As a change of pace from my usual daily notes, I'm going to focus on one player on each NHL team whose value has changed recently, or could as the trade deadline approaches. Let's get to it! In his last four games, Mason McTavish has four goals and three assists. His line has dominated despite Anaheim's overall struggles. McTavish is still available in over 50% of leagues, and if anything, his minutes should increase down the stretch once Henrique is moved out. I have confidence in McTavish becoming a top 50 player sooner than later, potentially next season. For now, I would definitely own him if your league doesn't have plus-minus. If it does, he's on the fringe.
There was a lot of craziness around the NHL on President's Day, but nothing topped the game in Minnesota. At one point late in the second period, the Canucks looked in complete control up 5-2. Two minutes and seventeen seconds of game time later, Minnesota was up 6-5. And if that wasn't enough, there were still six more goals! The Wild beat the Canucks 10-7, and to wash it down, they played a paltry 6-3 game on Tuesday, a loss to the Jets. Nothing like 13-13 aggregate over two nights. On Monday, it was all of the stars for the Wild, as those four goals in a 2:17 span were all on the power play, three of which were 5 on 3. Joel Eriksson Ek and Kirill Kaprizov had three goals and three assists... each! Mats Zuccarello and Matt Boldy had a goal and three assists... each! On Tuesday, Kaprizov had a goal and an assist, while Marco Rossi had two goals on five shots. Both goalies were shelled, and right now, it's hard to trust either of them. For the moment, the Wild look like a four star team, Faber is a clear hold, and Brodin is on the fringe. Rossi is a solid streamer, and gamble if you'd like on their goalies. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Two division rivals exploded on Saturday, both winning in dominant 9-2 fashion. Not too often nowadays that you see two 9-2 scores. For Toronto, a 9-2 win against the Ducks certainly wasn't expected, but isn't actually shocking either. On the other hand, Florida blowing Tampa Bay out 9-2 after falling behind in the first 30 seconds of the game qualifies as jaw dropping. Florida is arguably the best team in the league right now, dominating in multiple ways. Matthew Tkachuk is fully back, scoring two goals and two assists with ten PIM in the victory, giving him 13 points in the last five games. Carter Verhaeghe scored two goals and an assist with six shots and two PIM against his former team. He's back on the point of the top unit and with Barkov, making him a top 50 player. Sam Bennett had two goals and two assists iwth three shots and ten PIM. Bennett is firmly on the fringe right now as long as he's with Tkachuk. For Toronto, Auston Matthews had a hat trick and two assists with four shots as he scores goals at an unprecedented rate. Bobby McMann had two goals and an assist with four shots, although I'm still not buying in with his workload. He's bumping up to decent streamer for the time being. Also, if you need short term defensemen help, Timothy Liljegren is on PP1 and dished three assists with Rielly still suspended. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
It's been a long road to recovery for Artturi Lehkonen. With Big Val in the player assistance program, it couldn't have happened at a better time. After being eased back into the lineup, Lehkonen moved onto the top line the game before Tuesday night. While he went to the second line to open the game, Lehkonen blew up against the Capitals, scoring two goals and adding two assists putting five shots on goal in the 6-3 win. There's a few encouraging things here. One, Lehkonen was on the first power play unit. That alone is massive for his value. Additionally, it was Lehkonen, not Drouin, closing the game for the Avs, as Lehkonen scored an empty netter with a minute left from MacKinnon and Rantanen. Even in this role, Lehkonen received 18 minutes, which is plenty to succeed. This puts him right back on the fringe. Gun to head, I lean towards holding, but his schedule in the near term is heavy on busy days, so I see the case for leaving him as an elite streamer. Let's take a look at what else happened the last two nights:
After his big breakout last season, Martin Necas has had a rough go of it this season. Much like his team, he's started to turn his game around over the last month. Since coming back from a two week injury on January 19th, when Necas had 9 goals on the season, he has seven goals in seven games, culminating with a natural hat trick in the first period against the Avalanche on Thursday. On top of the goals, Necas has been taking a ton of shots. He's averaging five shots on goal per game in the past seven, with 4+ in six of the last seven games. If you're lucky enough to be in the 20% of leagues that Necas is available in, grab him immediately. If you've held onto him, here's to hoping he keeps up this form to make up for the poor first half. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Out of the top ranked goalies in the preseason, only Hellebuyck has played at an elite level. This is a big reason why I don't take goalies in the first two rounds, if not longer, because the variance is too high. My #1 goalie going into the season was Jake Oettinger. He didn't play well in the first half and also missed time due to injury. The All-Star break proved to be a good reset, as Oettinger was out of his mind on Tuesday. Oettinger made 47 saves in the 2-1 win over the Sabres, stealing the game for the Stars. After tomorrow, there's only two back-to-backs in the next four weeks for the Stars. We should see Oettinger get plenty of action, and I'd bet on him finishing the season strong. I don't do midseason rankings because I don't see a lot of value for the time it takes. You have the team you have, and if you are making trades, you need to target your weaknesses to improve. That said, if I was ranking for the rest of the season, Oettinger would still be a top five goalie. I'm not betting against him. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
The NHL season gets back underway tonight after an extended break for most teams. I was originally going to update my hold/stream list, but I'm going to push that back to the near future and instead, I'll look back at my ten bold predictions from preseason and see how they're developing. Let's get to it!
