He hasn't been talked about much but as far as disappointments go, Ryan Johansen is near the top of the list. It wasn't that long ago that he was a 22 year old scoring 33 goals and 30 assists, followed up by 26+45. Johansen had 4 straight 60+ point seasons before this year and to be blunt, he's been awful compared to his high standards. Johansen had his best game in quite some time Thursday, dishing three assists and putting three shots on goal in the 5-0 win over the Kings. The main reason I'm encouraged by this? Filip Forsberg. The Swedish star returned from injury on Thursday and immediately went onto Johansen's wing. Still, five goals and under 1.5 shots per game on the season isn't going to get it done for Johansen owners. In the last three games, Johansen has at least three shots on goal, so I think he's going to keep building. I don't think we see Columbus Johansen again, but I don't see why last season's Johansen can be back for the rest of the season. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
You don't need me to tell you how good Evgeni Malkin is at hockey. I'm still flabbergasted that he wasn't one of the players in the NHL 100 because he's clearly one of the best 100 players ever. Certainly better than Toews or Keith. I also wanted to use the word flabbergasted in a sentence. Oh, yeah, so about that Malkin fella. He scored his 12th career hat trick on Tuesday night as the Penguins kept rolling against the Sharks. Malkin is well over a point per game, gives great penalty minutes, and the shot rate remains over three points per game. As I always say about Malkin, just stay healthy! As noted here, the playoff schedule is rough for the Pens, but Malkin should definitely help you get to that point. Let's take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:
This is year 2 of breaking down the playoff schedule for head to head fantasy hockey playoff leagues. I'm going to follow the same format as last year (you can look at last year's here). That means I'm going to look at the 4 weeks of RCL playoffs although I will not combine the totals from each individual week of the playoffs. For example, last season, I posted this for Montreal: Montreal Canadiens (3,3,3,4). That means they have 3 games the first 3 weeks of the fantasy playoffs and 4 games for the last week of the season. I also graded each team's schedule for both their holds and for streaming. I will be doing that again with one additional grade: goaltending grade. That means how I grade the schedule for this team's #1 goalie. I will also include the list of light days at the bottom of this post. A light day is a day where there are 4 or less games on the schedule, making players on those teams preferable streaming options. This post is going to end up incredibly long so without further adieu, let's get to it!
The Chicago Blackhawks are in last place in their division for the first time in what seems like an eternity. They are lacking in the scoring department in a big way. There's one easily move that Joel Quenneville can make to help their cause: play Alex DeBrincat more. The 20 year old scored his second hat trick of the season on Thursday while adding an assist. He's now tied for third on the team in points and second in goals. However, on a per-minute basis, he scores more goals than anyone on the team by a country mile and he's incredibly close to Kane in points per minute. DeBrincat is averaging under 15 minutes per game on the season and to be blunt, that makes no sense to me. The Blackhawks aren't completely dead in the water, especially if Corey Crawford eventually returns (it's been reported that he could return to the ice "soon"). Either way though, getting DeBrincat more ice time helps the team now and helps his development. He's playing at a 28 goal pace with bottom six ice time! DeBrincat is an elite streamer in 12'ers right now but if his minutes increase as they should, I would bet he becomes a hold down the stretch. Let's take a look at what happened in the NHL over the last two nights:
As always, Reid joins me to start our trade deadline previews. We open the podcast at looking at the latest injuries and suspensions around the league with the focal points being Edmonton with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins out, Brad Marchand's vicious elbow to Marcus Johansson, and Jonathan Quick skipping the All-Star game and getting the automatic one game suspension for it. After that, the Atlantic Division is the first division we cover for the trade deadline. What are the buyers at the top of the division looking for? What will Mike Green and Evander Kane return in a trade? Will Montreal or Ottawa move their star wingers? It is a thorough in-depth conversation breaking down every team's current and long-term situation. From there, we make Three Point Challenge picks for Thursday. Make your pick below. All of that and more on the latest edition of the Razzball Hockey Podcast!
