Things have taken a dramatic turn for the fourth playoff spot in the West division. With the Blues crumbling, Arizona has played its way into the fourth spot. They opened up a three point lead on Sunday night, almost exclusively because of Jakob Chychrun. Chychrun had the first hat trick of his career, tying the game late in the third before scoring the winner in overtime. That gives him twelve goals on the season pushing towards three shots per game and with elite penalty minutes. He’s a solid #2 for this season, but what’s the long term ceiling? Chychrun just turned 23 years old and this jump in shot rate does a lot for his long term value. In terms of dynasties, Chychrun has shown me enough this year to warrant a spot in the bottom of the top ten for defensemen, making him a #1D. He’s a stud, plain and simple. Arizona has been a surprise offensively, and a lot of it has to do with their kingpin defenseman. Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
David Perron – Goal and an assist with two shots and two PIM. Even with the Blues falling off, Perron is still at a point per game playing at a top 50 level. It looks completely sustainable too.
Nathan MacKinnon – Two goals on seven shots, both assisted by Gabriel Landeskog. The Avalanche are absolutely dominating right now and nothing is stopping these two.
Vitek Vanecek – 22 saves on 23 shots in the 2-1 OT win over the Devils. Vanecek’s overall numbers are solid, mostly because he’s winning 60% of his games. He’s on the fringe of owning depending on your league format.
Jack Campbell – 31 saves on 32 shots in the 2-1 SO win over the Jets. I’ve been pushing Campbell for a while so hopefully all of you grabbed him while you have the chance.
Connor Hellebuyck – 37 saves on 38 shots as the tough luck loser. Hellebuyck playing at a .920 sv% in that division this year is more impressive than last season’s .922, in which he won the Vezina. He’s solidified himself in the top tier of goalies.
Rudolfs Balcers – Goal and two assists with two shots. Balcers is entrenched at LW2 for the Sharks and he’s played fairly well. He’s only a bottom end streamer, but there is value here.
Tomas Hertl – Goal and an assist with six shots and two PIM. Hertl has picked his game up a bit as of late. He’s still a bottom end hold, but it’s a bit more certain.
Martin Jones – 30 save shutout in the 3-0 win over the Kings. Unbelievably, Jones has been fairly good over the last 3-4 weeks. He’s certainly not in the desperation category anymore. I don’t know if I would go as far as holding him, but it’s at least a debate.
Jordan Gross – Three assists. Gross is about to be 26 and has barely played in the NHL. Nothing to see here. Welcome to the Razzball Database!
Phil Kessel – Goal and an assist with four shots and two PIM. Kessel has been a big focal point of their offense lately just like Chychrun. I would be holding Kessel for now.
Nick Schmaltz – Goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM. Schmaltz was demoted to the fourth line for a time, but now he has a point in five straight games. Schmaltz is back to being an elite streamer who could easily play his way into being a hold again.
Artemi Panarin – Two goals on three shots, both assisted by Adam Fox. Panarin got owned by Reinhart which ended up costing the Rangers a point, but we don’t care about that in fantasy. Both of these guys have been incredible on a per-game basis.
Phillip Grubauer – 27 saves on 28 shots in the 2-1 win over the Blues. Grubauer is certainly front and center in the Vezina debate with Vasilevskiy. He’s been that good.
Sidney Crosby – Goal and two assists, as did Jake Guentzel. After a slow start, these guys are right back where we’d expect them: Crosby well over a point per game, and Guentzel right at it.
Mark Jankowski – Goal and an assist. Nowhere near enough here for Jankowski to be fantasy relevant.
Brad Marchand – Hat trick and an assist with six shots and two PIM. Marchand has been his usual stuff crushing every category. He still has plenty of games against the Sabres left to boost his totals even higher.
David Pastrnak – Two goals and an assist with five shots. Pastrnak’s assists are a lot lower than usual, but I have a hard time believing that it’ll stay that way. I’m buying him being even better than he’s been so far.
David Krejci – Goal and an assist with two shots. Craig Smith and Nick Ritchie both had two assists. All of these guys are valuable streamers depending on what categories you are targeting.
Andrei Vasilevskiy – 25 saves on 26 shots in the 2-1 win over the Red Wings. 1.96/.932, 23 wins in 29 games. How absurd is that line? Vasilevskiy has been so damn good and that’s why he’s the #1 goalie.
Juuse Saros – 41 save shutout in the 3-0 win over the Blackhawks. Since coming back from injury a month ago, Saros has been fantastic. He’s allowed 11 goals over 9 starts to push Smashville back into a playoff spot. Saros is a #1 goalie right now and will be on the fringe of a top ten goalie the rest of the way.
Artem Anisimov – Three assists with four shots. This was Anisimov’s first game in weeks. I don’t see much here, but it’s worth monitoring to see how Arty is used over the next couple games.
Evgenii Dadonov – Two goals. The goals are coming in an okay rate, but Dadonov somehow has only three assists on the season. He’s a bottom end streamer at best.
Thomas Chabot – Two assists with a shot. Chabot has been disappointing in fantasy this season. The plus-minus is brutal and the shot rate has taken a step back. I’m still holding if you can stomach the plus-minus, and I still love him in dynasties, but this season probably won’t get much better.
Drake Batherson – Goal and an assist. Batherson has cooled off a bit putting him more in the middling streamer category than the elite one. He’s another guy who I still like plenty long term.
Josh Anderson – Two goals on three shots. Anderson’s overall value comes down solely to team needs. The goals have been borderline elite, the PIM are great, and the shot rate is above average. That said, 5 assists in 31 games is tough to swallow.
Shea Weber – Two assists with four shots and five PIM. Weber has gone from pushing three shots per game to just over two per game. Add in his lowest shooting percentage six years and that’s a bad combination. Thankfully, the assists have improved a bit, but we’re still looking for more shots. Obviously it’s a hold either way.
Nick Suzuki – Two assists with two shots. After a great start, Suzuki really fell off. The 21 year old is a solid streamer, but I wouldn’t consider holding him in a 12’er.
Anthony Beauvillier – Two goals on three shots. Beauvillier had a brutal start to the season, but now has eight points in his last seven games. Playing over 21 minutes is also extremely encouraging. I’d say he’s a solid streamer, but there’s elite streamer upside with even a chance to be a bottom end hold.
Claude Giroux – Two goals, both assisted by Jakub Voracek and Travis Konecny. Giroux has bounced back from last season despite the Flyers floundering. Voracek’s assists drive his value. Konecny’s shot rate is starting to improve a bit putting him back on the fringe. I’d lean towards holding him again actually, but it’s close.
Alex Wennberg – Hat trick on four shots playing over 22 minutes. Wennberg with the massive revenge game! He’s still only a bottom end hold because of the shot rate.
MacKenzie Weegar – Goal and an assist with two shots, +4. Weegar’s offense has taken a nice step forward with Ekblad’s injury. I think he’s actually a hold now in 12’ers which I never would have expected.
Frank Vatrano – Goal and an assist with six shots. Vatrano has a goal in three straight games now following Sunday’s goal. He’s pushing towards three shots per game as well. He’s an elite streamer because it’s hard to find players that have that kind of shot rate that aren’t easy holds.
Joel Eriksson Ek – Goal and an assist with three shots. I’m not holding Eriksson Ek anymore, but he’s still a strong streamer.
Cam Talbot – 27 saves on 28 shots in the 2-1 win over the Golden Knights. Ranking Talbot where I did led me to drafting him quite a bit this season. Thankfully, he’s been fantastic when on the ice. 2.26/.928 is truly elite and I don’t see any reason to expect a regression.
Evander Kane – Goal and an assist with three shots. Kane’s previous career high in assists is 27, He has 17 already in 37 games. Add in elite PIM, elite shots, and elite goals, and he’s not far off being a top 25 player.
Kevin Labanc – Goal and an assist with two shots. Labanc’s consistency hasn’t been there despite playing on the first line with Couture and Kane almost the entire season. He’s a middling streamer.
Thomas Greiss – 27 saves on 28 shots in the 5-1 win over the Lightning. Despite the Lightning starting Chris Gibson in net, this is certainly the most bizarre result of the season. Greiss has been brutal this season, certainly because of the team in front of him. Unless he’s traded, which I don’t see happening, I can’t see a turnaround.
Vladislav Namestnikov – Two assists with a shot. Namestnikov seems likely to be moved at the deadline which will have a big impact on his value. This is a reminder that I do a live blog of the deadline every year with an instant reaction to every trade, which will be back next Monday.
Luke Glendening – Two assists with two shots. Glendening brings nothing to the table for fantasy.
Anthony Mantha – Two assists with a shot. I really like Mantha as a player, but it hasn’t been a good season for him. A trade would do wonders for his fantasy value, but for now, he’s only a bottom end streamer. There is more upside than that even if he stays in Detroit, but Mantha’s had a really rough go of it.
Alex Ovechkin – Goal and two assists with three shots. Ovechkin is back to a point per game scoring at a 46 goal pace. It’s remarkable what he’s doing at age 35 considering how much the game is shifting towards younger players.
Evgeny Kuznetsov – Goal and an assist with two shots and two PIM. Kuznetsov has played his way back onto the fringe. It depends if you want to gamble on his upside or not.
Brenden Dillon – Two assists. And there’s your annual Dillon update!
Dmitry Orlov – Two assists with a shot. Orlov has six points in the past seven games after having only four points in his first 26 games. I still wouldn’t use him in 12’ers, but it appears he’s getting his deep league value back.
Ryan Murray – Three assists. Despite six assists in the past three games, Murray is a fantasy afterthought.
Travis Zajac – Two goals on three shots. Zajac has been better than I expected playing at a 40 point pace. There’s some deep league value here, although he’s still nowhere near worth using in a 12’er.
Nick Merkley – Two assists with two shots. With Kyle Palmieri being held out until he’s traded, there’s a chance Merkley can become a solid streamer in 12’ers. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of opportunity Ruff gives Merkley. I’ll be monitoring it over the next week. For now, leave him on the wire.
Chris Driedger – 32 save shutout in the 3-0 win over the Blue Jackets. No matter who the opponent is, Driedger is worth streaming. Depending on your league format, you can hold him as well.
MacKenzie Weegar – Two assists with two shots. See Weegar above; now I have more conviction.
Aleksander Barkov – Goal and an assist with five shots in his return from injury. It sure looked like Barkov didn’t miss a step in his return to action this weekend with three points in two games. What an animal.
Petr Mrazek – 28 save shutout in the 1-0 win over the Stars. If for some reason Mrazek wasn’t stashed in your league, grab him immediately. He can be a big difference maker down the stretch.
Jake Oettinger – 37 saves on 38 shots as the tough luck loser. It turns out Khudobin had a false positive, or at least that’s the belief of the Stars. Oettinger is worth streaming in most matchups, but I don’t see a ton of volume here.
John Tavares – Goal and an assist with three shots. His goal was the result of Hanifin kicking it into his own net. He’s taken quite the step back this season which is making question Tavares’ long term value. Tavares is only 30, but his skating has never been a strength which tends to make players like him age out sooner. He’s still a very good fantasy asset but we have to keep expectations in check.
William Nylander – Two assists with a shot. Nylander has been quite underwhelming. I’d still hold because of the upside, but it’s a very tenuous grip.
Auston Matthews – Goal and an assist with three shots. After a bit of a cold patch, Matthews had a goal in four of the past five games. Things seem to be just alright.
Trevor Zegras – Two assists with a shot. It hasn’t been great yet, but we are seeing the flashes from Zegras. I’m a massive fan long term, but I’m bearish on the rest of this season. Even next season seems like a big question mark with the lack of goal scorers on the Ducks roster and in their pipeline.
Three Point Challenge: We will do the Challenge for Tuesday. You can not take McDavid, Draisaitl, Kane, Marner, Huberdeau, Scheifele, Crosby, Matthews, MacKinnon or Rantanen. I’m still in first with three correct picks, with the same three way tie for second with one correct pick. I will take Marchand against the Flyers.
That’s all for now guys. I’ll be back on Wednesday recapping the action over the next two nights. As always, feel free to ask any questions, leave any comments, or give any suggestions below. Thanks for reading, take care!