If the season ended today, the New York Rangers would trail the eighth place Philadelphia Flyers by three points in the Eastern Conference standings, and miss the playoffs. Like most teams, they have dealt with injuries this season, Rick Nash has missed time with an upper-body injury, as has captain Ryan Callahan, who injured his shoulder back in late January. The team has received inconsistent play out of All-Star goalie Henrik Lundqvist this year, but to the surprise of many, and especially fantasy owners, Brad Richards has been a major disappointment so far in this shorten season.
The 32-year-old centre, who is signed through the 2018-19 season, has failed to score a goal in his last 14 games. Over that stretch, he has recorded seven assists and 29 shots on goal, but going 14 games without scoring is not what you expected from the 66-point man from a year ago.
In order to try and get him back on track, Rangers head coach John Tortorella put Richards on a line with leader scorer Carl Hagelin and Rick Nash over the past two games that resulted in two assists, but still no goals.
This current streak is new territory for the forward. Over the past three season, Richards longest scoreless drought was nine games, which just happened to come in his first year as a Ranger. With just two goals in 19 games this season, the question becomes, what should you do with a player you likely drafted late in the second round?
We won’t go as far as advise you drop him, that would be ridiculous, although New York Post writer Larry Brooks did write this week about the possibility of the team using one of their amnesty buyouts on him this summer. That would be ludicrous and a pure sign of panic. He’s still a top forward in this league, but like the Leafs’ Phil Kessel, he’s just not scoring.
If you own Richards, his value has never been lower, but you may want to target the following players in a trade, especially if your team needs goals. Richards will still help owners in other categories (assists) so he’s not a player that other owners would simply reject the notion of trading for, you just have to be creative.
Players to target in a trade for Richards:
Hurricanes’ Jeff Skinner
Stats: 8 goals, 7 assists, 66 shots
Sharks’ Logan Couture
Stats: 8 goals, 8 assists, 48 shots
Sharks’ Patrick Marleau
Stats: 12 goals, 6 assists, 71 shots
Devils’ David Clarkson
Stats: 10 goals, 7 assists, 80 shots
Here was Richards last goal from back on January 26th:
The Avalanche will welcome back forward Ryan O’Reilly Sunday vs the Blue Jackets. Conditioning will be a factor for him and he will likely see time on the third line for the time being. I would still start him today though. If the Avs feel he’s ready, that’s good enough for me to give it a shot.
Currently, he’s owned in 24 percent of Yahoo Leagues and 36.2 percent of ESPN Leagues. in his career against the Blue Jackets, he has 3 goals and 2 assists in 11 games.
Watch for the Panthers to recall goalie Jacob Markstrom today after Jose Theodore left last night’s game with an apparent knee injury.
Oilers forward Taylor Hall remains a game-time decision Sunday against the wild with a hamstring injury.
Last week, I wrote about finding value for Roberto Luongo on the trade market. Well, I thought I would update my situation with him, as I was able to pull off a trade involving Luongo.
I acquired the Kings’ Drew Doughty, Bruins’ Milan Lucic and Avalanche Paul Stastny for Luongo and the Ducks’ Saku Koivu. I have to be honest, I was pretty happy with this trade considering Roberto allowed eight goals last Sunday and hasn’t played since.
If you own him, still try and find out his value on the market, you know the Canucks will turn to him again soon.
Top 5 pickups in Yahoo!
1. Jiri Tlusty (CAR)
2. Saku Koivu (ANA)
3. Nazem Kadri (TOR)
4. Andrew Cogliano (ANA)
5. Ryan O’Reilly (COL)
Top 5 drops in Yahoo!
1. Alex Steen (STL)
2. Jose Theodore (FLA)
3. Benoit Pouliot (TB)
4. Ben Scrivens (TOR)
5. Raphael Diaz (MTL)
Greatest Change in percentage owned on ESPN:
1. Tomas Kopecky (FLA) 41.3%
2. Ryan O’Reilly (COL) 35.3%
3. Nazem Kadri (TOR) 31%
4. Michael Ryder (MTL) 28.7%
5. Derek Stepan (NYR) 23.6%
If you any fantasy questions this season, let me know in the comment section, and good luck this week.