It’s at the point of the season where I start off posts with guys who aren’t trivial holds and can make a difference down the stretch run.  I’ve always been enamored with Nick Bjugstad‘s potential, especially after his 24 goal season three seasons ago.  He’s 6’6 and can skate pretty well, what’s not to like?  Well, Bjugstad struggled for a couple seasons and started off this season as a bottom end streamer again.  Then, all of a sudden, the Panthers decided to balance out their lines and put Bjugstad on the first line.  Voila!  Bjugstad started putting together the best stretch of his career and it peaked on Tuesday night, scoring his first career hat trick on seven shots.  He now has nine points in his last seven games with a very good shot rate over the entire season.  With the minutes up, and Florida having an amazing fantasy hockey playoff schedule (more details here), I’m grabbing Bjugstad everywhere I can and rolling with him going forward.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:

Troy Brouwer – Goal and an assist.  Hard pass.

Evgeni Malkin – Goal and two assists with four penalty minutes.  Malkin has been going bonkers for the last few weeks.  He has 6 multi-point games in his last 10, including four 3 point games.

Phil Kessel – Two assists with three shots.  It feels like he hasn’t slowed down the entire season.

Leo Komarov – Two goals on five shots.  Outside of being a streamer in deep leagues for his hits, Uncle Leo has lost his fantasy value.

Jason Pominville – Goal and an assist with five shots.  He’s played well lately but I’m still not using Pominville as a streamer.

Johan Larsson – Goal and an assist with two shots.  And there’s your annual Johan Larsson update!

Ryan O’Reilly – Goal and an assist with two shots.  RoR has 25 points in his last 25 games solidifying himself as a clear hold.

Sam Reinhart – Goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM.  Reinhart is proving why you shouldn’t give up on a young player.  Reinhart has 23 points in his last 22 games turning himself into a hold for the time being.

Rasmus Ristolainen – Two assists with a shot and five PIM.  This was arguably the best game Risto has played all season in both ends.  He’s been a beast in the second half and should be a bottom end #2D going forward.

Erik Karlsson – Goal and an assist with five shots and two PIM playing almost 31 minutes.  Despite Ottawa battling at the bottom of the standings, Boucher is rolling their studs for big minutes.  Look for Karlsson to continue his big second half.

Matt Duchene – Goal and an assist with three shots.  Solid streamer but I’m not really considering holding Duchene in 12’ers.

Tyler Seguin – Two goals on nine shots with two PIM over two games.  He’s on pace for the quietest 45 goal season ever.

Leon Draisaitl – Two assists with a shot.  Speaking of quiet seasons, Draisaitl is going to top last season’s 77 points but it’s all about McJesus and how badly they fell apart.

John Tavares – Goal and an assist with eight shots.  He’s slowed down and the Isles consequently have fallen towards the fringe of the playoff race, but Tavares is still at a point per game.

Mathew Barzal – Two assists with two shots and two PIM.  If the Isles can manage to resign Tavares, this season is a massive success, even if they miss the playoffs, due to the emergence of Barzal.

Brendan Leipsic – Two goals and an assist with three shots and six PIM.  He’s looked damn good for the Canucks and some people really like Leipsic’s upside.  I’m not particularly there, but I’d stream him in deep leagues and will keep monitoring him.

Jake Virtanen – Goal and an assist with four shots.  Virtanen has failed to make strides this season which is quite unfortunate for the Canucks.

Anthony Mantha – Two goals and two assists with four shots.  I could have started this post about my Man(tha) crush but Bjugstad is more widely available.  Detroit has a nice playoff schedule so I’d lean towards holding Mantha, but it’s close.

Mike Green – Goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM.  It still blows my mind that he wasn’t traded at the deadline.  I said Green was a hold on my updated hold / stream list, and this game makes me feel better about that.

Tyler Bertuzzi – Two assists with a shot.  There’s some potential going forward but I’m not using Bertuzzi right now.

Brad Marchand – Three goals, two assists, six shots, two penalty minutes.  Earlier in the year, slam dunk lead for this ridiculous performance.  If Marchand wasn’t hurt and suspended earlier in the year, he could be pushing towards the #1 player again.

Torey Krug – Two goals and two assists with three shots.  With Charlie McAvoy out for four weeks, Krug is a #1D for the rest of the season.

David Pastrnak – Three assists with five shots.  It’s not as goal heavy as last season, but Pastrnak already has more assists than last season.  I’d like the shot rate to get back up, but I’m not going to complain with Pasta’s year.

Riley Nash – Two assists with two shots and two PIM.  He’s filling in Bergeron’s spot right now making him a good to great streamer.

Mike Reilly – Two assists with two shots.  He’s playing good minutes since going to Montreal but I’m not really interested.

Jacob De La Rose – Two goals on four shots and two PIM.  And that’s more goals than De La Rose had in his first 38 games!

Travis Zajac – Two goals and an assist with three shots and two PIM.  I’ve never been a Zajac guy and that’s not really changing now.

Brian Boyle – Goal and an assist with two shots.  Hard pass.

Kyle Palmieri – Two assists with a shot.  Palmieri has been excellent this season when healthy.  I think he’s a clear hold.

Taylor Hall – Two assists with four shots and two PIM.  Only a 26 game point streak, not much to see here.

Sami Vatanen – Two assists with two shots.  Vatanen has been rolling lately and should be owned everywhere right now.

Will Butcher – Two assists with a shot.  Butcher was ice cold before this game and this game isn’t going to change my mind.  I have no interest in him unless it’s to stream on a Sunday when I need assists.

Blake Coleman – Goal and an assist with two PIM.  Nothing to really see here.

Patrik Laine – Hat trick on four shots.  All of the hat tricks everywhere!  Laine has 13 goals in his last 9 games as he makes a serious push for the Rocket.

Steve Mason – 31 save shutout in the 3-0 win over the Rangers.  I think this says more about the Rangers going forward than Mason.  Mason was below .900 sv% on the season before this game so only use him in the best of matchups.

Artemi Panarin – Goal and two assists with five shots.  The Bread Man is rolling right now with at least one point in eight of his last nine games.  Look for him to maintain his quality play for the rest of the way.

Pierre-Luc Dubois – Goal and two assists with two shots.  He’s only a streamer for now (their schedule sucks down the stretch) but I can already tell I want Dubois on every team next season.

Joonas Korpisalo – 37 saves on 38 shots in the 4-1 win over Vegas.  I’m passing on Korpisalo outside of great matchups; he’s had a rough season.

Keith Yandle – Two assists as did Evgenii Dadonov and Aleksander Barkov.  Not much to say on these guys, they’re all clear holds playing massive minutes with a loaded schedule coming up.  All of the top Panthers guys should be huge difference makers in the fantasy playoffs.

Yanni Gourde – Two goals and an assist with three shots.  Gourde has been on a tear for months now and is a no-brainer hold at this point.

Anton Stralman – Two assists with two shots, +5.  I don’t see much here at this point in Stralman’s career outside of a plus-minus boost.

J.T. Miller – Goal and an assist with two shots.  He has five points in his last three games.  Given how well everyone in Tampa has done all season, I’m somewhat inclined to hold Miller.

Pekka Rinne – 26 save shutout in the 2-0 win over the Stars.  The Predators have been resting guys over the last week, which is something I want to ask Reid about on the podcast that will go up Thursday morning.  Anyways, Rinne has been amazing, but I question how many starts he’ll get down the stretch.  Juuse Saros could be a big difference maker.

Eric Staal – Two goals on five shots.  Staal is on pace for 44 goals now which is simply bonkers.  It’s almost been a decade since Staal scored 40 goals.  What an all-around season.

Mikko Koivu – Two assists with a shot and two PIM.  Five game point streak for the Wild captain.  He’s played his way into being a solid streamer.

Ryan Suter – Two assists with no shots, as did Jared Spurgeon.  Suter has been piling up the assists while Spurgeon has been steady enough to be held.

Jonathan Toews – Goal and an assist with five shots and two PIM.  Toews has become a nice GPP play as he’s scoring in bunches lately.  In his last nine games, he has three multi-point games and six blanks.

J.F. Berube – 33 saves on 34 shots in the 2-1 OT win over the Avalanche.  Meh, desperation play at best.

John Gibson – 36 save shutout in the 4-0 win over the Capitals.  Just stay healthy!

Ryan Getzlaf – Two assists with a shot and two PIM.  Is 12 points in the last 6 games any good?  Asking for a friend.

Adam Henrique – Goal and an assist with two shots.  I still don’t think there’s quite enough to hold Henrique but it’s somewhat close if he keeps playing 18+ minutes.

Rickard Rakell – Goal and an assist with three shots.  Rakell is rockin’ and a rollin’ right now, and I’m impressed with how far he’s come as a passer.  He’s looking like a borderline top 50 guy going forward.

Josh Manson – Two assists.  He’s a nice option for assists, plus-minus, and penalty minutes if that’s what you’re looking for.

That’s all for now guys.  The plan for the rest of the week is a podcast that will go up Thursday morning and daily notes that will go up Friday morning.  As always, feel free to ask any questions, leave any comments, or give any suggestions below.  Thanks for reading, take care!

  1. Ron says:

    Thanks for the great analysis. You didn’t end Malkin’s blurb with “Just stay helathy!” which can only mean he is going to miss the next 15 games before he making his annual unexpected return to the lineup for game 1 of the playoffs (I wonder if the Pens do this with certain players to keep them rested for the cup run).

    • Viz

      Viz says:

      @Ron: Thanks! Oh man, I’ll take the blame if he goes down. I have a feeling they will rest guys like Nashville has started too. Going to force people to check their lineups last minute just in case guys rest out of nowhere

    • For an Armenianless Vacation come to Akron says:

      @Ron: since it always worked the other times he typed that one right

  2. For an Armenianless Vacation come to Akron says:

    in some ridiculous yahoo league (where i comish but hadn’t noticed their default position has the playoffs RIGHT NOW, and i CANNOT change that as of early monday didn’t figure anybody would remove 3 weeks of season on purpose as a default position, ONLY yahoo would do something that stupid) i just happened to stream the jug. awesome.

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