Sometimes real life gets in the way of the Fantasy world. We had two such instances take place this week. The agent for Jaroslav Halak and J.F. Berube of the Islanders decided to tweet out his displeasure with the team going with three goaltenders on the roster once again. His belief is that this has hurt both goalies, as neither is getting enough practice or game time to get into any kind of rhythm. The agent may have a point but here is the problem. Islanders general manager Garth Snow immediately put Halak on the trade block, calling every other GM in the league to see if they were interested in the goalie. There was no interest and now Halak hasn’t started the last two games. Are the Islanders punishing Halak and his agent for making their gripes public? Well, Halak hasn’t exactly been setting the world on fire with a 3.15 GAA and .898 save percentage, so that alone could be the reason for his benching, but the last time an Islander player mouthed off (Nino Niederreiter), they did trade him. The bottom line for Fantasy owners is that right now, you really don’t want to have an Islander goaltender in your starting lineup.
The second real life situation is that of the Senators’ Craig Anderson. If you haven’t heard, Anderson left the team last week because his wife was diagnosed with cancer. He returned to the team over the weekend after his wife called the team to say it was okay for him to come back and play. Hopefully, she recovers in full. Fantasy owners need to keep in mind that Anderson could again have to leave the team at any time, as he should, to help his wife and family through this time. He is playing spectacular right now, allowing only one goal in his last three games, so any action missed would be highly disappointing to Fantasy owners. If you’re thinking about just taking the Senators backup to cover yourself, that is a little dicey now, as Andrew Hammond is on the IR with a lower-body injury and is week to week.
Zach Parise is out for the Wild with a lower body injury. He is one of the better scoring forwards in the game but is also an injury waiting to happen. Over the past three seasons he has averaged about 12 missed games per year and is well on his way to doing so once again.
Artem Anisimov has an eight game point scoring streak. He is a must-start right now and it’s starting to look like the Hawks may finally have a second line center they can rely on. The team has been searching to fill this need for quite a few years. Anisimov was acquired when the Hawks elected to trade Brandon Saad to help get under the salary cap. He’s always had talent but immaturity and inconsistent play saw him move from the Rangers to the Blue Jackets, and now to the Blackhawks. It may have taken some time, but Anisimov has found that consistency playing on a line with Artem Panarin and Marian Hossa.
The headache will begin in net for Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Matt Murray has recovered from his broken hand and will start versus the Ducks. Murray took over for Marc-Andre Fleury last season after MAF suffered his second concussion of the season. Murray was spectacular in helping to lead the Penguins to the Stanley Cup. It was thought that he and MAF would go into training camp fighting for the starting job. That never materialized thanks to the injury. Fleury currently has a GAA of 3.09 and a .909 save percentage. Neither number is good enough to assure him of the starting job. A trade is unlikely to happen, as you know Pittsburgh would prefer to keep the younger and cheaper Murray, which would leave Fleury and his $5.75 million contract in limbo. Fantasy owners in weekly lineup leagues are not going to enjoy this situation.
Waiver Wire Pickups
Jonathan Marchessault, Florida Panthers: Has taken full advantage of injuries to Nick Bjugstad and Jonathan Huberdeaux to prove he belongs.
Alec Martinez, Los Angeles Kings: He has scored a couple of overtime goals so far this season, which has raised his profile. He’s a 30-point per season player who should be able to help your plus/minus.
Jeff Zatkoff, Los Angeles Kings: The Kings goaltending situation has really been a mess even since Jonathan Quick went down. Zatkoff (groin) should return to the crease this week, and after Peter Budaj gave up four goals on 16 shots to Anaheim on Tuesday, he could get back his starting job.
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