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:
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:
On Wednesday, one of my streamers for the day was Beau Bennett with his recent promotion to the first line. Well, Beau knows! Bennett buried two goals on six shots in the Penguins win over the Oilers. He's available in almost all leagues and I'd look to stream him again tonight against the Kings. He has a ton of upside that he's shown in flashes in the past and if this role sticks, this streamer could turn into somebody you keep on your roster for the rest of the season. Here's what else I saw the last two nights:
At this point, it's no surprise when Jamie Benn has a big night. You almost expect it against Carolina even though he was pointless in the previous three games. Well, it happened on Tuesday with Benn scoring his league leading 19th goal on his only shot of the game with three assists. He's now on a 120 point pace for the year with 39 points in 28 games; I don't know if it's crazier that he's on that pace or that he's not leading the league in points (more on that later). Bottom line is that last year's Art Ross winner is proving that it was no fluke. Here's what else I saw on a busy Tuesday night:
Last season, Roman Josi took the leap into the elite fantasy defenseman tier. Amazingly, he's on pace to top last season's total after his recent hot streak with 6 points in the last 4 games. This was capped off by a 2 goal effort on four shots with five PIM against the Bruins on Monday to push the Predators to victory. He also had a +8 Corsi in the game. Josi is now on a pace for a 20+40 season with a bunch of more penalty minutes than he's had in the past. He's firmly in the top 10 now for defenseman for the rest of the season. Here's what I saw in the late night Sunday games and the three Monday games:
While I've talked about the Flames being a major disappointment in this space multiple times this year, Johnny Gaudreau certainly doesn't belong in that category. The young gun is keeping a point per game this season and he had his best game to date on Friday, scoring a hat trick, adding an assist with five shots and two PIM in the 5-4 OT win against the Bruins. The shots are a little lower than you'd like for Gaudreau to reach true superstar status but he's probably pushing the top 25 overall at this point. Not bad for a fifth round pick who most thought was too small to make it in the league. Here's what else I saw on a busy weekend:
In my preseason rankings, I had a bunch of players much higher or lower than their ADP. I will recap these players on both sides of the spectrum at the end of the season but Mike Hoffman appears to be my biggest hit at this point. I had him ranked in the top 100 (97th to be exact) and said "I’d be absolutely thrilled to get Hoffman because if he gets top power play time, he could be a top 50 player." Well, he's getting that time and he's crushing it so far this year. After his two goal,one assist, seven shots and two PIM effort on Thursday, Hoffman has 13 goals and 12 assists in 21 games. Depending on the website, his ADP was 20-40 spots later my ranking so hopefully you all are reaping the benefits. Here's what else happened on Thursday night:
For the last few years, Connor Hellebuyck has been one of the best goaltending prospects in hockey. The former fifth round pick blossomed after being drafted and starred for the United States team in the World Junior Championships last year with a record of 7-1 and a GAA of 1.37 and .948 sv%. While that's clearly unsustainable, he posted a .921 sv% last year in the AHL on an IceCaps team that played wide open. With the injury to Ondrej Pavelec, Hellebuyck was called up to Winnipeg and promptly won two games giving up one goal in each. Yesterday, he stopped 32 of 33 shots in the Jets beatdown of Toronto. I don't have much to base this off of but I have a feeling Hellebuyck takes this opportunity and runs with it. I'm picking him up everywhere I can on the chance that he does; if he doesn't, he'll at least be a great fill-in in the meantime. Here's what else I saw on a short Wednesday slate:
Last year, Filip Forsberg was one of the biggest breakouts of the NHL season. I had him ranked in the top 50 preseason and was a disappointment so far this year. Signs of a return to last year's dominance have been seen in the last few games and it finally happened Tuesday night, scoring two goals on eight shots and adding an assist in the 5-2 win over Arizona. He's up to 24 shots in the last 5 games which is a good sign that the goals are coming. It may be too late after Tuesday but with 5 goals in 24 games, perhaps his owner is fed up with him and you can try to add him in a trade. Here's what else I saw on a busy Tuesday night: