I hope everyone had a healthy and Happy New Year. The second half of the NHL season started with the Outdoor Classic between the Capitals and Blackhawks. This is always a fun game to watch and this year we only have two such games, whereas last season we had almost three times as many. On Friday we had our first NHL trade that will have some Fantasy implications, as the Oilers traded winger David Perron to the Penguins. If you’re a Perron owner you should be doing backflips, as he will more than likely play on a line with either Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin. We have seen what playing with this duo can do for players like James Neal, Pascal Dupuis, Patric Hornqvist, and Chris Kunitz. Perron could have the same kind of success and if he is still available on your waiver wire, then go out and get him immediately.
Goaltender Brian Elliott (knee) returned to the Blues on Tuesday, a couple of days earlier than expected, and now we officially have a quagmire in net. Martin Brodeur and Jake Allen are still with the team and as of now the Blues are expected to stick with all three goaltenders on the NHL roster. This is, of course, not the best of news for any Fantasy owner of these players. As of now Allen looks like the odd man out. Brodeur started Monday, Elliott Tuesday, and Brodeur once again Friday. Allen may be 11-5-2 on the season but his GAA is also 2.76 and his save percentage is a hair less than .900, not exactly the numbers you’re looking for in a goaltender. At this point in time Allen should be benched by his Fantasy owners, at least until the Blues decide what they want to do in net.
The Maple Leafs’ Joffrey Lupul was placed on injured reserve once again Thursday. Lupul has always been a goal scorer but he’s also someone who just can’t stay healthy for any length of time, as he hasn’t played more than 70 games in a season since 2008-09. Lupul plays on a team that can score goals with the best of them, but he’s not all that helpful to your Fantasy team if he isn’t playing. When Lupul returns, which is unknown at this time, Fantasy owners should look to trade him once he scores a goal or two. It will just be a matter of time until he’s on the pine once again.
Fantasy leaguers received a scare Friday night when Flyers forward Claude Giroux took a skate blade to the back of the left leg from the Hurricanes’ Justin Faulk and had to leave the game. Giroux’s leg was bleeding and had to be helped off the ice, but preliminary results were positive in that the cut is not very deep and Giroux is actually probable to play Saturday. You can chalk this one up to a lucky break.
Those of you in deep keeper or dynasty leagues probably aren’t all that happy about the Oilers sending rookie center Leon Draisaitl down to the WHL on Friday. Draisaitl was never thought to be the final answer for Edmonton, but his size and presence was something the team wanted badly. Well, this season is a bust for Edmonton and the Oilers now feel that Draisaitl will benefit more by playing on a top line in the WHL rather than the third line in Edmonton. Draisaitl is unlikely to help anyone in Fantasy leagues this year but not all is bleak, he still has a bright future, patience will just need to be exercised. This may also not be the last deal the Oilers make, as they just might have a For Sale sign hung across the locker room.
In leagues I play in, now is the time I try to make trades of my own. I look for teams that are struggling in the standings and see if they want to make a “nothing to lose deal”. You never know what another owner is thinking. If they are struggling then maybe they would trade one of their players that isn’t performing, but has in the past. Or maybe they would trade one of their cornerstone players for help in several areas (quantity over quality). I know when I’m not doing well, I’ll make these deals as I don’t want to go down without a fight. At the very least, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
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