In my second half predictions post, I said that Jack Eichel would be in the top 5 in scoring for the rest of the season. He's certainly started on the right track. Eichel scored the OT winner on his seventh shot against the Flames on Monday before exploding against the Oilers with a goal and three assists with five shots on Tuesday. The Sabres power play looks like last season's unit again, the unit that was #1 in the entire NHL. Eichel is leading the way there but has also been dominant in all phases. He's currently in the midst of a 7 game point streak totaling a whopping 14 points in those 7 games while averaging almost 5 shots per game. This game put Eichel above a point per game for the season and I expect him to finish there. Sure, the plus-minus is poor, but everything else is outstanding. He's a first round pick for me next season, no doubt about it. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Am I shocked at how well the Jets are doing? No. Reid and I talked about the Jets' ceiling on the Central Division podcast and we said that second place is certainly within the realm of possibility (I guess we sold them a little short, first is in play). Long term readers know how much I love Connor Hellebuyck. The only reason I was scared off a bit for redrafts is that Kevin Cheveldayoff said that Steve Mason would be their starter to open the season. Well, Mason was lit up in his first game as a Jet and the rest is history. Hellebuyck continued his outstanding breakout season over the weekend, saving 30 of 31 shots in the 2-1 SO win over the Flames on Saturday, then a 29 save shutout in the 1-0 win against the Canucks on Sunday. Hellebuyck is currently the #2 goalie on the season, and while there's a chance he falls off a little bit (I'm certain he'll finish as a #1G), I think he's solidified himself as the #2 goalie in dynasty leagues. The Jets are going to be really good for a long time and Hellebuyck will be a big reason and also a beneficiary of the talent around him. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
The best line in hockey from last season is at it again. Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron each had five points in the two Boston wins over the last two nights. Marchand started off with a goal and an assist with three shots in the 4-1 win over Montreal, then bettered that with a goal and two assists with three shots against the Islanders. Bergeron dished two assists on Wednesday before getting his second hat trick in the last two weeks on Thursday. Bergeron is now one point short of being at a point per game while Marchand is well over that, sitting at 1.28 ppg, third in the league. Marchand has provided slam dunk first down value, just exactly what you hoped for when you selected him this year. Bergeron has managed to surpass expectations on a per-game basis. If he didn't miss time, he'd be a top ten forward on the season. These guys are the main reason why the Bruins are one of the best teams in the league and a major Stanley Cup threat if they can manage to upset the Lightning. For our purposes, keep rolling them in seasonal formats, and if you're someone who fires multiple DFS lineups every night, I would make sure to have a Bruins stack on at least one team every night. The upside is simply too high to ignore. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Reid joins me as always to discuss some goaltending situations around the NHL. We look at St. Louis, Carolina, Chicago, San Jose, Colorado, and Philadelphia looking at their recent developments for fantasy hockey. What will Chicago do with Corey Crawford out indefinitely? Can Carter Hutton become the #1 for the Blues? These questions and plenty more with the other teams are all examined. From there, we make some early trade deadline talk before make our picks for the Three Point Challenge. Be sure to make your picks in the comments section below along with any suggestions, comments or questions. All of that and more in the latest edition of the Razzball Hockey Podcast!
Here is what I wrote about the Blues in my 31 predictions post: "Carter Hutton starts at least half of the games the rest of the way. There’s no way around it, he’s been much better than Jake Allen. You can tell Mike Yeo knows it lately as Hutton is starting to get more starts. Hutton is still available in over 75% of leagues; I’d go grab him now just because of the potential upside." And that's me quoting me copying what Grey does! Hutton received the start on Tuesday and stopped 30 of 31 shots in the Blues' 3-1 win over Toronto. Hutton has started 17 games and has the best GAA and sv% in the league for qualified goalies. Is he going to stay at this level? Of course not. Could Hutton be a top 15 goalie the rest of the way if he gets 25+ starts? Absolutely. It's worth repeating that you should pick up Hutton right now because he's good enough to potentially be a huge difference maker in fantasy leagues this year. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights: