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Antti Raanta has been very good when called upon this season for the Rangers.  After recent developments, he’s going to have a massive impact in the fantasy playoffs.  Henrik Lundqvist is out for the next 2-3 weeks due to a hip injury allowing Raanta to be the guy for the Rangers.  His strong play continued on Sunday stopping 23 of 24 shots in the 4-1 win over the Red Wings.  Even after the recent rush of people going to grab Raanta, he’s still available in two-thirds of leagues.  If you’re fortunate enough to be in your fantasy playoffs, stop reading right now, add Raanta and then come back and see what else happened over the weekend:

Friday’s Games:

Gustav Nyquist – Three assists and three shots.  He’s on quite a heater right now making him a solid streamer.  As highlighted in my playoff schedule breakdown here, Detroit’s schedule gets really nice after the first week, especially for streaming.

Tomas Tatar – Two goals and an assist with four shots.  He’s regressed for the second straight season relegating him to a mediocre streamer.

Henrik Zetterberg – Two assists with three shots.  We highlighted Zetterberg on the last podcast.  Cliff Notes version is that he’s been outstanding for over a month now.

Jimmy Howard – 24 saves on 26 shots in his return from injury, a 4-2 win over Chicago.  Howard has been great this season albeit in only 16 starts.  The Red Wings are one of the worst teams in the league right now so it’s only a step above “desperate for starts” in my mind.

Jonas Brodin – Two assists with a shot.  Brodin is a great example of a guy who is better in real life than fantasy.  He’s not of much use even in deep leagues.

Charlie Coyle – Goal and an assist with four shots.  Coyle has been ice cold for a while now but the shots have been coming back in full force.  I’m probably still holding.

Mikael Granlund – Goal and an assist with three shots.  What a year from Granlund.  That said, I’ll probably be lower on him than most next season due to the lack of PIM and shots.  If he gets 55-60 points instead of 70+, then it’s a massive dropoff.

Zach Parise – Goal and an assist with two shots.  I’m on the fence with Parise.  The shots have fallen off (exactly 2 for 5 straight games) and he’s actually a minus player despite being on the Wild.  I lean towards dropping him to only stream but it’s close.

Jason Pominville – Goal and an assist with four shots.  Apparently every forward in the Wild top six had 1+1.  Pominville has had a nice bounce back this season but it’s still only streamer worthy.

Eric Staal – Two goals and an assist with three shots.  He had to one up everybody and get an extra point!  His bounce back has been incredible.

Jason Zucker – Goal and an assist with three shots.  Like Coyle, he’s slowed down but I’m still leaning towards holding.

Aleksander Barkov – Goal and an assist with two PIM.  He’s been great all season; it’s a shame that Barkov suffered that injury.  I’m a bit confused why he only played 15:38 in this one but I’m assuming it was a random, one time occurrence.

Jonathan Marchessault – Goal on four shots.  Only bringing him up because he was -6.  That is hard to do in a 7-4 game.  At this point, he’s out of the top six so Marchessault is a nice streamer.

Mark Pysyk – Goal and an assist with two shots.  I’m a big fan of his game in real life but it doesn’t translate into fantasy success.

Vincent Trocheck – Two assists with two shots.  The numbers are very similar to last season except the shot rate has jumped drastically and his plus-minus has plummeted.  He’s a clear hold.

Rickard Rakell – Goal and an assist with four shots.  He’s played at a 40 goal pace this season which is obviously remarkable.  The other obvious thing is we can’t bank on him shooting over 20% again.  Ride it out while you can.

Jaden Schwartz – Two assists with two shots, +4.  He’s back on the first line so I’d hold Schwartz again.

Paul Stastny – Goal and an assist with two shots.  Stastny ended up missing Saturday’s game due to illness which is unfortunate.  The Blues open this week with three games in four nights making Stastny, if healthy, an excellent streamer.

Vladimir Tarasenko – Goal and an assist with four shots.  I think he still belongs in the top ten picks for next season.  The floor is incredibly high and Tarasenko is about to flirt with back to back 40 goal seasons.

Marc-Andre Fleury – 40 saves on 42 shots in the 3-2 SO win over the Oilers.  They have a decent amount of back-to-backs so Fleury can be a nice streamer in his spot starts.

Connor McDavid – Goal on nine shots playing almost 27 minutes.  It was pretty clear his matchup with the Penguins meant a lot.  He still has a decent lead in the points race.

Saturday’s Games

Drew Stafford – Goal on four shots.  He’s been great since going to Boston.  Keep streaming him starting tonight (spoiler alert!).

Tuukka Rask – 26 saves on 27 shots in the 2-1 win over the Flyers.  The save percentage is low enough to drive him outside of the top tier but the other two categories are great.  Look for Boston to keep rolling him down the stretch.

Juuse Saros – 25 saves on 26 shots in the 3-1 win over the Sharks.  I’m still all-in for dynasties.  It’s hard to say when he’ll end up being the guy for Nashville but hopefully it’s sooner than later.

Oliver Bjorkstrand – Goal on six shots.  Keep streaming the young man.

Sam Gagner – Two assists with two shots.  Gagner was buzzing in both games all weekend which left me encouraged about his play for the rest of the season.  He’s had a point in five straight now making me lean towards hold again.

Jack Eichel – Goal and an assist with two shots.  I’ve talked up Eichel enough over the last couple weeks so insert another superlative here.

Evander Kane – Goal and an assist with five shots.  What an incredible stretch for Kane who has become the player the Sabres hoped for.  He’s pushing towards a top 50 player for next season given the elite shots and PIM on top of the goals.

Rasmus Ristolainen – Two assists playing over 32 minutes.  It’s great in two categories and I think it gets better next season once the Sabres finally get a quality partner to play with him.  Risto will still be 22 when next season starts.

James van Riemsdyk – Goal and an assist with five shots.  He’s been great which isn’t much of a surprise.  Remember that Toronto got him for Luke Schenn straight up.  Infinite lulz.

Frederik Andersen – 36 saves on 38 shots in the 3-2 OT win over the Hurricanes.  It’s a roller coaster ride but right up it’s on the good end so ride him right now.

Alexandre Burrows – Goal and an assist.  Their schedule is amazing for streaming so keep using Burrows.

Fredrik Claesson – Goal on two shots.  He’s been playing with 65 and has a point in three straight.  I wouldn’t mind taking a chance on him in deep leagues.

Mike Hoffman – Goal and an assist with four shots.  With all of the injuries the Senators are going through right now, Hoffman’s minutes are even better than normal.  Look for him to keep rolling.

Erik Karlsson – Two assists with six shots and two PIM.  Speaking of rolling, he’s almost in the league lead for assists again.  Karlsson is a legitimate Hart candidate.

Sven Andrighetto – Goal on his only shot.  I’m a fan of his game and he now has points in three straight.  It’s bottom end streaming right now but I wouldn’t dismiss him outright.

Aleksander Barkov – Two assists with three shots.  As stated above, he’s pretty good.  Sasha also played over 21 minutes in this game so no worries about the ice time.

Ondrej Palat – Goal on seven shots with four PIM.  The usage is outstanding right now due to their injuries so I’d lean towards holding him in the short term.

Brian Elliott – 31 save shutout in the 3-0 win over the Jets.  Hotter than a pistol right now so here’s to hoping you’re getting use of it.

Michael Frolik – Goal and an assist with three shots.  Frolik is also in the middle of a heater right now.  Their schedule sucks for streaming but he’s close enough to a hold that I’d still use him.

Dougie Hamilton – Three assists with four shots.  This is the breakout we expected last season.  Better late than never.  That is, unless you drafted him last season and didn’t take him this year.

Josh Ho-Sang – Assist with a shot playing almost 20 minutes.  If that volume persists, then JHS is a great streamer.

Alex Steen – Goal and an assist.  They have three games in the next four nights so I’d be sure to grab him if he’s available.

Vladimir Tarasenko – Two goals on six shots.  Look for the team to increase his minutes as they push for the playoffs.

Kyle Palmieri – Two goals on six shots.  The Devils have four games in each of the next two weeks cementing Palmieri as a hold in my book.

Damon Severson – Two assists with two shots.  This year was extremely disappointing for Severson.  The Devils have found a way to have zero fantasy relevant defensemen.

Jakob Chychrun – Goal and two assists with three shots.  We’re probably a year away from being a year away but I am a fan in dynasties.

Anthony DeAngelo – Goal and an assist with four shots.  DeAngelo has impressed me quite a bit this season and the opportunity for a bigger role next season is there.  I can see taking a shot on DeAngelo next season late in drafts.

Jordan Martinook – Two assists.  He’s been okay at times but it’s nowhere near 12’er relevant.

Tobias Rieder – Goal and an assist with three shots.  Rieder played over 20 minutes and has six points in the past five games.  The Coyotes have a heavy schedule the next couple weeks so I’m fine with streaming Rieder.

Matt Murray – 27 save shutout in the 3-0 win over the Canucks.  He’s been everything owners hoped for outside of the injury.  As I mentioned on the podcast a few episodes ago, I think he can be a top 3 goalie next year.

Sidney Crosby – Two assists with nine shots on goal.  Crosby is pushing in full force right now and they play the second most games the last four weeks after Carolina.  Sid should do wonders for teams in the playoffs.

Jake Guentzel – Goal and an assist with four shots.  He played with Crosby and saw over 21 minutes of ice time.  I would stream him tonight and possibly hold him going forward.

Conor Sheary – Goal and an assist with eight shots.  Why the hell is Sheary available in almost 50% of leagues.  He’s been a top 50 player this season on a per-game basis.  Grab him immediately.

Jeff Carter – Goal and an assist with two shots.  Like Tarasenko, look for Carter’s minutes to be elevated down the stretch as they push for the playoffs.

Anze Kopitar – Goal and an assist with three shots.  He has five points in the last five games but it won’t change that Kopitar is arguably the biggest disappointment in fantasy hockey this year.  It’s a borderline hold at this point.

Alec Martinez – Two assists with a shot.  Martinez is a clear must-own right now with six points in the past four games.

Sunday’s Games:

Devan Dubnyk – Zero saves on two shots before getting pulled.  It’s pretty tough to make a start without making a save but here we are.  Naturally it was the #1 goalie on the season that did it.

Patrick Kane – Goal and an assist with five shots.  It won’t match last season’s insane performance but it’s still top five forward worthy.

Artemi Panarin – Goal and an assist.  He’s been better than I expected although he also won’t match last season’s gaudy totals.

Corey Crawford – 42 saves on 44 shots in the 4-2 win over the Wild.  His backup for the next two weeks is a guy who has never played an NHL game so look for Crawford to be rolled, especially that the divisional title is in sight.

Michael Grabner – Two assists with three shots in his return from a hip injury.  The Rangers playoff schedule blows but I’d still lean towards holding Grabner.  He’s just been too good to cut right now.

Kevin Hayes – Goal and an assist with two shots.  Hayes has been cold lately but the return of Grabner could spark him as well.  He’s right on the fringe but I’d also lean towards holding him.

Ryan McDonagh – Two goals on three shots.  When I ranked him very high in the preseason, I said that “this is a leap of faith for a player that has a career high of 43 points but I think McDonagh pushes 50 this season.”  He probably won’t get to 50 but he should set a new career high.  McDonagh has been a solid #2 making him a great value as expected.

Carey Price – 24 saves on 25 shots in the 4-1 win over the Oilers.  In his past five starts, he’s allowed one goal four times and had a shutout in the other game.  Seems good.  Their schedule is light down the stretch so hopefully he doesn’t need to be rested.