We're very close to the All-Star break with most teams starting their extended break on Sunday. If you look at defensemen production, specifically in goals, you see notable names at the top. Dahlin leads defensemen in goals, and then there's a four way tie behind him with notables like Makar and Hughes. None of that is a surprise. Weegar is one of those tied with Makar and Hughes, which is very surprising, but he went into the season locked into a big role, so let's assume he had some good fortune. But Thomas Harley? He's a player I really liked in dynasties, but to be one goal off the league lead for defensemen? Not even close to my radar. Harley scored two goals on Saturday, including the overtime winner for a second straight game, in the 5-4 win over the Capitals. That gives Harley a whopping 12 goals in 46 games. "Even with Heiskanen back, Harley was a factor. I’m still holding Harley even though I wasn’t expecting to when Heiskanen came back. He’s been that good for the Stars." And that's me quoting me from three days ago copying what Grey does! Somehow, Harley is still available in almost two-thirds of fantasy leagues. With the pool of defensemen dropping off hard at the bottom, Harley should be owned in all formats. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Last season, Alex Lyon saved Florida by getting them into the playoffs until Bob returned from injury. While I'm not predicting a Stanley Cup run from the Red Wings, Lyon has saved somebody for the second straight season. The Red Wings were in a massive downward spiral, and Lyon has stepped in to get them back into the playoff picture. Lyon had a 30 save shutout in the 3-0 win over the Flyers on Thursday. He's won 12 of his 19 starts, and is currently sitting at a .920 save percentage. So why is he available in 70% of leagues? He's clearly a #2 goalie in 12'ers at the very least, and I'd argue that he's near the top end of #2's right now. If you need goaltending help and Lyon is available, consider it your lucky day and pick him up. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
My bullishness of Wyatt Johnston as a hockey player is well known in these parts. The 20 year old has the makings of a future stud in both regular hockey and for fantasy. Right now, he's been given the best opportunity early in his career, and he's taking full advantage of it. Johnston was bumped onto the first line with Dallas' two best forwards, Robertson and Hintz, and Johnston has been excellent since the change. Robertson totaled three assists, four shots and two PIM in the 5-4 win over the Red Wings on Tuesday. Johnston has seven points in his last five games while averaging over three shots per game. The new change is enough to put Johnston on the fringe, and with Dallas closing the week with Anaheim and Washington, I would definitely be targeting Johnston for the bottom of my roster. Let's take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:
It's hard to imagine the first half of the season going any worse for the Devils. In terms of points percentage, they're in the second wild card spot in a season that many expected them to push for the Metro Division title and to be one of the Cup favorites. They've been brutalized by injuries, but their main offseason acquisition rescued them on Monday. After giving up four straight goals turning a 3-1 lead into a 5-3 deficit, Tyler Toffoli scored with 16 seconds left in the second period, and eventually completed a hat trick in overtime to beat the Golden Knights 6-5. That brings Toffoli to 20 goals on the season, ahead of last season's 34 goal pace. The loss of Hamilton for the regular season has been massive, and J. Hughes being out is too much for them to stomach. The good news for the Devils is they only have two more games before they have 10 days off. There's a chance that Hughes will be back at that point. As for Toffoli, he's a bit behind the pace that I hoped for, but overall, it's hard to complain when he's on pace for 37 goals. Here's to hoping he keeps the shot rate up, as getting back to last season's rate would give him a good chance of maintaining his current level of play. It's the difference between being a potential top 50 player and a bottom end hold. Let's take a look at what else happened the last couple of nights:
There's nothing else that T.J. Oshie has to prove on the ice. He's won the Stanley Cup and was one of the best players on his team. He became an Olympic hero for his performance in 2014. Oshie is about to play in his 1000th NHL game. This season has been a struggle for Oshie, but he's really turned it around lately, culminating in his best game of the season. Against his old team, Oshie scored a hat trick on five shots. This isn't just a little blip on the radar either. Oshie has a point in six of his last seven games, and the very encouraging thing is his shot rate has been excellent. Even at his peak, he was never a plus in shot rate, but in his last nine games, Oshie has 30 SOG. It's an even better rate if we go to a shorter sample. He's found chemistry with Patches and Strome, and the Capitals surprisingly continue to hang around the playoff picture. While he's playing this well, Oshie is in elite streamer territory. The schedule is about to get very difficult, but they do get another game with St. Louis before that happens. Let's take a look at what else happened the last two nights: