On the most recent podcast, Reid and I talked about the impending return of Jack Eichel. You can get extensive coverage at the link above but to summarize, everything that we expected showed its face in Tuesday’s game. In the 5-4 win in Ottawa on Tuesday, Eichel stuffed the score sheet totaling a goal and an assist, both on the power play, in addition to five shots and two PIM. The “Big 5” for the Sabres all had multiple points in this game and it’s not a coincidence. I’ll get to the rest of them later but with Eichel returning, all of the top Sabres on the first power play unit get a major boost. Now is the time to either add (Sam Reinhart), buy low (Rasmus Ristolainen, maybe Ryan O’Reilly) or hold tight (Kyle Okposo) to the big guns. This should be a top 5 PP unit going forward and with Eichel returning along with 2 of their best 3 defensemen sooner than later, the depth on this team increased drastically benefiting everybody. Here’s what else I saw around the league the last two nights along with some big news for the readers / listeners of the podcast:
Sean Monahan – Goal on three shots. He only played 13 minutes starting the game on the fourth line. Puke. It’s definitely not worth buying low and if I had him, I’d hold tight but would be willing to cut bait soon.
Thomas Greiss – 25 saves on 26 shots in the 2-1 overtime win over the Flames. Please, Jack Capuano, give Greiss some extended run.
John Tavares – Goal and an assist with two shots. It’s been strong across the board for Johnny T. as he’s basically the only bright spot on this team.
Josh Bailey – Assist and three shots. He remains a top end streamer.
Robby Fabbri – Goal on four shots with two PIM. It’s been very streaky and if you don’t want to hold tight, you’re fine cutting him. I still have faith in the upside for an extended point streak.
David Perron – Goal on two shots with two PIM. I’m holding tight while he’s hotter than a pistol.
Vladimir Tarasenko – Goal on six shots. Clearly above average at the game that they call hockey.
Jori Lehtera – Two assists and a shot. I’m still not a fan for fantasy purposes with 26 shots in 19 games and only 7 points.
Jamie Benn – Goal and two assists with five shots on Monday, one shot on Tuesday playing 23 minutes. I’ve been preaching for weeks that Benn is going to have a hot streak. If he maintains these minutes, it’s coming.
Julius Honka – Two assists with a shot Monday, then two shots Tuesday. John Klingberg was scratched again on Tuesday so I’ll be sure to talk with Reid about that on the podcast for Thursday morning. As always, let me know if there’s something you want us to discuss in the comments section. Anyways, I think Honka is worth a spec add in 12’ers.
Jamie Oleksiak – Two goals on three shots playing 22:27 on Monday, then five shots in 16 minutes Tuesday. There’s plenty of talent here but that said, I’d rank him below Honka if I need a defenseman. He should be owned in deeper leagues though.
Viktor Stalberg – Two goals on five shots. For years, Stalberg has been one of the most infuriating players in the league from my point of view. I see the flashes on a semi-regular basis but he can’t seem to put it together ever since he scored 22 for Chicago 6 years ago. He’s an okay option in deep leagues but nothing else.
Rick Nash – Goal and an assist with three shots. That puts Fat Rick at 10+6 and almost 3 shots per game through 24 games. Strong bounceback.
Jimmy Vesey – Goal on three shots. He’s an elite streamer in my mind. You can hold him in 12’ers and it’s fine but it’s not great anywhere outside of goals and that’s because he’s shooting over 20%.
Henrik Lundqvist – 26 saves on 28 shots in the 3-2 win over the Hurricanes. You all know I’m a big fan of “The Wire” at this point but to repeat myself quoting the great D’Angelo Barksdale, “The King Stay The King.”
Andrei Vasilevskiy – 33 saves on 38 shots in the 5-1 loss to Columbus. He was due for a dud but I didn’t expect it against Columbus despite their hot streak. Don’t worry at all, just throw this game aside.
Josh Anderson – Goal and two assists with seven shots. Well, okay then. After this game, Anderson sits at 7 goals, 3 assists, 19 PIM and 37 SOG through 21 games. The minutes are great and his shooting percentage is unsustainable but that said, he’s definitely worthy of being rostered in deep leagues.
Scott Hartnell – Goal and an assist with two shots. This season for Hartnell has me baffled to say the least. He’s barely playing and has 13 points in 21 games yet he has 4 PIM to this point. I’d hold just to hope he maims somebody sooner than later.
Alexander Wennberg – Goal on three shots. He’s cooled off lately but I’m still holding tight.
Sergei Bobrovsky – 26 saves on 27 shots in the win. Bob is on pace to play 72 games which is ludicrous. That’s not to be confused with Ludacris who told me and my homies to rollout. I will do no such thing, there is fantasy hockey news to provide to the masses! At this point, Bob is matchup proof and deserves to played against everybody.
David Krejci – Goal on eight shots. He’s a great source of assists but not much else unless these big shot games start to happen with frequency.