Paul Byron – Two goals and an assist with three shots.  He was questionable with the flu but apparently Byron wanted to do his MJ impression.  Byron is a bottom end streamer at best

Max Pacioretty – Two goals on six shots.  After a horrible start to the season, Patches is one goal from the league lead.  He’s probably a second rounder next season coming in right around 20th overall.  The goals and shots are outstanding, the penalty minutes are solid and most importantly with a high pick, he’s incredibly safe.

Ryan Getzlaf – Goal and two assists with two shots and four PIM.  We talked about Getzlaf extensively on the last podcast and he hasn’t disappointed since.  The one game that he didn’t score in the last couple weeks, Getzlaf totaled 17 penalty minutes.  It’s right in line with last season’s numbers with the potential to even surpass them.

Ryan Kesler – Goal and two assists with three shots and four PIM.  He had fallen off hard over the last month as I expected but he’s still in line to improve on last season.  Their playoff schedule is a disaster and I’m not actually opposed to dropping him on Saturday if he struggles this week.

Corey Perry – Two goals and an assist with four shots.  Like both of his teammates above, Perry has had his rough patches this season.  Unlike them, he won’t be reaching last season’s totals.  Like Kesler, I wouldn’t be opposed to dropping him if things go poor this week.  I know it seems extreme but it’s not so good that you have to hold him while he’s playing three games a week for the next three weeks.

Aaron Dell – 29 saves on 30 shots in the 5-1 win over the Stars.  As DeBoer said, Dell is going to play more games down the stretch.  He’s been great all year so keep streaming him.

Logan Couture – Two assists with two shots.  I feel like Couture doesn’t receive enough credit for how good of a player he is.  Keep rolling him.

Paul Martin – Two assists.  Despite playing a lot of minutes with Mr. Burns, Martin’s days of fantasy relevance are in the past.

Joe Pavelski – Two goals on six shots.  Here comes his push for another 30+40 season.  Mr. Consistency has been just that again.

Monday’s Streamers:

Jake Guentzel (11.6%) – As noted above, he’s playing huge minutes with Crosby right now.  It’s not a great matchup for the Pens playing the red hot Flames but Guentzel is matchup-proof right now.

Drew Stafford (3.2%) – Today’s streamers are brought to you by going back to the well.  Stafford has been rolling since going to Boston and they get a great matchup against the Canucks.

Oliver Bjorkstrand (3.5%) – He’s producing, the shots are up and they’re playing the Flyers.  What’s not to like?

That’s all for now guys.  Today is the first busy Monday in months so I will be back with daily notes tomorrow morning recapping the action.  We’ll also be dropping a podcast Tuesday afternoon.  As always, feel free to ask any questions or leave any comments below.  Best of luck to everyone in the playoffs, RCL or otherwise.  Thanks for reading, take care!

  1. jon says:
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    Semi finals this week.. should I start Coyle or Tkatchuk

    Tkatchuk – home to pitt bos dalls and la

    Coyle- @wash, @ carolina home to NYR and @winnipeg

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @jon: Is it a standard league or points? Assuming it’s standard, I would lean towards Tkachuk just for the potential PIM since their scoring rates are very similar at this point.

      • jon says:
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        @Viz:

        yeah standard no PIMS tho

        G A P PP +- HITS SHP

        • Viz

          Viz says:
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          @jon: Ah okay, that changes things quite a bit. I’d go with Coyle then because he even adds more hits than Tkachuk does.

  2. For an Armenianless Vacation come to Akron says:
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    similar league, but roto.
    list is:
    barbashev C/LW STL
    c.white C OTT
    crouse LW ARI
    kempe LW LA
    chabot D OTT
    c.hart G PHI
    sergachev D MTL (damn the ONLY league where i got him, targeted him everywhere as i don’t nearly ever get high round picks from doing well)

    t.thompson over crouse? (or anybody really)

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @For an Armenianless Vacation come to Akron: Yeah I’d do it over Crouse. I’m admittedly not a big Crouse fan so that is coloring my judgment a bit but I just don’t see it with him.

