Early on Wednesday morning, it was a well-reported rumbling: the Buffalo Sabres were trying to cut ahead of the line to trade for Evander Kane. Not that much long after such speculation revved up, the deal was complete. As far as fantasy owners are concerned, it’s most relevant to note that a surgically repaired Kane will head to Buffalo with Zach Bogosian while Tyler Myers and Drew Stafford are now suddenly trying to help a team make the playoffs with Winnipeg.
A few stray thoughts:
-- Drew Stafford is of marginal interest for the most part, although he might indirectly help a lot of fantasy owners by his mere presence. Perhaps with Stafford in town - possibly lining up with Mark Scheifele and Mathieu Perreault? - the Jets can mercifully move Dustin Byfuglien back to his happy place on defense? Everyone wins, really, in such a situation.
-- Tyler Myers possession stats are hideous, but he probably deserves at least a little bit of leeway because the Sabres have been deploying him as if he's an all-defense all-the-time shutdown guy with just 35.3 of his shifts starting in the offensive zone.
To put that in perspective, Zdeno Chara carries a significant workload year-in and year-out, yet he's at about 48 percent the past two seasons and hasn't been below 40 since these starts were really starting to get tracked in 2007-08.
If Myers is going to produce some fantasy results, this seems like a golden opportunity to do so.
-- Bogosian could be an interesting guy to watch since he’ll be in a bad situation as far as plus/minus and other factors go, yet as a go-to player he could be semi-interesting. Maybe. I wouldn’t jump on the opportunity at this time, though.
-- The other Sabres trade may actually have the biggest fantasy impact in 2014-15: Kari Lehtonen gets a conceivably competent backup in Jhonas Enroth while Anders Lindback seems to be living out his ideal state as a goalie you tank with. We’ll be eyeing Enroth’s progress - not to mention reps - with quite a bit of interest going forward.
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OK, now let’s get to the recaps.
PENGUINS 4, RED WINGS 1
-- I'd wager that a three-game night like Wednesday is the most tolerable evening for a game-time decision in fantasy. With so few games going on, you could comfortably place a guy in your lineup and not grit your teeth too much if he sits out because at least you're less likely to see your bench guys score a hat trick.
(Since they're not even playing, after all.)
Blake Comeau seemed likely to play, but it wasn't totally clear for a while. He made a big impact, scoring a goal and an assist in the first period.
Comeau only played 12:50 of ice time. For the moment, it appears that he's lining up with Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist. Depending upon the depth of your league, Comeau is a reasonable risk if you need a fringe forward.
-- The Stephen Weiss bandwagon has some smoke coming out of its engine. He scored a goal on Wednesday, yes, but he previously went on a four-game pointless streak. Things really haven't been going well for him since the calendar hit 2015, really.
-- Tough going for Petr Mrazek, who was planted to the bench in the third period after allowing four goals on 17 shots. Jimmy Howard stopped all four shots in the third period as Pittsburgh cruised to a win.
What's next for Mrazek? Last time he was sent to the AHL, not as punishment, but to make sure he was getting reps rather than watching the No. 1 guy from the bench.
If Detroit wants to battle into the best playoff position as possible, they’ll keep Mrazek around for those appropriate backup situations.
-- Both teams hadn’t played since Saturday, which is an odd amount of rest for two different squads to have at this point in the season.
CAPITALS 5, SHARKS 4 (OT)
-- Big game for Jay Beagle, which also means a nice night for dog pun enthusiasts (and even amateurs in that field, to be honest). He scored two goals - his second and ninth of the season was especially impressive in a "Was that really Jay Beagle?" kind of way - and assisted on Joel Ward's OT winner.
-- In the almost as unexpected category, Joe Thornton really sniped his 12th goal of season, which earned San Jose a much-needed standings point from this one. Did he take that shot with such decisiveness because he’s been scoring goals more frequently in 2014-15? I’m not sure, but it’s something Jumbo Joe should trot out more often when the situation is right.
-- In Epix's version of the 24/7 series, we saw that Brent Burns has a bag full of weird things, which is absolutely what one would expect from a hyper-goober like Brent Burns. Anyway, he really reached into his bag of tricks early in the second period, scoring two goals (giving him 14 on the season) in less than 30 seconds. Perhaps he'd be an even more devastating scorer as a forward, but he's a unique weapon any way you slice it.
-- With a goal and an assist, John Carlson set a new career-high in points with 38. The best part for Washington (and fantasy owners) is that he's not really playing over his head; he's scored seven goals on 127 SOG, a 5.5 shooting percentage, which is essentially his career average (5.3).
It's a shame for the Capitals that they made one questionable investment (Matt Niskanen) and one really dumb one (Brooks Orpik), because they've developed a really dangerous one-two scoring punch from the blueline in Carlson and Mike Green (who contributed solidly last night, himself).
CANUCKS 5, BLACKHAWKS 4 (OT)
-- Was it a coincidence that the Sedin twins had such a strong game after the much-noted radio mockery from Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin? It's plausible that it indeed was, but either way, they were impressive on Wednesday. Daniel Sedin scored two goals including the OT GWG while Henrik collected two assists in the game.
-- It's kind of resounding how much digital ink has been poured out over Zack Kassian, who's feeling more and more like Steve Bernier plus dirty hits. Anyway, he seems to be responding to his latest bit of shaming in the form of a fairly recent healthy scratch, as he has a four-game point streak (three goals, one assist) going. He's only taken five SOG in those four games and is barely getting any ice time, so I'd attribute a ton of it to luck and not get too excited. Then again, if he could merely be a solid enough contributor and head to the box often (39 PIM in 29 games this season), he could really climb in relevance. We'll see.
-- Patrick Kane continues to rise from excellent player to legitimate top-10 scorer, as he generated three points on Wednesday. They all came in a way that didn't really benefit his five-on-five linemates, as Brad Richards and Patrick Sharp went without a point and having done much points-wise in general as of late. Odd, but that's what unassisted goals and power-play production can sometimes do for you.