So, in Monday’s Daily Dose, I urged anyone with a pulse to pick up St. Louis Blues goalie Brian Elliott off the waiver wire. I reasoned that your fellow fantasy foes would decide to give the seemingly-resurgent former All-Star (OK, that’s still weird to write about Elliott, I’ll admit ...) an audition on their squads at some point during their work day.
Elliott was owned in just 40 percent of Yahoo leagues during the time of that writing. Now he’s been given a roster spot on 52 percent, which at least indicates that more than half of the prominent platform’s leagues aren’t COMPLETELY populated by nutjobs and deadbeat owners.
Honestly, though, it really got me thinking about the fact that we’re in the playoffs. A significant chunk of each league’s owners are likely off the grid altogether since their teams are in the consolation brackets (if not eliminated from any kind of competition). Does X percent owned not really hold that much relevance any longer because of all the people shifting their focus to fantasy seasons in sports that aren’t a lost cause yet like baseball?
Let me come clean ... that last paragraph was an attempt to rationalize the fact that Elliott is still so widely available. Because, really, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Who are YOU to reject the idea of having such a valuable goalie in your rotation? Do you employ a rotation of Antti Niemi, Henrik Lundqvist and Tuukka Rask or something?
(Waits for imaginary security guards to break this scuffle up.)
HOW THE DUMBER HALF LIVES
Anyway, the numbers are so starkly obvious that I feel silly even trotting them out, but apparently 48 percent of the fantasy universe needs convincing. Since coming back, Elliott is on a five-game winning streak and has posted three shutouts in a row. Overall, he's allowed four goals in those five games, stopping 118 out of 122 shots.
He really hasn't been particularly busy while collecting his trio of uninterrupted goose eggs, but to me, that's almost as great of a sign as if he was standing on his head; to me, that's a strong sign that Ken Hitchcock's squad could hoist him up to a game-breaking level during the final weeks.
If that's not enticing enough to convince you to give the guy a try as your measly third/fourth goalie (in some goalie-crazy leagues, that might just be worth it), then ... you might just be one of the 48 percent.
USEFUL JUSSI/BACK WITH A LETANG
It’s tempting to throw out this thought: Jussi Jokinen was the best addition the Pittsburgh Penguins made during the trade deadline!
That’s beyond hasty, though. Then again, who cares if he wins the argument over Jarome Iginla (who had two assists on Thursday), really? All you should care about is filling out your roster with quality depth players and Jussi’s run could just give you the extra juice to win it all. While it’s likely he won’t be a serious asset to Pittsburgh over the long haul, essentially inserting him into Sidney Crosby’s spot has produced shocking benefits so far.
Jokinen has three goals and two assists for five points in the three games since he became a member of the Penguins. His shooting percentage is kind of stupid (three goals on five shots, which amounts to a ludicrous 60 percent), so it’s quite possible he’ll plummet back to Earth in a big way. He’s not really getting huge minutes or anything.
But, again, you shouldn’t be worried about his value for the next few months and beyond. The question is: will Jokinen be better than your fringe player for the next two weeks or so? It’s not crazy to roll the dice on that proposition, even if he’s only owned in 11 percent of leagues right now.
It’s worth at least thinking about.
One Penguins player whose value should not arouse any doubt is Kris Letang. He sure didn’t just dip his toes in the shallow end during his return on Thursday; Letang logged a little more than 23 minutes and collected an assist in a seamless return. I know it’s a condensed season, but let’s take a moment to marvel the work of Letang and a select group of defensemen who’ve averaged close to a point-per-game in 2013. In Letang’s case, it was exactly that; he has 29 points in 29 games.
Jump for assorted fantasy goodness.
IF YOU NEED A TIEBREAKER
So, we’re getting to the point where every little edge really can count. With that in mind, there are some teams who have a marginal amount of extra games left and those with one or two fewer than what might be ideal. If you’re struggling with Player A vs. Player B, here’s a guide to the teams that have the slightest of advantage. I’m using 40 games played as the “Mason Dixon line,” so if a team isn’t listed, that means they’re at 40 GP.
Nine games left: Calgary, Chicago, Dallas and St. Louis
Six left: Winnipeg
Seven left: Buffalo, NY Islanders, Pittsburgh, Washington, Los Angeles, Colorado, Anaheim and Nashville
Again, we’re talking about a really marginal difference, but it might matter to enough of you to at least mention. Personally, if you’re wavering between a Blues player and a Jets player, maybe it shouldn’t be that tough of a choice. Maybe.
INJURY NOTES (full list) and QUICK HITS
Anton Volchenkov received a four-game suspension for his hit on Brad Marchand. Not much of a shock, but Marchand has a “mild” concussion. It’s a double bummer because it looked like he was bonding nicely with Jaromir Jagr ... Meanwhile, it appears that Taylor Hall is getting off with zero punishment for his slash on Zbynek Michalek. Hopefully he’ll learn some kind of lesson from this, even if this is the equivalent to a teacher ignoring the fact that his or her best student also seems to be morphing into a bit of a bully. At least it’s great news for Hall owners ... In case it wasn’t mentioned before, Cam Fowler is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. If I’m repeating myself, let me offer new insight: Anaheim Ducks fans should consider naming future dogs Cam Growler ... I’d recommend Mike Richards more heartily if he was readily available, but the streaking center is accounted for in 82 percent of leagues ... There are plenty of red-hot Washington Capitals, but hats off to Braden Holtby, who continues to add accomplishments to his once-light NHL resume ... It’s hard to get too excited about Paul Stastny, but he’s back from an injury, so he might be worth a look if you’re especially desperate ... As some expected, Colin Wilson’s season is indeed over. No sense risking his health with the playoffs in the rearview mirror ... In Steve Ott’s defense, it’s long been known that Jeff Halpern is delicious ... Michael Ryder now has 20 points in 20 games as a member of the Montreal Canadiens. He has to be one of the big fish of free agency now, right? ... It appears that Jimmy Howard won’t hit free agency anytime soon, on the other hand ... Troy Brouwer seems too unreliable (both for PIMs and points) to be a significant fantasy hockey contributor, but he’s exceeded expectations as a guy who really seemed like he was just riding shotgun with talented players. OK, maybe he still is benefiting from the skills of others, but it seems obvious that his mixture of grit and solid ability is an NHL-level asset.