, +21 rating, 56 hits, 76 blocked shots. Francois plus/minus mark leads all blue liners as he is tied with teammate Sheldon Souray. Put that in perspective thusly. The Ducks duo is a +42 while the Panthers duo of Erik Gudbranson and Brian Campbell have combined to log a (-36) with Campbell being the worst in the league at (-19). For a guy taken at the end of your draft, or plucked off waivers, you simply couldn't be more thrilled with Beauchemin could you?
Drew Doughty is tied for fourth among blue liners with 77 shots in net. He's scored one time (everyone else above him, or tied with him in shots, has at least five goals). Dating back to last season he has one goals in 36 games and two goals in 44 games. Remember when he scored 16 goals back in 2009 in his second season?
Andrei Markov continues to pile up points from the blue line. Andrei has 21 points in 31 games including an assist in each of his last three games, and four of five. He's also been an absolute beast with the man advantage as he has 18 points on the power-play.
Michael Rozsival is a +13 skater this season for the Blackhawks, but he only has seven points in 17 games. Remarkably he has taken just eight shots on net.
Only two blue liners have at least 80 blocked shots and more than nine points. They are Dan Girardi (10 points and 80 blocked shots) and John Carlson (15 points and 82 blocks).
The two leading point getters from the blue line are Kris Letang (28 points) and Ryan Suter (26 points). They have combined for five goals. The #3 man in scoring is Niklas Kronwall who has scored five times this season (24 points). The highest point producer from the blue line with only one goal is Alex Goligoski who has one goal and 16 assists.
Craig Anderson is finally closing in on his return from an ankle issue, but the Senators haven't skipped a beat in net. Ben Bishop has won each of his last three starts to up his record to 7-4-0, and he still possesses a strong .923 save percentage even though he's allowed 13 goals in his last four outings.
Martin Brodeur has gone 2-1 since he returned to action from back woes, and in those three games he's yet to face 20 shots in a contest. He's allowed a total of four goals to drop his GAA on the season to 2.08 in 16 starts.
Corey Crawford has been excellent this year on the way to a 13-4-3 record with a 2.02 GAA. Unfortunately he's lost three of his last five starts, and in those three games he's permitted 11 goals. Slacker.
Dan Ellis is expected to miss a week an a half after injuring his leg. Justin Peters should take over in net for the Hurricanes. Peters has a shutout and two games of allowing four goals in his last three starts.
Jonathan Quick has lost two of his last three starts to drop his save percentage all the way down to .895. There isn't a more disappointing player in net in the NHL this season than Quick who just can't seem to find anything resembling consistency.
James Reimer just won't go away in net for the Leafs. He's only won one of his last three starts but he still owns a solid .918 save percentage in 20 outings, slightly better than the .915 mark of Ben Scrivens after Ben allowed four goals on 26 shots in his last start on March 16th.
Pekka Rinne has an amazing total of five shutouts this season, and he's won each of his last three starts. Still, his .911 save percentage would tie his career low while his 13-10-5 record is nothing to get worked up about either.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87, Monday through Friday at 5 PM EDT. Ray's analysis can be found at BaseballGuys.com and his minute to minute musings can be located at the BaseballGuys' Twitter account.