Did you guys know there was an outdoor game yesterday? I didn't until 10pm PST. Perhaps I'm in the minority in thinking that the outdoor game concept is dead/dying, but it speaks volumes that something that I used to find special and exciting came and went on a nondescript February Sunday afternoon without me having any idea it was happening. I even played hockey this morning, and not a single teammate mentioned it. Maybe they hate me, I don't know. We lost 4-0, if anyone was interested.
Here's the two and four game teams for this week.
* Martin Hanzal - 2 Goals (1 PPG, 1 GWG), 4 Assists (2 PPA), 10 Shots, 5 Hits
You won't find him on this list too often (or likely ever again this season), but he's been hot lately. More on him below in the WAIVER WIRE section.
** Max Domi - 4 Goals, 2 Assists (1 PPA), 11 Shots
While he had the most goals this week, his category spread wasn't as significant as Hanzal's. Domi has been up and down this season, but that's to be expected from a 20-year-old rookie. He's not consistent enough to count on down the stretch this season, but his upside is high, significantly enough that if you're in a deep keeper league (5 or more keepers), he's worth holding on to or dangling out there as bait to boost your team for a playoff push.
*** Patrick Kane - 2 Goals, 4 Assists (4 PPA), 13 Shots
This is the first time in a month that our leading forward has been on this list, but that doesn't mean he's cooled off in any way. He now has 83 points on the season (16 more than the next best), including a league leading 30 on the power play (5 more than the next best, Oliver Ekman-Larsson). ESPN projected him to end up outside of the top 20 scorers at 29-42-71. I'm not bringing this up to specifically poke fun at ESPN, but fantasy projections in general. This includes some of my own (see my - and everyone else's - Phil Kessel predictions).
Rankings: 12 Points - Patrick Kane, 6 Points - Matt Duchene & Brad Marchand, 5 Points - 4 Tied
* Kris Letang - 5 Assists (1 SHA), 14 Shots, 14 Hits, 6 Blocks, 10 PIM
His 5 assists are solid, but 5 assists in combination with the secondary stat spread is wonderful. Letang has been everything I expected him to be this season, which unfortunately does include him missing time because of sporadic injury. This now puts him in sole possession of 2nd place in the rankings, and just 3 points shy of Erik Karlsson.
** Oliver Ekman-Larsson - 1 Goal (1 PPG), 3 Assists (2 PPA), 8 Shots, 5 Hits, 4 Blocks
He's on a point per game pace over the last month. He's also 3rd in the league in shots by a defensemen (2 shots behind Karlsson in two less games and a lot behind Brent Burns in one more game). His 11 PPG is just one behind league leader Justin Faulk, who hasn't scored on the power play since December 12th. That's a very long time for anyone of Faulk's caliber, but it's especially prolonged for the guy who already had 12 before the 25th game of the season.
*** Sami Vatanen - 2 Goals (2 PPG), 2 Assists (1 PPA), 10 Shots
He snuck on here thanks to a muted week on the blue line. His 2 and 2 isn't special, but the fact that 3 of the points came on the power play gave him the boost he needed to make the list the first time. Vatanen is a middle ranged fantasy defensemen, but I think within the next season or two, he'll find his way into the top 20. I really did consider him for my top 15 this season, but in the end determined that it was too early for him to make that leap. I was right.
Rankings: 14 Points - Erik Karlsson, 11 Points - Kris Letang, 8 Points - Brent Burns & Roman Josi
* Craig Anderson - 3 Starts, 3 Wins, 97 Saves, 1.58 GAA, .951 SV%
Here he is again with a seemingly random fantastic fantasy week. Expect a disaster next. He is now in sole possession of 2nd place behind Corey Crawford in the rankings and is becoming a poster boy for my goalie theory - they're not as special as you think.
** Jonathan Quick - 3 Starts, 1 Win, 92 Saves, 1.65 GAA, .948 SV%
A tough week for him in the W department, but he certainly gave the Kings every chance. However, they only managed to score 3 goals in regulation for him.
*** Brian Elliot - 3 Starts, 3 Wins, 69 Saves, 1.97 GAA, .920 SV%
He didn't make the list until Week 15, which makes sense considering he was the backup to Jake Allen, but since taking over for the injured Allen, Elliot's earned a star 4 weeks in a row (1-1st Star, 3-3rd Stars).
Rankings: 14 Points - Corey Crawford, 11 Points - Craig Anderson, 10 Points - Jonathan Quick
Rickard Rakell (C/LW-ANA) - Last two weeks, 8 Games, 4 Goals (1 PPG), 3 Assists (1 PPA), 22 Shots, 17 Hits
He's riding a 4 game point streak (2 Goals, 3 Assists) and is putting up almost a point her game in the last two weeks. I like Rakell because even if he doesn't garner a point, he's still likely to get you some secondary stats. His dual eligibility gives him a value boost, too.
Matt Dumba (D-MIN) - Last two weeks, 7 Games, 2 Goals (1 PPG), 3 Assists (2 PPA), 24 Shots
I have been keeping my eye on this guy for a little while now, and I'm still liking what I'm seeing. He's got 9 points over the 11 games, with 6 of those coming on the power play. He's also averaging slightly over 3 shots per game over the last month for a total of 34, which has him tied with Kris Letang and Jake Muzzin for 6th most by a defenseman during that span. NOTE: He has four games this week.
Martin Hanzal (C-ARI) - Last two weeks, 6 Games, 4 Goals (2 PPG, 1 GWG), 4 Assists (2 PPA), 18 Shots, 14 Hits, 12 PIM
Make note that 5 of the 8 points he racked up in the last 6 games came in a two game span, but they count nonetheless. I've always liked Hanzal because he's an aggressive forward who will get you those secondary stats, but with a little bit of a scoring touch, too. NOTE: He may not last on your team for the long haul, but he has four games this week, so he's worth a pickup if you're in need of some help up the middle.
Benoit Pouliot (LW-EDM) - This week, 3 Games, 2 Goals (1 PPG), 1 Assist, 8 Shots
I mentioned him last week as someone you may want to consider. He's continued to produce and even managed to put more pucks on the net than usual. NOTE: I'm also bringing him up again because he has four games this week.
DEVILS FANTASY VALUE
Reid Boucher - 1 Goal, 3 Assists (1 PPA), 6 Shots
A surprising outburst here as Bouch found himself involved in 4 of the Devils 6 total goals this week. He has 6 points in the last 10 games, but he put up zilch in 7 of those 10 games. He assuredly does not warrant a fantasy roster spot.
Kyle Palmieri - 2 Goals, 1 Assist, 10 Shots, 5 Hits, 3 Blocks
I was really starting to worry about Palms, but he seemed to wake up here with a decent week. His 6 shots against the Flyers resulted in his first goal in 9 games, and he then scored again a few nights later in a multipoint effort against the Capitals.
2 Points Players -
John Moore chipped in a couple assists, one on the power play, during his hour plus of ice time this week. He didn't do a whole lot else, including going minus 3. Travis Zajac had a goal and a power play assist in the loss to the Capitals. He managed 8 shots in the three games this week, which was just one less than his total for the previous 7 games. Like Boucher, Zajac is also of little fantasy use.
So, what's good? What's bad? Anyone out there have a player that, despite all of the numbers telling them to drop them, they just can't get themselves to do it? Nick Foligno was my guy until I finally decided to send him packing.