James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Dose: Sieve Mason no more?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tuesday was well-stocked with 10 games of action, so let’s sweep through them to see what fantasy insight might be gained.




-- Steve Mason is owned in just 52 percent of Yahoo leagues as of this writing. The general reluctance to grab the man once known as “Sieve Mason” was once understandable for plenty of reasons, particularly considering his mostly rotten days with Columbus and the fact that he wasn’t winning with Philly early on.


Now he’s winning. Half of his six wins this season have come in the last five games, and he lost the other two beyond regulation.


Will he slow down? Probably. One may remember that his Calder year was propped up mainly by a scorching month or two versus mediocre work the rest of that time. (There are still some Predators fans who will remind you that Pekka Rinne had virtually identical numbers that season and didn’t get it. Woops.)


Still, asking if a guy will slow down seems like nitpicking, at least if you’re examining Mason like I am: a great value as your third option. At worst, he could be a nice trade chip if you just can’t live in a world where Mason is quite useful.


-- It seems a little redundant to keep hammering on the "Claude Giroux looks pretty good again!" narrative, so let's look at another guy who's heating up. Wayne Simmonds is really looking resurgent, with four points (two goals and two assists, 11 SOG) in the last four games. Keeping those SOG up would be nice, as his overall numbers aren't astounding (nine points, 45 SOG in 20 games). Scoring is what makes Simmonds go from a nice stat-stuffer to an absolutely fantastic power forward. He has 33 PIM and 42 hits this season, making him a guy who gets better as the stats become more diverse.


-- I think Kimmo Timonen’s probably past his days of usefulness, but it’s nice to see him play well. He is heating up, (four of his five points in the last two games) for what it’s worth.


-- Clarke MacArthur has 14 points in 20 games, with a +11 and 16 PIM. I like him as a player, but I'm not sure his peripherals are up to snuff, aside from in deeper leagues.


Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $2,500 Fantasy Hockey league tonight (Wednesday). It's just $10 to join and first prize is $500. Starts at 7:30pm ET. Here's the link.


For everything NHL, check out Rotoworld's Player News and follow @Rotoworld_ HK+@cyclelikesedins on Twitter.


Oh, and there’s still some time to join a Yahoo! Hockey Pool, so get on that.




-- Brandon Saad sure is tempting, isn’t he? He’s a talented player with plenty of production, particularly lately (six points in his last five games). It also seems like he’s getting some first-line minutes, according to Sportsnet’s listings. I’m not sure he’s worth owning long-term, but a short-term pickup is reasonable considering the front-line gig.


-- No doubt about it, legal issues could snare Semyon Varlamov. From my experience, these things are often postponed enough that an athlete can continue to play, but you never know. He’s certainly playing well considering the distractions.


-- Duncan Keith seems snake-bitten like his former teammate Dustin Byfuglien once was: just one goal on 64 shots in 22 games played. Granted, sniping isn’t his biggest strength (4.7 career shooting percentage), but you'd expect at least a couple more here and there, especially with nice SOG totals for a D.


-- The Hawks have six more road games left on this trip, so expect a little slippage from Chicago.


-- Paul Stastny isn't Colorado's top forward any longer, but that notion is obscuring a nice season (17 points in 20 games played). He has plenty to play for in a contract year, too.




-- No shutout for Ben Scrivens, but his owners can cope. He and the Kings are now on a four-game winning streak. Scrivens still could use a home in plenty of leagues (52 percent owned).


-- Congrats to Martin St. Louis, who got his 13th assist of 2013-14 and hit the 1,000 career games played mark. He's doing just fine with or without Steve Stamkos; St. Louis has five points (one goal, four assists) in his last three contests. I'm still a big proponent of the Stamkos injury's beneficiary, Valtteri Filppula (one goal last night).


-- It could be a tough extra game or two for the Bolts, as they have a back-to-back coming up against Anaheim and San Jose on the road.




-- Tim Thomas gets the W against Roberto Luongo, even if it's inaccurate to say that it's the last laugh. Luongo is like a far less sinister version of The Joker in The Dark Knight Returns: always laughing. Don’t look now, but Thomas has three wins in his last four games. Maybe he’s out of the injury wilderness?


