Today is the NHL trade deadline (more on that later!) but there’s a good chance that the biggest name that moves went yesterday. After being with Carolina since they drafted him in 2003, Eric Staal was traded away from his brother Jordan to join up with his brother Marc for the New York Rangers. Please, blog, may I have some more?
We are only a few days away from the trade deadline and the first big trade piece is off the market. The Jets moved their captain Andrew Ladd and sent him to the team they acquired him from in 2010, Chicago. The Blackhawks paid a massive price for the rental sending a first round pick, a conditional third, and Marko Dano. If you remember in the preseason, Dano was my favorite sleeper after he came on strong at the end of last season in Columbus. With Bryan Little out for the season, I expect Dano to be in Winnipeg right away. If that's the case, he's immediately worth consideration in 12'ers because his upside is through the roof. Ladd will go on the first line in Chicago on Jonathan Toews' wing which is also a big boost to his value. This is another trade, like the Columbus and Nashville blockbuster, that is a win for all players from a fantasy perspective. Here's what I saw on the ice the last two nights around the league:
February was already the best month of the season to date for Filip Forsberg. He was behind last season's pace by a decent margin through January but now, Forsberg is going to easily set a career high in goals and come close in points. The 21 year old Swedish stud scored his second career hat trick, first in the regular season, on Tuesday night against the hopeless Leafs. This puts him up to 23 goals and with the 7 shots on goal, he's back over 3 shots per game. With 9 goals in February already, Forsberg has salvaged his season and can reach his preseason draft value. He's obviously an elite option in dynasties and with his current form, Forsberg should be a difference maker for the rest of the season. Here's what else I saw around the league on Tuesday night:
How good is Joe Thornton? The answer is pretty, pretty good <Larry David voice>. The future Hall of Famer is back in the top 10 in the league in scoring after a big night against the Blues on Monday. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Brad Marchand is really good at his job. He looks like a troll, plays like a troll by starting things while teetering on the edge of dirty and now, he’s trolling us all with his offensive prowess. Please, blog, may I have some more?
At this point, it's about time we recognize that Artemi Panarin isn't just riding Patrick Kane's coattails. On Wednesday, the rookie vaulted himself into a tie for 5th in the league in points, scoring a hat trick to lead the Blackhawks to a 5-3 victory against the Rangers. It was a 3-3 game with 3 minutes left until Panarin scored to take the lead and then he sealed it with an empty netter. He now has 22 goals and 35 assists with solid numbers in the other categories. As long as voters don't punish him for being 24 years old, Panarin should run away with the Calder. He's gone from a late round flier this year to a slam dunk top 50 asset going forward that's probably closer to the top 25 than 50. Here's what else I saw around the league the last two nights:
Goals were extremely hard to come by in the NHL on Tuesday night. Four of the eight games finished 2-1, 3 of which were 1-1 through 60 minutes and needed overtime. Surprisingly, the one game that had a lot of goals was in New Jersey where the Flyers exploded in the 3rd period to beat the Devils 6-3. Their best player, Claude Giroux, led the way with three assists and one shot on goal. After a slow start, Giroux is now in the top 20 in the league in points with 49 (16+33) in 56 games. The first line and first power play unit for the Flyers has been completely unstoppable for the last 4-6 weeks and is keeping the Flyers in the playoff race. If you own any of their big four, enjoy the ride. Here's what else I saw around the league on Tuesday night:
In the month of February, Oliver Ekman-Larsson has been even better than usual. After Monday night where he had a goal and two assists with two shots against Montreal, OEL now has 10 points (3+7) in 7 games with 27 SOG and 14 PIM. Eight of his points are on the power play which is excellent but that's come along with a -10 rating. You can stomach the plus-minus from OEL when in defenseman ranks, he's 2nd in goals, tied for 4th in points, 2nd in SOG and first in STP. In dynasties, he's solidified himself as the #3 defenseman going forward. It's crazy to think that OEL is still only 24 years old and the best years for Arizona are still to come. He deserves to be discussed about the Norris Trophy, not to win because Erik Karlsson has it in the bag, but as a finalist. Here's what else I saw around the league on a relatively busy Monday:
Evander Kane made a huge difference in weekly matchups as he was arguably the player of the week. After his goal and 29 point outburst early in the week, Kane scored twice on five shots and added two PIM on Friday while scoring a goal with three shots and two PIM on Sunday. Please, blog, may I have some more?
On Wednesday, I said the following about Patrick Eaves: "He played on the first line and first power play unit right now so Eaves is a top end streamer while that’s the case. You could even hold him." Well, he showed why that's the case on Thursday night as Eaves had a hat trick in the first period against the Blackhawks. He finished the game with those three goals and six shots on goal. He has to be held now or picked up where available as long as he's on the first line. Here's what else I saw the last two nights around the league: