This week’s three-day hockey draught was kind of like when a storm finally clears and all of the sudden you can see the sky, except for me the sky was my memory of Steve Ott licking Jeff Halpern’s helmet last April, and I couldn’t stop it from looping over and over while I waited for something to break the infuriating constancy of Yahoo! league transaction trends. Wasn’t there some holiday, or something? I don’t know, but my week was great.
PICKUP OF THE WEEK:
Reilly Smith - Bos - RW - 36% owned in Yahoo! leagues with 14+16=30
Smith’s grandfather really has something to tell his other grandchildren about this week. The twenty-two year old right winger clocked 3 goals and 5 points in 3 games while playing on the Bruins’ top line with Patrice Bergeron and a newly sparked Brad Marchand. He averaged 4 shots each game and strode into the week after a 2 goal game against Buffalo last Saturday, which, if you add it all up, puts a big 5 goals and 7 points in his last games badge on his jersey. That’s enough to make a lot of more seasoned players a little jealous. (Hey, how was your week, Sidney Crosby? Just kidding, you’re really good.) But "Real Deal" Reilly Smith has 30 points in 39 games, is on a tear, and should be owned at many depth levels.
SHALLOW LEAGUE FREE AGENTS and TRADE TARGETS (owned in >50% in Yahoo! leagues)
Wayne Simmonds - Phi - RW - 55% owned with 12+12=24
Simmonds is one of the top performers of the week, and his availability should be checked by lots of you before you continue on reading this. His stats for the last 5 games (7 goals, 9 points, 21 shots, 6 PIMs) speak for themselves. If you can find room, you’re not crazy. After a slow start, this streak looks like something worth riding.
Brent Burns - SJ - RW,D - 89% owned with 11+10=21
Sorry Burns owners, but I’m reminding the world that this guy is still defense-eligible. What you shouldn’t remind people of is how unreal he was before his injury and post-injury cold streak because this might be a ripe time to target him in a trade. Burns has 11 goals, 10 assists, 85 shots, 55 hits, 14 PIMs, and a wicked +15 rating in 25 games. The window is likely closing fast as he put up 5 points in the last 2 games and is still working alongside master chemist, Joe Thorton.
Ryan Miller - Buf - G - 72% owned with 9W, 2.76GAA, .924SV%
Ryan Miller has gotten me excited about Buffalo over the last week or two, which is a bigger feat than it might sound like (okay, maybe not). Most people know that Miller is an elite goalie, but if there’s a reason not to own him, it’s that he plays for the offense-challenged Sabres. But look, Buffalo has won 5 of their last 7 games (4-0-1 in their last 5), and over those 7 games, Miller’s SV% never dipped below .926, even though he faced over 30 shots in 6 of 7 games. I’ll also note that in tonight’s shootout win over Ovechkin and the Caps, Miller made 49 saves on 50 shots. If Buffalo continues to win more than once in a while, I believe that Miller should be owned in close to all leagues.
MEDIUM-DEPTH FREE AGENTS and TRADE TARGETS (25-50% ownership in Yahoo! leagues)
Jaden Schwartz - StL - C,LW - 38% owned with 12+15=27
Make that 13+15; Shwartz potted another power play goal in the first period of tonight’s game against Dallas, which gives him goals in the last 5 games. That’s all good, sure, but the kicker is that he was moved up to the first line with Oshie and Backes for Saturday night’s game. There he led all forwards in ice time with 23:52. Since Backes isn’t playing in tonight’s game with a mysterious UBI, which, let’s be real, is likely hangover from his concussion, Sobotka is plugged in with them. He helped out with that goal, which gives Shwartz 28 points in 35 games. Success is following him no matter where he plays, and now he’s got a tryout at the top of an elite pile of Blues forwards. You can’t see me but I’m sitting on your one buddy who’s trying to add Schwartz before you do.
Reilly Smith - Bos - RW - 36% owned with 14+16=30
Mark Giordano - Cal - D - 48% owned with 5+12=17
5 goals and 12 assists on the season is pretty good. It’s even better when your season has only been 20 games long. I don’t know why more people aren’t jumping on him. Maybe it’s because he’s a D-man for Cowtown, but Gio has maintained a positive +/- for the season, which is more than Michael Cammalleri can say for himself (+1 for Gio vs. the latter’s -15). In the last 4 games, he has 4 points, 8 penalty minutes, and 14 shots. Yeehaw?
DEEPER LEAGUE FREE AGENTS (<25% ownership in Yahoo! leagues)
Tyler Bozak - Tor - C - 22% owned with 4+7=11
Bozak was taken off the IR and is back in the game tonight between Phil Kessel and James Van Riemsdyk. He has 11 points in 16 games and really helps that dangerous line click and maximize danger. Before his injury, he had 5 points in 4 games, and he grabbed 3 assists in his return tonight. While he won’t beef up many other categories for you and remains an injury risk, Bozak is a solid playmaking add for many deeper and even medium-depth leaguefolk. Maybe he’ll even grow his hair back out for you, and I’d give props all over the place for that.
Nick Foligno - Cls - LW - 12% owned with 10+11=21
In just 32 games, Nick Foligno has amassed 21 points, 58 penalty minutes, and 89 hits. If you’re all like, Dude I don’t care, you probably don’t play in a league that competes with the grittier aspects of hockey. In the last 7 games he played, Foligno spent 20 minutes in the Bad Box and registered 20 hits. Foligno is a gritty, all-around guy that deserves more ownership than what he has.
Philipp Grubauer - Was - G - 12% owned with 5W, 2.18GAA, and .937SV%
Grubauer has gotten 9 out of the last 10 starts for Washington, but the team still insists that Holtby is their #1. With such solid peripherals and a team that can win in front of him, Grubauer is (for now) one of the best goalie options likely available in your league. With Corey Crawford probably coming back next week, lots of you are going to need to replace the 48% owned Anttii Raanta.
THE 1% SPECIALS (1%ish owned in Yahoo! leagues)
Saku Koivu - Anh - C - 3% owned with 7+7=14
It’s strange to see Koivu’s name all the way down here, but if he keeps eating the same golden eggs he has eaten before his last 2 games (3 goals, 5 points, +5 rating), it shouldn’t be for much longer. Keep a couple eyes on him next game.
Benoit Pouliot - LW - 1% owned with 6+6=12
Pouliot is on a quiet 7-game scoring streak after tonight’s game win over Tampa. He has played 38 games this season, so his 13 points is a little weak. But 8 have come in his last 9. Deep leagues can obviously work with a gamble like that.