Today brings a nice 10 game slate with a lot of lopsided matchups and two marquee games. Let’s get right into what we learned from the last two nights around the league and what to look forward to tonight:
THREE THINGS WE LEARNED ON 3/27 AND 3/28
1) Connor McDavid is the best player in hockey. Okay, this isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but it’s worth bringing up that McDavid now has back to back 100+ point seasons at 21 years old, along with his first 40 goal season. It’s sickening how good he is. Almost as sickening as his GM:
I don't mean to keep hitting this dead horse but of the top-25 scorers in the NHL only 7, at any point in their career, have been traded.
Four of them were traded by Peter Chiarelli.
8. Taylor Hall
9. Phil Kessel
11. Blake Wheeler
25. Tyler Seguin
That's not just bad luck.
— Adam Gretz (@AGretz) March 28, 2018
Oh, and he also traded the pick that became Mathew Barzal for Griffin Reinhart. Just amazing stuff.
2) Thomas Vanek should be owned right now. I called Vanek the best streamer of the night in Tuesday’s post and he delivered with a hat trick and an assist with five shots. That’s beyond streamer success! He’s hotter than a pistol and Columbus has three games in the next five days against Calgary (who is a trainwreck right now), Vancouver, and Detroit. Can’t ask for much better than that.
3) Semyon Varlamov‘s illness caused a massive blow to Colorado’s playoff chances. Varlamov missed Wednesday’s loss to Philly, and with Jonathan Bernier also out, they were forced to turn to Andrew Hammond. The Hamburglar is apparently still alive, and played surprisingly well, but Colorado now sits a point out of the playoffs. Granted, they are behind three teams by one point, two of which they have a game in hand against, but Varly needs to be back Friday for the rest of the way, both for the Avs and for fantasy teams.
TONIGHT’S GAME PREVIEWS
Lightning @ Bruins
The best game of the night by a wide margin, this game will have massive playoff implication in terms of seeding. Their matchups to this point have been lower scoring, especially by Tampa’s standard. I’d feel good playing Andrei Vasilevskiy and Tuukka Rask despite the seemingly poor matchups. Streaming wise, I’m not really touching this game. There are simply better players and spots to target.
Red Wings @ Sabres
This game is only appealing for one reason: Casey Mittlestadt‘s NHL debut. The #1 prospect in the world (among players already drafted) has signed his ELC with the Sabres and will start his career on Thursday centering Sam Reinhart and Evan Rodrigues while playing on PP2. Mittlestadt has the ability to become an all-star offensively. I’m sure his linemates will change in this game, along with moving him to the wing from center, but I like streaming him right away. I’m also okay using Jimmy Howard in this game and whoever starts for the Sabres.
Penguins @ Devils
Huge game for both sides as Pittsburgh fights for home ice in the first round and the Devils fight to get into the playoffs. With an over-under of six, that puts some fear into me about using either goaltender. If you have average options otherwise, I’d stay away. Bryan Rust remains my favorite streamer on the Penguins while the same goes for Nico Hischier.
Panthers @ Senators
Must win for the Panthers against a Senators team who has seemingly mailed it in. James Reimer has already been confirmed as the Panthers starter and is in an incredible spot. Nick Bjugstad should be owned everywhere, but if for some reason he’s not, stream him. Frank Vatrano is also in play. Florida is currently -165 and I think that number is way too low. I’d even lay the -1.5 goals; this has the making of a blowout. Sure, Ottawa played fairly well against a struggling Islanders team last time out, but they were blown out in all of the previous four games. Dumber things have happened than Ottawa winning this game, but I certainly won’t be predicting that. Don’t stream anyone on Ottawa or use their goaltender.
Sharks @ Predators
In the other big game of the night, I believe that the Sharks would clinch a playoff berth with a win. Nashville has been smashing everyone at home and would like to maintain pace to secure home-ice throughout the playoffs. My guess is that the Sharks try to suck the life out of the game, not that I think it’ll work against the Preds. I’d probably play Martin Jones somewhat reluctantly, while Pekka Rinne is obviously an elite option. I won’t be streaming any Sharks, while the usual streamers for Smashville are in play.
Stars @ Wild
The Stars look to keep their faint pulse while the Wild want to keep their cushion on the four teams right behind them. The Wild have been dominant at home while the Stars have struggled on the road, and I expect that to continue. Devan Dubnyk played extremely well against the Predators last time out and I think he’ll play well again. I don’t really like streaming in this game as the options aren’t great. I guess my first choice would be Nino Niederreiter.
Jets @ Blackhawks
Expect the Jets to come in and skate circles around Chicago. Eric Comrie has been announced as the starter and makes for an excellent streamer. Unfortunately, all of the top Jets are owned, but obviously stream one of them if for some reason they are available. I don’t mind using Alex DeBrincat in virtually any matchup given the upside, but really don’t like this spot for the Blackhawks.
Blue Jackets @ Flames
As mentioned above, the Flames are a dumpster fire right now. Columbus is currently the first wild card, but they’re only one point out of second in the Metropolitan division having won 11 of 12. Look for them to make it 12 of 13 with relative ease given the cesspool that is the current Calgary forward group. Thomas Vanek remains the top option for streaming if available, while Alexander Wennberg and even Boone Jenner are in play. Sergei Bobrovsky is arguably the best goaltending option of the evening. I don’t want anything to do with Calgary at the moment.
Oilers @ Canucks
What’s the over-under on points for McJesus? Is 2.5 insane? Because it kind of feels right. Bookmakers expect a lot of goals here and it’s hard to argue. Adam Gaudette is set to make his NHL debut for Vancouver. The presumed Hobey Baker winner was a monster this year for Northeastern scoring 30 goals and 30 assists in 38 games. He does a little bit of everything, including showing off some offensively flair. He’s not in Mittlestadt’s tier but Gaudette is worth owning in dynasties. I’m not streaming him until I see what his role is going to be for the rest of the year.
Coyotes @ Kings
The Coyotes won in Vegas last night and get rewarded by facing a well-rested Kings team. The Kings are in the pile of teams right on the edge of the playoffs so expect them to take care of business. Jonathan Quick is right there with Bob for best goalie of the evening. Clayton Keller has a ten game point streak now; I still feel like he has the chance of being a Patty Kane type of offensive player in the future.
TOP STREAMERS OF THE NIGHT
Using under 50% owned as the baseline, Vanek, Sam Reinhart, and DeBrincat as my top three choices. For under 20%, give me Mittlestadt, Ty Rattie, and Tanner Pearson.
That’s all for now guys. I’ll be back tomorrow with some sort of post. If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments section along with any questions you have. I could do a Friday preview with a couple things to look forward to on Saturday and Sunday, daily notes for Thursday’s game, or something completely different. Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks for reading, take care!