At the end of last season, we started to see flashes of Aleksander Barkov's potential. This season, he started to string games together until he went down with an injury. Since he's been back, he's been on a torrid pace culminating with two goals and an assist with four shots in the 3-1 win over the Canadiens Tuesday. The win extended the Panthers win streak to seven and put the Panthers in first place in the Atlantic Sasha now has four goals in the last two games and ten points in the last seven games putting him close to a point per game on the season. Not bad for somebody who can't drink in the U.S. for eight months. He's doing so much already that he's solidly in my top 20 in dynasty rankings and pushing the top 50 for the rest of the season despite the lack of penalty minutes. Here's what else I saw on a busy Tuesday night:
Going into Monday's game, Braden Holtby was 14-0-1 with a 1.85 GAA and .940 sv% in his last 16 starts. Naturally, he found a way to even improve on those on Monday as he stopped all 31 shots he faced in the 2-0 win over the Sabres, including an incredible point blank stop on Evander Kane to maintain the shutout in the final minute. At this point, he's running away with the Vezina Trophy and the only thing that will stop him from winning it is injury or himself. He's the clear cut #1 fantasy goalie and will have a shot at finishing as the #1 player in the player rater based on RCL categories. Here's what else I saw in last night's games:
Jack Eichel's return to Boston couldn't have gone any better. The 19 year old wunderkind scored two goals and two assists with three shots in the 6-3 win over the Bruins Saturday night. While he's done well by rookie standards, the expectations were so high that 20 points (11+9) is disappointing at this stage. However, the return of Tyler Ennis (assist and two shots) has brought some life back into Eichel's game. Expect Eichel to start picking up the pace push a 30+25 season come the end of the year. Here's what else I saw the last two nights around the league:
Shane Doan has been around for so long that he was on the Winnipeg Jets in the mid 1990's. As a kid, he was one of my favorite players for the two way game that he played. He was one of the most consistent players in the league who quietly went about his business and has been part of the Coyotes since they moved to Arizona. So far, his biggest plus in the fantasy world was that he was racking up the penalty minutes until he had two goals and an assist with four shots in the 3-2 win against the Maple Leafs on Tuesday. If you are short on PIM, I'd definitely grab Doan in 12'ers because his offense is better than most of the big PIM guys. If you don't need PIM, he's starting to work his way onto the fringe and is a solid streamer. Jaromir Jagr is getting a ton of attention for what he's doing at his age but Doan at 39 is going under the radar again. Here's what else I saw on a busy Tuesday:
I talked about Leo Komarov at length in two places yesterday here. In the stream section of my article, I said the following: "He’s much more highly owned than my normal stream calls but I don’t understand why he’s available in over 60% of leagues. The Leafs should control the game against the Avs (everyone does against the Avs) so Uncle Leo should get some chances." Then he went out and had his best game of the season, scoring two goals on five shots while adding an assist and two PIM. I love it when I'm right! If you didn't do so, grab Komarov immediately because he has another prime matchup tonight against the Coyotes. Here's what else I saw on a busy Monday night:
For the majority of the public, T.J. Oshie broke onto the scene during the Olympics when Dan Blysma had him shoot every time in the shootout against Russia. He had played well for years on the Blues and now is continuing that run in the nation’s capital. Please, blog, may I have some more?
As far as journeyman goaltenders go, Chad Johnson is the perfect model for grinding the hockey life waiting for an opportunity. Johnson bounced around organizations and finally got a chance to backup in Boston 2 years ago putting up outstanding numbers in 27 games. He was miserable for the Islanders last season and was traded to the tanking Sabres at the deadline. Well, the Sabres aren't tanking now and Johnson is taking advantage of his chance splitting time. Johnson played incredibly on Thursday night, stopping all 44 shots he faced in the 3-0 win over the Ducks. His numbers on the season are now very solid for someone who's sitting on the waiver wire in the majority of leagues; 2.33 GAA and .918 sv%. It's still unknown when Robin Lehner will return and Linus Ullmark will get his starts but I'd grab Johnson in 12'ers for the time being. Here's what else I saw the last two nights:
I remember watching Thomas Vanek playing for the Golden Gophers in college winning the Frozen For in Buffalo and falling in love with him as a player. Luckily for me, he was drafted by the Sabres and I was able to watch him dominate games for years in a Sabres uniform. Now, he's moved on to the Wild but still dominating games in stretches. Tuesday night, Vanek showed flashes of his old game scoring a goal on two shots and adding three assists in the 6-2 win against the Canucks. Despite playing on the third line for most of the year, Vanek now has 11 goals and 13 assists in 29 games providing great value to people who drafted him in the middle rounds. He won't match his 40 goals from the past but his odds look pretty good for a 25+30 season or better. Here's what else I saw on a busy Tuesday slate:
I’ve talked a lot about the Senators so far this year and rightfully so; they have scored the third most goals in the league and play a wide open style that is conducive to fantasy hockey success for both their players and their opposition. Please, blog, may I have some more?
It wasn't that long ago that Jeff Skinner scored 30 goals in a season. The 23 year old has already done it twice; in his rookie year and two seasons ago. Skinner was off to a dreadful start this year with 5 goals and 2 assists in his first 25 games. Now, Skinner is on fire, scoring a hat trick on Friday against the Ducks and dishing an assist on Saturday against the Coyotes. With 9 shots total in the two games, Skinner is almost up to 3 shots per game and has more goals in the last 5 games (6) than in the previous 25. He's a must own right now given his history of goal scoring in bunches. Here's what else I saw in a busy weekend: