Fantasy Notes: Bud Buzz
Oh what the hell. Let’s check in with some Toronto Maple Leafs fantasy notes today. I’m all stoked about tonight’s matchup against Philly now that it’s again safe to come out of the closet (oops, better choose my words more carefully in case Tim Hardaway is reading) as a Flyers’ fan in the wake of that huge win over Detroit.
- Darcy Tucker is seeking a contract extension, and there’s a remote chance that if the two sides can’t agree by the trade deadline, the Leafs would ship him out of town. I can’t see that happening, given the message it would send. As for when we might actually see the pesky winger on the ice again, he’s getting closer. He has more tests on his ankle scheduled for next week, but it’s not inconceivable that Tucker could return to the lineup late next week. We should have a clearer timetable once he is re-evaluated. Recall that when Tucker went down just before the halfway point in the season, he was the Leafs’ leading goal scorer with 19. Amazingly, he’s been passed by only Mats Sundin despite the fact 16 games have transpired since the injury. At the time, Tucker had accounting for 15 per cent of Toronto’s goals, so obviously getting him back in short order will be vital should the Leafs hope to get back into the top eight in the East.
- Last week, in our Ice Chips column, we talked about how Andrew Raycroft was looking like the hottest goalie in the league. We got a note the other day from Don of Battle of Ontario who astutely pointed out that Raycroft is a much better fantasy bet away from the ACC, and the splits certainly bear that out: He’s just 10-11-5, 3.12, .887 at home, but on the road, Raycroft has been superb, with a 15-6-1 record, 2.66 GAA and .910 save percentage. He’s also recorded his only shutout of the season on the road, whitewashing the Senators way back on October 5, when the season was young and full of hope. Thanks for the tip, Don.
- Kyle Wellwood is making progress from his sports hernia surgery. He’s begun riding a stationary bike and is targeting the second week of March for his return. The loss of Wellwood has also been tough to overcome for Toronto, considering he was averaging almost a point per game and, with nine goals in his first 35 games, was closing in on his rookie season total of 11, set in 81 games.
- Michael Peca is now able to walk on his knee, but needs a cane to do so. He says his knee will be able to fully bear his weight by next week and he’s holding out hope that he’ll return this season. However, if the Leafs fail to make the playoffs, I don’t like his chances.
- We’re still waiting to see Nik Antropov produce like he did back in November, but he’s starting to be a little less gun shy, and that seems to be helping. He’s fired 11 shots on goal in the last three games, and is averaging a point per game over that stretch. Antropov is gaining some traction is very deep leagues, so you should at least start paying attention to what he’s up to.
- Alexander Suglobov actually scored for the Marlies on Sunday, just his second goal in nine games. Apparently, there was an NHL team interested in the 25-year-old when he was waived by the Leafs last month, but nothing has come of that. And with a -5 mark with the Marlies, it’s becoming clear that Suglobov may not be in anyone’s long-term plans.
- Wade Belak has scored one goal since the 2002-03 season. Just thought you might like to know that. In fact, it’s been almost a month since he even recorded an assist. Of course, with a whopping 8:10 of ice time combined over the past three games, it’s kind of hard to get on the scoresheet. I mean, jeez, things are so bad that Belak is even in a PM slump, going four straight games without a trip to the sin bin.