Like last week, this was a big week for offense. Mikko Koivu scored 3 goals and helped out on 5 others (including 3 on the power play), yet he still didn't get a Star of the Week. Unlike last week, though, there were some exceptional goalie performances. Roberto Luongo was 3 for 3 this week with a GAA of 1.63 and a .946 SV%, but no star for him, either.
This week's schedule is a bit light because of the holidays. Over half of the league plays 2 or less games, so double check your lineups before the puck drops tonight. It probably would have been easier for me to list the teams with 3 and 4 games, but whatever. Here are your 1, 2, and 4 game teams.
One Game Teams: Buffalo Sabres, New York Rangers, San Jose Sharks
Two Game Teams: Calgary Flames, Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, Nashville Predators, Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals
Four Game Teams: Dallas Stars, St. Louis Blues
I'm writing on the road again (Pennsylvania this time), and I forgot to save the Stars of the Week points standings onto my Dropbox, so I won't have access to that for a few weeks. My apologies if that part of these articles intrigued you.
* T.J. Oshie - 5 Goals (1 PPG), 3 Assists (2 PPA), 8 Shots, 9 Hits, 5 Blocks
It was a good week to own stock in the Capitals. There were 6 players with 4 points or more - Oshie, Nicklas Backstrom (1 Goal, 6 Assists), Justin Williams (2 Goals, 3 Assists), Alex Ovechkin (2 Goals, 3 Assists), John Carlson (listed below), and Marcus Johansson (2 Goals, 2 Assists). At the beginning of the season I predicted this team would win the Cup. After watching them completely dismantle the Rangers last night, I'm prepared to guarantee it.
** Joe Pavelski - 3 Goals (1 PPG, 1 GWG), 4 Assists (2 PPA), 12 Shots, 18 Hits
He is now on a point per game pace and is sitting at 9th in the league in that category. Joe Pa is such a valuable fantasy player because of his nose for scoring (on pace for just shy of 40 goals), his power play proficiency (3 PPG, 10 PPA), and his fondness of physical interactions (3rd on the team in hits). Man, do I wish I still had this guy on my keeper league team.
*** Vladimir Tarasenko - 3 Goals (2 PPG, 1 GWG), 4 Assists (1 PPA), 9 Shots
Scoring - that's pretty much all he does. He doesn't hit, he doesn't block. He doesn't take penalties. His lack of statistical spread is my one knock on him, and that's an okay knock to have considering how good he is.
* Erik Karlsson - 3 Goals, 2 Assists (1 PPA), 14 Shots, 7 Hits, 10 Blocks
He leads his team in points by 5. As a defenseman. That is incredible to me. Could someone find out the last time, if ever, a defenseman led his team in points at the end of a season? Post the answer in the comments below, please. Karlsson also leads all defenseman in points by 6, and that margin is likely to increase as the weeks tick by. One surprising negative is that he is 10th in the league in shots by a defenseman. Last year he led everyone by almost 30. With that said, he's still tied for 3rd in goals by a defenseman.
** John Carlson - 2 Goals (2 GWG), 3 Assists (2 PPA), 15 Shots, 10 Blocks
Steady as she goes. He doesn't do anything remarkable to stand out, but he's consistent and gets the job done. He's a great example of a player you could pry from someone in a trade without them realizing just how important he was to them.
*** Brent Burns - 2 Goals (1 GWG), 3 Assists (3 PPA), 20 Shots
He's 2nd in the entire league in shots (we all know Ove is always # 1 in that) and leads all defenseman by a massive 45. I always thought he hit more than he has been this season, but I double checked last year's numbers and his approximate 2 per game is his norm. That's still pretty good, though. His minus 14 isn't, though (tied for 2nd to worst in the league). This is probably why they put him at wing for long stretches in the past.
* Semyon Varlamov - 3 Starts, 3 Wins, 1 Shutout, 0.67 GAA, .981 SV%
He gave up just 2 goals this week. There were stretches this season where it was noteworthy if he made it through 2 periods, but he is alive now. He's lost just a single game in December, a game where he gave up just 2 goals on 43 shots. His "worst" game this month was a 32 saves, 2 goals against W verse the Predators. He's been the best goalie in the league so far this month, but we'll see how long this lasts.
** Corey Crawford - 4 Starts, 3 Wins, 1 Shutout, 115 Saves, 1.71 GAA, .943 SV%
This has been Craw Daddy's best start in recent memory. He's always been a benefactor of being on a good team, but lately he is more of a reason for their success. I'm a little worried that they're playing him a little too much (he should have taken a seat at least once this week), but you hope he's a professional about conditioning. Perhaps they rolled him because of their light schedule this week. I don't know. I'm not Joel Quenneville's nephew, so I can't ask him.
*** Chad Johnson - 3 Starts, 2 Wins, 1 Shutout, 102 Saves, 0.97 GAA, .971 SV%
You'll never see this person on here again. Using my 10 years of fantasy hockey experience, I can give you that guarantee. Regardless, he earned the nod.
Ryan Spooner (C/LW - BOS) - Last two weeks - 7 Games, 3 Goals (2 PPG, 1 GWG), 7 Assists (2 PPA), 15 Shots, 10 Hits
Spoon Man is ablaze right now and is probably worth an add. He is eligible at both C and LW, so he has flexibility in use. 4 of his 7 assists came in one game, but they count just the same. I wish he shot a little more, seeing that he's averaging just 1.66/game. A nice bonus is that almost half of his 22 points this season have come on the power play (5 PPG, 5 PPA).
Teuvo Teravainen (LW - CHI) - Last two weeks - 9 Games, 4 Goals (1 GWG), 3 Assists (2 PPA), 16 Shots, 7 Hits
He's skating with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa, which is markedly beneficial to his production. Like Spooner, he doesn't shoot enough for my liking, but Toews and Hossa do, so points will come his way for as long as he's skating with them.
Dan Boyle (D - NYR) - Last two weeks - 8 Games, 4 Goals (2 PPG), 2 Assists (2 PPA), 19 Shots, 8 Hits, 15 Blocks
He's scored in two straight games and has points in 5 of the last 7 games. He's an old man by professional sports standards, but he's still averaging over 19 minutes per game on the season and over 20 minutes per over the last 10. He's worth a grab for a 5th or even 4th defenseman spot.
DEVILS FANTASY VALUE
Lee Stempniak - 1 Goal (1 GWG), 2 Assists, 7 Shots, 4 Hits
He is probably now the 3rd Devil skater that is acceptable to own. He's consistent, and that is ideal in fantasy. Those guys who get 3 points one game and then do nothing for 4 straight are a pain to deal with.
Mike Cammalleri - 1 Goal, 1 Assist, 9 Shots
He has cooled off quite a bit lately, with just 1 and 1 in the last 7 games. I would assume you have a couple LWs on your team that are performing better than that, so you might want to get them in there for the time being until Cammy gets back on track. If you don't, your team is likely not doing well. We do need to remember that Cammy was over-performing up to this point, so this stat line may become more of the norm than the exception.
Kyle Palmieri - 2 Assists (1 PPA), 8 Hits
He managed just 3 shots, which I do not like at all. Palms is best when he's tapping the C button. The worst part of these humble numbers by the Devils skaters is that it was over 4 games. That's troubling.
So, what's good and what's bad? Let me know in the comment section, or Tweet and Follow me @MattMowrerSays. I hope everyone has a great X-mas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Satanic Sacrifice, and/or whatever other rite or celebration you participate in. Thank you all for reading!