About a third of the way through 2013-14 and we’re starting to get a fix on what we have when it comes to this year’s rookie crop. Poolies around the world draft unproven youngsters late in hopes they scoop a nice sleeper, to varying degrees of success. In keeper leagues things are easier, as you can often afford to wait several years on a rookie, but one-year leagues need the help here and now.
Let’s take a look at the 15 best from a fantasy perspective (sorry, Morgan Rielly and Seth Jones fans) so far.
1. Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado
Although in a three-way tie for second in scoring among rookies, MacKinnon will be tops in the end if he stays healthy. He’s getting his points regardless of linemates and other than a five-game slump in late October he has been steady. His ice time has been great and he should pick up the pace to finish in the 60s for points.
2. Torey Krug, Boston
Tied with MacKinnon among rookie scorers, Krug has been a savior for fantasy owners. Defensemen are so hard to acquire once the season starts, so drafting Krug late or even getting him off the wire is a fantasy coup. He’s on pace for 48 points and frankly I don’t see him deviating from that, making it one of the best seasons for a rookie defenseman in years.
Chicago fired 50 pucks on goal last night in their 4-3 loss to Dallas, but the biggest shots came courtesy Stars left winger Antoine Roussel.
The, umm, spirited 24-year-old fought Andrew Shaw, elbowed Jonathan Toews, then scored a pretty goal on a penalty shot to help his team to victory. Not exactly the Gordie Howe hat trick, but a busy, productive and effective night’s work.
But his loudest moment came when he taunted the United Center crowd following his goal, waving his arms in celebration and giving them the Hulk Hogan “I can’t hear you” gesture. Read more
The moneymaking machine that is the Toronto Maple Leafs is Forbes’ MVF (most valuable franchise) in 2013.
No surprise that the Buds, valued at $1.15 billion, top the list. But there are a couple firsts to take note of, which show the strength of the NHL’s Canadian markets.
Three of the top five teams are from Canada (Toronto and Montreal are Nos. 1 and 2 in profitability, too) and every Canadian club ranks among the top 16 – both firsts since Forbes started its rankings in 1998. Read more
For a while now, I get my dander up when hockey debates about the best NHLer alive are limited to Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin. What would return my dander to its safe and natural down position?
Including Jonathan Toews in the conversation. That’s what.
I’m not jumping on the Toews bandwagon – a bandwagon, by the way, that had to have its seating capacity increased again last night after he went off on the Winnipeg Jets – simply because he had a fantastic night. Just because he can do this:
We have a few giants in our midst and it’s nice to see the hockey world appreciate the careers of three legends, all in their final season or two. Teemu Selanne, Jaromir Jagr and Martin Brodeur define a generation of hockey excellence.
But there’s another trio of hockey personalities who are in the midst of distinguished careers that will surely take them to the No. 2, 3 and 4 positions of all-time. Joel Quenneville, Ken Hitchcock and Lindy Ruff are gradually moving up the chart of NHL coaching wins and by the time they’re ready to settle into retirement will sit next in line behind the great Scotty Bowman.
When the Columbus Blue Jackets acquired right winger Marian Gaborik last season from the New York Rangers, they hoped he would replace Rick Nash, whom the previous management had dealt to the Rangers.
Currently sidelined four-to-six weeks with a sprained knee, Gaborik has managed only eight goals in 29 games with the Blue Jackets. He’s also in the final year of his contract, earning $7.5 million. Earlier in the season he was reportedly willing to re-sign, but his knee sprain should make Jackets management leery about a long-term investment in a scorer with a history of injury problems.
Gaborik’s performance prior to his injury prompted questions about his future with the club. The Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline took to Twitter to express his doubts about the Blue Jackets re-signing him, speculating they could move him by the March trade deadline “or sooner.” Read more
When a one-time impact player
plays his final season with Columbus fades away quietly at the end of his career, his retirement often goes unnoticed, so let’s give Adrian Aucoin a quick career eulogy.
With 10 games on tonight’s slate, including a late-night (at least if you’re in the east) battle of big Bens, it’s a busy one across the NHL.
Here the rundown of games and night No. 2 of THN’s “best bet” picks, with all four of our experts looking to remain undefeated. Read more