  3. Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
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    guessing for today only this is an easy
    smith vs COL
    over
    budaj @ NYR

      • Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
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        @Viz: the @ NYR part scares the hell outta me compared to the comfy vs COL matchup

        • Viz

          Viz says:
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          @Montezuma’s Revenge… right now: Right, no argument. I can see Arizona having trouble containing MacKinnon’s line but the Rangers lineup is great top to bottom. Even though they’re on a back to back, that’s not enough to pass on Smith.

  4. Don'tGoWaterfalls says:
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    Hey, Viz

    I’ve commented a few times about my fantasy hockey season. Everything went well, locked up a playoff spot early, but we just had the semifinals (8-man league ending in a week) and I got nipped in a huge slugfest. McDavid went -5 with one goal, and my +/- lost 0 to -4. Tough break, but I did everything I could- some teams just get cold at the wrong time. (I probably should have picked up Dell instead of Mrazek yesterday, but add/drop locked at 12:30 and I didn’t know who was starting)

    Anyway, before I sign off on fantasy hockey until next year, I want to thank you again for your column and insight. I had the best season in any fantasy I’ve ever played- I drafted perfectly using your list to find ESPN’s undervalued players, snagged Murray as a goaltender, and generally destroyed all year, finishing 15-5 in the regular season. I played without defenders all year and maximized offense, too- might be a strategy to look into.

    I’m a Buffalo native, btw- another reason to look forward to next year.

    Anyway, good luck to the rest of the commenters, and thanks again for the help.

    Thanks!

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Don’tGoWaterfalls: Hey man! Man, that sucks that it McDavid went super cold at the wrong time. Yeah you can’t beat yourself up on that goalie decision since it even surprised me a bit when Dell started.

      Thanks a lot, I really appreciate it. There is some appeal to doing that with defensemen, especially if you don’t get any of the top guys. Hopefully you take that one last final step next season and don’t hesitate to ask about any questions you have next year. Man, small world! Hopefully this snow isn’t so bad the next couple days.

    • Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
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      @Don’tGoWaterfalls: always go dell this year over any DET goalie

  5. Quick Sycamore says:
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    Gibson is injured again! Good thing I have a bye week, but still.

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Quick Sycamore: Yeah this is getting aggravating. Hopefully it’s nothing serious, it seems that it isn’t but who knows. Congrats on the bye!

      • Quick Sycamore says:
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        @Viz: Thanks. Our league has limited weekly moves so the bye is good to pick up some guys for next week without burning moves.

        • Viz

          Viz says:
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          @Quick Sycamore: Gotcha, smart moves. I always like to leave a move for Sundays just to set up for the following week, using the bye is even better. Using my playoff schedule breakdown should help too.

  6. Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:
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    ok, WTF is going on with OTT this year compared to last year, other than i’m pretty sure turris being healthy most of the year this is pretty much the same roster as last year. this is looking like what happens in NFL, where sometimes a team just “transforms” from one year to the next. this is mostly true about the defense/goalies, but they are the SAME people as last year.

    • Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:
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      @Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo: DAL is the flip side of this, their defense WAS in fact awful last year, but it was propped up by their last year’s awesome offense. i predicted they’d regress, but not this much.

      • Viz

        Viz says:
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        @Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo: It’s a few things. I definitely think Boucher deserves some credit. Ceci and Phaneuf have been a decent second pair when they were a dumpster fire last year. Anderson has been incredible and Condon was decent enough when Anderson was gone; last year Hammond was atrocious. Dallas had no margin of error given their goaltending. Once they lost a lot of their depth to injury, they were screwed.

        • Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:
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          @Viz: anderson was awful last year as well.

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