(Note: Our friends at Dobber Hockey are back for some fantasy fun. All stats are through Wednesday night's games; this feature will be found on Thursdays here on Puck Daddy.)
I've had a couple of emails asking my thoughts on whether or not fantasy leagues should start counting penalty minutes for goaltenders. It sounds as though the writers have Brent Johnson in their leagues and obviously are looking for an edge. But let's face reality here:
The recent spate of goalie fights is a blip, not a trend. And to draft goaltenders and take into account whether or not they will pad your PIM is nothing more than throwing darts. After all, Johnson's previous career high is 14 penalty minutes and given his status as a backup goaltender who plays 20 games per season now, nobody expected him to have 24 PIM at this point in the campaign.
With 12 goals in his last 19 games, more fantasy owners should have caught onto this guy. Nineteen goals on the campaign mark a career high for Glencross, who has been lining up with a red-hot Olli Jokinen(notes) as well as David Moss(notes). Somehow, this Calgary roster has
stopped sucking been scoring a lot lately and as long they remain in the playoff hunt (i.e. until April), Mr. Glencross will remain a factor.
His availability in most leagues is disappearing, so claim him now -- then come back and read the rest of this blurb. The 25-year-old has arrived. If it wasn't for the nagging injuries, he'd be a fantasy stud right now with 30 goals and 50 points and he would end up with 40 and 75. Mark it. Consider this: Stafford has 19 goals in his last 23 contests. Nobody else is ripping it up at that pace. Hell, he may still get to that 40 mark despite the 18 games missed.
The underrated Dane has been a big part of the Islanders surge. Not the punch-in-the-face part, but the put-points-on-the-board part. With six assists in the last four games, Nielsen is just three away from last year's career high. As a bonus, he has four short-handed goals -- that's two-thirds of his season goal total. It also represents a league high.
Max-Pac has had an incredible rebound season just one year after some impatient poolies started to write him off. He has 12 points in his last 11 games and seven of those points have been goals. That happens a lot when you're firing over three shots on goal per game. Three times in the last 10 games, Pacioretty has been credited with six more shots. That will send you up in the category in a hurry.
Frans Nielsen, New York Islanders (3%)
No, you're not seeing double. I jotted Nielsen's name on here a second time. The guy is only owned in three percent of all leagues and yet right now he is a big boost in both assists and plus/minus. He's plus-12 in his last 11 games and in case you think that there is a chance he'll regress, understand that he is second on the Isles in this statistic. He's a pretty safe play.
Yes, I am an expert. And Sutton is a decent play here because of his penalty minutes as well as his plus/minus. Granted, his season total of plus-1 is unimpressive, but he is plus-8 in his last six games. With 24 games left, I can see him posting close to a plus-9 and 46 PIM in that span.
The odds of Tyler Kennedy seeing time on the power play are about as slim as Joe Vitale(notes) making the jump to the NHL. And, hey, what do you know. Anyway, as long as the Pens are paying seven or eight players to heal themselves, Kennedy will see some five-on-four time. He has six points in his last eight games, with five of them coming on the PP. As a bonus, he has 22 shots on goal in his last six contests.
Although Hamonic is more of a potential PP quarterback, he does have a history of getting his nose dirty as well. And even if you remove the Pittsburgh game, in which he earned 17 minutes in the sin bin, he still has 17 PIM in his last nine games. Throw in the fact that he has seven points in his last eight games and this youngster is a must-own, at least for the short term.
For the time being, it looks as though the team will go with this undrafted, (mostly) career ECHLer as their netminder. With the team doing so well, that means there are a few W's in Lawson's near future. It pays to be in the good books of current (and former) coach Jack Capuano. Until one of him or Al Montoya(notes) seizes the top job, it could go either way. But Lawson has the inside track and beggars can't be choosers -- if you need a goalie this may be your best option.
Middle-of-the-Pack Jack says ...
Alexei Kovalev is too talented to put up such terrible numbers. He's gonna be moved to a new team and as soon as he does - bam, big numbers. I'm gonna go after him in my league and sit him on my bench until the trade happens.
We say: Not worth overpaying for. Unless a trade comes with a time machine that can roll him back at least three years, try a different strategy. This is a guy with over 16 minutes of ice time per game - and over two minutes per game on the power play. He should have more to show for it.
- New York Islanders