During last season, it looked like Eric Staal‘s career was on a steep decline. While he’s still not close to the player he was in his prime, the 39 point season he had in 83 games in 2015-16 looks to be a thing of the past. Staal moved to Minnesota this offseason on a three year deal to center the first line and it’s no surprise that Bruce Boudreau has helped revitalize his career. On Thursday night, Staal led the way for the Wild scoring a goal and two assists with six shots on goal being +3 in the Wild’s 4-2 road win over the Penguins. That boosts Staal’s totals to 5 goals and 6 assists in 12 games with almost 3 shots per game. He’s shown an amazing ability to stay healthy throughout his career leading me to believe he has a pretty good chance to reach 60 points again. As the frequent readers know, I’m a big fan of the Wild’s chances of success, at least from a regular season standpoint, and Staal is a big factor in that. For now, Staal should be considered a borderline top 100 player who should remain a clear hold for the entire season; I would not try to sell high on him. Let’s take a look at what happened around the league the last two nights:
Blue Jackets 3, Ducks 2 (OT) – For Anaheim, Hampus Lindholm was eased into his first game playin 18:33. Cam Fowler played over 25 minutes tallying an assist and two shots while Sami Vatanen played 22:32 putting three shots on net. We need at minimum a few more games to see how things shake out. Sergei Bobrovsky was strong again saving 30 of 32 shots. I’d be really tempted to sell high if you can, the downswing seems inevitable with the team in front of him. There was talk Brandon Saad would be scratched which, if you listened to the podcast, you know it made me apoplectic. Naturally he scored a goal and an assist playing almost 20 minutes so hopefully Torts realized that even entertaining the thought was idiotic. Boone Jenner finally scored while Zach Werenski and Alexander Wennberg maintained their strong play with a point each. Scott Hartnell had an assist and three shots but he only played 9:24. His point production is a complete fluke.
Senators 2, Sabres 1 (SO) – Mike Condon was outstanding, particularly in overtime when the Sabres outshot the Sens 8-0, making 31 saves in the win. I still don’t trust these Ottawa goalies at all. Ryan Dzingel scored the goal on three shots and looked good showing a nice burst of speed. The shots need to go up in general but he’s a quality streamer. Derick Brassard assisted the goal playing over 20 minutes. He was in a 5 game pointless streak but he still needs to be held. For Buffalo, Ryan O’Reilly missed the game although it’s not serious; he should be back in one of the next two games against the Devils. Robin Lehner was great against his old team making 28 saves but it sadly wasn’t enough to win.
Blackhawks 2, Blues 1 (OT) – Corey Crawford was on the verge of a shutout until Alex Pietrangelo scored with 2:11 left. Nonetheless, his owners have to be happy with 1 goal against on 28 shots. Artemi Panarin had 1+1 with 6 SOG and shockingly 5 PIM after getting in a fight. It’s been a great start for Panarin who I was lower on than most. The big boost in shots have helped and he’s a huge +11 already. Panarin also has a big PIM total which seems fluky. Pietrangelo added two shots and four penalty minutes but he’s still only bottom end. Jaden Schwartz assisted on the goal as did Vladimir Tarasenko. Schwartz still needs to be held but he does need to start producing on a regular basis. I don’t doubt that he will given his role on the first line with one of the best players in the game, just merely stating 4 points in 10 games won’t get it done.
Bruins 5, Blue Jackets 2 – Well, it looked good for Columbus for a couple minutes as they took the early lead. It wasn’t too much later that Boston rallied off 4 goals in 4 minutes. Nick Foligno scored again from Alexander Wennberg; these guys are on fire right now. Sergei Bobrovsky had a night to forget allowing 4 goals on 9 shots before being pulled. If you made it this far, you already read what I wrote about Columbus on Wednesday (I wrote the Wednesday night game recaps before Thursday’s happened). This may have killed the chance to sell high on Bob but I would still try to do so. For Boston, Torey Krug finally scored! He had a goal on two shots as he finally starts to put some points on the board. I’m still driving the Krug bandwagon! David Backes, Matt Beleskey and Austin Czarnik each had a goal and an assist. Backes is a clear hold, Beleskey is a bottom end streamer while Czarnik doesn’t carry much value. David Krejci had two assists with three shots; we talked about him for a bit on the latest podcast.
Wild 4, Penguins 2 – Besides Staal, his linemates were both outstanding. Charlie Coyle had a goal and an assist with five shots on goal while Nino Niederreiter gave us some more streamer success with a goal and an assist with a shot and two PIM. I’m on fire with the streamers! Anyways, Coyle was always a clear hold while Nino is borderline right now with the Wild having a ton of games in the short term. At the least, he’ll remain a top end streamer. Devan Dubnyk was a monster as well saving 39 of 41 shots. Sidney Crosby scored a goal on six shots giving him 9 goals in 8 games. Pretty, pretty, pretty good. Phil Kessel dished two assists while the other big guns all had a point each.
Ducks 4, Hurricanes 2 – The second line dominated this game for Anaheim, namely Jakob Silfverberg who had two goals, two assists, three shots and was +4. I still think he’s more of a streamer than a hold. Ryan Kesler scored the other two goals for the Ducks. He’s on quite the hot streak and the minutes are massive but I’m still hesitant to buy in outside of leagues that count the extra stats that make him a well-rounded fantasy asset. Andrew Cogliano had two assists while Jonathan Bernier did well in the spot start saving 28 of 30 shots. For Carolina, there were a few things that developed in this one. First, Jaccob Slavin looks like a nice bottom end guy for now registering another assist and two shots playing almost 26 minutes. Lee Stempniak moved back to the first line later on in this game and had an assist, two shots and two PIM. That would make Stemp an elite streamer again. Victor Rask scored again from Jeff Skinner while Teuvo Teravainen scored from Sebastian Aho snapping their cold streaks. I’m just streaming the last two while the first two are obviously holds.
Canadiens 4, Kings 1 – Pretty dull game with the shots only 24-23 Kings for the game. Nothing really of note for the Kings in this one; they had a power play goal where their big 3 forwards each had a point. For Montreal, Carey Price was solid when called upon making 23 saves. Max Pacioretty dished two assists but I can’t help but wonder what is going on with his shot totals. He was over 300 the last two seasons but right now he’s under 3 per game. That’s a huge part of his value so I’d like to see him get more aggressive. The other notable thing to me is that Paul Byron stayed on the top line and scored another goal. He’s firmly on the streaming radar right now and is a top notch DFS value play.
Red Wings 3, Canucks 1 – Jimmy Howard was the best player in this one saving 36 of 37 shots. Nothing cures a team’s woes right now like facing Vancouver. The Cyborgs took part in the only goal with Daniel Sedin scoring from Henrik Sedin. Troy Stecher had the other assist and added six shots and two PIM. He’s been getting power play time and did well in the AHL so Stecher may be a viable option for deeper leagues. Dylan Larkin found the back of the net while Henrik Zetterberg had two assists with two shots. It’s crazy how much Zetterberg’s game has changed over the years. He had 4 straight years with over 300 shots and at this rate, he’ll be around 165. The assists are strong but the other categories, not so much.
Lightning 4, Islanders 1 – Ugh, another guy that I mention on the podcast for 3 points that I don’t take and gets there! Steven Stamkos was there 3 minutes into the second period and finished with a goal and two assists with four shots. Remember when the ESPN ranks had him 29th overall? Yeah, about that. Tyler Johnson scored a goal and an assist with two shots as he starts to turn things around. Vladislav Namestnikov had an assist with two shots playing over 18 minutes. The assist came on the first power play unit so if he sticks there and gets these kind of minutes, he could end up a hold. At the least, it’s arguably the best streamer possible. Andrei Vasilevskiy was strong making 31 saves in the win. For the last month, Ben Bishop has started two games in a row, then Vasilevskiy got his turn. I assume the schedule is going to stay something similar to that making it easier to know when to pick up Vasilevskiy to stream his start. Andrew Ladd scored for the second straight game but I’d still leave him on the waiver wire.
Sharks 4, Panthers 2 – The Panthers jumped out to an early 2-o lead, both goals from Jason Demers of all people, before the Sharks took control to end up on top. There really isn’t much to report on this one. Demers was the only player who had multiple points and his only value comes in 16’ers or deeper. Aleksander Barkov tallied an assist for the second consecutive game which was good to see while Logan Couture looked much better scoring a goal on four shots.
Predators 3, Blues 1 – Big win for the Predators to get back to pseudo .500. Jaden Schwartz scored the Blues goal as he got a sneak preview of this post. He read the Wednesday recap and knew he had to deliver again. Thanks Jaden! Pekka Rinne was strong once again with 23 saves on 24 shots. James Neal scored another goal and Filip Forsberg had another assist which is good to see. Calle Jarnkrok scored the other two goals for Nashville on four shots. He goes through stretches where he’s worth streaming so he needs monitoring in the short term. Matt Irwin dished an assist giving him 5 points in the last 5 games. The minutes are still low but he needs to be owned in deeper leagues.
Stars 4, Flames 2 – Calgary is one of the gifts that keeps on gifting in the fantasy world. Johnny Gaudreau buried both Flames goals on six shots to double his season total. It’s been a rough start for Johnny Hockey (not as tough as Johnny Football but still) and while I was lower than almost anyone coming into the year, I still think there’s some improvement on the horizon. Jamie Benn also doubled his goal total scoring twice on four shots. I have little doubt Benn will get hot very soon. Radek Faksa dished two assists playing over 18 minutes. He’s a decent streamer with all of the injuries the Stars are going through. Antoine Roussel is like a cheat code right now. He totaled a goal and an assist with a shot and seven PIM. It’s not even a debate anymore, Roussel needs to be owned everywhere. Kari Lehtonen gave the Stars some rare solid goaltending making 29 saves on 31 shots in the win.
Jets 3, Coyotes 2 – The new Jets beat the old Jets in the Desert. Connor Hellebuyck made 23 saves on 25 shots in the win, a decent start that was better until the ‘Yotes scored with 2 seconds left. Anyways, that’s 4 straight starts for Hellboy who needs to be owned everywhere. Nikolaj Ehlers scored a goal from Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine as they continue to set the league on fire. Blake Wheeler scored a goal to snap a mini goal drought while Nic Petan gave us some streamer success with an assist and a shot. Radim Vrbata and Max Domi stayed hot with a goal for the former and assist for the latter.
Friday Streamers – A busier Friday than usual with 6 games set to go off. Let’s take a look at my top 3 streamers of the night:
Patrick Maroon (10.0%) – He’s on the top line at home on a rested team going against the Stars who are on the second of a back to back and are a sieve defensively. Great spot.
Patrick Eaves (7.5%) – Picking on the same game, this should be a wide open affair so more exposure to it is even better. He didn’t get a point last night but Eaves still had over 16 minutes putting him in prime position to succeed, especially with his superstar linemates heating up.
Matt Read (17.0%) – He moved up to the top line before last game and appears to be staying there tonight against the Leafs. That’s plenty good enough to use Read, who has six goals so far this season.
That’s all for now guys. Matt’s Goalie Report is all set to launch; it’ll go up in the morning today around 9 am eastern so be sure to check that out! I’ll be back on Monday with my daily notes recapping the weekend’s action. As always, feel free to ask any questions or leave any comments below. As a heads up to everyone, I have a busier day than usual so it may take me some time to respond but I should get a chance to get on every couple of hours. Have a great weekend everyone, take care!