Matt Murray was knocked awkwardly into his post by Jakub Voracek and was forced from the game. Tristan Jarry, one of the league’s top goaltending prospects, took over and notched a win. The extent of Murray’s injury remains to be seen, but Jarry makes an excellent waiver wire pickup regardless. That’s because the Penguins next set of games is a back-to-back Friday/Saturday. You guarantee yourself one start out of Jarry and the potential to have the Penguins’ starter for the foreseeable future. There’s a lot of upside in getting out in front of this move.

I dumped Brian Elliott, who was on the losing end of last night’s game, to pickup Jarry. I could afford to take a swing with my third goaltending slot. In other leagues I’ve got Roberto Luongo as my #3, so I am less inclined to make the move. However, I am considering dumping my least effective skater and rolling with four on the chance that this is a long-term deal. What’s holding me back is that these are smaller leagues where goalies are marginalized, so the upside of landing the Penguins’ starter isn’t the same.

Of course, Jarry should be owned in all keeper leagues, especially if you are a Murray owner. There’s nothing better than having an insurance policy like Jarry for situations exactly like this.


Jake Guentzel has the horseshoe back up his rear end with five goals in the past four games. Those four have come without Evgeni Malkin, thus Guentzel has jumped onto the top power play unit, which certainly helps. He had the game-tying goal bounce in off his torso, which certainly feels like dumb luck, but the truth is that Guentzel is feisty and skilled as all hell. He battles to get into knife-fighting range and can burry pucks once there. Yes, you get some lucky bounces going to the net-front, but the skill is in consistently getting there. He’s going to be a high percentage shooter for a long time.

Also awesome in close, that Sidney Crosby fellow:

He has nine points in the last four games.


One significant reason I felt comfortable dumping Elliott, the Flyers have lost eight in a row! Granted, five of those losses have come in overtime or shootout, but they have blown some serious leads in getting to this point. This team appears headed towards a coaching change, which often has a positive impact, but there’s room for this situation to continue spiralling further.

I’m not putting last night on Elliott either. He stopped 47 of 52 in the loss. He was hung out to dry on far too many chances. This is just a bad spot where I cannot trust Elliott the fantasy option to not get caved in.


Alex DeBrincat rang off a hat-trick – dare I say a Cat-Trick? – last night. That brings him to 10 goals on the season, one behind Brock Boeser and Clayton Keller for the rookie lead. He’s good, but he’s also producing beyond what I’d expect given his deployment. DeBrincat is only skating 14:10 per game, with secondary PP time. He has almost no exposure to Patrick Kane. His shooting percentage has run up to 23.8%.

Were DeBrincat deployed as Nick Schmaltz is currently – 17:02 per game, with top unit PP time and exposure to Kane at evens and on the PP – I would be much more intrigued. DeBrincat has more points (17) than Schmaltz (14), but it’s Schmaltz who has more relevance. Schmaltz, by the way, had a three-point night and has nine points in the last six games.

Kane, not off to the same kind of start as some of the league’s superstars, has points in seven straight games and is on pace for 89 points. He’s just fine.


Both Ryan Miller and John Gibson got run through the ringer by the Blackhawks combining for seven goals allowed on 35 shots. Gibson has dragged the Ducks to relevance, but the Rickard Rakell injury might be a bridge too far.

The fact that they squeezed three goals out of this group of forwards is truly impressive:

#1           24.8%    GRANT,DEREK – PERRY,COREY – RITCHIE,NICK




I suppose Nick Ritchie is interesting here, with his “top line” deployment. He’s been up over 17 minutes in each of the past two games and has points in each of those contests.


Carey Price has been outstanding since returning from injury having stopped 73 of 74 shots. Mind you, his outings have been against the 23rd and 31st ranked offenses, with power plays so dreadful (30th and 31st) that they couldn’t take advantage of Montreal’s porous penalty kill, but let’s not throw too much shade.

If you are in the market for a short-term boost, Jeff Petry has been filling in on the top PP unit for Shea Weber. He has PPP in each of the past two games. Of course, Weber’s status is merely day-to-day, so this could be spoiled at any moment. Perhaps Petry can only be used as a nice Daily Fantasy option if Weber continues to miss time.


The top PP unit for Columbus last night:

Pierre-Luc DuboisBoone JennerOliver BjorkstrandSonny MilanoZach Werenski

I’m not sure it even matters who they use. In an era where power plays are slowly getting more effective each year, the Blue Jackets are single-handedly keeping the league average blow 20% effectiveness. It is almost impressive how moribund they are in this phase of the game.

We should be more excited about Jenner getting his gig in the net-front back, or youngsters like Milano, Dubois and Bjorkstrand getting a chance. But if the Panthers’ second PP unit is like the Night’s Watch, then the Blue Jackets’ PP is like the King of Qarth: there’s nothing there.


Marcus Johansson did not play last night, but is evidently close to making his return:

The Devils don’t play again until Friday, which is when I’d expect to see Johansson make his return. He is a lock for top-six minutes, and some good power play time as well. Available in two-thirds of all Yahoo leagues, he might make a nice pickup for this weekend’s action and beyond.


Some interesting line combos for the Panthers with Evgenii Dadonov now out of the lineup due to a shoulder injury:







Denis Malgin flashed some skill last season and is most interesting after a run of 14 points in 13 games at the AHL level. Now with exposure to Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau, Malgin is in a spot to succeed. This is more of a deep league option until he proves otherwise, but I am intrigued.

Also interesting is Henrik Haapala who is skating top power play time in Dadonov’s stead. Haapala has one point and one SOG through three games, and has been floating in around the 14:30 mark for ice time. Again, this is more of a deep cut than a must-have.

It certainly doesn’t help any of these options that Barkov and Huberdeau have gone dark the past couple of weeks. The top duo has combined for just eight points in the past eight games. This is no cause for alarm, but there’s no point in grabbing players with exposure to stars if said stars aren’t carrying the wood.

Aaron Ekblad is fading from relevance. The shot volume is still there, but he has been bumped to PP2 by Keith Yandle. PP2 on the Panthers is like getting exiled North of the Wall. Ekblad is scoreless in seven straight and has just one point in the last 13 games. At this stage, if I had Ekblad in any leagues I’d be shopping for a new defenseman.


Dustin Byfuglien has now gone nine straight games without a point and is still waiting to score his first goal of the season. I have much fewer concerns with Byfuglien than I do with Ekblad. Foremost, Byfuglien is hanging onto his top PP role. Indeed, Byfuglien has been fine in this phase of the game, with six PPP in 22 games (on pace for 22 PPP.) This is predominantly an IPP issue. The Jets have scored on 11.3% of the shots with Byfuglien on the ice, but he has points on just 27% of those goals. My concern is that Byfuglien has missed out on the scoring while the scoring was good.

On the plus side, the Jets have the horses to continue driving high shooting percentages (though not consistently at 11.3%) so the impact of regression will be minimal. Instead, Byfuglien should get back on track once he finally scores a goal. He’s a perennial 10+ goal option. At career average shooting, Byfuglien should have four goals by now, and if he did no one would be asking questions. You can never assume that regression will overcome a string of bad luck, but if we assume Byfuglien shoots his usual 7.2% the rest of the way, he’ll finish with 11 goals. That should be enough to get him another 50-point season.


In light of Steve Mason’s placement on the IR, the Jets recalled Eric Comrie to serve as backup. Comrie is the prospect everyone would be talking about if it weren’t for Connor Hellebuyck. Through his first couple of pro seasons Comrie’s numbers have left something to be desired, but he has been outstanding with a 0.927 save percentage in 13 AHL games this season.

Even after a win, Hellebuyck’s numbers have slipped a bit lately. A goalie controversy is unlikely, but Comrie is capable if the door is cracked open for him.

Read more on Comrie here.


Alex Stalock got the start for Minnesota. He has given the Wild some good starts, but last night undid all of that. Seven goals against for Stalock who was hung out for the full 60 in order to give embattled starter Devan Dubnyk a true night off.

The Wild were without top pairing defenseman Jared Spurgeon due to illness. Ryan Murphy drew into the lineup for his Wild debut. We are beyond the point where Murphy has any value as a prospect. It was Jonas Brodin who picked up Spurgeon’s slack. I’m taking a pass on that option as well.


It sounds as though there is a sizeable disconnect between the Minnesota Wild and top prospect Kirill Kaprizov:

AS: And now the most important question: why you are not in Minnesota? If you didn’t sign a contract with CSKA up to 2020 you could fly there next spring.

KK: Well, you know that they weren’t too interested in me. What round was I picked at? The fifth? “I think that they forgot about me immediately after the selection. Only when I made it to the WC they started to do something and started talking with my agent. We all seen the job the Maple Leafs did with Nikita Zaitsev. There was nothing like that with me. I want to play in the NHL. Just not now, but a bit later. At first, I need to play well here, to be more confident. Sometimes I don’t play well even here, in the KHL.

That disconnect could easily be filled with a lucrative contract. Kaprizov would still have to sign an entry-level deal, but bonuses are earning top rookies up to $2.85M per season. By 2020, those bonuses could easily be above $3M per year, and be made quite achievable.

Something could be lost in translation, but Kaprizov appears slighted by the Wild. Money may not be enough. The situation may be similar to what we often see in free agency, where a player will sign somewhere new at a discount, but won’t offer that same discount to his original team, as though there is a tax to be paid for initially investing in a player. It isn’t “wrong” for players to act in this manner, it is just interesting to see how that psychology plays out.

Regardless of whether it works out with Minnesota or not, we won’t see Kaprizov until at least 2020. That’s a big reason why he slipped from 14th to 45th in Dobber’s Prospect Rankings. With more prospects making a quick transition to the NHL, who can afford to wait for him to arrive? That’s a question many keeper league managers will be asking over the next couple of seasons. It ultimately depends on your format, but in shallow formats I could totally envision Kaprizov going unowned.


The Coyotes recalled Dylan Strome over the weekend. He destroyed the AHL with eight goals and 26 points in 15 games. I remain underwhelmed. You know who else crushed the AHL as a 20-year-old? Strome’s brother, Ryan. I don’t want to hang Dylan for the “sins” of his brother, but it is hard not to make that connection. If not for that, I’d be hyping Dylan Strome as a potential impact player immediately.


While not serious, Martin Jones is banged up:

It looks like we are all getting Dell upgrades!

Aaron Dell has been one of the league’s better backups over the past year. He’s definitely worth rolling out for a spot start, especially against a team on the back-half of a back-to-back.

Antoine Bibeau has also been recalled, but I doubt he has much relevance.


It sounds as though Kris Versteeg may miss at least the next four games for the Flames, which stretches into next week. Versteeg isn’t all that relevant, but he has seen regular time on the top PP unit, which means exposure to Johnny Gaudreau. Mark Jankowski got some run in Versteeg’s spot at practice, and is intriguing if he can hold that down for the week.


Thanks for reading! You can follow me on Twitter @SteveLaidlaw.