-- Is Brad Boyes the biggest winner of the Kevin Dineen pink slip sweepstakes? He has three goals in his last four games. That includes 12 SOG in his last four contests. The winger is marginal, though noteworthy for being a guy who probably doesn't deserve to fight so hard just to stick in the NHL.


-- I admit Chris Higgins is marginal, but oh those 82 SOG. Maybe he’s not worth it in most formats, although perhaps his 38 hits can convince you?




-- Maybe the Blue Jackets are the team that needs to make big changes, not the Oilers? What a nightmare of a game for a Columbus team that could be just as bad as Edmonton.


-- I've talked up David Perron before, yet his four points make the case most convincingly. In 19 games, Perron has 17 points, 20 PIM, five PPP, 71 SOG and 28 hits. Even before Tuesday, his versatility says a lot.


-- Devan Dubnyk made 14 saves for his first shutout of 2013-14. The big goalie still has awful numbers on every level, but he does have two wins in a row. And I still think he could redeem himself this season, if he gets a chance to at least share starts with Ilya Bryzgalov. I wouldn't keep him over, say, Scrivens or Mason, however.


-- Maybe Nail Yakupov feeds off of controversy? He has five points in his last five games, including three goals. That's more than half of his point production.




-- If you're going to hastily discuss the 2014 Vezina, you best mention Tuukka Rask, who's 12-5-1 with a sparkling .946 save percentage, 1.61 GAA and two shutouts. He might just top some of Tim Thomas' best work in Boston.


-- Rick Nash returned on Tuesday. He didn't score a goal or a point, but he had five shots on goal, including a nice breakaway chance. Seems like he didn't miss a beat.


-- Brad Marchand collected an assist in 16:15 of ice time, very little of which was on the PP (58 seconds). Could he turn things around?


-- That's three straight losses for Henrik Lundqvist, who's simply been disappointing this season. Contract years might not be for everyone.




-- Look, I don't think the Red Wings' lengthy losing streak is all Jimmy Howard's fault, but I find it really odd that Jonas Gustavsson/anyone else isn't getting a shot in net. So much of what Detroit's doing just seems so ... stagnant.


-- Marek Mazanec earned his second win in a row and first career shutout. He might just be an interesting short-term option, unless the Predators are weirdly set on giving time to Carter Hutton.


-- David Legwand might just have a shot of besting his career years of 2006-07 (63 points) or at least 2011-12 (53). He has 18 points in 21 games played so far.




 -- Trevor Smith scored a goal and two assists, staying hot in the Leafs' pivot-poor time. I'm guessing his opportunities will dry up once Nazem Kadri returns, though.


-- Phil Kessel scored two flu-addled goals, giving him 12 in whatever health so far this season. Not too shabby. Also not shabby: Jonathan Bernier.


-- It may just be that Kevin Poulin is mediocre. He allowed five goals on 24 shots last night and his overall numbers are mediocre. How much of a leash will he get if this keeps up?




-- Max Pacioretty broke an eight-game goalless streak in a big way with a natural hat trick. The fact that he had 10 SOG really warms my heart, too. Pacioretty seems like he's always on the verge of either getting hurt or scoring, so at least it's more of the latter lately (though the former nearly happened).


-- You know it was an unusual night for the Wild when a) Josh Harding played poorly enough to get pulled and b) Dany Heatley - 2013 Heatley - scored a goal.


-- Carey Price has odd luck. He was mediocre-to-bad last season, yet his team won the Northeast Division. He's been fantastic so far (.935 save percentage), with his reward being an 8-8-2 record. That's hockey.




-- Chris Stewart has a goal and three assists in his last four points, showing that he can do things with his hands that don't involve beating in skulls. Again, I think he's useful, as he can mix PIM with offensive pretty nicely.


-- Brenden Morrow scored twice, doubling his goal total to four. I wouldn't get too excited about the former Dallas Stars captain, though.


-- Steve Ott is gold (or at least silver) when hits are taken into account.


-- Jaroslav Halak stopped 23 out of 24 shots to bounce back from being pulled within 16 minutes in his previous start. He's been valuable thanks in large part because of the team around him, but who's complaining?


Click here for the full list of injuries and suspensions.

James O'Brien is the Hockey Daily Dose's author and has been a contributor to NBC's Pro Hockey Talk for more than four years. Follow him on Twitter.
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