Holy Schenn

February 7, 2010

Blue Jackets G Steve Mason wasn't the only second-year star who shined on Saturday.

Saturday was a superb day for fans of the NHL box score.

There were four shutouts. Marty Turco, Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Steve Mason and Craig Anderson, take a bow.

There were nine two-goal scorers. Michal Handzus, Henrik Zetterberg, Brian Gionta, Jamie Benn, Phil Kessel, Luke Schenn, J.P. Dumont, Dany Heatley and Radek Dvorak, take a bow.

Of all these players, the one who most caught my eye is Schenn. A second-year defenseman, the fifth overall pick in 2008, Schenn has played more than 21:00 in every game (all three of them) since Ian White left town in the Dion Phaneuf deal.

In addition to his two goals in Giguere’s 5-0 home shutout of the Senators on Saturday, Schenn notched an assist, two penalty minutes, four shots on goal, and a team-high +4.

Should you drop everything and pick him up? Unless there’s a player you’re dying to drop, not yet. After all, Saturday was the first time Schenn had cracked the scoring sheet since Jan. 18.

But as of yesterday’s performance, Schenn belongs on all watch lists. Especially if you missed out on the Mark Giordano sweepstakes.

photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

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Raiding — and ducking — the Capitals

January 16, 2010

Capitals D Jeff Schultz, all six-foot-six of him, leads the NHL in +/- (+27).

If you own one of the fantasy cogs of the Maple Leafs D — Ian White, Tomas Kaberle or Francois Beauchemin — then you felt the wrath of the Capitals on Friday night.

White (-4), Kaberle (-2) and Beauchemin (-2) saw their already awful +/- worsen as the Caps cruised to a 6-1 home win.

It is always wise to bench your goalies against the Caps, whose 3.63 goals per game lead the NHL by a wide margin (the Blackhawks are next at 3.16).

We have reached the point, however, where it’s wise to bench your D against the Caps. If you own any Flyers blueliners, be warned: Philadelphia visits Washington on Sunday at 3:00 pm.

In their last six games, the Caps (5-1) have scored 31 goals: 4, 5, 8, 4, 4 and 6. Of these 31 goals, 23 came at even strength. And that’s why opponents of the Caps have seen their +/- plummet.

On the flip side, investing in the Caps D is a great way to bolster your own +/-. Former first-round pick Jeff Schultz (available in 96 percent of Yahoo! and 96.4 percent of ESPN leagues) leads the entire NHL at +27. He also has four assists in his last five games, making him even more worthy of an immediate add. In the past month, the 23-year-old ranks No. 46 in Yahoo! and No. 33 in ESPN among all defensemen.

Then there’s his teammate, Tom Poti. Though Poti’s +12 isn’t as gaudy as Schultz’s, Poti’s career resume and overall fantasy numbers make him a better across-the-board add. In the last month, Poti has tallied two goals, six assists, +8 and 14 penalty minutes. These numbers have made him the No. 2o D in Yahoo! and No. 19 D in ESPN during this span.

Still, Poti’s ownership levels are staggeringly low: He is rostered in only 4 percent of Yahoo! and 4.9 percent of ESPN leagues. When you consider what Poti, 32, has accomplished in his 12-year career — three  seasons with 10 or more goals, consistent penalty minutes and power play productivity — it is a wonder how the fantasy community has ignored him in 2009-10.

Trading for Caps D Mike Green is next to impossible. But if you pick up his teammates, you’ll reap plenty of fantasy benefits between now and the end of the campaign.

photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons


Monday night recap (Bergeron, Kuba, White)

November 24, 2009

Bruins C Patrice Bergeron (four assists Monday night) clearly relishes the return of teammate Marc Savard.

Here’s a recap of the three biggest fantasy developments from Monday night’s action:

1. Bruins C Patrice Bergeron tallied four assists (two on the PP, one shorthanded) in the Bruins 4-2 win at St. Louis.  He also led the Bruins with four shots on goal. A big factor behind these stats: the return of Bruins C Marc Savard (16:30 of ice time). Coupled with the recent comeback of LW Milan Lucic — who scored Monday night and now has a goal in two straight games — the Bruins are gradually regaining depth and resembling the team that dominated the 2008-09 regular season. No longer shouldering the scoring load by himself, Bergeron (22.5 percent owned in ESPN, 24 percent owned in Yahoo!) is a must-add if you need help in the assists category.

2. Senators D Filip Kuba notched three assists in the Senators 4-3 OT home win vs. the Capitals. He also led the Senators in ice time, which isn’t directly useful in fantasy but is always helpful to know when evaluating blueliners. It was Kuba’s second consecutive game with three assists. (He also scored a goal Saturday night vs. Buffalo.) And the Senators have now won four games in a row.  Though Kuba was a fantasy force last year — 37 assists, 26 PPPs — he is only 25.4 percent owned in ESPN leagues and 18 percent owned in Yahoo! formats. It’s time to grab him. By Wednesday night you may no longer be able to do so.

3. While the Maple Leafs lost 4-3 in OT at home to the Islanders, D Ian White registered one assist, five shots on goal and 26:02 of ice time. In terms of defensive pickups, I would rank him behind Kuba, but make no mistake: White is playing like a No. 4 fantasy D-man: He has three goals and six assists in his last 11 games. He also ranks in the top 10 among all defensemen with 54 shots on goal. And he is available in 84.5 percent of ESPN games and 73 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons