I certainly didn’t think I’d be writing about Peter Budaj at any point this year. After all, he played in a whopping one game over the past two seasons combined. Alas, we’re here in December with Budaj being a major talking point of the NHL season. After Jonathan Quick went down, the expectation was that offseason signing Jeff Zatkoff would get the majority of the starts but when he went down as well, Budaj stepped in and has kept the job. He had arguably his best two performances over the weekend. Budaj posted a 39 save shutout in the 1-0 OT win over the Penguins before making 29 saves on 30 shots in the 1-0 loss in Boston. Budaj is currently #12 in the ESPN player rater among goalies making him a bottom end #1 or elite #2. With the news that Quick is going to be out until at least March, it’s Budaj’s job going forward. Despite that, Budaj is still available in over 40% of leagues. Can I explain it? No, not one bit. If you don’t already own him and he’s available in your league, grab Budaj. Let’s take a look at everything that happened around the league the last three nights:
Robin Lehner – 33 saves on 35 shots in the 3-2 OT win over the Islanders. Lehner stole this game with some remarkable point blank saves. He’s had some brutal luck when it comes to wins but with a .920 sv% and 2.45 GAA, Lehner should end up as a #2 goalie as expected.
Evander Kane – Assist with six shots. He dropped to the fourth line for some of this game but it didn’t last for long. I still like him plenty.
Matt Moulson – Goal on four shots for some streamer success! His value is directly correlated to his role that night.
Rasmus Ristolainen – Goal and an assist with three shots. Ristolainen is truly coming into his own at the moment with 8 points in 4 games from 12/6 to 12/16. He’s now pushing towards being a #1D on the season.
J.F. Berube – 34 saves on 37 shots in the loss. Holy shit, he actually played! And then played again on Sunday and was lit up by Ottawa! Isles goalies aren’t any fun at the moment.
Tyler Toffoli – Goal on five shots with two PIM. He’s racked up 10 PIM in his last 5 games which is a bit bizarre considering he rarely takes penalties. Nice bonus for Toffoli owners in H2H matchups.
Matt Murray – 27 saves on 28 shots in the 1-0 OT loss to the Kings. 14 starts, 12-1-1, 1.84 GAA, .938 sv% on the season. Is that good?
Martin Jones – 26 saves on 28 shots in the 4-2 win over Montreal. Clearly in the top echelon of goalies right now and going forward.
David Schlemko – Goal and an assist with three shots. He’s been okay recently playing his way to a decent option in deeper leagues.
Joonas Donskoi – Two assists with a shot. Minutes aren’t great right now and he was even scratched for one game. I’m not looking to stream him right now but I assume that will change at some point over the course of the season.
Carey Price – 14 saves on 18 shots in 26:44 before getting pulled. He’s at his lowest point of the season right now… 3rd overall among goalies. No worries here.
Matt Niskanen – Two assists with a shot and four PIM. Finally starting to pick things up to the point that he could be picked up in 12’ers.
Alex Ovechkin – Goal on six shots with two PIM. I feel like he’s about to get on a massive heater. I hope that feeling isn’t indigestion.
Sebastian Aho – Two assists with three shots. Moving up to a top end streamer right now.
Derek Ryan – Assist with a shot and two PIM. You can go either way on Ryan right now; top end streamer or hold riding the hot streak.
Teuvo Teravainen – Goal and an assist with four shots. Just like Aho although I slightly prefer Teravainen right now.
James Reimer – 30 saves on 31 shots in the 3-1 win over Colorado. I thought Reimer was going to be much better for the Panthers this year but he’s been rough. Colorado fixes all woes though, at least temporarily.
Jason Demers – Goal and an assist with two shots. I think it’ll take an injury for Demers to get 12’er value.
Seth Griffith – Assist with two PIM. He’s on the top line right now but Griffith isn’t really providing much. It’s an okay stream but I’m still looking elsewhere most nights.
Matt Duchene – Assist as did Nathan MacKinnon. They’re carrying this team offensively right now and by carrying I mean getting them to dead last in the league in goals but not historically awful.
Sergei Bobrovsky – 22 saves on 23 shots in the 4-1 win over the Flames. I’m still left without words in regards to Columbus playing this well. Nevertheless, Bob is the truth and since the wins are here, it should be top 5 at the end of the year.
Zach Werenski – Two assists. He’s still firmly sitting as a top 10 defenseman on the season which is remarkable for a rookie.
Ryan Miller – 25 saves on 27 shots in the 4-2 win over the Lightning. I still don’t want anything to do with Canucks goalies.
Alex Burrows – Goal and an assist with three shots. He’s played his way onto the streaming radar as a top end PIM option that can contribute in points.
Loui Eriksson – Two assists with a shot. It’s been an extremely disappointing season in Vancouver for Loui. I would feel safe cutting him in 12’ers now.
Markus Granlund Two assists with two shots. Not enough here right now.
Bo Horvat – Goal and an assist with two shots. Dr. Bo has been solid lately but it’s still only streamer worthy.
Victor Hedman – Goal and an assist with six shots and two PIM. Hedman isn’t getting the notoriety he deserves at the moment for how well he’s playing. The Lightning are much better with him on the ice and with 25 points in 32 games, Hedman is the #5 defenseman to this point of the season.
Antti Niemi – 31 saves on 32 shots in the 3-1 win over the Flyers. That’s three incredibly strong starts in a row for Niemi and while I don’t think it’ll last, I’m fine with grabbing him in the short term riding the hot streak.
Radek Faksa – Goal and an assist with three shots. I still like Faksa quite a bit in dynasties but there’s not enough there right now for 12’ers.
John Klingberg – Assist with two shots. He played over 20 minutes in this one but things really haven’t got any better for Klingberg. The lack of shots is simply a killer right now.
Darcy Kuemper – 27 saves on 28 shots in the 4-1 win over the Coyotes. He’s been poor this year but like everyone, he makes for a great stream against the Coyotes. I would stream him in better spots and avoid his spot starts against average or better teams.
Eric Staal – Goal and an assist with two shots. While I liked Staal to bounce back, I didn’t think he’d be a top 50 player. I honestly don’t think it’s going to slow down either so keep riding it out.
Frederik Andersen – 33 saves on 34 shots in the 2-1 OT win over the Penguins. After the first five games, it’s been incredible. certainly better than anyone could have realistically expected. Great dynasty play but for now, it’s still firm as a #2G.
Jake Gardiner – Goal on four shots. That’s a five game point streak for Gardiner and I think he should be grabbed everywhere at the moment.
Mitch Marner – Two assists with three shots. Just as he starts to slow down, Marner puts up 4 points in 4 games. It’ll probably finish inside of the top 100 although it’ll be close.
Marc-Andre Fleury – 41 saves on 43 shots playing 52:45 because of being cut in the neck by a skate. Very scary moment but thankfully he ended up being okay. It’s still clearly Murray’s job going forward.
Chris Kelly – Two assists with a shot. And there’s your annual Chris Kelly update!
Zack Smith – Goal and an assist with two shots. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t his best game of the weekend. Smith is back in the top six and is certainly on the streaming radar. I grabbed him in a couple 12’ers hoping for the best; we saw him get on a massive heater last year.
Mike Condon – 29 saves on 30 shots in the 3-1 win over the Devils. Ottawa is playing extremely well giving Condon a chance to put up reasonable numbers in the short term until Craig Anderson returns.
Ryan Kesler – Two assists. I’m in complete shock at how well Kesler is doing this season offensively. I would still be trying to sell high as soon as possible.
Rickard Rakell – Two goals on five shots. As talented as Rakell is, this is another performance that nobody could have expected. 14 goals and 7 assists through 21 games? Unbelievable.
Jonathan Bernier – 17 saves on 21 shots in 2 periods before getting pulled in the 6-4 loss to Detroit. John Gibson wasn’t much better allowing 2 goals on 11 shots. I definitely didn’t expect it but I think these goalies might be like the Stars duo last season. There’s decent wins but nothing else right now.
Anthony Mantha – Two assists with a shot. With only three shots in the last five games, Mantha is back to an elite streamer but I wouldn’t hold him in standard 12’ers anymore.
Xavier Ouellet – Goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM. He’s completely irrelevant in all fantasy leagues but a) shoutout for getting 2 points and b) his initials are X.O. Don’t see that too often. I knew you guys were reading these posts to find players with crazy initials!
Tomas Tatar – Hat trick. His big year from 2014-15 seems like a distant memory. Even with this hat trick, Tatar sits at 7+7 in 32 games. It’s fine to stream but that’s it.
Thomas Vanek – Two assists with two shots. He’s revitalized his career in the Motor City. As someone who is a big Vanek fan, I’m happy for him. The minutes have increased with his production so I’d probably hold tight instead of selling high.
Carey Price – 20 saves on 21 shots in the 2-1 win over the Caps. As mentioned above, nothing to worry about with Price.
Jeff Petry – Goal on six shots. He’s one goal off his career high in his 8th season. It’s 12’er worthy at this point although I don’t expect it to last.
Anders Nilsson – 21 saves on 22 shots in the 2-1 SO loss to the Hurricanes. He’s been very solid in his 9 starts and it’s to the point where I’d consider streaming him in almost every start.
Cam Ward – 23 saves on 24 shots earning the win. He’s basically Budaj with lower wins at this point.
Artem Anisimov – Left Saturday’s game in the first with a UBI and didn’t play Sunday. Hold tight until we get a better timetable.
Patrick Kane – Goal and an assist with four shots. It’s been a great year for Kane, just nowhere near last year’s absurd level.
Marcus Kruger – Two assists with four shots. Prime example of better player in real life than in fantasy.
Artemi Panarin – Goal and two assists with four shots. Ever since I said Panarin was doing what I expected (a slight step back from last year), he’s been going off. Hotter than a pistol!
Patrik Berglund – Two goals on three shots with two PIM. He’s moved up in the lineup making him a viable streamer for the time being.
Joel Edmundson – Three assists with four shots. This game doubled his point total on the season to show that there isn’t much here.
Henrik Lundqvist – 31 saves on 32 shots in the 2-1 SO win over the Predators. The King stay The King! The buy low window for Hank has turned into his owner laughing at your offers.
Rick Nash – Goal on three shots. That gives him a goal in both games since he returned and puts him at 13 in 29 games. Not even that fluky with his shot volume either.
Juuse Saros – 26 saves on 27 shots in the loss. My love for him in dynasties is well known in these parts. Assuming something crazy like Saros taking over this season at some point doesn’t happen, I’ll be looking to take a late round flier on him next year on the hope that he steals playing time from Rinne.
Ben Bishop – 30 saves on 32 shots in the 3-2 SO loss to Edmonton. As far as disappointments go, Bishop has to be the biggest so far. From the #1 overall player to actually doing more harm than good to teams this year.
Jonathan Drouin – Goal on three shots. That gives him 5 goals in his last 5 so hopefully you held tight through the injury.
Leon Draisaitl – Goal and an assist with two shots and two PIM. Excellent start for Draisaitl who sits clearly in the top 50 forwards despite being -5 and having only 6 PIM on the season. The shots have seen a nice jump to only slightly below average and obviously 14+14 in 33 games is terrific.
Andrej Sekera – Two assists with two shots. As we talked about on the podcast last week, Rej is clearly the Oilers defenseman to own at the moment.
Tuukka Rask – 18 save shutout in the 1-0 win over the Kings. Sometimes it’s quite an easy game. Sunday for Rask qualifies.
Mikko Rantanen – Assist playing over 19 minutes. Okay streamer and great dynasty value but the plus-minus and low shots are too much to overcome holding at the moment.
Nikolaj Ehlers – Two goals on four shots. The forgotten man in Winnipeg, Ehlers is still 20 years old and now has 26 points in 34 games. You look so good to me!
