The AAtJ fantasy league finals are set, with the big round 2 winners being Alex Potts and myself. I am proud to have taken down John Fischer, the President’s Trophy winner, but I will stop short of gloating since he had two injured players in his lineup. Point being, I got lucky, but luck is a good portion of fantasy success.
It's an exciting and busy week in the NHL with almost half of the league playing a 4 game schedule.
Two Game Teams: Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers
Four Game Teams: Anaheim Ducks, Buffalo Sabres, Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals, Winnipeg Jets
* Zach Parise - 5 Goals (2 PPG, 2 GWG), 2 Assists, 14 Shots, 4 Hits, 6 Blocks
It was only a matter of time before he returned from the dead. Before scoring 5 goals in two games to end this week, he had gone 6 straight games without a goal and had just 2 in the last 25 dating all the way back to January 21. That is really hard to believe, but very easy to be happy about.
** Phil Kessel - 2 Goals, 5 Assists (2 PPA), 13 Shots, +5
This has been a disappointing season for the guy that I (and many others) had pegged for 50 goals. With just 8 games remaining, he'll be fortunate to get half of that. This is his first time making the list. My apologies to anyone who I encouraged to draft Kessel. Hopefully I did other things right by you.
*** Tyler Toffoli - 3 Goals, 2 Assists, 11 Shots, 8 PIM
Most of this came in Saturday's game against the Oilers where he scored 2 and helped on 2 others, but it all counts for one bottom line in fake hockey. Toffoli has proven that he's a great mid-round pick who's good for around 30 goals every year. He reminds me a lot of Kyle Palmieri. In fact, they have almost identical offensive statistics - same goals and assists and separated by only 3 shots. Palms has the edge, though, with 11 PPG and 10 PPA to Toffoli's 9 and 2.
Rankings: 12 Points - Patrick Kane, 9 Points - Sidney Crosby - 9 Points, Joe Pavelski - 7 Points
* Shea Weber - 1 Goal (1 PPG), 2 Assists, 11 Shots, 8 Hits, 11 Blocks
It's not often the #1 star has just 3 points, but it was a down week for defensemen points. Regardless, Shea's secondary stats were solid.
** Kris Letang - 1 Goal (1 PPG), 2 Assists, 12 Shots, 6 Hits, 5 Blocks
Just 3 points, but like I just said with Shea, it was a down week for defensemen offense. This puts Letang into a 3 way tie for #1 in the rankings with Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns.
*** Roman Josi - 1 Goal, 4 Assists, 10 Shots
This is his 5th time making the list this season, with the other 4 times being #2 stars. I don't know what else to say about him other than his value has surpassed his teammate, Weber, and is assuredly elite, if you're still wondering that or not.
Rankings: 14 Points - Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns, & Kris Letang, 9 Points - Oliver Ekman-Larsson & Roman Josi, 8 Points - Shea Weber
* Devan Dubnyk - 3 Starts, 3 Wins, 1 Shutout, 98 Saves, 1.00 GAA, .970 SV%
D Dubs has won 5 straight (all after getting skunked by the Devils two weeks ago) and is sporting a 1.86 GAA and .938 SV% over the last two weeks. This is what everyone was hoping for when they drafted him. Unfortunately, it's not what they got most of the year.
** Brian Elliott - 2 Starts, 2 Wins, 2 Shutouts, 52 Saves, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 SV%
The Blues didn't give up a goal all week. In fact, they haven't given up a goal in 4 games and have won 8 of their last 10. They're getting hot just in time for that eventual first round elimination. It's too bad Elliott missed a bunch of games with an injury, because in his 33 starts, he has a 1.95 GAA and .934 SV%, both bests by any goalie who started more than 30 games.
*** Pekka Rinne - 3 Starts, 3 Wins, 69 Saves, 1.64 GAA, .932 SV%
It's impressive that these are the numbers for the 3 star because these could easily have been top numbers. He had a pretty rough year, but he's making many fantasy owners forget all that by playing remarkably well down the stretch. He's won 11 of his last 13 starts, one of those two losses being an OT loss to the Devils back on March 3rd.
Rankings: 15 Points - Corey Crawford, 13 Points - Jonathan Quick, 11 - Points Craig Anderson
Jakob Silfverberg - Last two weeks, 7 Games, 7 Goals (1 PPG), 2 Assists (1 PPA), 27 Shots, 12 Hits, +8
I opted out of mentioning him in the waiver section last week, figuring his hat trick torching of the Devils was just a one off thing, but he has continued to played well. He has points in 4 of 6 games since that night, including 4 goals and an assist. He's also putting pucks ON the net. He has 21 shots since the hat trick (where he had 6 shots). BONUS: He has 4 games next week.
Nino Niederreiter - Last two weeks, 8 Games, 5 Goals (1 PPG), 3 Assists (1 PPA), 20 Shots, 11 Hits
I guess I am obligated to call attention to him, despite the fact that I know he'll just go right back to doing a whole lot of nothing as soon as I do. He has points in 6 of the last 8 games, which includes 5 goals and 3 assists. Before this stretch, he had 4 games of zilcho and just 3 goals and 1 assist in 9 games. You know what? Forget it. Don't pick him up. And I apologize for making you read the previous paragraph. NOTE: He has 4 games next week, if you really want to take the plunge.
Joni Ortio - Last two weeks, 4 Starts out of 7 games, 2 Wins, 107 Saves, 2.47 GAA, .915 SV%
I'm not saying he's a great option, but he's a waiver wire option that is actually starting games. He started 7 or 8 games in a row for the Flames before ultimately giving the keys to Jonas Hiller and Niklas Backstrom for a few games. They both ultimately crashed the car, so now Ortio has already gotten the call for Monday's game against the Coyotes. NOTE: The Flames also have four games, so you'll likely get at least 2 starts out of him. How good of starts is the real question, though.
DEVILS FANTASY VALUE
Scott Wedgewood - 3 Starts, 1 Win, 1 Shutout, 84 Saves, 1.33 GAA, .955 SV%
Besides maybe his parents, I'm pretty certain no one expected this from him. I would've included him in the waiver section, but there's a decent chance that Cory returns Saturday, if not even as soon as Thursday. Wedge Wall went 7 periods without giving up a goal before the Capitals ultimately scored in OT for a 1-0 win. I really hope this isn't a fluke stretch.
Kyle Palmieri - 2 Goals (1 PPG, 1 GWG), 1 Assist, 10 Shots
Palms should end up our first 30 goal scorer since he who shall not be named (Ilya Kovalchuk is the name), he who cannot be trusted (Zach Parise cannot be trusted), and he who stinks at hockey (David Clarkson stinks at hockey) all scored 30 or more in 2011-12.
2 Point Players -
Travis Zajac had 1 and 1 while putting 6 shots on net. His goal on Sunday against the Hurricanes was his 40th point of the season, and according to ESPN, that's only his second time doing so since 2010-11. Reid Boucher and Damon Severson each chipped in two helpers. Not a lot of fantasy action in NJ this week.
Is anyone still alive in their playoffs? Anyone in the finals already? Let's hear it in the comment section.