Martin St Louis is 38 years old. If the Lighting happen to embark on a long playoff run there is a chance he'll be 39 before the season is over.
That's not exactly old in planetary terms; he's barely crept into middle age. Sadly in the NHL, and more importantly, in fantasy hockey, that's almost too old.
At some point St. Louis is going to retire. It may not be this year, or next, or the one after that - but he will. Tampa Bay has him under contract at $5.625 million through the end of next season. After that it's likely he'll either retire or follow Selanne's lead in taking one year contracts. This would allow him to assess his play and commitment every offseason.
There are a number of interesting story lines to follow as St. Louis' career draws to a close. First and foremost, he'll go down as one of the very best of his generation. A two time scoring champion (maybe three?), Stanley Cup winner, close to 400 goals and likely 1000 points. All this from a guy who went undrafted and at 5 foot 8 was once considered too small for the NHL. Of course he would eventually break in with the Calgary Flames before eventually landing in Tampa Bay in 2002.
Secondly, there is the conundrum all poolies face when trying to value St. Louis at this stage of his career. In one year pools he's undoubtedly a top 10 option in points only leagues, still capable of 80+ seasons. His value in multi-cat leagues has taken a bit of a hit in recent years, due to declining shots. In his prime, 230 to 240 shots was expected, now he falls in the 180 range - still respectable, but below other top winger options.
Keeper leagues present a different challenge. Despite the fact Marty could be retired in two years he may be a top 20 option until that time. You wouldn't trade a Patrick Kane or Phil Kessel for St. Louis of course, yet he could surpass both of them in pure points. As a result of his situation I could see St.Louis being one of the most sought after and dealt players at the next two trade deadlines. He'll have very limited value to teams in a rebuild; conversely, he’ll be extremely desirable to a manager chasing a championship.
Lastly, and perhaps most notably in fantasy, there is the impact Marty's departure could have on Steven Stamkos. The two have been nearly inseparable the past 4 years. A quick look on Frozen Pool reveals they have played almost all shifts together at both even strength and on the power play.
Stamkos has firmly established himself as one of the top 4 fantasy options (Ovechkin, Crosby, Malkin) in virtually every format. Based on his track record you can expect close to 50 goals, 90 points, (30 on the power play) and around 280 shots.
The degree to which St.Louis leaving will impact Stamkos' numbers remains to be seen. An optimist will point to recent Lightening draft pick Jonathan Drouin and hope he can step in to fill the void. He’ll have a chance to line up as Steven's set-up man for the next five to ten years.
While a pessimist will remind poolies of the massive swings in production Evgeni Malkin has sustained as his line mates have shifted over the years. Malkin's totals have varied when playing with guys like Matt Cooke and Maxim Talbot compared to the chemistry he enjoyed with Peter Skoyra and more recently James Neal.
Much to consider when it comes to #26 and the future, for now we get to enjoy what looks to be another fantastic season.
Onto today's daily dosage....
Vancouver (1) vs. Columbus (3)
Alex Edler fired 6 shots on net. He shot a career high 228 times in 2011-12. If he can continue shooting like that he should finish in the 40-50 point range with north of 200 shots.
Veteran centerman R.J Umberger had a goal, an assist, and 2 hits for the Blue Jackets. He often flies under the radar, but should be in line for close to 40 points and 200 shots. A nice option in deeper leagues.
Marian Gaborik and Ryan Johansen scored the other goals for Columbus. For Gabby that is 3 goals and 5 assists through 7 games. His shooting percentage is 13% this season, in line with his career average. Given the way the Blue Jackets work their offence around him there is no reason to think he can’t keep this up (notwithstanding that whole injury risk thing).
Fantasy line of the game: Coloumbus back-up goalie Curtis McElhinney made his first start of the season, stopping 37 of 38 shots. It’s unlikely he’ll see much time this year with Bobrovsky as the number one. Curtis had strong numbers in the AHL last season for the Springfield Falcons meaning there is at least a chance he’s a decent back-up option.
Fantasy bust of the game: Daniel Sedin was minus 1 with only 2 shots on net. The good news is he has 8 points through 10 games and is shooting 3.8 times a game. The bad news is John Torterlla experimented with Daniel on the second line skating alongside Janik Hansen and Mike Santorelli. Let’s all hope that experiment is short lived...
Nashville (3) vs. Winnipeg (1).
Not a whole lot of significant fantasy results from this one. Nashville played backup Chris Hutton who stopped 38 of 39 shots to get the win. Winnipeg countered with Pavelec who did what you would expect him to do - allow 3 goals. The loss moves Ondrej's record to 3-5-0 o the season.
Fantasy line of the game: He only finished with 1 goal, but when you throw 10 shots on net you are pretty much guaranteed the line of the night. Evander Kane is now on pace for 437 shots this season.
Fantasy bust of the game: Shea Weber's line read only 4 shots and 4 blocked shots. It was indicative of his start to the season - with only 4 points through 9 games. I would expect him to get better as the year continues and finish around his normal 45 to 50 points with well over 200 shots.
Dallas (3) vs. Anaheim (6).
Jonas Hiller had to be replaced in goal after a first period in which he allowed 3 goals on 12 shots. Even though Jonas has been stellar to start the season with a 2.01GAA and .937S%, I can't help but think he missed an opportunity to cement himself as the starter last night with Fasth out.
Shawn Horcoff put together a great line for Dallas, finishing with 1 goal, 1 assist, 4PIMs and 3 shots on net. Those were the first 2 points of the season for the 35 year old, as he is deployed primarily in a defense role.
Fantasy line of the game: I'll have to call this a tie. Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf both had a massive night. Getzlaf finished with 1 goal, 3 assists and 3 shots while Perry posted 2 goals, 1 assist, 4 PIMs and 8 shots. The night vaults both players over a point per game. Getzlaf continues to prove that his 57 point season in 2011-12 was an likely an injury related aberration.
Fantasy bust of the game: If you checked the score late and saw there was 9 goals you would have been disappointed with Tyler Seguin. He manged only 1 shot and was a minus one on the night. I'll give him a mulligan here, as he has 10 points in 9 games and has looked effective in an increased role for Dallas.