Fantasy Hockey News for Tuesday

Bruce Bennett

A fantasized look at Monday's NHL action

Alec Martinez has benefited from some good bounces. On the season, the 26 year-old has 11 goals (and only eight assists, leading all NHL defencemen in selfishness). Buyers beware: his shooting percentage of 15.5% is significantly higher than his last three seasons of 3.3%, 7.7%, and 6.8%. Nonetheless, he's scored a single point in 12 of the last 15 games, which is pretty consistent production (and the kind Drew Doughty owners would love to see). His minutes are slightly up lately.

Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu each had a goal and an assist. Koivu has been the hotter of the two, with 12 points in his last eight games. Matt Moulson scored to break a four-stack of goose eggs. Charlie Coyle set up Koivu's goal. I mentioned in the injury updates that Coyle could see more responsibility after Monday's injuries to Nino Niederreiter and Mikael Granlund, assuming either of them miss time. He saw over 18 minutes last night and has three goals and three assists over his last six games.

The Jets managed to squander a 4-0 lead against the Ducks and lose the game 5-4. Dustin Byfuglien had an assist, four shots and four hits, but was minus-one.

Leading the way for the Ducks, as usual, was Ryan Getzlaf (one goal, one assist, four hits). Otherwise, scoring was pretty spread out. Stephane Robidas had the overtime winner, his first goal as a Duck. As usual, Bruce Boudreau gave Hampus Lindholm powerplay minutes that should have been Sami Vatanen's. To Boudreau's credit, Lindholm scored (not on the powerplay though).

Jeff Skinner scored his 30th of the season. That's the second time he's achieved that feat, and he's only 21. When I was 21, I could barely walk, never mind skate or score. (I was on a year-long peyote trip in the Yuma desert.)

With Jason Spezza sitting out, Mika Zibanejad played over 20 minutes - the only time he's surpassed that mark this season, and I presume, ever in the NHL, although I am too lazy to look it up. He responded with a goal. Did you know he's only 20 (for another 16 days)? It feels like he's been around for a while. I had already placed him in the 'fantasy disappointment' bin, but maybe he'll pull himself out ("use Nikita Filatov as a stepping stool!").

Ales Hemsky set up Zibanejad's goal, and scored the shootout winner, for what it's worth (hopefully nothing, otherwise you need to switch fantasy pools). He has four helpers in his last three games.

Jaromir Jagr is not going to take it easy as the season comes to an end - at least not yet. He had a goal and three assists last night against the Panthers. Hey, the Devils still have a 19% chance of earning one of the last two wildcard spots in the East.

Travis Zajac had an even more remarkable four point night - a hat trick and one helper (not to mention a robust six shots). Yes, it was his first career hat trick. Ryane Clowe had a goale, an assiste, and another assiste (that joke never gets olde).

Martin Brodeur was pulled after letting in three of nine, even though the Devils were winning at the time. The crazy thing is that means he gets credited with the win.

Junior Playoff Watch

The first round of playoff hockey is over for all but four CHL teams. There were a lot of sweeps and 4-1 series - I don't know if that's normal because this is the first year I've paid attention. I'm largely interested from a future fantasy perspective, so for those of you in keeper leagues, read on.

In the QMJHL, Jonathan Drouin's Halifax Mooseheads swept Charlottetown 4-0, outscoring them 28-8. Drouin (TBL) led the way with six goals and seven assists; his linemate, rookie Nikolaj Ehlers (2014), had four goals and six assists.

The Mooseheads will face the Gatineau Olympiques, who also went 4-0 in their first matchup. They are led by Emile Poirier (CGY), who has six goals and two assists.

I don't know much about undersized Russian Vladimir Tkachev (2014), other than the fact that he scored this impressive goal in the Super Series last fall:

He joined the Moncton Wildcats late in the season, playing 20 games and scoring 30 points. Moncton was eliminated in six, but he scored seven goals and two assists. Teammate Ivan Barbashev (2014) is the more highly-regarded prospect; he put up ten points.

Over in the WHL, Leon Draisaitl (2014) is the second-ranked North American skater on Central Scouting's mid-term rankings. He couldn't prevent his Prince Albert Raiders from being swept 4-0 by the Edmonton Oil Kings, although he picked up three points.

The Kootenay Ice needed six games to freeze the Calgary Hitmen. This allowed Sam Reinhart (2014) and Jaedon Descheneau (2014) to accumulate 17 points each, to lead the league. Reinhart is the real deal; jury is still out on third-year Descheneau, who was named WHL player of the week. He was 122nd on the mid-term rankings, but I'd expect him to rise a bit if he continues to excel in the playoffs after an excellent season in which he had 98 points. At 5'9", he'll be subject to the usual doubts about his ability to stand up to the bigger players in the NHL.

The OHL was the only junior league to have any series pushed to seven games, so two of their series won't wrap up until Tuesday night. One of those series involves Sam Bennett's Kingston Frontenacs, and I hope they win because I'd like to see more of Bennett (2014), who has four goals and four assists so far. He was the top-ranked prospect in the mid-term rankings and had a great sophomore season, though it doesn't sound like he's done anything to elevate him above the next four-or-so guys.

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