It’s no secret in these parts that I’m from Buffalo and root for the local teams. I’ve seen plenty of devastating injuries over the years, from hockey players being severely cut, Pronger’s collapse on the ice, soccer players collapsing like Eriksen in 2021, and I was at the Bills game when Kevin Everett was paralyzed. Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest was the first time that it felt like “life or death” on the football field. It seemed like an eternity between first responders helping him, getting him to the hospital, and waiting for any update. I can only imagine how it was for his family, friends, and teammates. Here’s to hoping that Hamlin continues to progress in his battle towards recovery. The Sabres played in Washington on Tuesday night, with the entire team wearing “Love For Three” t-shirts for their Buffalo brethren. The Sabres won the game 5-4 in the most fitting way possible. Tage Thompson scored his third goal of the game, completing his third hat trick of the season, exactly three minutes into overtime, playing three on three, bringing him to 30 on the season, which is three off the league lead. You can’t write a better ending than that. Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights while we keep Damar in our thoughts:
Jake DeBrusk – Two goals on five shots, scoring both goals for Boston in the Winter Classic. It wasn’t that long ago that DeBrusk asked for a trade. Now, he’s on a 35 goal pace with three shots per game, the third wheel on the first line on the best team in hockey. He’s a hold in all formats.
Linus Ullmark – 26 saves on 27 shots in the 2-1 win. Ullmark has been the most valuable player in fantasy so far and it’s not even close. He can drop off a substantial amount in the second half and still lap the field.
Tristan Jarry – 8 saves on 8 shots before leaving the game in the first period due to injury. The Pens already called up Tokarski to backup, so it should be Casey DeSmith in the short term at the very least. DeSmith’s GAA is bad and the wins are poor, but I would grab him anywhere I need goaltending help. He’s actually been fine with a .911, so let’s hope the team plays better in front of him.
Nic Roy – Two goals. Roy is a bottom end streamer at best now that he’s been passed on the depth chart by others, relegating him to the fourth line.
Nathan MacKinnon – Goal and an assist with eight shots playing 27 minutes. Mikko Rantanen also had a goal and an assist while Artturi Lehkonen dished two assists. The top line is getting all of the minutes they can handle right now. Some reinforcements should be back soon, but the schedule is extremely soft over the next two weeks in terms of defensive teams. We could see a big Avalanche run sooner than later.
Samuel Ersson – 28 saves on 29 shots in the 4-1 win over the Ducks. Ersson was 40 seconds from a shutout, but unfortunately, he’ll have to wait to get one in the NHL. I can’t bring myself to use a Flyers goalie right now; this says more about the Ducks than anything. Welcome to the Razzball Database!
Travis Konecny – Goal and an assist with two shots. Just a monstrous season from Konecny, who is back on the trajectory people hoped after 61 points in 66 games in his age 22 season. Sure, his shooting percentage should regress some, but he’s been fantastic and has plenty of room to spare to remain a hold.
Kevin Hayes – Two assists with three shots. I have Hayes in the elite streamer range without too much thought.
Noah Cates – Two assists. Cates has been showing some signs lately, but it’s bottom end streamer territory unless he starts to shoot the puck more.
Joel Farabee – Goal and an assist. Farabee is firmly in the middling streamer range.
Alex Tuch – Goal and two assists with four shots. He’s blown by all expectations that the Sabres had for him. Tuch has also become a fantasy monster. Love to see it.
Alex Ovechkin – Two goals on seven shots. That’s eight goals in the last five games for Ovechkin. Just an absolute legend.
Sonny Milano – Goal and an assist with four shots. Milano was very noticeable in this game. I would like to see him get more of a chance, but for now, he’s a bottom end streamer.
Paul Stastny – Two assists. Even playing in the top six, Stastny doesn’t hold fantasy utility any more.
Mika Zibanejad – Goal and an assist. Nice little goal scoring binge for Zibanejad has him on a 40 goal, 50 point pace. Pretty, pretty, pretty good.
Jacob Trouba – Goal and an assist. Trouba pulled off the rarity of being -3 when his team wins 5-3. In hits and blocks leagues, I’d still hold because he’s such a monster in both, but Trouba shouldn’t be owned in other leagues with 14 people or less.
Filip Chytil – Goal and an assist. Bottom end streamer.
K’Andre Miller – Goal and an assist. Solid in real life, but only a hits/blocks option.
Anton Forsberg – 22 save shutout in the 4-0 win over the Blue Jackets. A nice revenge shutout for Forsberg. I don’t mind streaming, but Talbot plays too much to hold Forsberg.
Claude Giroux – Two assists with two shots and two PIM. Giroux moving onto the top line has solidified himself as a hold.
Tim Stutzle – Goal and an assist with three shots. It’s great to see the breakout from Stutzle that many expected. He’s a top 20 dynasty player without question.
William Nylander – Goal and two assists with three shots. Michael Bunting had two goals and an assist, while Auston Matthews had a goal and an assist with three shots. There are a few teams who can matchup ok with this line, but others have no chance. St. Louis goes into that category without RoR. Nylander and Bunting are blowing previous career highs out of the water.
Brayden Schenn – Goal and an assist with four shots. The points are solid, but the plus-minus is a disaster. I see Schenn in the solid streamer range, but with the injuries in St. Louis, he could rise pretty quickly.
Brandon Saad – Two goals on three shots. Bottom end streamer for Saad.
Colton Parayko – Two assists with a shot. Parayko has been a bit better offensively, but I still have no interest outside of the deepest of leagues.
Noel Acciari – Two assists. Acciari is a deep league option or streamers for hits.
Jordan Kyrou – Goal and an assist with two shots. The slow start from Kyrou is firmly in the past. He’s going to smash his previous career high of 27 goals.
Clayton Keller – Goal and an assist with four shots. Keller is back to a point per game, thriving despite the lack of talent around him. The shot rate is up a ton lately, and the plus-minus isn’t so devastating that Keller is an easy hold.
Matthew Tkachuk – Hat trick and an assist with six shots and two PIM. Okay then. Tkachuk dominated the game letting the Panthers avoid another defeat to the Desert Dogs. He’s been absolutely incredible, justifying my ranking of Tkachuk as a first round pick in the preseason.
Eric Staal – Two goals. Props to Staal for having the dedication of the game to still be playing. Nothing for fantasy anymore though.
Nino Niederreiter – Three assists with a shot. I’d like to see what Nino can do with more opportunity. As is, he’s a middling streamer.
Roman Josi – Goal and an assist with seven shots. It’s not as good as last season, but Josi has still been damn good.
Mikael Granlund – Two assists with a shot. The shots are so dreadful that Granlund has to be in the bottom end streamer category.
Mattias Ekholm – Goal and an assist with two shots and two PIM. Ekholm could be an interesting name available at the trade deadline. His offense has really dried up this year so he’s only a deep league option.
Thomas Novak – Goal and an assist with four shots. The lines keep shuffling in Nashville so it’s hard to judge Novak. I’m monitoring, but not using him at the moment. Welcome to the Razzball Database!
Brian Elliott – 25 saves on 26 shots in the 4-1 win over the Blackhawks. You can stream Elliott in quality matchups, but that’s about it.
Victor Hedman – Two assists with a shot. He’s heating up! <NBA Jam voice>
Brandon Hagel – Goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM. Solid revenge game from Hagel, who has played his way onto the fringe. If you can afford the below average shot rate, he’s an easy hold.
Jaden Schwartz – Goal and two assists with three shots. Schwartz is getting plenty of opportunity, but it’s still only bottom end streamer worthy.
Justin Schultz – Two assists with a shot. Schultz is on the fringe, but I lean towards not holding him because it’s not quite good enough anywhere.
Alex Wennberg – Goal and an assist. Firmly a bottom end streamer.
Matty Beniers – Goal and an assist. Beniers is on the fringe right now as the Kraken offense has dried up a bit. It really depends what you want at the bottom of your roster.
Mathew Barzal – Goal and two assists. It wasn’t that long ago that Barzal didn’t have a goal. Now, he’s up to 10+30, which is over a point per game.
Casey Cizikas – Goal and an assist. And there’s your annual Cizikas update!
Jean-Gabriel Pageau – Two goals. Pageau is back into middling streamer range.
Bo Horvat – Two goals on four shots. Dr. Bo continues to cut up the competition. We’re quickly approaching last season’s career high of 31 goals and we just got into December.
Roope Hintz – Two assists with two shots. Robertson is getting all of the attention, but Hintz has been outstanding once again. He’s also a superstar without any doubt.
Kevin Fiala – Two assists with four shots and two PIM. I was expecting far more in the goals department from Fiala, but the assists are fantastic. Fiala has historically closed the season in dominant fashion, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go on a massive goal scoring binge again.
Three Point Challenge: We will do Thursday’s games per usual. You can’t take McDavid, Draisaitl, Robertson, Thompson, Kucherov, Karlsson, Pastrnak, Rantanen, Ovechkin, or M. Tkachuk. I’ll go with MacKinnon against the Canucks.
That’s all for now guys. I’ll be back on Friday recapping the action from the next two nights. As always, feel free to ask any questions, give any comments, or make any suggestions below. Thanks for reading, take care!