The hockey world — fantasy and otherwise — is down on the Boston Bruins.
Justifiably so: Following Thursday’s 3-2 home setback to the hardly mighty Jackets, Boston had lost six straight and seven of eight. A team once ticketed for a No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference and sneaky Cup contention is now on the verge of missing the playoffs.
What are the fantasy ramifications of the Bruins’ slump?
The main one is the availability of Bruins C David Krejci, who is now only 46 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues and 82.3 percent owned in ESPN formats.
Aside from his stellar 2008-09 numbers (22 goals, 51 assists, +37, 19 PPP), Krejci (for my money) passes the “naked eye” test as a playmaker. Much like banged up teammate Marc Savard (partially torn right MCL), Krejci (at his best) is the hockey equivalent of a point guard with superb anticipation, feeding pinpoint passes at opportune moments to open teammates.
But this year, Krejci — slowed by early season recovery from a hip problem and a recent lower-body malady that sidelined him from the 2-1 win at San Jose Jan. 14– has not been the same. He only has 18 assists in 46 games.
That’s why now is the time to buy low — or snag him if he’s a free agent.
Also, Savard has skated well in practice lately. He is slated to return for the Jan. 29 tilt at Buffalo. But it would not shock The Genius if he returned this weekend — perhaps even as soon as Saturday’s game vs. Ottawa. (But please, take note: that is just our sourceless speculation.)
Whenever Savard returns, he will join the offensively challenged Bruins’ top line, giving Krejci more of a chance to post numbers against opposing scrubs. All the more reason to roll the dice on a Krejci pickup.
Here’s the other reason: Quietly, even against opponents’ top lines, Krejci has posted numbers. Despite the Bruins’ slump, Krejci has six assists and one goal in his last nine contests. And as our boy Matt Kalman reports, Krejci missed a wide-open net in Thursday’s 3-2 loss — and he regrets it.
No, he’s not setting the world on fire, but he is warming up. In the previous six games, he had gone scoreless. For little or no risk, he is well worth your fantasy dime. How many other 50-assist guys can you acquire on the cheap?
photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons