Around the Rink
Alexander Steen's season couldn't get much better. He's going so well that now he's even picking up points that shouldn't even count. Steen was credited with his seventh assist of the season Saturday when Ryan Reaves beat Pittsburgh goalie, Marc-Andre Fleury. Maxim Lapierre was rightfully awarded the primary assist, but Steen was credited with a secondary assist, even though Penguins defenseman, Matt Niskanen, touched the puck after Steen and before Lapierre.
That's the way the season's gone for Steen. He now has 14 goals and 21 points in 15 contest with a juicy four-game, Week 7 schedule on tap.
Ottawa's Kyle Turris started 2012-13 with 11 points in 13 games, but cooled off thereafter with 18 points over his last 35 contests. This season, he's already got 18 points in his first 17 contests. He's seeing most of his ice time with Clarke MacArthur and Bobby Ryan, according to Behind The Net.
What's changed since last season? For starters, Ryan is on his wing. Erik Karlsson is healthy. Daniel Alfredsson is gone. Is Turris trustable after last year? Perhaps not, but the numbers are there right now and the Sens have a very favorable Week 7 schedule. If anything, MacArthur might be worthy of a pickup.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are averaging 2.11 goals per game in their last nine contests. The Pens have slumped but a light schedule has exacerbated things. Pittsburgh is in the midst of a 4-game, 13-day stretch. Fortunately for fantasy owners, that all changes Wednesday. The team will play 11 times in 18 days. It's been tough hanging with the likes of Pascal Dupuis (two points in nine) and Evgeni Malkin -- seven assists but no goals in his last 10, but now is not the time to sell low. Thank me in December.
Many Yahoo! fantasy hockey leagues limit the total number of games played by position. Long time poolies are likely aware of these limitations, but let this serve as a public service announcement for everyone else. If a league's settings limit a maximum number of games, then once that number is reached, statistics accrued thereafter don't count.
For example, one first place team has already used 51 of 113 games played at left wing. Once that owner reaches 113 games, his left wing stats are done. If Daniel Sedin scores six points after he reaches his 113-game limit, the owner is out of luck. This is the case in one of my leagues. We're not even at the one-quarter pole and a team has nearly used up half of its games. That's one fantasy team that won't win.
Today is Veteran's Day in the United States. Thank a vet. Thanks Dad!
Projected Goalie Starters (Eastern time)
Tampa Bay (Ben Bishop) at Boston (Tuukka Rask), 1:00 PM
Notable Injury News for Monday
Tom Pyatt, F - (collarbone) Likely out until December.
Brian Lee, D - (knee) Not expected back until the season's second half.
Adam McQuaid, D - (undisclosed) Doubtful for Monday's holiday matinee.
Martin Brodeur - Brodeur now has as many shutouts this season (two) in nine games as he did last year in 29. Granted, his blankings came against Nashville and Philadelphia. Still, that's impressive for any goalie, let alone a 41-year-old. Corey Schneider fantasy owners like me are smiling ear to ear. Not.
Josh Harding - Are you kidding me? Harding was a hot prospect five or six years ago, but now? Just playing NHL hockey with Multiple Sclerosis is one thing, but leading all netminders with a 1.22 GAA is quite another. Harding is 9-2-2 thus far. Keep in mind that seven of his victories have come on home ice but what an amazing showing.
Cam Fowler - Fowler entered Sunday with two goals and nine points (including five on the power play) in 18 games. He also fashioned a plus-1 rating. That might not sound impressive, but for fantasy owners who remember his minus-25 and minus-28 ratings in 2010-11 and 2011-12, respectively, it might be time to take another look at the 21-year-old defender.
Teddy Purcell - For whatever reasons, certain players are undervalued in fantasy hockey. Purcell is one of those guys. An overtime game-winner Saturday gives his five goals and 10 points in 18 games. Five of his points have come on the man advantage. Purcell scored 65 points in his last full NHL season and remains underrated.
Alex Chiasson - Nobody expected Chiasson to score nine goals in his first 10 NHL games dating back to 2012-13, not even me, and I've had him on my keeper league roster for three years. Well, his comeuppance occurred pretty much the same time I activated him. Blame me. With two goals in his last eight, Chiasson has predictably cooled off. The baton seems to have been passed to Cody Eakin, who's netted three goals and an assist in his last six. So goes the flight of young stars. Nothing's linear.
Brandon Saad - I had Saad penciled in to this spot Saturday, prior to his two-point game Sunday night. The Pittsburgh native had gone pointless in eight of nine. That kind of fantasy production is hard to bank on. Maybe we're simply expecting too much from young guns like Saad. After all, he now has four goals and 10 points in 18 games. Despite the emergence of a number of secondary offensive options, Chicago has stuck by Saad, maybe we should too.
Matt Niskanen - The hot-starting blueliner has one assist and a minus-3 rating in his last seven games. He started the season with five points and a plus-10 rating through six contests, but has predictably cooled. The Penguins missed their opportunity to sell high on the defenseman making $2.3 million and so did fantasy owners.
Charlie Coyle, Beau Bennett, Ottawa Senator and St. Louis Blues players. Coyle is available in plenty of leagues. He's a risky pickup, but we're looking ahead of the curve, not behind it. Bennett returned Saturday, as did sometimes linemate James Neal. Neal is owned everywhere, but Bennett will provide assists when he finds his game. Ottawa and St. Louis both have favorable Week 6 dockets. Defensemen and secondary type players from both squads should provide value for those in weekly leagues.