It was a shortened week because of the birth of that dude Jesus, but in fantasy hockey it counts just the same as a full week.
We're back to a regular schedule for the next 7 days, which includes the always fun to watch Winter Classic. It's even more fun when it carries fantasy implications for you.
* Johnny Gaudreau - 5 Goals (1 PPG, 1 GWG), 12 Shots
Two games. Five goals. Yahtzee! Dude is on fire. In the last 10 skates, he's been the lighter of the lamp 11 times and helped his friends 6 times. I love that he's not hesitant to pull the trigger. He has 39 SOG in these last 10, including 24 in the last 5.
** Patrick Sharp - 2 Goals (1 PPG, 1 GWG), 4 Assists (2 PPA), 10 Shots
After going 4 straight without a point, Sharp has 5 game point streak, which includes 3 goals and 5 assists (5 of the points coming on the power play).
*** James van Riemsdyk - 3 Goals (1 PPG), 2 Assists, 12 Shots, +5
The Jersey boy has 6 goals and 3 assists in the last 7, which is great for a secondary fantasy hockey winger. You'd like to see him do a little more on the power play, but what can you do? Well, I guess get a player who isn't on the Maple Leafs. You could do that maybe.
* Mark Giordano - 2 Goals (2 PPG), 2 Assists, 8 Shots
This was the only blue line performance in this shortened week that demanded recognition. What's more is that he did it in just 2 games. Gio has been a bit of a disappointment so far this season. I had him tabbed as the #7 fantasy defenseman. So far I'd say he's been top 30, MAYBE top 25. With that said, he boasts 3 goals and 4 assists in the last 4 games and 4 and 7 in the last 10. We're not even halfway through the season. He'll catch up.
** Justin Faulk - 2 Goals (1 GWG), 1 Assist, 9 Shots, 10 Hits, 8 Blocks
These offensive numbers aren't striking, but the combination of the shortened holiday week and the backend category spread equals a Star of the Week worthy line. These two goals were the first he scored at even strength. However, he has scored so many with the man advantage that he's now tied for #1 alongside Brent Burns with 14 from the blue line. Burns also scored 2 this week and he only had one game to do it.
*** T.J. Brodie - 4 Assists (1 PPA, 1 SHA)
He was the only other defenseman with 4 points this week. He didn't do a whole lot outside of the helpers (2 Shots, 4 Blocks), but half of the points came on special team achievements.
* Craig Anderson - 2 Starts, 1 Win, 77 Saves, 0.96 GAA, .975 SV%
These are the worst kinds of players to have on your roster - a blessing one week, a curse the next. I'll bet dollars to doughnuts you'll be cursing him out by Thursday of this week.
** Jacob Markstrom - 2 Starts, 2 Wins, 58 Saves, 0.97 GAA, .967 SV%
He's been magnificent lately. It would be a thought conjured from the ether if I were to say he's going to steals some starts from Ryan Miller, but if Markstrom keeps this going, it would be questionable for Coach Desjardins to deny him. You have to temper your expectations here, though. Markstrom has only started 3 of the last 6 Canucks games. He could start two more and get skunked and that would be the end of the fun. Note: This was the quintessential fantasy sport's writer paragraph - you praise a player and then protect yourself by saying not to expect a lot. No matter what happens now, I can go back and say, "See, I told you so."
*** Cam Talbot - 2 Starts, 1 Win, 72 Saves, 1.67 GAA, .947 SV%
Talbot scuffled for a while, so Anders Nilsson came in and dominated. Well, the pads are on the other leg now because Nilsson has been atrocious these last couple weeks and Talbot has reentered to settle things down. My point is, you should avoid Edmonton Oilers goalies. It never goes well for long.
Tyler Bozak (C-TOR) - Last two weeks, 6 Games, 5 Goals (1 PPG, 1 GWG), 3 Assists, 13 Shots, 8 Hits
I consider picking him up at least 3 different times every season. I never end up doing it, but I always think about it. He has 5 goals and 5 assists in the last 10 games and 25 total points in 30 games this season, which proves consistency this season. My one concern with him is that he's only Center eligible. As I've said many times before, I always have enough bros on my roster that can fill that position. My other concern is that he doesn't shoot enough - just 50 shots on the season. There are 8 players on the Maple Leafs' roster with more than that, including two defensemen.
Mike Ribeiro (C-NSH) - Last two weeks, 1 Goal (1 PPG), 4 Assists
He's talented and he's been coming alive as of late. He's someone you can keep an eye on, assuming this is the type of person you want to affiliate your fantasy team with. As the eternally famous Antoine Dodson once said - "Hide your kids, hide your wife..."
Trevor Daley (D-PIT) - Since joining the Penguins, 6 Games, 1 Goal, 2 Assists (2 PPA), 8 Shots
Daley was a waiver wire sensation for me last season when he surprised everyone by scoring 16 goals, including 6 on the power play. I had a feeling he was going to get lost in Chicago, and I was right (if you say 100 things, you're bound to get at least one of them right). He seems more comfortable in Pittsburgh so far, and that should continue. There is more of a need for him there. If Kris Letang can stay healthy it will really accelerate Daley's play because Daley won't have to be the main point of offense on the back line. Of course Letang won't stay healthy, though. Even Samuel L. Jackson's UNBREAKABLE character is saying, "Man, what is wrong with this guy's body?"
Jacob Markstrom (G-VAN) - see above for stats
I wouldn't pick him up unless you have Ryan Miller. Definitely grab him if you do, though. You don't want to be the guy with the wrong half of a goalie pair. Trust me. I am often that guy, and it's sad.
DEVILS FANTASY VALUE
Kyle Palmieri - 1 Goal (1 PPG), 2 Assists, 4 Shots, 4 Hits
Nice work this week by my favorite Devil not named Cory. I still wish he would get back to shooting more, but that is the fantasy greed talking.
Adam Larsson -
He managed 7 hits against the Red Wings, then zilcho the next game. One of those statistics is questionable. While I appreciate the Hits statistic and love it for use in fantasy leagues, it's the only statistic in hockey I can think of that is subjective, which does make me wonder if it should even be one.
Everyone else -
Meh, worthless, or a hindrance. I successfully jinxed Lee Stempniak by complimenting him in last week's article. He was pointless this week and was minus 1. Mike Cammalleri continues to fall backwards, but he did help someone else have some fun (0 G, 1 A). Unfortunately, and obviously, the Devils are just not a great fantasy pool. It was only a 2 game week, but head-to-head fantasy hockey doesn't care if you have 2 games or 50. The final statistics are all that matter.
Does anyone have any interesting and unorthodox fantasy strategies that they have been finding success with? I'd love to hear about it in the comment section below. Speak up, my friends. I hope everyone has a terrific turn of the new year, and I'll catch you all in 2016.