We’ve gone without daily notes for five days due to Razzball crashing for a short period of time. The good news is that the problem is fixed and that we are backed! I’m not going to go through every single game over the past five days because at this point, some of it would be outdated. I’m going to go through each team in the league in alphabetical order and write a little bit about each of them. Let’s get right to it!
Since the last set of notes, the Ducks beat the Bruins 4-2 and against Florida on Sunday. With all of their injuries, the options are extremely limited. In standard leagues, Rickard Rakell, Corey Perry, and Jakob Silfverberg are the only forwards I would own and there’s not really anyone I would even stream. Brandon Montour has slowed down (although he did score Sunday) putting him on the fringe, making a team normally full of fantasy relevant players struggle to score goals.
Break up the Coyotes with two straight wins! They won 5-4 at Montreal and 3-2 in Ottawa. The big story was Anthony Duclair who scored all three goals against the Senators and had an assist against Montreal. Last season was a disaster but Duclair did score 20 goals in 2015-16 with 24 assists and 49 PIM. He’s still only 22 years old so I have no problem picking him up in dynasties or streaming him in redrafts while he’s hot. I also don’t mind grabbing Antti Raanta if he’s available because the Desert Dogs aren’t as bad as they started.
Boston had a successful trip through California going 2-1. Surprisingly, Anton Khudobin started both wins saving 63 of 65 shots over two games. His overall numbers are solid so I’m good with streaming him whenever he starts but I’m not rushing to pick up Khudobin. The roster is extremely thin so there aren’t many options right now. A bright spot was Charlie McAvoy who had points in each of the wins, including playing almost 28 minutes against the Kings and almost 26 minutes against the Sharks. He was dropped in almost 25% of leagues so if you’re in one of those, grab him now because we don’t know when Torey Krug (UBI) will return.
Live look at the Sabres:
They should have allowed 12 goals to Detroit but Robin Lehner stood on his head, then they opened the game against Carolina by not getting a shot on goal in the first 17 minutes and change. With the blue line being a train wreck and the offensive depth lacking, I would only hold Jack Eichel, Evander Kane and Ryan O’Reilly. Sam Reinhart, Kyle Okposo and Benoit Pouliot are streamers on differing levels. Don’t use any of their D until Rasmus Ristolainen is back unless you want Marco Scandella in deep leagues.
My Flames are picking it up although Wednesday was a disaster. Yes, the Sabres are still the team I root for, but the Flames are my adopted team since they were my bet to win the Cup this year. The good news for them is Mike Smith returned on Saturday because Eddie Lack was lit up like a Christmas tree by Detroit on Wednesday. Sean Monahan was the story in the win over the Flyers scoring his first career hat trick and adding an assist. The shot rate is pushing three per game as Monahan is at a point per game on the season. Of course, that pales into comparison for his linemate Johnny Gaudreau, who is up to 29 points in 19 games. That has him sitting as the 8th best skater which, even if that’s best case scenario, is a massive return for those who drafted him.
The league’s best possession team lost a tough one against the Islanders on Thursday only to get revenge on Sunday with a win against the hapless Sabres in-between. Teuvo Teravainen remains hotter than a pistol with six points (2+4) over those three games making him must-own at the moment. Sebastian Aho scored a goal in each game extending his goal streak to four games. As predicted, a heater was on the horizon. I’d still look to buy low on Scott Darling.
Two nice wins against the Rangers and Penguins have the Blackhawks currently in a playoff spot. Artem Anisimov had a hat trick against his old team and another goal against the Penguins. He’s back with Patrick Kane so hold Arty while he’s hot. Nick Schmaltz is the third piece on that line and has six assists over the past three making him a strong streamer for the time being.
The Avs are also in a playoff spot! They destroyed the Capitals, were beaten badly by the Predators, and had a huge comeback against the Red Wings since I last wrote. The top line ravished the Caps with Nathan MacKinnon scoring five points, Mikko Rantanen totaling four, and Gabriel Landeskog scoring a hat trick. MacKinnon is now over a point per game while the other two have played their way into holds.
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
Columbus only played one game in this stretch winning 2-0 over the Rangers. Sergei Bobrovsky remains that dude. They also locked up Cam Atkinson on a very reasonable deal. If you’re able to buy him very low, I’d be all over it. The shot rate remains outstanding yet his shooting percentage is a career low. He also has 0 STP which is surely going to fix itself.
The Stars were destroyed by the Lightning allowing six goals and followed that up by scoring six of their own against the Oilers. Antoine Roussel had a monster game against the Oilers scoring a goal and two assists with 12 PIM and two shots playing with Alexander Radulov and Jamie Benn (1+1 each). Well, played with them when he wasn’t in the penalty box, he played only 7:14. He’s a great streamer if he remains at that line, especially if you need the penalty minutes.
DETROIT RED WINGS
Detroit remains in a playoff spot rolling the Flames and taking care of the Sabres before blowing Sunday’s games to the Avalanche, although they did get a point. I’m going to take this time to gush over my #1 sleeper of the year, Anthony Mantha. Mantha had two goals and an assist on three shots against the Flames with 25 PIM! While he didn’t score in the other two games, Mantha currently sits as a top 15 forward on the season with 10+9 in 20 games along with 35 PIM. Pretty, pretty, pretty good.
The Oilers lost two more games in horrific fashion losing 4-1 to the Blues and 6-3 to the Stars. Drake Caggiula scored two goals against the Stars as he moved onto a line with Connor McDavid (1+2, 3 SOG, 2 PIM), making Caggiula a solid streamer. I know that it doesn’t matter much for fantasy, but my god the Kris Russell contract is one of the worst in recent memory. His Corsi relative is -6.5% despite getting almost 60% offensive zone starts! He’s so bad that he’s single-handedly dragging their blue line down.
This is an oversimplification but the Panthers are a bad team. They did win 2-0 against the Sharks getting a great game from Roberto Luongo before losing to the Kings and Ducks. They are allowing a ton of goals in all facets, including ranking dead last in PK%. It’s a good idea to stream guys that get power play time against the Panthers right now. Outside of the top six and the top two defensemen, there is nothing here for fantasy.
LOS ANGELES KINGS
The Kings have hit a rough patch losing four of the past five. Darcy Kuemper was the big bright spot over the weekend shutting out the Panthers and allowing zero goals in relief of Jonathan Quick after his horrific start against Vegas. With 54 straight saves over those two games, Kuemper is a must-stream whenever he gets another start. The other nice development is Adrian Kempe‘s minutes going up making him a better streamer.
The Wild won their fourth straight against the Predators before losing to the Caps on Saturday with Alex Stalock between the pipes. Jared Sprugeon scored a goal on two assists on four shots against Washington continuing his solid season. Eric Staal keeps hitting all of the categories remaining a top 50 player as we near the quarter point. We are also starting to see some signs from Matt Dumba, enough that I’d consider grabbing him if he’s available in 12’ers and you need help on your blue line.
After putting together a decent stretch, Montreal went back to their losing ways, dropping a game to Arizona before getting demolished by Toronto. The regression fairies quickly found their way to Charlie Lindgren. This team is one of the worst in fantasy hockey with only one forward, one defenseman and their goalie being must own. Jonathan Drouin is also a hold but it’s getting pretty close to the fringe.
While the Preds were 1-1 over the past five days, their offense is absolutely rolling right now. In the past 7 games, they scored 3 goals once, 4 goals twice, 5 goals three times and 6 goals once. As we talked about on the podcast following the big trade, Craig Smith has turned into a viable streamer (1+1 and 5 SOG in 2 games). Mattias Ekholm actually has a goal in three straight so I’d grab him if you need blue line help. Otherwise, it’s the usual suspects for Smashville.
NEW JERSEY DEVILS
While they are in a three way tie now, the Devils still remain on top of the Metro division given that they’ve played the fewest amount of games of those teams. They lost 1-0 in overtime to the Leafs before taking a beating from the Jets. Brian Gibbons has played his way into a middling streamer but otherwise, there are no new developments here.
NEW YORK ISLANDERS
The Isles split two games against the Hurricanes with a big win at Tampa sandwiched in the middle. While the big guns are still rolling, the big story is Mathew Barzal continuing his fine form. Barzal had five points over these three games and is still available in over 50% of leagues. He has 19 points in 20 games and is a clear must-own right now. With their next two games against the struggling Flyers, look for the Islanders offense to keep rolling.
NEW YORK RANGERS
The Rangers lost both games of their mini-trip before winning against the Senators on Sunday. After a dud against Chicago, Henrik Lundqvist stopped 60 of 62 shots over the next two games. I still have faith that he’ll end up as a solid #2 goalie, if not slightly better. The Rangers recently shuffled their lines giving a slight boost to streamer J.T. Miller and the empty net king, Michael Grabner. Also, Rick Nash is starting to pick things up and is a solid add if you need shots.
So this team is starting to scare me. Overtime losses have them sitting better in the standings than they probably should be and although they’ve been much better on the road than at home, having 13 home games to 6 road games isn’t great. They lost three games in the past four days to Pittsburgh, Arizona and the Rangers. Their next two are @Washington and @Columbus which isn’t any better. Craig Anderson has been solid which is a nice development but the offense has really dried up.
