As far as stunning results go, the Senators going into Calgary and winning 6-0 against Calgary is up there. They then matched it on Saturday night beating the Oilers 6-1. Not bad for back to back games against two elite teams on the road without their best player. Leading the way for the Senators was Kyle Turris. Over the two games, Turris scored two goals on five shots with four assists and two PIM. Reid’s man crush has the ability to be a top 100 player in fantasy. Will this be the year he gets there? Maybe, but even if it’s not, Turris should be owned in all leagues. Let’s take a look at what happened over the weekend:Please, blog, may I have some more?
The first home game for the Vegas Golden Knights couldn’t have started any better. After an amazing pre-game ceremony, Vegas stormed out to four goals in the first period en route to winning 5-2 against the Coyotes. Here we are with Vegas sitting at 3-0. So do we have to change our expectations for the team? I’ll talk about it extensively with Reid tomorrow but I still believe they’ll be at the bottom of the league come April. That said, what an amazing start for a team in the wake of tragedy. For fantasy, I think there’s three guys I would own right now in standard 12’ers: Marc-Andre Fleury, James Neal and Nate Schmidt. There is still some downside for all of them but in the moment, just enjoy the ride. I can’t wait to be there next week to see a game in Vegas. Let’s take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:Please, blog, may I have some more?
All everyone talked about in the preseason was wondering how bad Vegas was going to be in their expansion year. Sure, it’s only two games, but boy did they have some excitement. On Friday, Dallas was dominating Vegas in their franchise opener but was only up 1-0 in the third. Down goes Ben Bishop which opened up the door for James Neal to give the people of Las Vegas some relief in an awful time. Neal scored two goals in the third period to propel the Golden Knights to victory. To top off the weekend, Neal scored another goal, this time the game winner in overtime, to give Vegas two wins to start the season. Neal is still available in over 40% of leagues and if you are in one of them, grab him. The shot rate is going to be elite along with solid penalty minutes and goals. At least for now, I’m not overly concerned about the top guys on Vegas having bad plus-minuses either. Let’s take a look at what else happened in the first (long) weekend of the NHL season:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Since it’s almost Labor Day, it’s time for me to pick up the pace with my rankings. For those who haven’t seen them, you can check out my Top 50 here. I’m not going to bore you with an intro, everybody wants to see my top 100 and this is going to be incredibly long as is, so let’s get right to it!
51) Ben Bishop – The more research that I do, the more I’m tempted to move Bishop up even higher. Yes, last season was a disaster, but Bishop was the #1 overall player in 2015-16. But Viz, Dallas has been a train wreck defensively for years! This is true, but with Marc Methot coming on board and the growth of their young blueliners, they could take a step forward. More importantly, we’ve seen some goalies with far less talent than Bishop succeed in Ken Hitchcock’s system *cough* Brian Elliott *cough*. It’s a little risky but I’m expecting Dallas to push for the Central Division title giving Bishop massive upside across the board.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Amazingly, the Ottawa Senators were one goal away from making The Stanley Cup Finals last season. It was a simple formula: have the best defenseman in the world on your team, a hot goaltender and nice forward depth (only one forward had more than 11 points in their 19 playoff games). This year, they bring back the entire core from last season while adding a couple veterans and at least one, potentially two elite young talents. There is clear room for improvement given that the Senators actually had a negative goal differential last season. It’s fair to say that Ottawa overachieved last season but it’s also fair to say that their run wasn’t a complete fluke. For fantasy, their team is very much like real life. They have one elite player, solid forwards and a goaltender that can carry you for stretches or bury you. Let’s take a look at what Ottawa is working with:Please, blog, may I have some more?
This is going to be a two part series looking back at the recently-concluded NHL regular season. To start, I’m going to look at the biggest mistakes in my rankings. Who did I rank too high compared to consensus? Who did I rank too low? More importantly, what was my thought process and where did it go wrong? Hopefully this review will prevent similar mistakes in the future. Let’s get right to it!Please, blog, may I have some more?
When talking about the Carolina Hurricanes schedule in my Playoff Breakdown piece, I said the following: “The Godfather of playoff schedules, the Hurricanes are going to be great on volume alone. They don’t have three games in three nights like Detroit but there’s a pile of back to backs here. There has to be with 17(!!!) games in 28 nights to close the season. That’s two more games than anyone else in the league. Jeff Skinner and Victor Rask should be monsters in the playoffs while Sebastian Aho and Elias Lindholm will be among the best streamers in the league.” And that’s me quoting me! All of this had held true except for Rask being mediocre. Not bad. Skinner has been the best of the bunch and that continued on Tuesday night. Skinner had two goals and an assist with five shots in the 5-3 loss to the Wild. He’s been hotter than a pistol bringing his totals to 35 goals and 26 assists on the season. With the elite shot rate, Skinner is pushing towards a top 50 player going forward. The team around him is getting much better and Skinner is nearing his prime as he turns 25 in May. I don’t think we’ve seen his best yet. Here’s what else happened around the league the last two nights:Please, blog, may I have some more?
The greatest goal scorer in the history of the NHL has made a massive push down the stretch to push many teams towards a fantasy championship. While his shot rate and goal rate have dropped this year, Alex Ovechkin is still a monster. He had his best game of the season scoring a hat trick and an assist with six shots in the 5-4 OT win over the Wild. That brings his totals to 33+33 on the season with a solid plus-minus and penalty minute contribution. Obviously it’s disappointing his shot rate went from five per game to four per game but it’s still outstanding. We discussed on the podcast where Ovechkin will rank for next season and while I don’t think he’s worthy of the top selection anymore, he’s still a top five pick without hesitation. Here’s to hoping he finally gets over the playoff hump and Ovechkin gets the accolades he deserves. Let’s take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:Please, blog, may I have some more?
In these parts, we’re a big supporter of the Jets for fantasy hockey. Going back to when I started writing here, the Jets love started with Blake Wheeler. An unheralded superstar, Wheeler has never received the credit he deserves for his consistent level of play. Another year goes by and it’s another year where Wheeler is pushing the top ten overall forwards. Wheeler continued his recent hot streak with a goal and two assists with two shots in the 3-2 win over the Flyers. That brings his totals to 22+41 in 73 games with 43 PIM and 230 SOG. The safety he provides is the main reason why I ranked him 21st overall in the preseason and it looks like Wheeler is going to reach that value. So where will he be next season? He’s going to turn 31 before next season starts which means he’s likely to start marginally declining as he exits his prime. However, his quality of teammate is going to continue to improve as the rest of the Jets core moves towards their prime. Is he going to be worth a second pick again? It’s going to be pretty close but at the least, Wheeler will be a high third round pick. I don’t see him falling outside of my top 30. Let’s take a look at the action around the league the last two nights:Please, blog, may I have some more?
I know evisceration seems like I’m going too far but the Panthers had control of their game against Toronto from the first shift of the game. Florida scored 18 seconds in and led the rest of the way winning the game 7-2. Their leading scorer was Thomas Vanek who notched four assists, a career high, with four shots on goal finishing +3. Vanek was struggling since arriving in Florida with only one point in five games while being -7. Now, his overall stat line seems pretty good after this explosion. The Panthers schedule is very fantasy-friendly down the stretch making Vanek as good of a streamer as there is. Is he worth holding? Well, that’s to be determined. While the matchups are tough, the Panthers have three games in four nights starting on Thursday morning. I’m probably going to grab Vanek, ride him through the weekend and then proceed from there. Here’s what else happened around the league on Tuesday night:Please, blog, may I have some more?