On a daily basis, we’re all reminded that time waits for no man. Without question, the NHL is now a young man’s league – just don’t tell that to the countless veterans turning back the clock this season.
While there’s no doubt the youngsters have been a treat to watch on a nightly basis, the ‘old guys’ deserve some love too. For the sake of life as we know it, the ageless Jaromir Jagr will be held out of this piece. He’s defies logic.
NO SPRING CHICKENS
Eric Staal – C – Minnesota Wild
By no means is Staal considered an old fart but what he’s doing in his first year with the Wild and at the ripe age of 32 is unbelievable. With 35 points in 39 games to date, he’s essentially on pace to sniff around his statistical production from his peak years. There’s no doubt in my mind that Staal deserves to be in Los Angeles in for All-Star weekend.
Ryan Kesler – C – Anaheim Ducks
Similar to Staal, Kesler has been a fantasy beast this season. He’s 32 and definitely not showing it. 16 goals, 19 assists, +10 – his line seems to producing all the offense these days for the Ducks. That’s a bit shocking considering Anaheim also boasts the likes of Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. If this offensive consistency continues, Kesler could come close to his career highs with Vancouver in the 2009/2010 season.
Michael Grabner – LW, RW – New York Rangers
After a very hot start, Grabner had tapered off. Key word being ‘had’. Over the last couple of games, he’s found his stride again. The 29-year-old Austrian has four goals and six points over the last two games. He’s on a short list for one of the most surprising reclamations of the season. With 18 goals in 41 games, he’s on pace for 36. While it’s probably unlikely he gets there, keep in mind that his career high is 34 – a number he attained all the way back in his sophomore season with the New York Islanders.
Alex Radulov – LW, RW – Montreal Canadiens
After another hiatus from the NHL, the 30-year-old Russian has had a successful return. Because we hadn’t seen him in North America in a couple years – his production was tough to gauge going into this season. Well, suffice it to say, he’s been a pleasant surprise. Radulov has made a seamless transition back into the NHL. He’s been on fire lately too registering at least one point in six consecutive games. It appears his partying days are behind him and they’re in love with him in Montreal.
Cam Ward – G – Carolina Hurricanes
It’s not really spoken about much but Ward is having a very steady and solid season in between the pipes for the Hurricanes. Many thought his best days were past him but boy oh boy, were we wrong or what. Given all his accomplishments in Carolina, the 32-year-old is actually on pace for a career season. At the midway point, he’s posted 15 wins, a fantastic 2.28 GAA along with a .915 SVP%. He’s a great third goalie option on your fantasy rosters.
Nick Foligno – LW, RW – Columbus Blue Jackets
Columbus’ offensive depth has been one of the biggest reasons for their tremendous success so far this season. Similar to two years ago, Foligno has been putting up some gaudy offensive numbers. He’s notched 35 points in 37 games while accumulating a plus-10 rating. He’s doing it all and it has gone very under the radar. While Ottawa Senators fans are moderately pleased with Marc Methot and what he brings to the table, I’m sure they’d take more offense right now. Looking back – that was a great trade for the Blue Jackets.
Thomas Vanek – LW, RW – Detroit Red Wings
Let’s not sugar coat things – Vanek’s time in Minnesota will be something he wants to forget. That being said, he’s had a nice bounce back first season with Detroit. To date, he’s picked up 25 points (10+15) in 29 games – not too shabby for a soon to be 33-year-old (January 19th) making $2.6 million this season.
Scott Hartnell – LW, RW – Columbus Blue Jackets
Going into this season, it seemed like the 34-year-old’s days with the Blue Jackets were numbered. I’m not so sure of that anymore. I spoke about Columbus’ depth a bit earlier (Foligno). Playing primarily on the 4th line, Hartnell has put up some decent numbers considering his situation/usage. Through 39 games, the Regina native has 10 goals, 14 assists and has been solid defensively as well racking up a plus-13 rating.
Michal Neuvirth – G – Philadelphia Flyers
Sven Baertschi – LW – Vancouver Canucks
Patrick Maroon – LW – Edmonton Oilers
Jake Muzzin – D – Los Angeles Kings
Andreas Athanasiou – C, LW – Detroit Red Wings
Ian Gooding (@Ian_Gooding) of dobberhockey.com and sportsnet.ca was my guest on Episode 11 of the Fantasy Fix Podcast.
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Hope you all had a fantastic holiday season!
For all inquiries and thoughts, you can find me on twitter: @thegoldenmuzzy
#NAFantasyFix for your questions. I’ll answer them on my podcast.