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Let's play a quick game. Goalie A, in 32 games and 29 starts, won 18 games with a 2.27 GAA and .924 save percentage. Goalie B, in 54 games and 53 starts, had 23 wins, a 2.51 GAA and .918 sv%. Looks like you'd choose A pretty easily, correct? Just 5 less wins in 24 less starts with better percentages. Goalie A is Michal Neuvirth and Goalie B is Steve Mason. I have been calling for Neuvirth to get more action all season (half of those starts were when Mason was out) and after Mason made a fool of himself in game 2 and was lit up for 6 in game 3, Neuvirth got a chance with the Flyers' season on the line. He stopped 31 of 32 shots in the 2-1 win and kept the team alive for at least a couple more days. Neuvirth played very well on a tanking Sabres team and continued his success in Philly this year. I think there's a starting goalie here so it'll be interesting to see what happens with him in the offseason. Here's what else around the league Wednesday night:
I know that Jonathan Drouin couldn't have handled his demotion any worse than he did but it still blows my mind that he was sent down to the AHL in the first place. The former third overall pick was amazing on Tuesday night tallying three assists and four shots in Tampa's 3-2 win over the Red Wings. The biggest issue for Drouin in the past was been his lack of shots and while I know it's a small sample size, every game in the playoffs he's taken at least 3 shots. Did the 21 year old make all of the necessary adjustments to succeed on a regular basis? It sure looks like it. As far as next season goes, the sky is the limit. Drouin's upside is virtually uncapped. He'll certainly be in my top 100 and from there, it depends how much you want to gamble on upside versus safety. Here's what else I saw around the league the last two nights:
Throughout the season, J.T. Miller was one of my favorite streamers. The former first round pick who will play on the North American team in the World Cup of Hockey had 22 goals and 21 assists in the regular season with a solid plus-minus and penalty minutes; it was only his lack of shots that kept him from being a hold all year. Miller had his first big playoff game on Saturday dishing three assists and adding a shot and two PIM in the 4-2 win over the Penguins. There's upside for a better year next season (he just turned 23) so I'd look to take Miller with one of my last picks in drafts in the late summer / early fall. Here's what else I saw around the league this weekend:
Hey guys. The first two nights of The Stanley Cup Playoffs have been filled with drama and outstanding performances. Anytime somebody scores a hat trick in the playoffs, it's worth noting so Patric Hornqvist gets the lead here. The Penguins right winger, who had a disappointing season compared to ADP, came out as a man on a mission Wednesday night scoring a hat trick on four shots and added an assist in the 5-2 win over the Rangers. This series could turn ugly fast if Henrik Lundqvist misses any more time (more on that later). Hornqvist was in my top 50 going into the season along with the rest of the Penguins studs and ended up 60th in overall value in the player rater. Considering he played all 82 games, that's not the value we were looking for. As for next season, he's obviously in the top 100 but I expect him to settle outside of the top 50, somewhere between 50 and 75. The shots are great and everything else should be solid so there's value there but it doesn't look like he's going to be a guy who has a good chance of reaching 30+ goals, which looked like a good bet when he went to the Penguins. Could he do it? Sure, if things go right and he sticks with Sidney Crosby. But I'd rather wait until the end of the 5th or 6th round to find out. Here's what else I saw in the other games:
The best playoffs of them all, the battle for The Stanley Cup, starts Wednesday! Personally, I can't contain my excitement as this year has some amazing first round matchups, mostly because the NHL system is broken and doesn't seed teams properly. That's a rant for another time. For today, I'm going to take a quick look at all 8 matchups and give my predictions for all of the series. As a reminder, join the Razzball Bracket Challenge here. Let's get going!