The biggest fantasy hockey news yesterday had nothing to do with the five games that were played. The Blue Jackets and Predators made a massive one for one swap with Ryan Johansen headed to Smashville while Seth Jones is going to Columbus. Both of these players should benefit from this trade. Jones is the easier case. He's going to play on the top pair, get more minutes (presumably including PP time) and if he's available in your league, I'd grab him for the upside that he has. Johansen makes out like a bandit here. He's been getting jerked around all over the lineup by Torts and now he gets to Nashville to center their first line. Peter Laviolette is known from playing his studs big minutes so Johansen's minutes could increase by close to 50% from where it's been under Torts. He should also get Filip Forsberg or James Neal (possibly both) on his wing to start so these guys get a bump in value as well. Look for Johansen to have a monster second half, Forsberg to keep up his current form to get close to last year's totals and for Neal to keep up his current rate. It might be tough to trade for Johansen because his owners have been hoping for this to happen but the other Predators make great trade targets as well. The departure of Jones should also benefit Ryan Ellis and he should be grabbed in all 12'ers as well. Here's what I saw in the games last night:
When you look at Zach Parise's totals for the season, they look like close to what you'd expect from him at the halfway point of the season; 14 goals and 11 assists. However, he missed 9 games so far this year so he's actually playing at a 40 goals, 30 assist pace after his second hat trick of the season Tuesday against the Blue Jackets. Parise is taking over 3.5 shots per game, has 4 GWG for those who play with that category and has been a great value where he was selected on a per game basis. Here's to hoping he stays healthy down the stretch because he's playing outstanding for the Wild. Here's what else I saw on Tuesday night:
Man, "Punch-Out!!" is an outstanding video game. I'm actually going to play it right now on my computer. Oh, alright, I'll write about Monday's hockey games for everyone and play later. I'll stick with the theme though. Tyson Barrie had a monster game on Monday night scoring two goals and two assists with five shots in the 4-1 win over the Kings. Last year, Barrie was one of 11 defenseman to have at least 50 points. Of those 11, 4 of those players have virtually no shot of getting back to 50 points; Barrie is one of the seven who can go back to back and is currently on pace to do so with 27 points in 36 games. Here are those seven names: Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns, P.K. Subban, John Carlson, Roman Josi, Kris Letang and Barrie. That's elite company and he is in line to repeat last year's stat line with a better shot rate. It's time to give him the credit he deserves. Here's a look at what else happened on a slow Monday night around the league:
To start the year, John Gibson was stuck in the AHL because the Ducks wanted to get him playing time. It took an injury to Fredrik Anderson for Gibson to start getting playing time and now Bruce Boudreau has realized that Gibson, their goalie of the future, is their present as well. On Thursday, Gibson had his second consecutive 1-0 win stopping all 21 shots against the Oilers. On Sunday, Gibson stopped 19 of 20 shots in the 4-1 win over the Jets. In 15 starts, Gibson has an absurd 1.63 GAA and a .932 save percentage. After an absolutely dreadful start, the Ducks are in a playoff spot thanks mostly to Gibson. Here's what else has happened around the league going back to the 31st of last year:
Before Wednesday, three of Cory Schneider's last four starts have been disappointing, especially factoring in for the opposition. Naturally, when he goes against one of the highest scoring teams in the league, he locks it down completely. Schneider had a 36 save shutout against the Senators on Wednesday night placing him in the top 10 in the NHL in wins, GAA and sv%. The Devils can thank Schneider for being in a playoff spot at the new year. Here's what else I saw on Wednesday night:
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: