Week 18 of the Fantasy Hockey season finished with a bang as there were two trades late Sunday night. The Tampa Bay Lightning and Arizona Coyotes didn’t wait until this Wednesday’s trade deadline to make a move, they felt like the right offer was on the table and they pulled the trigger.
In a surprising move the Lightning sent Ben Bishop and a fifth-round pick to the Los Angeles Kings for Peter Budaj, Erik Cernak and a seventh-round pick. I say surprising because Jonathan Quick (groin) returned Saturday and was fantastic as he turned aside 32 of 33 shots in a 4-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks. It was Quick’s first start since the season opener.
I guess four periods from Quick this season and shaky play of late from Budaj was enough for management to decide they needed a better fall back option in case Quick suffered a setback. They certainly got one with Bishop, but he is much better than a backup.
Did the Kings just block another team from grabbing Bishop? Like say, maybe the St. Louis Blues? Bishop could realistically bring a team to the Stanley Cup Finals like he did with the Lightning two years ago. Of course Bishop is an unrestricted free agent this summer and could eventually be the goaltender for the Las Vegas Golden Knights if he doesn’t get traded and protected before this summers Expansion Draft.
In the Fantasy Hockey community, this is bad news for Bishop owners. He won’t play everyday with Quick back in the lineup. I’d still hang on to see if there is another move that happens in the next couple days or if Quick suffers a setback. If Wednesday’s deadline passes and Bishop is still a member of the L.A. Kings then I’d be looking to move him. Perhaps to a Quick owner.
Andrei Vasilevskiy is the big winner here, but how much will he play down the stretch, and how good will he be? He’s allowed three or more in three of his last four starts and he’s allowed three or more in 14 of his last 23 starts. That compared to two shutouts and two or fewer goals allowed in six of his first eight starts of the season. He didn’t step up when Bishop suffered an injury earlier in the year and there’s no positive signs telling us he will this time around. This trade could however spark his game. We’ve seen him be good in the past. Particularly in the third round of the playoffs last season against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Budaj is sure to get a few starts, especially if Bolts fall out of the playoff race. Even with that said, Vasilevskiy is worth the add if you need help in goal. No need to carry three goalies unless you play with games started and saves, but if you are in a good spot with two solid goalies it wouldn’t hurt to pick him up and flip him to a team in need. Either way, he should be owned. Steven Stamkos is skating again and could return in a couple weeks. Tampa Bay is not eliminated from the playoffs just yet.
Sticking with goaltenders, John Gibson (lower-body) has missed the last two games for the Ducks and is listed on the injured reserve. An MRI revealed a mild strain which can be considered as good news for the number one Fantasy Hockey goalie over the last 14 days according to Yahoo! Sports.
The injury comes at a good time for Anaheim as they started its bye week on Sunday and won’t return to game action until Friday, March 3rd. Jonathan Bernier should get the majority of the starts if we find out Gibson will miss a bit of time. You can’t feel great about adding Bernier, though. If you own Gibson and are in need of a replacement, I’d look to Vasilevskiy first.
Robin Lehner (rest) was inactive Sunday against the Coyotes after taking a couple shots to the head during Saturday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche. All signs point to a return to the ice this week for the netminder. I have Lehner on a few rosters and I like him (2.57 GAA & .923 SV%). He can blow up from time to time, but he faces enough rubber to return a solid save percentage. Also, the Sabres have been in most games lately.
Back to the trade front as the Bishop deal was one of four deals that went down over the weekend. The Minnesota Wild got deeper down the middle when they acquired Martin Hanzal from the Coyotes for multiple picks. Not sure where Hanzal will play yet, most likely third line center. You can bet his value goes up for sure with this trade. If you play in leagues with hits and faceoffs you may already own Hanzal. If you hated the fact he mostly finished his games on the wrong end of the plus/minus scale, well that’s about to change in Minnesota. This could hurt Eric Staal who has been pretty quite of late.
People are dropping Patrick Eaves since the trade from the Dallas Stars to the Ducks and I’m grabbing him. He picked up five shots in his first game with Anaheim while playing on a line with Corey Perry and Rickard Rakell. Eaves has 21 goals, 16 power play points and 159 shots on goal. All solid numbers. Yes, he loses Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, but he’ll be surrounded by some pretty good players in Anaheim.
The Chicago Blackhawks acquired Tomas Jurco from the Detroit Red Wings in what was the least Fantasy Hockey relevant trade from the weekend. Jurco played in his first game with the Blackhawks on Sunday and he skated with Marian Hossa and Marcus Kruger. If he can work his way into a top-six role he could become a solid stream or GPP option. Don’t count on it.
Fantasy Hockey Week 19 News, Notes & Injuries:
There will be a few more trades this week, and perhaps adjustments on your team because of some of the movement. Players will see their stock rise, while others won’t be worth a roster spot anymore. At least there is some good news…Week 19 of the Fantasy Hockey season is the final week where a team will be on a bye. That’s right, Anaheim started their five day break Sunday. Good thing because in standard leagues playoffs are three weeks away. They are two weeks away for those who don’t play in the final week of the season. It’s the ideal format given the way stars are rested in the final week of the season. Also a few injuries to deal with this week, especially in Pittsburgh.
Kris Letang (lower-body) is listed as day-to-day. Justin Schultz (concussion) returned over the weekend, but Trevor Daley (knee) and Olli Maatta (hand) are both sidelined for the next six weeks after surgery. Ron Hainsey was acquired from the Carolina Hurricanes last week. He doesn’t have any Fantasy Hockey relevance as long as Schultz is healthy.
I like Ian Cole a lot in leagues with hits, PIMs and blocks. He’s played 24 plus minutes in back-to-back games due to the list of injuries on the back end. Cole has 22 blocks in his last six games to go along with 11 hits and 11 shots in his last five games.
Sticking with the Penguins, Conor Sheary (upper-body) is skating and will be back soon. I told you not to drop him to begin with, so you know I think he’s a great add.
Matt Niskanen (lower-body) missed the last two games after suffering what looked like a knee injury early last week. No word on when he’ll return, but no need to mess around with him on your roster if you are not in a playoff spot.
T.J. Oshie (upper-body) has been in the press box watching his team play for the last two games. No word on how long he’ll be sidelined. You should hang on to him.
Mitch Marner (shoudler) could return to the lineup Tuesday in San Jose. I’d grab him if someone was silly enough to drop him.
Fantasy Hockey Trends:
Richard Panik extended his point streak to six games Sunday with an assist. He now has five goals and 11 points in his last eight games. Panik has 22 shots on goal in his last six games while playing with Jonathan Toews.
Nick Schmaltz has also been productive on that line with seven points over a current four-game point streak. He isn’t a must add like Panik, but continue to ride the wave in DFS because he has 10 points in his last eight games.
Tanner Pearson is streaky, I get it. Hard to leave 19 goals on the wire, though. He has three three-point games in February and this is the time of year where the Kings usually kick it in to high gear.
A shoutout to Filip Forsberg who has eight goals in his last four games. He went back-to-back games with a hat trick and now has 23 goals on the season. He only had two in his first 27 games. His linemate Viktor Arvidsson has been a favorite of mine all year and he needs to be on more rosters.
Roman Josi deserves some love as well. The defenseman has six goals and 14 points in 11 games since returning from injury. Over that span he has five power play points and five multi-point games. He also has four games with at least five shots on goal. He’s a top seven defenseman the rest of the way.
Oscar Klefbom is getting added all over again due to his recent run of three goals and eight points over the past two weeks. He’s worth it as he continues to get a lot of ice. He blocks a lot of shots and puts a lot of pucks on net while getting power play time. It all adds up.
Mathieu Perreault and the Winnipeg Jets return to the ice from their bye on Tuesday. Perreault is hardly owned in leagues and has six points over a four-game point streak. He’s been playing with Patrik Laine and Mark Scheifele. This is a great pick up! Even better in leagues with hits and shots.
Claude Giroux has only 12 goals on the season and is a minus 18. He has one goal and three points over the last month and all three of those points came on the power play. He’s tough to drop, but boy is he struggling. He’s not even shooting the puck with makes him hard to hang on to. At this point, if you are in the playoffs with Giroux on your roster, well done. If you need to cut bait, I understand. Give him another week.
Roberto Luongo has allowed three or more goals in five of his last six outings and four or more in four of those six starts. James Reimer has been playing more lately, and playing well. It’s definitely a concern for Luongo owners. Reimer lost Sunday, so let’s see if Florida goes back to Lu for Tuesday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes. If they don’t and Reimer plays well I’d be looking to move on from Luongo.