Hey folks, don’t forget that the Midseason Guide will be available one week from now (January 11). Inside you’ll find second-half projections, sleepers, advanced stats, historical trends, prospects you need to know, and more!
As I mentioned before, I’m handling the goaltending piece. Of course, as I’m working on it, a trade is announced between the Canucks and Senators that involves two goalies. The main takeaways of the trade are that Anders Nilsson will start some games in Ottawa while Craig Anderson is sidelined with a concussion, and top goalie prospect Thatcher Demko will be called up (Mike McKenna has been placed on waivers). Demko is definitely more exciting for fantasy owners, although Jacob Markstrom’s recent exceptional play (9-2-0, 1.82 GAA, .938 SV% since December 6) should result in the Canucks limiting Demko’s workload to begin. I’ll guess that the division of labor will be closer to 50-50 next season.
If you’re unsure whether Demko is ready, consider that he has more AHL games (over 100) and better AHL numbers than MacKenzie Blackwood, Cal Petersen, Carter Hart, and Adin Hill – all rookie goalies who have made positive contributions to fantasy teams at various points throughout the season. At least partially driven by injuries and poor play, teams are now bringing in prospect goalies at a younger age. Did I mention that in the Midseason Guide, you’ll get to read about a few AHL goalies that are potential injury replacements?
Can I say that I’ve had enough of injuries already? A day after being named to the Pacific Division All-Star team, Elias Pettersson left Thursday’s game against Montreal with a lower-body injury. Pettersson got his legs tangled up with those of Jesperi Kotkaniemi. Here’s what happened (take a deep breath, Canucks fans).
At first glance I thought it seemed like a fairly innocent play. You can see Pettersson’s leg bend in a way that it shouldn’t. But then you can also see Kotkaniemi pulling Pettersson to the ice while getting his legs in the way. It should have been a two-minute penalty, but whatever. As a Canucks’ fan, I will say optics-wise that I’m not as angry about this incident as I was about the Mike Matheson chokeslam that cost the Panthers’ defenseman two games and sidelined Petey with a concussion.