James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Dose: Staal no longer idling

Monday, March 17, 2014


While Sundays are a day of rest for most North Americans (and maybe a few heavenly bodies, as I’ve heard), they actually tend to be my busiest of each week. I’ll spare you the details, but when an already-busy day boasts a Saturday-sized haul of nine games, well … let’s just say that your modest narrator gets a little bushed.


So, there very well might have been a greater theme or lesson from this weekend; if I had to guess, I’d venture that maybe Roberto Luongo was prominently involved.


Still, with the stretch run (and a wearying Sunday) in mind, I thought I’d just kind of plop my random fantasy thoughts down in this column on Monday. Some have complained in columns about the narrative bent of some Doses anyway, so who knows, you might even like it this way better after all.


(Note: I’ll still probably write these based on any given night or morning’s whims, but feel free to voice your opinion nonetheless.)


Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a $1,200 Fantasy Hockey league for Monday's late NHL games. It's just $10 to join and first prize is $275. Starts Monday at 7:30pm ET. Here's the FanDuel link.


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-- Heading into the weekend, it seemed like injuries might open the door for both Tim Thomas in Dallas and James Reimer in Toronto. With the NHL’s vague injury timelines in mind, it’s quite possible that both may still bring some value in the next week or so (which, depending upon where you are in playoff races or even when your respective postseason begin, could mean quite a bit). Still, word is that Kari Lehtonen and Jonathan Bernier appear ahead of schedule - again, whatever those schedules may truly be - so their two backups’ value may be a little less promising than originally believed.


-- Maybe the worst injury news came for the red-hot St. Louis Blues. Vladimir Tarasenko has been on a real tear lately (he already has 21 goals on the season), but now he’ll need a surgeon to go on a tear on his right hand. The Blues will re-evaluate Tarasenko in six weeks, so that means he’ll almost certainly miss a minimum of that much time. That chalks up to about a round (give or take) of the postseason, if not longer. Hate to say it, but I wouldn’t wait for the IR designation to roll around; sadly, it’s time just to drop him. Hopefully a replacement can be found in this column, even if potential Plan B (C/D/Z)’s may not fill the glamorous categories quite as well as young talent like Tarasenko could.


Please don’t consider this a comprehensive list of injuries and suspensions. Click here for that complete list for quick reference.


-- Speaking of injuries, both Buffalo Sabres goalies Michal Neuvirth and Jhonas Enroth got hurt this weekend. Hopefully you don’t care about that too much, as neither carries any real fantasy value.


-- Ben Scrivens is showing himself to be impressively adaptable, even as he goes from the nurturing defensive system of the Los Angeles Kings to the train wreck that is the Edmonton Oilers organization. He’s now 6-6-0 with a .932 save percentage with Edmonton after going 7-5-4 with a .931 save percentage with the Kings. I doubt many netminders would pull that off in 2013-14.


-- Jordan Staal now has three goals and six assists for nine points in a six-game scoring streak, showing some promise after a disappointing season overall. For me, the tiebreaker would be if you're in a hits league; he now has 157 hits. At just 44 percent owned, there's a good chance you can grab him. I'm not sure he's my top add in this list, but he's worthy of consideration.


-- Oilers defenseman Justin Schultz scored his ninth goal of the season, which is remarkable since he’s only fired 86 SOG in 61 GP. I'm actually surprised he's owned in 65 percent of leagues considering that he's weak in peripherals. Still, that SOG total is pretty pathetic for a guy with that much scoring talent. If I were Dallas Eakins, I'd find a way to get him firing away more often even if that means some increased risks from missed shots and so on. Sometimes you just need to let your talented players run free.


-- Dion Phaneuf is basically the anti-Schultz: only two more points, but a peripheral demon: 109 PIM, 123 SOG, 195 hits and 131 blocked shots.


-- Troy Brouwer’s probably a pretty lucky man in that he’s bounced from lucrative situation with the ‘Hawks to a positive one with the Caps. Brouwer hit the 20-goal mark for a second time in his career, but it's really the other areas that make him appealing. He has 86 PIM, 131 SOG and an even better 188 hits. I'd imagine that you could do worse than to flip a coin between Brouwer and Staal if you're wrestling with a choice.


-- That’s assuming that you can’t grab Dose favorite Wayne Simmonds (you probably won’t be able to). He set a new career-high with 50 points and is another imposing presence in the gritty stat categories.


-- From far farther out in left field, Alex Burrows is heating up in a way that maybe annoys people who drafted him (see: Staal, Jordan) but could benefit owners in the stretch run. He has six points in his last four games ... and five the rest of this season. Henrik Sedin is also showing a little bit of spark with him, so maybe they can benefit each other, even with Daniel Sedin sidelined. I’d at least keep an eye on him.


-- Marian Hossa definitely didn’t look like he needed to ease back into action on Sunday, as he scored a goal and two assists to give him 25 tallies and 53 points in 58 games played. He also packs a peripheral punch, so great news for Chicago (unfortunately, Brandon Saad got hurt, so not all good news).


Go to Rotoworld’s NHL page for breaking hockey news and more.



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



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