One of the most popular names discussed in the trade market lately has been J.T. Miller. A big reason is because whoever trades for him would have him signed for next season as well. The main reason is because he's a damn good hockey player and he showed that on Thursday. Miller had a hat trick and an assist with five shots in the 5-1 win over the Jets. Miller is on pace for the best season of his career, which says a lot because he was over a point per game two seasons ago. There's no guarantee Vancouver moves him, but if he does, I'm hesitant to think it would help his trade value. If anything, I would expect it to hurt. He gets massive minutes that he might not get on his new team, including top power play time. I wouldn't necessarily sell high on him, especially two months from the deadline, but it's something to think about. Here's to hoping we don't have to worry about that. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It looks like I was a year early predicting Matthew Tkachuk to be a top 20 fantasy hockey player. It also looks like I sold him a bit short. Tkachuk had five assists on Monday, all of which came in the first two periods. He's playing at a 40+50 pace with well over three shots per game, elite play at even strength and the power play, and plenty of PIM. The first line in Calgary is playing just about as well as any line in the league with Tkachuk leading the way. He's a top ten skater on the season now, and while I wouldn't rank him as a first round pick i.e. the top 12, he's a slam dunk top 20 guy. Guys who absolutely dominate all of the categories are harder to come by, and the only two that have been better so far are Marchand and Kadri. For the rest of the season, I'd take Tkachuk over Kadri too, and long term, Tkachuk is the top guy. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It's been a couple months so we're due for an updated list for players to stream and hold. Where comments are necessary, I'll be sure to say so. Remember that I put injured players that are holds when they are healthy, and I'd keep them in an IR spot. Let's get to it!
Prior to Monday, there has only been four times in the last 25 years that a player scored five goals in a game. Add Timo Meier to the list. Meier single-handedly won the game for San Jose, scoring five times on six shots in the 6-2 win over the Kings. We haven't seen a player ascent from solid top six player to bonafide superstar in quite some time. Meier now has 20+25 in 35 games to go with over four shots per game. He looked to be on this path three seasons ago when he had 30+36 as a 22-year-old, but he was a major letdown the last two seasons. So what should we be looking for from Meier going forward? Well, his shooting percentage isn't that outlandish to expect major regression. It appears to be the real deal, which would make Meier a top 20 player going forward. At 25 years old, Meier's prime should only be beginning. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
We don't know what's going to happen come playoff time, but the Florida Panthers have established themselves as a regular season juggernaut. After destroying the Stars 7-1 on Friday, they came back to score nine goals on Saturday, beating Columbus 9-2. Among the highlights between the two games were Sam Bennett scoring a hat trick on Friday and totaling six points between the two games, Jonathan Huberdeau having six points, and MacKenzie Weegar having a rare four point game from a defenseman on Saturday. They're clicking on all cylinders right now and that means great things in fantasy. They have ten skaters that I consider locks to be held, and another four that are quality streamers depending on team needs. Side note, I'm going to do another hold/stream list soon. Could we see the Panthers win their first playoff series since 1996? As long as their goaltending is passable, it's firmly in play despite being in a division with three elite teams. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
The new goalie for the Bruins is the one that's been in for the last decade. Tuukka Rask made his season debut on Thursday, saving 25 of 27 shots in the 3-2 win over the Flyers. Somehow Rask is available in over 65% of leagues still, so if you're in one of them, grab him immediately. He didn't receive a ton of volume even in his prime, but I'd expect him to get 50-60% of the starts going forward which is definitely worth holding. Linus Ullmark should receive the rest of the starts. That's still enough for me to hold him as they should be quality starts now that Boston has turned the corner. Jeremy Swayman was sent to the AHL since he doesn't have to clear waivers, so he can be cut in all formats. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It's been the longest break without playing hockey in Evgeni Malkin's career. He sure didn't show any rust in his return. Malkin was outstanding on Tuesday, scoring two goals and an assist with four shots playing 17:21 in the 4-1 win over the Ducks. Everything we wanted to see from Malkin in his season debut was there. Top power play unit? Check. Centering the second line? Check. Quality minutes? Check. He'll even have better linemates once Rust returns. I'm not expecting Malkin to be a top 20 player, but top 50 certainly seems within reach given how well the Penguins power play is clicking. If you stashed him, then you're going to make out extremely well if he can stay healthy. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Outside of more COVID cases and postponements, there wasn't a lot that went on over the weekend in the NHL, at least with a fantasy impact. The big story was Marc-Andre Fleury returning to Vegas, the first face of the franchise. Fleury was excellent, stopping 30 of 31 shots to win the game 2-1 for the Blackhawks. MAF's overall numbers are more of a top end #3 goalie, but the volume is really good. I'm indifferent towards holding him or not, but I'd lean that way since it's been better after the brutal first month. There's also some additional upside if he moves somewhere at the trade deadline as a rental. I assume Chicago will ask him what he wants at this point in his career but they're well out of the playoffs so for a couple months, I could see him going to a team for a few months before retirement. The schedule for Chicago over the next 10 days is quite appealing before it gets ugly at the end of the month, which is more reason to hold Fleury for now.
