We’ll start with some injury news.
Elias Pettersson was a late scratch for the Canucks on Thursday with what was called a lower-body injury. There was much speculation that Pettersson’s injury was related to this late hit that he took from Matt Grzelcyk on Tuesday. Here’s the doctor’s analysis:
Pettersson didn’t dress tonight. Likely a sacral contusion (bruised tailbone basically) and would be day-to-day following this hit. Believe Namestnikov had a similar injury this year and missed 2 games #Canucks https://t.co/GtZqIErmvr
— Dr. Harjas Grewal (@Harjas_Grewal) February 7, 2020
After the game, Travis Green was irate that no penalty was called and that Pettersson can be targeted when he is in a vulnerable spot. Even though Pettersson stayed in that game, perhaps he knew something about a possible injury. The best-case scenario would be that the Canucks were resting Petey in anticipation of the significant divisional matchup with Calgary on Saturday. Let’s hope that’s the case.
In Pettersson’s place, Adam Gaudette was moved up to the top line with J.T. Miller and Brock Boeser (who actually hadn’t been playing on the top line until Thursday). Gaudette did not earn a point, but he did rack up 12 PIM, thanks to a game misconduct after saying something not very nice to the refs after the Wild scored on the power play that he was penalized on.
Speaking of the Flames, Mark Giordano will be sidelined “week to week” with a lower-body injury. Flames fans and Giordano owners have to be breathing a sigh of relief, as this injury could have been a lot worse. At least now Giordano should be back this season, though he will be out for at least a few games.
Let’s look at how the Flames are affected near-term. Noah Hanifin assumed first-unit power-play duties in Giordano’s absence, although he was held without a point in 23:24 of icetime. On pace for just 21 points, Hanifin shouldn’t be on many fantasy teams based on his current production (5 percent of Yahoo leagues). However, mid-level to deep leaguers in need of a scoring defenseman could take a flier on Hanifin, who should QB a power play that is around the middle of the pack in terms of effectiveness.
Rasmus Andersson is also worth keeping an eye on. The second-year defenseman scored a goal (his first since December 29) while leading the Flames with a season-high 24:39 in icetime. Andersson was paired with Hanifin on even strength. The Giordano owner in one of my leagues grabbed Andersson, so he might be a fallback option for Giordano owners in deep leagues in which Hanifin is already owned (like this one).
Still more injury news, unfortunately. The Canadiens placed Shea Weber on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. After missing significant portions of last season and the season before, Weber missed his first game of the season on Thursday.
Just as Weber had been ice cold prior to his injury (3 points in his last 16 games), Jeff Petry has been heating up. Petry scored the overtime winner and added an assist in 27:25 in icetime against Anaheim on Thursday. This gives Petry six points over his last four games, although the other four points came in one game.
You may recall that Petry burst out of the gate last season (17 points in 24 games) while Weber missed nearly the first two months of the season. Petry’s production didn’t drop off considerably after that, and he is now on pace for his first 50-point season and has even just passed Weber in points. Now is a great time to own him.
For more injury news, check out Injury Ward, which appears every Wednesday.
It was a night to remember for Kieffer Bellows. The son of former NHL veteran Brian Bellows scored the first two goals of his career on Thursday to go with a plus-3. Bellows was playing in just his second NHL game after being called up, playing on a line with Derick Brassard and Michael Dal Colle in just 11:16 of icetime.
For more on Bellows, feel free to check out his Dobber Prospects profile. He hasn’t exactly posted crazy good numbers over his season and a half in the AHL, but it is worth mentioning that he was named AHL player of the month for December with 10 goals in 11 games. I happened to list him in the Fantasy Guide as a long-term project in leagues that count penalty minutes, as he also reached 101 PIM last season in the AHL. So take his current icetime, lack of sustained production at a professional level, and style of play as a power forward, and you have a forward that’s should need considerable time to develop.
While I’m talking about prospects, I’ll mention another one that made his NHL debut on Thursday. Tyler Benson played his first game for the Oilers on Thursday, although he was held without a point in just 9:25 of icetime. I know that Oilers fans are excited about the former early second-round pick, who scored at a point-per-game pace in the A last season (66 points in 68 games) while regressing somewhat this season (35 points in 42 games).
I’m making particular mention of Benson because he used to play near my backyard (WHL’s Vancouver Giants) and was a former first overall pick in the league’s bantam draft before his junior career was derailed somewhat by injuries. Like Bellows, Benson should be considered more of a long-term project, although certain linemates in Edmonton could give him a short-term boost.
For more on Benson, see his Dobber Prospects profile.
If I win one of my head-to-head fantasy matchups this week, there will be two reasons: 1) The Weber and Giordano injuries to my opponent’s team, and 2) Mark Stone’s five-point game. The Vegas winger filled your statsheet, hitting the twine twice while adding three helpers with a plus-3, two penalty minutes, and five shots. Stone has caught fire recently with ten points and a plus-7 over his last seven games.
Stone has been playing on a line with Max Pacioretty and Chandler Stephenson, who also recorded multiple points in this game. Patches also had a great game, posting two goals and an assist with a plus-4. Stephenson recorded two helpers with a plus-3, which gives him an under-the-radar 16 points (7g-9a) in 27 games since joining the Golden Knights.
Another player from my various teams who impressed me was Dylan Larkin, who scored twice while firing eight shots on goal. Detroit is having a historically bad season, and Larkin hasn’t been immune to the team’s overall struggles. He is on pace for under 60 points while anchoring his fantasy teams with a minus-18 (not Andreas Athanasiou frigid cold, but still far from ideal). So this is encouraging to see.
Speaking of which, the worst five plus-minuses in the league are all Red Wings.
Andreas Athanasiou: minus-39
Valtteri Filppula: minus-38
Filip Hronek: minus-29
Mike Green: minus-27
Robby Fabbri: minus-25
Those could be temperatures in certain Canadian cities during the dead of winter.
The putrid plus-minus is taking away from what has been a solid season from Hronek, all things considered. Although his assist on Thursday was his first point in eight games, Hronek is shaping up to be a minute-munching defenseman who is one of the few bright spots of the current version of the Red Wings. Over his last six games (since January 20) only Kris Letang has averaged more icetime than Hronek (26:45).
Goaltending feat of the night: Mackenzie Blackwood backstopped the Devils to a 5-0 win over the Flyers. Mac is incredibly difficult to rely on given New Jersey’s current state, so I can completely understand if he was on your bench for this one.
Fantasy owners were probably wondering if Kevin Fiala was ever going to do something for fantasy teams after his trade to Minnesota. He’s made his presence felt over the last two games, recording two points and taking five shots in each of those games. In terms of Wild players (and I know that’s not saying a lot), only Matt Dumba and Zach Parise have taken more shots than Fiala (107 SOG).
Speaking of Dumba, he’s starting to heat up a little if you’ve been patient with him all season (five points in his last six games). At least he’s not hurting you in shots (132), as only 12 blueliners have taken more shots this season. He still seems like a potential buy low to me. Is it just me, or have I been hearing his name a lot in trade rumors recently? As in, I wonder if my team could trade for a player like Matt Dumba?
It was definitely Timo Time on Thursday, as Timo Meier scored two goals and added an assist while firing a season-high eight shots. Meier had not scored a goal in his previous six games while scoring just two goals over his previous 14 games. In spite of what has been a down season, Meier is still at 18 goals and still has an outside shot at matching his 30 goals from last season.
Finally, don’t forget to check out Mike’s Fantasy Take on the Wednesday night acquisition of Jack Campbell and Kyle Clifford by the Leafs. If Campbell makes his first start for the Leafs on Friday, I’m sure I’ll discuss it in the Saturday Ramblings.
For more fantasy hockey information, or to reach out to me directly, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.