Gudas is good, Scheifele hattie, fantasy hockey trade deadline, plus more…
I had to blink when I first saw it because I couldn't believe my eyes. Then I had to check another source in case it was a typo. But it is in fact for real.
Radko Gudas scored two goals and added two assists on seven shots in the Flyers’ 6-0 whitewash of the Blue Jackets. Yes, that Radko Gudas. In case you’re making a beeline to your waiver wire as you read this, we should safely assume this will be a career game for the rugged defenseman. He had not scored a goal in his last 66 games and had never scored more than two points in a game in his career.
In case you’re wondering how Gudas performed in the stat categories he normally contributes to, he took two minor penalties along with five hits and one blocked shot. Here’s Radko’s first goal, which he scored from center ice (in Vancouver, we call this a Dan Cloutier special). It was that kind of night for both Gudas and the Blue Jackets.
In his first start in two weeks, Steve Mason hardly broke a sweat in recording a 19-save shutout. Michal Neuvirth has seen action in each of the last eight games, so don’t expect him to go away easily. But for those projecting starts among Mason or Neuvirth next week, the Flyers play three games next week, with two of those back-to-backs. Each should receive one start, with the third one entirely up for grabs at this point.
Mark Scheifele had a night of his own, recording his first career hat trick in 21 minutes of icetime. Bryan Little’s injury has been to Scheifele’s benefit, as he has five goals over his last two games and now leads the Jets with 20 goals. I’ll get more into my own trades a little later, but I may be regretting trading Scheifele for Ryan Johansen earlier this season. Particularly when the Scheifele owner will have his services for another year (it’s an auction salary cap keeper league) while Johansen becomes a free agent in this league.
No Jacob Trouba due to injury meant that Josh Morrissey made his NHL debut. He was held without a point in 15 minutes of icetime. However, with the Jets out of the playoff race, Morrissey could receive a longer look before the end of the season.
In the same game, Alex Galchenyuk moved to center and it seemed to work. Galchenyuk scored two goals, with helpers on both goals from Max Pacioretty. Brendan Gallagher, the third member of the line, left the game because of an injury. What seems concerning is that he blocked a shot with his hand earlier in the game, and it’s not clear whether that’s the reason he left (Sportsnet). Sven Andrighetto took over as the third man on the line, according to the Frozen Pool Line Combinations. Andrighetto would receive a boost in value should Gallagher miss games.
Dion Phaneuf made his much-awaited return to Toronto on Saturday, with his only significant contributions to the statsheet being four shots on goal and a fight with Colin Greening, one of the players he was traded for. Checking in on Phaneuf since the deal, he has seven points (1g-6a) in 12 games as a Senator. He’s also averaging 24 minutes per game, about two minutes more than he had as a Leaf. You might frown on Phaneuf as a fantasy option, but he’s on pace for 38 points and could easily hit 40 with the bump in icetime and improved scoring options with the Senators.
For the Leafs in this game, William Nylander scored his first NHL goal while taking four shots on goal, while Nikita Soshnikov also scored while taking six. We all know about Nylander and the fact that he could be back in the AHL after ten games so the Leafs don’t burn the first year of his entry-level deal. With two goals in four games already, Soshnikov is an interesting player, considering that he played 19 minutes in this game while taking five hits.
There wasn’t a ton of scoring in the Boston/Washington game. But Alex Ovechkin took a five-minute boarding penalty on this hit on Kevan Miller. See below – is this suspension worthy? That should be a lingering concern for Ovechkin owners.
In our trade deadline breakdowns, so far I think we have been wrong about Lee Stempniak losing value in Boston (by we, I mean me, but not just me). With an assist on Patrice Bergeron’s goal, Stempniak has three assists in three games as a Bruin. The Bergeron-Brad Marchand line is the best place for any Boston forward to be, and right now that forward is Stempniak.
I just noticed that Ondrej Palat ownership has slipped to 45 percent in Yahoo leagues. With two goals against Carolina on Saturday, he now has three goals over his past two and four over his past five. You might want to check if he’s available. I hesitated when he was and now he’s been scooped up again.
James Reimer’s debut with the Sharks didn’t quite go as planned. The former Leaf allowed three goals on 25 shots in a 4-2 loss to the Canucks. The Sharks take a two-game tour through Alberta on Monday and Tuesday, so it’s probably that Reimer will see another start very soon. Reimer could be a factor this season, but I still think this job is Martin Jones’ to lose.
Brent Burns scored his 23rd goal of the season, which leads all defensemen. Burns was firing the puck again in this game with eight shots on goal. Never mind that he’s running away with the shots on goal lead among defensemen, but he’s second in the entire league (278) to Ovechkin (324). Crazy.
Burns also took a hit on Henrik Sedin, which forced the Canucks’ captain to leave the game in the first period. Henrik isn’t expected to play on Monday in Los Angeles, so you’ll need to make other plans if he’s on your roster.
With no Henrik, the Canucks’ first-unit power play consisted of Daniel Sedin, Sven Baertschi, Markus Granlund, Linden Vey, and Ben Hutton. Any value in any of these players beyond the obvious Sedin? Both Baertschi and Hutton had strong games, each recording two power-play assists. Hutton has reached at least 24 minutes per game over each of his last three games. Expect Hutton to see more of these minutes with Alex Edler now on LTIR.
Fantasy owners were interested in how Mikkel Boedker’s fantasy value would be affected with a move to Colorado (seems like a great move). But there wasn’t much interest in the player going the other way. Yet Alex Tanguay had a Coyotes’ debut to remember on Saturday, scoring two goals and adding an assist. That output was only exceeded by last season’s trade deadline gem Antoine Vermette, who scored a goal and added three assists.
With Max Domi suspended for Saturday’s game, Anthony Duclair moved over to be the third man on this veteran line, recording two assists of his own. It will be interesting to see how Domi’s return affects whether Duclair stays with the veterans after this profitable one game for the Yotes.
The real trade deadline has come and gone, but many fantasy trade deadlines have either just passed or are imminent. I’ll get into a couple of trade offers that I made recently.
One trade offer that I made that was accepted right away had me sending Eric Staal for Tomas Hertl. I like the Hertl-Joe Pavelski-Joe Thornton line, which I’ve seen a few times recently both live and on TV. In this deal I know I’m trading a name brand for a youngster who has yet to prove himself. But even if Staal is paired with Rick Nash, it’ll take awhile for Nash to get back up to speed. I can’t see Alain Vigneault giving Nash huge minutes with the Rangers practically a lock to make the playoffs.
I currently have a pending trade offer of James Wisniewski for Ryan Callahan. You may be wondering why anyone would take Wisniewski, who is done for the season. This is a salary cap league, and Wisniewski has another year left on his contract, while Callahan’s is done at the end of the season. I could own Callahan for as little as one week with the playoffs starting next week, but the other guy would own Wisniewski all of next season at a bargain-basement contract.
The strategy worked for me last year when I picked up expiring contracts Keith Yandle and Steve Mason late in the season for Evander Kane (who could forget how his season ended?) That deal was instrumental in helping me win the league title. Last season I was also trying to trade Olli Maatta for the same reason after he was out for the season, but I couldn’t arrive at an accepted offer.
By the way, the contracts in this league are forum-based auction amounts, not actual contracts. When leagues like that have their own nuances, you have to come up with your own strategies. That’s what makes these leagues kind of cool, since you’re not simply going through the motions.
But I really need a right wing right now. I have Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp, and now possibly Gallagher sidelined. That leaves Mark Stone and Stempniak as my only two healthy right wings, and I need to start three. The free agent bidding deadline is Sunday night, and the best option on there is Kris Versteeg.
In case you’re wondering what Michael Leighton has been up to after the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs…
With a 5-0 win over LE, Leighton gets shutout #46 & breaks Johnny Bower's record to set the AHL all-time record! pic.twitter.com/XVwzYLaKX6
— AHL (@TheAHL) March 6, 2016
For the final portion of this piece, I’ll focus on the earlier games this time…
With assists on both of Sidney Crosby’s goals, Patric Hornqvist now has eight points in last four games. That includes his hat trick and four-point game on trade deadline day. His week might mean he’s in the Three Stars when they are announced on Monday.
Finally, here’s the line brawl from the Los Angeles/Anaheim game. This sequence has shades of those old 1970s or 1980s-era grainy YouTube videos of the old bench-clearing brawls. Just when it seems to be settling down, something happens that lights another fire. And on and on it goes.
Could this be a precursor of a potential playoff matchup? This is one of those playoffs series where I don’t care who wins (unless I’ve stacked up on one of these teams in a pool), but I’d like to see a series with some edge and intensity.
Enjoy your Sunday. Follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.
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