Pittsburgh is absolutely rolling right now, winning their ninth and tenth straight over the past two nights. The total line has dominated on both nights, being sparked by the return of Bryan Rust. In both games, Rust scored two goals and an assist, bringing his total to 11 points in 3 games since returning from injury. Bonkers. Jake Guentzel had two assists with four shots while Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist with two shots and two PIM. All three of these guys are top 50 players rest of season, with Guentzel being a top 20 guy and the other two probably just outside of it. They're a viable DFS stack every time they play. I wouldn't be surprised to see an uptick in minutes in the short term with the team heading to the West Coast. If you have any of these guys on your team, you have to be thrilled. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Columbus was in an absolutely miserable spot on Tuesday. They were missing their #1 goalie, their best defenseman, arguably their second best defenseman, and one of their hottest forwards. Their backup goalie was playing his first game in three weeks, and they were facing the healthiest version of Tampa that we've seen in months. Needless to say, it did not go well. Tampa was in control from the very beginning and won 7-2, led by Ondrej Palat and Brayden Point. Palat scored two goals and an assist with four shots, while Point had a goal and two assists with two shots. These two haven't spent too much time together this season as Palat has been with Stamkos for the vast majority. They didn't miss a step from playing together in the past. Point is a fringe top 20 player while Palat is solidified himself as a hold again. If he's available, grab him now, because I have no doubt that Palat will be a no brainer hold once Nikita Kucherov comes back, which should be in a couple weeks. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Not everybody can step into the league and score 105 points like Crosby or 52 goals like Ovechkin did. Even for #1 overall picks, it can take some time for them to learn the league and figure out how to play to their strengths. If the last week is any indication, it looks like Jack Hughes has started to figure it out. After a three point game earlier in the week, Hughes followed that up with another three point game; two goals and an assist with seven shots against the Oilers. On Sunday, Hughes kept the multi-point streak going with two assists against the Capitals. That brings to 8+8 in 16 games. You don't need a math major like me to tell you that's a 41+41 pace over 82 games. The minutes are starting to reach first line minutes on a regular basis. Missing a lot of time will keep his overall value down, but Hughes has a reasonable chance to be a top 50 player this season on a per-game basis, and he'll be ranked extremely high from yours truly in 2022-23. Let's take a look at what else happened over what was hopefully a great New Years weekend for everyone!
A week without hockey in December did not seem right at all. Thankfully, the NHL is back up and running. Sure, there are plenty of postponements, but I'll take what we can get. There's not a lot of games over the past two nights, but I'm going to do a quick recap of everything that happened. Goaltending was mostly optional, especially in Wednesday's games. The highlight was a 8-7 SO win by the Sharks over the Coyotes, where Arizona scored two goals in the last three minutes of the game to send it to overtime. Phil Kessel had four assists and four shots in the game, and was dominant throughout the entire game. He's an elite streamer for now, but he can end up a hold depending where he goes at the trade deadline. Yes, I'm assuming he's traded, but that seems like a formality. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights. I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays!