The schedule returned to normal on Friday with eight games on the schedule. Earlier in the day, however, the Penguins and Panthers hooked up on a multiplayer trade that you can read about here, as far as a fantasy take goes.
In fact, two of the traded players made their debuts with their new team. Both Nick Bjugstad and Jared McCann were able to pull into to Pittsburgh mere moments before their game against Ottawa. Bjugstad played 16 minutes and lined up with Phil Kessel and Bryan Rust while assisting on one of Rust’s two goals. This might turn out to be a solid arrangement for Bjugstad, who you may remember went off with 26 points in 35 games after the All-Star break last season.
Meanwhile, McCann received 10 minutes in what would have been a fourth-line role.
Bjugstad’s and McCann’s debut could have been accelerated by the fact that Evgeni Malkin missed this game because of an upper-body injury. This allowed the Pens to ice a power play of Kessel, Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist, Kris Letang, and Jake Guentzel, who scored his now-career-high 25th and 26th goals of the season. An eventual Malkin return would shake up the lines again, with Guentzel likely pushed back to the second-unit power play and Bjugstad possibly moved off the Kessel line.
After being a reliable option for the first two and a half months of the season, Carter Hutton’s numbers are taking a nosedive. After posting a 4.15 GAA and .860 SV% over the month of January, Hutton’s struggles continued on Friday. He allowed four goals on 22 shots before being pulled at the end of the second period in the Sabres’ eventual 7-3 loss to Chicago. Although his numbers aren’t a whole lot better, Linus Ullmark might give the Sabres a better chance to win at the moment. But to paraphrase what Dobber says, the guy with the contract will get the longer rope. Regardless, fantasy owners should be benching Hutton for the time being.
Patrick Kane took advantage of a fading Sabres’ team, scoring two goals and adding two assists. He has posted a staggering 25 points over his current 10-game point streak. That run has helped Kane climb up to second in league scoring with 31 goals and 75 points in just 51 g