At the beginning of this week, I wrote Daily Doses laced with delight. After all, few things get the geeky senses tingling quite like a trade that could go in any number of directions for the teams involved. That was the great gift of the Thomas Vanek - Matt Moulson swap.
Wednesday night showed possibly the polar opposite of that feeling: when a legal issue surfaces. In case you missed it, Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov turned himself into Denver County Jail on Wednesday after drawing domestic violence-related charges.To be more specific, he's charged with second-degree kidnapping and third-degree assault. That kidnapping charge could end up being a class four felony, which has the potential to carry a sentence of 2-6 years.
Beyond the basics, a lot of the details are fuzzy right now and the whole situation is generally uncomfortable.
It’s not the DD’s job to make wild assumptions about a player’s legal issues. A lot can surface that may move the needle of public perception one way or another. It can all blow over or it can just as easily get a lot worse.
Instead of speculating or demonizing, I’ll instead get into the fantasy impact. Which means, with the limited information available right now, I’ll mainly focus on Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
THE UNKNOWN, BUT MAYBE NOT UNPRECEDENTED
Before that, let’s address Varlamov. I can’t say for sure if you should go push the red button and drop him just this moment. There are a lot of different possibilities. It’s common for legal issues to be pushed into the future, even for normal people (Varlamov was placed in a cell by himself because of his “celebrity”). One can look at situations like Nikolai Khabibulin heading to “Tent City” to see how these things aren’t always resolved right away.
There’s also the possibility of the NHL or Avalanche suspending him, and that can get sticky too (innocent before proven guilty, etc.).
In other words, don’t expect a bunch of tasteless Patrick Roy jokes in this space; you can find them just about anywhere else on the Internet. Still, it actually is wise to consider Roy’s 2001 incident. I highly recommend reading up on Adrian Dater’s memories of the somewhat similar legal issues Roy went through - and how Varlamov’s situation might parallel it - in the Denver Post:
It’s important to note that Roy kept on playing for the Avs while this whole case was going through the court system and eventually dropped. I know it was a tough time for him and his family, though. And I know it’s a stain on his career that he isn’t happy about and really regrets. But Roy still managed to win a Stanley Cup that year, along with a Conn Smythe Trophy.
So, again, it’s not safe to assume that Varlamov’s career is over. It could be in jeopardy - much like his freedom - at some point.
Really, the message is: wait and see. And maybe drop a marginal skater for a Plan B in net. Maybe, if you’re lucky, you can even grab the guy I’m about to discuss.
Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $2,500 Fantasy Hockey league tonight (Thursday). It's just $10 to join and first prize is $500. Starts at 7pm ET. Here's the link.
Oh, and there’s still plenty of time to join a Yahoo! Hockey Pool, so get on that.
CAN YOU GET JIGGY?
So, the first question is: can you even add Jean-Sebastien Giguere? The answer is: probably not, but if you can, now is the time.
A little past midnight, Giguere was owned in 48 percent of Yahoo Leagues. As this column goes up around 4 a.m. ET, that number already jumped to 50.
In ESPN leagues, it appears he’s already owned at a level of 71 percent, so you really have to hustle in that format.
My guess is that supplies are really going to run out as more and more people who were sleeping/watching the World Series and then sleeping last night will be catching wind of the Varlamov news - and Giguere’s likely benefit - with each passing hour.
If you’re waiting on pins and needles for the green light to grab Giguere, go ahead and do it. Again, I’d recommend dropping a marginal forward or defenseman for Giguere (or a Plan B) instead of cutting ties with Varlamov right at this moment.
GIGUERE FROM MANY ANGLES
But how valuable is Giguere?
First, let’s look at his work with the Avalanche.
2011-12: 32 GP - 14-11-3, .919 save percentage and 2.27 GAA
2012-13: 18 GP - 5-4-4, .908 save percentage and 2.84 GAA
2013-14: 3 GP - 3-0-0, .981 save percentage and .67 GAA
Obviously, his stats will drop this season. That’s likely even in his next start, whether he wins or loses (Colorado next plays against the Stars in Dallas on Friday).
Still, what I like to see there is the quantity overall and the quality in 2011-12. Varlamov’s injuries have opened the door for Giguere to be one of the more regular workers among backups. It’s also worth noting that while Jiggy’s numbers dipped last season, that happened when the Avalanche were truly in meltdown mode. At times, he was one of the few bright spots for the team not named Matt Duchene in 2012-13.
Career-wise, you probably know the drill with Giguere. He’s a Stanley Cup champion and one of those rare players who won the Conn Smythe on a losing team. Not every season with Anaheim was brilliant - and there were some tough times in Toronto - but his overall stats are pretty nice. After all, it's hard to argue with a No. 2's chances of becoming a No. 1 when you consider his career .913 save percentage.
The cherry (and icing) on top is that he’s in a contract year. So if Giguere really does get a nice run of games, he has every reason to capitalize.
Again, circling back to the Varlamov mystery, it’s foolish to assume too much. Don’t trade a quality player for Giguere, especially since Colorado seems primed to regress anyway. Still, if you can add him, do it. DO IT.
After the jump: quick game summaries and more.
PITTSBURGH 3, BOSTON 2
-- Jussi Jokinen isn't getting great ice time (15:19), though his PP time is solid (2:24). His production isn't over the top either, but his skill is tantalizing and he's not shy to shoot (35 SOG). The Finnish forward isn't a must-add, but he's solid; James Neal might ruin his value whenever he returns, though.
-- Jarome Iginla is on a five-game point streak (three goals and five assists), which accounts for all but one of his points this season. You have to love the 18 PIM and +9, too.
-- Patrice Bergeron's a fantastic guy in real life, but were people too excited about that translating to fantasy? It's hard to say, as he's a reliable plus/minus guy (+74 in his career) and has produced plenty of points lately. Still, his game is best represented by the "eye test" rather than the simplest numbers.
-- Tuukka Rask is playing well despite the pressure that comes with his big contract, but Marc-Andre Fleury seems like a steal, depending upon how your league judged him during the draft.
TORONTO 4, CALGARY 2
-- More of the same for the Maple Leafs: they suffered from a ridiculous shot disparity (43-22 this time) and still won. After James Reimer had a big shutout, Jonathan Bernier kept pace to help them beat a Calgary team that carried the play.
-- Joffrey Lupul and Nazem Kadri seem to continue to defy two very different crowds: those who expect their stats to regress and the head coach who regularly buries them (sometimes with enforcers).
-- Carter Ashton might be in line for a suspension after his boarding check from behind on Derek Smith. Stay tuned on that.
Los Angeles 4, San Jose Sharks 3 (OT)
-- Mike Richards might be taking well to moving to left wing. Or maybe it's just a coincidence. Either way, he now has six points (two goals, four assists) in his last seven games. He's not the high-volume shooter he once was in Philadelphia (at least 212 SOG from 2007-08 to 2009-10) but his history of getting PIM is appealing (514 PIM in 588 GP). He's an interesting guy who's mostly owned (72 percent).
-- For all the struggles Jonathan Quick has had individually - he had a .902 save percentage last season and has a .903 mark this year - his eight wins is only one behind Antti Niemi's nine.
-- Not many quality forwards play just about as much shorthanded time (3:39 last night) as they do on the PP (3:39 Wednesday), but Logan Couture did so yesterday. Tough not to overflow with praise for the guy.
DETROIT 2, VANCOUVER 1
-- The Sedin twins are making it awfully difficult for the Canucks to let them walk, but what's the right price and term? Could be tricky. The longer Henrik Sedin (three goals, 18 points) and Daniel Sedin (six goals, 15 points) have that contract year motivation, the better, obviously.
-- The Red Wings went on a four-game losing streak but stuck with Jimmy Howard, even though Jonas Gustavsson played so well. Very telling about how devoted Detroit is to Howard.
-- After a three-game pointless streak, Daniel Alfredsson now has goal in two straight games. Perhaps he'll be a little streaky all season? Either way he's producing at a better rate than I expected.
Click here for injury bits, including Teemu Selanne missing a couple weeks after needing some dental work from a high stick and Alex Ovechkin having an (uh oh) upper-body injury.