The Flyers have lost 4 in a row (1 in OT) putting them in last place in the Metropolitan. The top line is still rolling but otherwise, it’s very ugly. It’s not as ugly as Radko Gudas‘ slash to Mathieu Perreault which was disgusting and deserving of much more than the 10 game suspension he received.
This Pens team is certainly not as good as in the past two years, at least not at the moment. Sure, they’ve only played 8 home games to 14 road games, but a -16 goal differential with a true record of 11-11 (11-8-3 separating OT losses) is concerning. Obviously I’m not going to write them off but they have a lot of work to do. The good news is that Matt Murray is starting to get going allowing three goals over the two games since Wednesday.
SAN JOSE SHARKS
The Sharks lost to Florida 2-0 and Boston 3-1 since the last set of notes. They are scoring only 2.5 goals per game on the season which is quite poor. The big issue here is the power play which sits at 30th in the league. I can’t believe how bad it’s become. They have so much talent that I assume it works out (how the f*** is Brent Burns still goalless!?) but for now, I wouldn’t be looking to stream Sharks or guys against Sharks for that matter.
ST. LOUIS BLUES
Two more wins for the Blues has all three of their first line players in the top 10 overall on the season. Brayden Schenn is the #4 forward, Vladimir Tarasenko is #5 and Jaden Schwartz comes in at #9. They’re not even getting strong goaltending with Jake Allen having a below average save percentage. While I liked this team in the preseason, I definitely didn’t see this coming. All of the underlying numbers back up this team as one of the team’s elite.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
The Lightning lost on Saturday to the Islanders after blowing out the Stars. They’re crushing in every facet of the game and fully deserve to be recognized as the best team in hockey right now. Steven Stamkos had four points against the Stars with Nikita Kucherov scoring three. The second line did well on Saturday as Brayden Point quietly has 20 points in 20 games. I don’t buy Mikhail Sergachev in redrafts until his minutes go up but I am all in on everyone else for fantasy.
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
Despite missing Auston Matthews for four games, the Leafs are on a six game winning streak. It’s crazy how much better the Lightning and Leafs are than everyone else in the Atlantic. Frederik Andersen was a monster in the past two games with two shutouts saving 75 shots. The wins are massive but the GAA and sv% are still only average at best. That said, it’s enough to make him a bottom end #1 to this point. They are getting some nice balanced scoring, especially in their 6-0 win over Montreal, where 14 points had a point and nobody had more than 2.
The Canucks were beaten badly by Vegas before losing in overtime to the Blues. Right now, the options are very limited for fantasy. Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat are the only holds with Sven Baertschi being an elite streamer. Thomas Vanek is also a decent streamer but otherwise, it’s ugly.
VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS
Vegas keeps rolling at home moving to 8-1 overall at T-Mobile Arena. My guy William Karlsson scored two more goals on Sunday solidifying himself as must-own right now. Erik Haula is an elite streamer while he’s getting power play time. Also, Malcolm Subban returned on Sunday, although he was only the backup. Look for him to start getting the majority of the starts until Marc-Andre Fleury returns.
The Capitals took a beating from Colorado before bouncing back against the Wild. Unlike in the past, Philipp Grubauer is not worth streaming in any matchup. So far this season, he’s 0-5-1 with a 3.86/.876. Yikes. The good news is that Braden Holtby is back in form and Evgeny Kuznetsov is starting to get rolling again. The depth of this team is really lacking compared to past years.
We talked about in our Central Division preview that the Jets had a ton of upside, but I didn’t see them having the second fewest regulation losses to this point. The Jets have won four straight bringing them to a whopping 12-4-3. They had a late comeback against the Flyers getting a shootout win before blitzing the Devils scoring 5 goals in the second, including 3 in 1:35. Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele keep rolling, Connor Hellebuyck is the #3 overall goalie, and Kyle Connor is an elite streamer or bottom end hold. I absolutely love this core going forward and Kevin Cheveldayoff deserves a lot of credit for hitting on their draft picks and adding decent depth to the roster, especially on the blue line.
Oliver Bjorkstrand (7.7%) – Going back to the well here. He’s back on the first line and gets a prime matchup against the struggling Sabres.
Kyle Connor (9.8%) – The Predators aren’t a great matchup but Connor is matchup proof right now. Using him is worth it as long as he remains on the first line.
Zach Hyman (10.3%) – Matthews back really helps Hyman, who gets one of the best matchups possible right now, at home against the Coyotes.
That’s all for now guys, we’re pushing 3,000 words on this one. With a decent slate tonight, I’ll be back tomorrow recapping Monday’s action. As always, feel free to ask any questions or leave any comments below. Thanks for reading, take care!