I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving. This has been a strange week in the NHL with only one game on Thursday and a slew of games on Friday and Saturday. This led to quite a few backup goaltenders playing this weekend, and if you’re playing the Daily Fantasy Game tomorrow you will want to make sure to pick on one of these backups, especially if you can find one playing a team that also played Friday. Sounds confusing, I know, but it’s a strategy you really should use if you want to be successful. I love to pick on teams playing the second half of back-to-back nights, especially older teams like the Devils, as their legs will tend to get tired as the game wears on.
One backup goaltender you may not want to go up against is the Jets’ Michael Hutchinson. He actually may not be the backup anymore. He has started two of the three games that the Jets have played this week, with his only sit being the second half of a back-to-back pair of games. Ondrej Pavelec may still be considered the starter but he’s been pulled in four of his last five outings. Perhaps Hutchinson is just riding a hot streak and the Jets will go back to Pavelec as soon as they believe that streak is over. The problem with that theory is twofold. First, Hutchinson has a GAA of 1.50 and save percentage of .947 entering Friday’s game versus the Bruins. Second, it’s not like Pavelec has ever been a Vezina Trophy candidate; he is someone that can be replaced if the coaching staff believes a change is necessary. Pavelec has never posted a GAA below 2.70, and he had a save percentage better than .910 only once. Some might ask why he has been given so many chances.
The waiver wire has been abuzz in Fantasy leagues since the Blues announced that they have given a tryout to goaltender Martin Brodeur. I’m not exactly sure why, though. The Blues lost Brian Elliott to a knee injury that they are saying will keep him out for a few weeks. Now, the team could be lying and perhaps it’s more severe. Jake Allen is still expected to get the majority of the starts in Elliott’s absence. The main questions about Brodeur are: will the Blues sign him after the tryout, and what will his role be? The bigger question actually might be that if the Blues are telling the truth and Elliott will only be out a few weeks, then what will become of Brodeur once Elliott returns? Will they just release Brodeur? Will they try and trade him, or Elliott? It wouldn’t make much sense to send Allen to the AHL, as he has performed well this season and has nothing else to prove there. But that would also be an option, or maybe, just maybe, Elliott will miss months and not weeks and the team is looking for a veteran backup; then all of this makes more sense. This whole Brodeur talk is moot, of course, should he prove next week that he doesn’t have what it takes to be an NHL goaltender anymore. As for what to do with him if he does make the team, I’d be shocked if he takes over the starting role. Is a backup net minder really someone you want to go crazy for? Next week should be very interesting in St. Louis.
The Oilers are in the middle of another disastrous season and are making noise that they are in the market for a top center. The problem for Edmonton is that the player they have talked about wanting to deal is winger David Perron. Now, Perron did have 28 goals last season, but that seems to be the exception rather than the rule. He only had 31 goals in the two seasons with St. Louis, and he only has two goals so far this year. That’s not exactly the type of player that’s going to bring back a first or second line center. The Oilers have always refused to deal one of their big name forwards, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, or Taylor Hall, but those are the types of players that will have to go in order for Edmonton to get back what they want. Those of you who are thinking that perhaps Nail Yakupov could net the player they want – not happening – as Yakupov would be the definition of a sell low player right now with 31 goals in 134 games. He may not even be the definition of a top prospect anymore. The Oilers might want to consider dealing defenseman Justin Schultz. Just about every team in the NHL was interested in his services when he forced his way out of Anaheim, and he has done nothing but disappoint in Edmonton. Still, he is a young puck-moving defenseman, and he still has some value. If they wanted to package him, possibly with Perron or Yakupov, that would be a step in the right direction.
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