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:

Jaroslav Hala– 43 saves on 46 shots in the 4-3 Islanders shootout win.  Even though it’s not the great game for fantasy purposes, it was quite the performance in real life.  He’s been frustrating for his owners because he hasn’t been getting the quantity of starts he did last year.  I mentioned that last year was an outlier compared to his previous workloads and the emergence of Thomas Greiss has really hurt Halak’s value.

Nick Leddy – Two assists and three shots.  After his huge breakout last year, Leddy has disappointed big time this year with no goals, eight assists and barely over a shot a game.  I would only own him in 16’ers or deeper.

Frans Nielsen – Two goals on four shots.  He’s now at 20 points (11+9) and close to 3 shots per game.  Great value in the late rounds.

Claude Giroux – Goal and an assist with seven shots.  There’s the Giroux fantasy owners have been known to love in the past.  Gradually creeping up close to point per game status.

Sergei Bobrovsky – 33 saves on 34 shots before leaving the game late in the third with an upper body injury. Noooooooo.  I’ve been pumping Bob’s tires for over a month now so hopefully this injury isn’t serious.  He’s been as good as any goalie in the league after October.  If he is out, I still wouldn’t touch Curtis McElhinney.  He’s a terrible goalie, plain and simple.

Scott Hartnell – Goal on two shots.  Keeping the good times rolling.

Nick Foligno – Assist and three shots.  The move to Hartnell’s line helped again.  He clearly won’t approach last year’s status but hopefully he can overcome his horrible start and provide some value to his owners.

Ryan Johansen – Assist on six shots.  He clearly won’t approach last year’s status but hopefully he can overcome his horrible start and provide some value to his owners.  And that’s me copying and pasting me doing what Grey does! I’m so creative…

Jeff Carter – Goal on four shots.  Standard at this point.

Christian Ehrhoff – Goal on four shots.  Minutes are climbing and it’s his second consecutive game with a goal after starting the season goalless in 21 games.  He’s had tons of value in the past so this is worth monitoring.

Alec Martinez – Goal and an assist with seven shots.  The Kings hero from the 2014 Cup run hasn’t done much this year but in 12’ers that count hits and blocks, I would own him.  With only the standard stats, I’d only own him in 16’ers or deeper, possibly 14’ers.

Jimmy Howard – 38 saves on 40 shots in the shootout loss to Washington.  Numbers look great for Howard down the year, just lacks the volume to really move the needle.  Red Wings platoon is still much better than them individually.

Marcus Johansson – Two assists and four shots back from injury.  The shots are below average but if you can stomach it, he brings plenty to the table.

Alex Ovechkin – Goal on eight shots with two PIM.  Standard Ovie.

Cory Schneider – 35 saves on 37 shots in the shootout loss to the Leafs.  These are the type of starts I expected from Schneider on a regular basis; he’s been the hard luck loser for years.  Still killing it for his owners.

Kyle Palmieri – Goal on three shots.  I have no idea who but he’s on a 35 goal pace and I haven’t been mentioning him enough.  He’s on pace for a 35+25 season with almost three shots per game and 50 PIM.  Absolutely insane.  I don’t expect it to keep up at all but who knows with this Devils team?

James van Riemsdyk – Goal on six shots.  The shots are still there so the goals should keep coming.  And he’s avoided the horrible plus-minus, the biggest concern coming into the year.

Garret Sparks – 25 saves on 27 shots for the win.  He looks like he belongs but I still expect him to be on the wrong side of the platoon with James Reimer sooner rather than later.

Mike Hoffman – Goal on four shots.  I love being right! Don’t Hassle the HoffMan!

Kyle Turris – Goal and an assist with two shots.  He had been on a bit of a cold streak so good to see him back on the score sheet.  Despite having 24 points in 28 games, Turris only has 3 power play points so I expect him to keep this pace up or even slightly improve on it.

Mark Stone – Three assists and three shots.  It doesn’t matter that he’s not on the first line right now.  Stone is at a point per game and while the shot rate has declined a bit, nobody can be complaining about Stone’s stat line for the season.

Vincent Trocheck – Assist with five shots and two PIM.  He’s right on the edge in 12’ers; depending on how good the bottomg of your roster is determines whether I’d hold Trocheck or not.

David Backes – Goal on four shots with two PIM.  While he’s disappointed offensively so far, he’s still on pace for a 20+20 season with over 100 PIM.  He played over 20 minutes last night so I expect Backes to get into the low 50s in points if that holds which would be a great season pushing top 50 value with 100 PIM.

Kevin Shattenkirk – Goal and an assist with three shots.  The chance to buy low on Shattenkirk is completely out of the window.

Alex Steen – Goal and an assist with three shots.  I haven’t said this in a while so it bears repeating; just stay healthy!

Vladimir Tarasenko – Goal on his only shot and four PIM.  I almost feel disappointed that this was his line against the Coyotes.  At least he had four PIM as a bonus to make up for only having 1 SOG.

Roman Josi – Assist and four shots.  At this point he has the NBA Jam blue fire.

Patrick Kane – Empty net goal on his only shot to extend his point streak to 23 games.  I’d give him crap for needing an empty netter to extend his streak if he didn’t already go 22 GAMES before this.  Silliness.

Andrew Shaw – Goal and an assist with two shots. Still not fantasy relevant outside of the deepest of leagues but randoms deserve a shoutout every now and then! Hey mom!  Just kidding she wouldn’t read this despite her passion for our lowly Sabres.

Teuvo Teravainen – Goal and an assist with two shots.  More importantly, he played 18:40 in this game.  I talked about him Monday and said I’d leave him on the wire playing only 12 minutes or so.  These big minutes with a boost in the lineup changes things.  I’d grab him to stream in the next Blackhawks game and hold if the minutes are there again.

Cam Ward – 4 saves on 8 shots before getting pulled.  He’s simply horrible at this point.  I wouldn’t even want to own him in 20 teamers; he’s the worst.

Justin Faulk – Two power play goals on five shots.  The plus-minus sucks but everything else is amazing.  He has 10 power play goals already this year.  That’s the franchise record for a defenseman for a season and we just started December!

Noah Hanifin – Two assists and four shots.  Love him in dynasties and the only thing stopping him from being must own in 12’ers at this point is the possibility that he goes to the World Juniors for the U.S. team.  The minutes are up and being on the first power play unit is doing him wonders.

Victor Rask – Three assists with two shots and two PIM.  Grab him where available.

John Klingberg – Three assists and two shots.  If the season ended today, would there be a tougher choice for a major NHL trophy than Klingberg or Erik Karlsson for the Norris?  They’re both out of this world.  Sweden is blessed for the World Cup next summer.

Valeri Nichushkin – Goal and two assists with a shot.  Grab him where available; as long as he’s on the first line, he’s going to crush.

Tyler Seguin – Goal and three assists with a shot.  Fitting that he has the exact same stat line as Benn.  Out of this world good.  Stanley Cup favorites?  Not sure I’d go that far yet but they’re right there for me.

Patrick Sharp – Goal on four shots.  The drop to the third line hasn’t hurt him; he’s taking more shots and the top power play time is outstanding.

Martin Jones – 11 savess on 14 shots before getting pulled early in the second.  He’s human after all.

Brent Burns – No points but seven shots on goal.  He brings plenty to the table even when he’s not scoring.

Logan Couture – Assist with a shot and four PIM in his return after a 20+ game absence.  Get him back in your lineups immediately if you had him on IR.  Couture is a great player and should push the top 50 for the rest of the season.  Plus he’s a Bills fan, automatic boost in my book!

Karri Ramo – 31 saves on 33 shots in the win.  He’s starting almost every game for the Flames (16 of last 17) so if your league counts saves, he’s a godsend.  If for some reason he’s available, grab him.

Mikael Backlund – Goal and an assist with five shots.  I feel like he should be doing so much better than he is with the talent around him.  He’s only a streamer in 12’ers in the right matchups.

Mark Giordano – Two assists with four shots playing over 28 minutes.  This is the Gio we came to love the last couple of seasons.  Still trying to buy low if possible.

Dougie Hamilton – Assist with a shot and two PIM.  I still believe.

Dennis Wideman – Two assists and three shots playing over 25 minutes.  I expected a big regression from Wideman and it’s happened with no goals on the season.  The shots are horrible and the hits aren’t great either for those in hits leagues.  He’s a decent source of assists if you’re desperate but I’m not owning him.

Wednesday Streamers: There are four games on a short Wednesday slate so streaming should be prevalent.  Here are my top three options:

Melker Karlsson (1.2% owned) – Even with the return of Couture, Karlsson stuck on the first line against the Flames and second power play unit.  No better chance to succeed than against the Oilers tonight.

Beau Bennett (0.1%) – He’s up to the first line with the sudden retirement of Pascal Dupuis due to blood clots (best of luck to him going forward and congrats on a solid career).  Bennett is also on the second power play unit and the way Sidney Crosby is starting to look again, the Pens should dominate against the Avalanche.

Olli Maatta (12.1) – I’ve talked about him the last few days as must own with Kris Letang out but just in case you weren’t listening, start listening! A matchup for the Avalanche should let him get on the score sheet for the third straight game.

That’s all for now guys.  With the short slate on Wednesday, I won’t have daily notes on Thursday.  But don’t worry!  There will be great content coming out Thursday morning from Marv and Pesos with a special article on saving your season  if it’s needed or improving an already strong team.  I’ll be back on Friday with a recap of Wednesday and Thursday’s games.  As always, please ask any questions or leave any comments below.  Take care everyone!

  1. Standard league cats. G. Ass. PPP. SOG. Pim. +/-

    Have an offer of my stamkos and josi for his burns and sharp. Am I wrong to like this? Currently 3rd in a 12 team roto league. I could use the SOG. Thanks!

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Derrick Yu: It’s very close and I wouldn’t argue with you going either way on this one. I guess I would lean towards no only because I expect Stamkos to start rolling now that Drouin is back and Sharp’s minutes have dropped a bit on the third line but with his power play opportunity and how good Burns has been, it’s so close that I can’t find fault either way.

  2. Scott says:
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    Wow, I had Rask sitting on my bench for that Dallas game. He’s rapidly becoming a must start.

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Scott: Yeah it’s a bit of a surprise but the minutes are huge right now and so is the opportunity.

  3. bobbo says:
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    In a 12-man league that has goalie categories as 5 out of 11 (GS, W, GAA, SV%, SO), I’m currently rostering:

    Halak, Niemi, F Anderson, J Gibson

    Ramo is (somehow) available, do I pick him up? Can drop a goalie, Barkov, Larkin, or the ridiculously under-performing P Hornqvist.

    (… and yes, I know 5 out of 11 cats for goalies is insane, I’ve already made my plea to change the scoring up to no avail)

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @bobbo: Yeah that’s a bit of a heavy goalie point system but given that, you must grab Ramo. With games started as a category, his value is much higher than in standard leagues. I wouldn’t cut any of your other goalies for now. I think I’d just drop Hornqvist until we see how the situation in Anaheim develops. Hopefully one or the other takes over full time and then you cut the other one.

  4. James says:
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    In a 16 team, keep 20 league that has some extra categories (hits, blocks and PIM):
    I was offered:
    My: Raanta, Saad, Namestinkov, and Derek Stepan
    For
    His: Hiller, Ramo, Sam Bennet and Chris Kreider
    I am thinking about it since my goalies are hurting (Ben Bishop, Berra and Raanta are shouldering the load while price and Anderson are struggling/hurt). This give me the 2 headed beast in Calgary, so it may not be as much of a struggle to get 3 starts per week.
    My fear is that Ortio or some other dark horse takes over there, those two are boarderline guys in real life, so I am afraid they reach out and find another answer between the pipes making those two worthless. I also am afraid that Raanta becomes a real starter next year, he really is one of the best 2-3 backups in the league.
    I am also afraid that Namestinkov will blow up this season. He is getting points and playing pretty well. He also has pretty good pedigree to suggest he is a first line talent.

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @James: How is your team doing this year? Are you looking to push for this year or are you looking more towards the future? I think will has a role in what you should do. My first thought is towards yes because of Bennett’s long term potential and Kreider’s extra value with hits being included but a lot of it is also because of the help Ramo would give you in the short term. I am also a big fan of Namestinkov so I understand the hesitation. Raanta is a great backup but there’s no guarantee he gets a shot somewhere next year. So many teams are set at goalie and he’s older for someone who’s only been a backup (will be 27 when UFA starts).

      • James says:
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        @Viz:

        I am in first, we start 2 at each forward, 4 D, 1 util, and 2 goalies. Daily roster moves (so depth is not a bad thing). I think I have some pretty nutty depth, but cannot find a dancing partner willing to deal something good for some of said depth.
        C- Tavares, backes (rw), Malkin (rw), Stepan, Namestinkov, Zajac
        Lw: Hall, Saad (RW), Boedker (RW) Palmeiri (RW), Palat
        RW: Eberle, Wheeler, McLeod (Lw), Matt Martin (Rw)
        D: Karlsson, Burns (RW), OEL, Weber, Letang, Doughty, Green, Giradi
        G: Price, Bishop, F. Anderson, Berra, Raanta

        My fear is with Anderson riding the pine, Price out for a bit, that I need another goalie that gets enough starts. Luckily Berra and Raanta have gotten enough games recently to keep me in goalie stats (need 3 starts per week). (h2h league since I do not think I have mentioned that yet, so no fear of maximum starts, just having enough active positions to play everyone)

        • James says:
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          @James:
          if it matters the WW is always really picked over (16 teams and 25 players per roster make it pretty thin). Brandon Pirri represents the best of the forwards out there (so 40 point guys like Teddy Purcell, ect are out there), D is even worse (good luck even finding a 20 point D out there).Elhinney is the only goalie in the NHL available, and goalie prospects are even harder to find (Brossit is about the best of the bunch).

