Ramblings: Blackhawks deals, Stamkos, Ovechkin (Feb. 27)

by Ian Gooding on February 27, 2016

Blackhawks make two more trades, streaking Stamkos, Ovechkin hits 40, plus more…

The Blackhawks are doing all their Christmas shopping before the last-minute rush, making two separate deals following the Andrew Ladd trade on Thursday. As he had with the trade with the Jets, Steve has you covered for the Hawks’ trade with the Canadiens involving Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann.

Don’t forget that the Hawks also made a trade with the Kings earlier in the day, shipping seldom-used veteran Rob Scuderi to Los Angeles for also seldom-used veteran Christian Ehrhoff. Of the two, Ehrhoff is more likely to be picked in a deep playoff pool that allows unlimited transactions. Yet as projected fifth/sixth/seventh defensemen for their teams, neither should generate any fantasy interest today.

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If you’re wondering where Steve is, he’ll be covering my Saturday night Ramblings while I attend Monster Jam with my son. Hopefully I’ll have some hearing left afterward.

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Life is good once again for Steven Stamkos owners. Not only have the trade rumors disappeared with Steve Yzerman’s statement that Stamkos will not be traded, but also Stamkos has now scored goals in five consecutive games. Since the calendar turned to 2016, Stamkos has 21 points over 23 games. But before assuming that Stamkos had a rough first half, what if I told you that Stamkos has scored either five goals or six goals every month this season.  

Ben Bishop stopped all 21 Devils’ shots he faced in the 4-0 win for the Bolts. Is he considered a Vezina Trophy favorite? With a 2.09 goals-against average (second in the NHL) and a top-10 save percentage and win total, he might be in the conversation.

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The bubble is finally bursting on Lee Stempniak. After he was held without a point with a minus-3 on Friday, Stempniak now has just a goal and no assists over his last eight games. It might be time to take whatever you can receive for him if the oft-traded winger on your team – a similar situation to what the Devils are in.

Another slumping Devil: Adam Henrique, with just one assist in his last seven games.

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With his goal on Friday, Alex Ovechkin has now reached the 40-goal mark for the third consecutive season. If you own Ovie in a head-to-head or roto league, you’ll want someone like, oh, say Nicklas Backstrom on your team. Someone that can provide a bucket load of assists. Ovechkin is a two-time Cy Young winner this season with 40 goals and 18 assists. And like Stamkos, Ovechkin is streaking. With 12 goals already this month, Ovie isn’t messing around.

But what’s up with T.J. Oshie, the lucky third man on the Ovechkin-Backstrom line? Oshie has been held without a point in his last three games and has just three points over his last 11. He’s not exactly making the most of the opportunity.

And that’s win number 39 for Braden Holtby to go with just six losses. Will he reach Martin Brodeur’s single-season record of 48? That’s a possibility, although we could see more Philipp Grubauer now that the Capitals running away with the Eastern Conference. To think, I chose Pekka Rinne over Holtby in the Dobber Hockey Experts fantasy draft because I thought Rinne was the more established option. Not really expert on my part.  

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Matt Beleskey scored two goals for the Bruins in their 4-1 win over Carolina on Friday. Beleskey is hot with five goals over his last four games. If you thought that Beleskey would be a major bust in Boston, keep in mind that he has already matched his point total from last season (32) in five fewer games.

In the same game, Brad Marchand scored yet again, which places his ever-increasing goal total at 32 (to go with 16 assists – another remarkable stat line if you’re a pitcher). As I’ve mentioned before, the key to Marchand’s success is that he is shooting the puck a lot more. He also has a career-high 185 shots on goal in just 57 games – an average of over three shots per game.

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When you see Olli Maatta’s name at the top of the Twitter trending topics, your first thought is, “How long will he be out this time?” So I was somewhat relieved that the news had to do with his signing of a six-year extension. Maatta is only 21 years old, which is a year younger than Derrick Pouliot, even though it seems as though Maatta has been in the NHL a lot longer. Because of icetime Maatta should be considered the safer fantasy option at the moment, although Pouliot still has to have the greater upside even though his NHL career has stalled.

Speaking of the Penguins, Evgeni Malkin will be returning on Saturday after missing his last ten games. He centered Carl Hagelin and Phil Kessel at practice, in case you were wondering.

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On Thursday Markus Granlund made his Canucks debut, looking strong in recording an assist while centering a line with Emerson Etem and Linden Vey. The move paid immediate dividends for Etem, who scored a pair in the Canucks’ 5-3 win. I would envision this line as no higher than a third line for the Canucks, although there are seven players (not including Dan Hamhuis and Radim Vrbata) that are currently a part of their garage sale, so these players could be in for some increased icetime down the stretch should the Canucks go full sell.

Matt Bartkowski, who is probably the most appealing of those seven players, scored two goals himself while adding an assist during Thursday’s game against Ottawa. Thursday’s performance may spark some interest from GMs looking to bolster their blueline.

I will be attending the Canucks/Sharks game on Sunday, so it’ll be interesting to see if the Canucks scratch anybody (especially Hamhuis) because a trade is imminent. Ah yes, the trade deadline is near. So don’t forget to check back here on Monday for the latest fantasy takes on the important deals (and maybe one or two of the not-so-important ones, but that’s how we like to roll).

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I own Frederik Andersen in one league (see my Forum profile for the team). So when I needed a goalie for another one of my teams, I naturally turned to his Friday opponent, Cam Talbot (I call this goalie hedging, which almost guarantees you a goalie win). I was honestly expecting the worst for Talbot, since I was behind in my head-to-head goalie stats for the week and he was the best available option in this league. So a 2-1 score, even if he didn’t earn a win, was nice to see. Talbot did his part for the Oilers, stopping 32 of 34 shots he faced. But he’s now winless in six games for the Oilers, who will be gifted with the first overall pick yet again this summer.

As for Andersen, everything is awesome for him and his Lego mask right now, since the win was his fourth in a row. With the Ducks winning a lot lately, both he and John Gibson hold a tremendous amount of value. The key is just checking in with Goalie Post to find out which one of them is starting on a given day.

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Breaking news (as I type this): The Blues have acquired Anders Nilsson from the Oilers. Get your fantasy take here.

With Nilsson off the market, many teams may turn their attention to Chad Johnson. Friday was the classic showcase start for Johnson, who stopped 24 of 25 shots to lead the Sabres to a 3-1 victory in San Jose. Maybe the Sharks themselves make sense for Johnson, as current backup Alex Stalock hasn’t been up to par.

Zach Bogosian scored a goal and added an assist in that game, giving him three goals and five points over his last three games.

Evander Kane scored an empty-net goal, which gives him seven goals over his last 12 games. Hopefully you didn’t give up on him after he scored just two goals and six points over the first two months of the season.

Enjoy your Saturday. Follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.