It’s at the point of the season where I start off posts with guys who aren’t trivial holds and can make a difference down the stretch run. I’ve always been enamored with Nick Bjugstad‘s potential, especially after his 24 goal season three seasons ago. Please, blog, may I have some more?
He won't win the Hart, but Anze Kopitar's season should not go unnoticed. He had his best game of the season scoring four goals on seven shots in the 7-1 win over the Avalanche. That brings Kopitar to 33 goals and 53 assists in 75 games. That's a new career high in assists and points, and goals may not be too far behind. Not so bad for a guy people were worried about after last season's 52 points. He'll never be in the top tier of fantasy players because of the lack of PIM and average shot rate, but Kopitar has reestablished himself as a fringe top 25 guy. Here's to hoping he keeps it rolling over the last two weeks. Let's take a look at what else happened on Thursday night:
Reid and I are back taking a big look around the NHL. After we start off by discussing fantasy hockey playoff strategy, we hit on the latest injuries around the league. From there, we hit on a wide range of subjects. Among the notables are the Vezina race being a two horse race now, how remarkable Nathan MacKinnon's season has been, the playoff battles, and the race to the bottom. We wrap things up by making picks for The Three Point Challenge. Be sure to make your picks in the comments section below. All of that and more on the latest edition of the Razzball Hockey Podcast!
Now is the time of the year where we see college players decide to forgo their collegiate career and sign an entry level contract. There have been a bunch of players in recent years who have made an immediate impact, such as Chris Kreider and Brock Boeser. We could have another name to add to the list. Ryan Donato signed an ELC with Boston and had quite the NHL debut, scoring a goal and two assists with six shots playing almost 20 minutes.. With all of the graduates the Bruins have had over the last year, Donato is currently their #1 prospect (at least in my eyes). He was a great goal scorer at Harvard and did very well in the Olympics scoring five goals in five games. His shot is his best attribute but he's also a strong skater. I don't see superstar upside, but Donato can definitely become a top 6'er. He's a streamer for now depending on who he's with and how many minutes he's getting, but he's certainly a solid dynasty target. Donato played on the first power play unit and the second line on Monday, so here's to hoping that's what we get for the rest of the season, at least until Patrice Bergeron returns. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Evander Kane is a player that I aggressively rank every season. The shot rate is always elite, the penalty minutes are great, and the goals should come along with those shots. Thankfully for his owners this year, Kane has managed to stay healthy. Kane had the best game of his career on Friday, scoring four goals on seven shots and adding two penalty minutes. He followed that up with eight shots on goal and two PIM on Saturday. That brings Kane's totals to 25+25 with 65 PIM and almost 4 shots per game. Obviously he's must own, but what is his ceiling going forward? I don't think his point totals are going to change much depending on where he signs in the offseason. What can change is his plus-minus. Sure, plus-minus is generally hard to predict, but there are some situations that you can feel better about. Obviously Buffalo was almost worst case for that, and Kane is +5 in San Jose to this point. Yes, it's a small sample, but we've seen around the league this year that a lot of teams are loaded with big plus-minus totals. Kane has never been much of a power play guy either, but maybe he goes somewhere that he plays on the top unit and improves. I feel like he'll be in the bottom of my top 50, but obviously things can change between now and then. For those who have him for this year, enjoy him down the stretch. With his shot volume, Kane can be a massive difference maker if he has some good fortune. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
To say James van Riemsdyk had a decent two games would be an understatement. The Charlie Conway look-alike scored five goals over the last two nights, scoring a hat trick against the Stars on eight shots before scoring two goals and an assist against the Sabres. That brings JVR to 31 goals and 16 assists on the season with just under three shots per game. Obviously he's owned in virtually all leagues at this point, but I wanted to start off with him because he doesn't get the credit he deserves. He's played at a 27+ goal pace for six straight seasons now and the two goals last night gave him a new career high. I'm not sure Toronto will be to keep the impending UFA past this season, but one thing is for certain: JVR is about to get paid handsomely. Look for him to maintain his value no matter where he ends up, meaning someone who is a top 75-100 player. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Here is what I wrote about J.T. Miller in Tuesday's post: "J.T. Miller is getting huge minutes in Tampa and has six points in six games for the Bolts. The shot rate is rough, but Miller should be held despite that. Everything else should be a clear plus and nothing is better than playing for Tampa. Miller was on the fringe for the Rangers so this move is enough to move him to a hold." And that's me quoting me! Well, Miller exploded on Tuesday night, scoring his first career hat trick and putting ten shots on goal. He played over 20 minutes, including on the top power play unit. Long story short, if you had any doubt about whether Miller should be held, this game should eliminate that. Pick the man up because he can be a huge difference maker down the stretch. Let's take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:
Hey everyone! Hopefully your fantasy seasons are still going as we enter the last month of the season. Instead of normal daily notes, I'm going to discuss one situation for every team throughout the league. We'll get back to normal notes on Wednesday morning, but I feel like this was a good chance of pace to highlight some new developments around the NHL. Let's get to it!
Reid and I record our first podcast since the Trade Deadline and there's plenty to cover. Among the topics are recent injuries, the Florida Panthers playing their way into playoff position, the crazy Rocket Richard race, under-the-radar seasons, and players who are positioned to break out next season. We wrap things up with The Three Point Challenge for Thursday's games. Be sure to make your pick in the comments section below. All of that and more on the latest edition of the Razzball Hockey Podcast!