          • Viz

            Viz says:
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            @James: Wow, your team is incredible for a 16 man league. My mind is blown, well done on assembling that roster. I think that given your incredible depth and that you only start 6-7 forwards, I’d pull the trigger on this trade. The gain Ramo gives you in the short term is a huge boost and you get arguably the best keeper back in the trade as well in Bennett.

          • Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey says:
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            @James: how in the hell did you get all of letang/OEL/weber/karlsson/burns on the same team?! you guys have very deep benches for only starting as many as you do also.

  5. Veritas says:
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    Great job Viz. I love the NBA Jam references, thanks to your advice I have been climbing up the ladder and this week I am tied for 1st place in a very competitive league.

    • goodfold2 says:
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      @Veritas: in that vein

      “LUCKY SHOT!”

      just kidding.

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Veritas: Haha thanks, I appreciate it. Good to hear!

  6. goodfold2 says:
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    wow, turris only has 3 PPP including the 2 from yesterday?! that’s crazy. i have him in two leagues and had no idea about that.

    • goodfold2 says:
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      @goodfold2: anybody else find it weird that dupuis was just now recommended to retire, after all this time? this sounds like something we’ll never hear why the same doctors that for over a year told him it’s ok to play suddenly decided otherwise.

      • Viz

        Viz says:
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        @goodfold2: Yeah, the timing of it was very strange. There was no new development in his condition as far as I know and all of a sudden he can’t play through it. Very weird situation.

  7. Apollo says:
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    Should I Drop Elliott for Gibson? If Gobson is taking over for the season he would be a good starter. I’d hate to drop Elliott, but his position has been so uncertain.

    • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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      @Apollo: it’s funny, i made (with other players in it) this same deal, moving elliot just under a month ago, when i realized he’s losing his job to allen. at the time i was able to stash gibson in NA slot. i also moved out a bunch of somewhat useful players i had no room for once better guys came back from injury (stastny/shattenkirk)

      • Apollo says:
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        @Aubrey Plaza’s Pillow: it’s a tough choice. I know if I drop him he will likely get picked up quick. So it’s a no turning back scenario. Although Gibson is an FA, so maybe Elliott won’t be scooped up.

        • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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          @Apollo: might want to mention how many teams/goalies per team/starting goalie slots etc, that might give some reference.

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Apollo: Can you give me some more info? What goalie categories do you have and what other goalies do you have? Thanks!

      • Apollo says:
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        @Viz: absolutely!! Probably should have done that to start :p.

        The Categories are Wins, SV% and SHO. This league (I play in several) is a 12 person keeper. My Goalies are Fluery, Hellebuck and Elliot. I also have Hammond sitting in my IR. People usually carry 3 goalies in this league.

        I took over this team from a bad and lazy person this year that had an auto drafted nightnare!!

        • Viz

          Viz says:
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          @Apollo: Well I’d at least wait until after tonight because Elliott is starting against the Flyers. Being a keeper though, I’m making this move. You’d have arguably the two best goalie prospects going forward and both can contribute in the short term as well.

          • Apollo says:
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            @Viz: in this league we can only keep 3 guys for 3 years. That’s a piece of info I should have included. My other league you get to keep a lot more players. So likely Gibson wouldn’t end up being a keeper for me. I guess what I’m trying to ask, is would Gibson be a better goalie to have for this year.

            • Viz

              Viz says:
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              @Apollo: Ah okay, no worries. I think I would take the chance on Gibson. If he runs with the job, you get a stud goalie. Barring an injury to Allen, you’re missing how many starts from Elliott the rest of the season? 15-20 max? I’m taking the gamble because the risk of losing Elliott doesn’t outweigh the potential gain of Gibson being the #1 there.

              • Apollo says:
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                @Viz: I was just about to take your advice, when I realized Hammond is no longer listed as IR. In order to get Gibson I would have to drop Elliott and Hammond. Is that a good idea? Hammond has that huge potential to bounce back. Makes him even harder to drop than Elliot.

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