Patrik Laine – Goal and two assists with three shots. This 18 year old seems pretty good at hockey. I’m tumescent at the thought of him in his prime.
Mark Scheifele – Two assists with a shot. Part of me wants the Jets to suck the rest of the year so they can nab one more elite talent to go with this trio plus the older core who are in the tail end of their prime but I sit there rooting for them every time I watch them because they’re so damn fun to watch. Scheifele is making me look like a genius and for that I thank him.
Blake Wheeler – Goal on two shots. Remember Wheeler? Yeah, he’s still pretty good too.
Connor Hellebuyck – 27 saves on 28 shots in the 4-1 win over Colorado. It’s probably only one tier above the “desperate for starts” guys but I still think he should be owned in 12’ers and is a dynasty favorite in these parts.
Cam Atkinson – Goal and an assist with two shots. Here are the players with a better PPG than Atkinson: Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid, Vladimir Tarasenko, Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov. <bows respecting Atkinson’s performance>
Brandon Saad – Two goals on five shots. The crazy thing about this year is that Saad is breaking out like I thought but instead of being their #1 fantasy skater relatively easy, he’s their 6th best to date. Unbelievable.
Alexander Wennberg – Two assists. It’s heavy in assists and plus-minus but that’s enough right now.
Troy Stecher – Two assists with three shots. Okay deep league option for the shots and power play points.
Ryan Hartman – Goal and an assist. Okay streamer at the moment with some upside in dynasties.
Vinnie Hinostroza – Goal and an assist with two shots. Same as Hartman although I do prefer Hartman over him.
Artemi Panarin – Two assists with a shot. As expected, he now has more points than Kane does. Looks like he’s making me pay for my low (relative to ADP) ranking.
Scott Darling – 33 saves on 34 shots in the 4-1 win over the Sharks. The end of his reign is approaching but ride it to the end and stream him going forward when he does get the nod.
Derick Brassard – Goal on three shots. That gives him goals in consecutive games but his first year in Ottawa has been quite disappointing. I can see grabbing him to stream to see if this mini-streak turns into something more but he’s certainly far from a must hold.
Erik Karlsson – Two assists with three shots. I know that they rolled in this game but will they stop playing Cody Ceci more minutes than him? For the love of God, man.
Zack Smith – Two goals and an assist with three shots. Given my previous spoiler, you already knew he had a second big game. I’m gambling on the upside.
Mark Stone – Goal and two assists with four shots. The shots have dropped to well below average but the points are terrific.
Anders Lee – Goal on five shots playing over 20 minutes. Solid streamer for goals plus decent PIM right now.
Henrik Lundqvist – 29 saves on 31 shots in the 3-2 SO win over the Devils. You already know my thoughts.
Kyle Palmieri – Two assists with a shot. I don’t own him anywhere but if I did, I think I’d feel safe dropping him for someone else who is hot. The assist rate is on par with last year but the drop in shot volume coupled with a massive dropoff in shooting percentage has been a killer.
P.A. Parenteau – Goal on two shots after being scratched. Bottom end streamer given the uncertainty with his role (played only 10:35 in this one).
Cory Schneider – 25 saves on 27 shots in the loss. The next six for the Devils: Nashville, Flyers, Pens twice, Caps twice. Given that they’re 2-6-2 in their last 10, things are ugly. I could see trying to buy super low on January 1st but I wouldn’t want Schneider until then.
Monday Streamers – A bigger slate than usual on Monday but still relatively small with 5 games to choose from. Here are my top three choices:
Teuvo Teravainen (11.3%) – Can go with Derek Ryan here as well; a home matchup against the Red Wings is a nice spot for the Canes.
Patrik Berglund (1.3%) – With the boost onto a scoring line and the matchup with the Oilers, I like the spot for Berglund.
Alex Chiasson (1.0%) – Honestly, you can take any Flame going against Arizona and be happy. My preference is Chiasson who is currently with Gaudreau and Bennett.
That’s all for now guys. I’ll be back on Tuesday with a podcast per the usual schedule. Please leave any questions or comments below. Take care!