Torey Krug – Two assists with two shots playing almost 26 minutes. My man! Please start to put a stretch of games together.
Brad Marchand – Goal on four shots with four PIM. Excellent contributions to all categories at this point of the season. That’s with the lowest shooting percentage of his career outside of his brief 20 game stint in 2009.
Steve Mason – 45 saves on 47 shots in the 3-2 SO win over Boston. This is a textbook definition of stealing two points. I’ve mentioned before that Mason looks to be a goalie who performs better when he plays on a regular basis. He’s still available in 80% of ESPN leagues and I don’t know why.
Claude Giroux – Goal on three shots. It hasn’t been great but strong enough to this point. With points in three straight, we could be on the verge of a Giroux run.
Brayden Schenn – Assist and three shots centering the third line. I don’t love the move but as long as he remains on the first power play unit, Schenn will be just fine.
Evander Kane – Assist and two shots playing over 20 minutes. He’s the sixth wheel at the moment but it’s still worth rostering. Kane is still available in 70% of leagues and I don’t understand that either.
Ryan O’Reilly – Two goals and an assist with four shots. The shot rate is a career best by a wide margin and with Eichel returning, teams can’t focus on RoR as much. I love his potential the rest of the season outside of PIM.
Kyle Okposo – Goal and an assist, both on the power play, with five shots. He’s been the best Sabre to this point and while that may not be true at the end of the year, it’s going to get better being on that power play unit.
Sam Reinhart – Goal and an assist with three shots for some strong streamer success. Alliteration aside, we talked about him extensively on the last podcast linked above. He’s still available in 80% of leagues and he’s going to take off soon. Grab Rhino.
Rasmus Ristolainen – Two assists, both power play, with three shots playing almost 28 minutes. Risto is a guy we focused on in the buy / low podcast a week ago. I would still try to do so but here’s a few things. One, if he was randomly dropped in your league, grab him. Two, if you don’t have him, try to buy low if you can. Three, if you held him, hold tight. There is no four.
Robin Lehner – 5 saves on 6 shots before leaving with a hip injury. Dan Blysma announced after the game that Lehner is day to day. For the short term, if you need starts, grab Anders Nilsson (26 saves on 29 shots in relief).
Mike Hoffman – Three goals and an assist with five shots. I was going to give Hoffman the lede but Eichel’s return impacted multiple players while I’ve harped for weeks that there’s no reason to worry about Hoffman. If you don’t know, now you know.
Mark Stone – Goal and an assist with two shots playing 22 minutes. Again, there’s nothing at all to worry about for Stone either.
Craig Anderson – 23 saves on 28 shots in the 5-4 loss to the Sabres. Yes, a lot of the damage was on the power play but say hello to the regression fairies Mr. Anderson.
Petr Mrazek – 34 saves on 35 shots in the 3-1 win over Dallas. Could he get control of the job again? Sure, it wouldn’t shock me. That said, the team is a mess in front of the goalies and it’s taken great play for them (mostly Jimmy Howard) to be at 11-10-2.
Dylan Larkin – Goal on two shots playing only 11 minutes. Man, Larkin is one of the toughest calls I’ve had this year. If people want to cut him, I completely understand. I’m still holding on the hope a turn around happens.
Anthony Mantha – Goal on this only shot. My man! Love him in dynasties but for the time being, he’s only a streamer in redrafts.
Thomas Vanek – Assist and two shots. He keeps chugging along producing points so I’d hold until it slows down.
Connor Hellebuyck – 23 saves on 25 shots in the 3-2 win over the Devils. Relatively easy game for Hellboy who is putting together a solid stretch. I still believe he’ll be a solid #2 at the end of the season.
Bryan Little – Two shots playing 20 minutes in his return from injury. He’s a top end streamer in the short term with the potential to become a hold. With the top end wingers the Jets have, Little will surely play with one or two of them.
Nikolaj Ehlers – Assist and two shots. I expected more goals this year but with 16 assists in 24 games, I doubt anyone is complaining.
Patrik Laine – Goal on three shots. Laine said after the game that he put his game winning goal “top shelf where grandma hides the jars of jam.” That is all.
Mark Scheifele – Goal and an assist with six shots. Given where I had Scheifele ranked compared to consensus, I think a lot of Razzballers are benefiting from his explosion as much as I am.
Blake Wheeler – Goal and two shots with two PIM playing over 23 minutes. There is nothing to worry about with Wheeler, it’s only going to get better.
Roberto Luongo – 32 saves on 33 shots in the 2-1 SO loss at Chicago. This was an encouraging game from Florida with Tim Rowe behind the bench. I still like Luongo plenty going forward.
Aaron Ekblad – Assist and six shots playing 26 minutes. First assist of the year, wooo! Even though I was down plenty on Ekblad compared to most going into the season, this game actually encouraged me quite a bit. I’m not targeting him to buy low but I wouldn’t panic if I had him.
Jaromir Jagr – Goal on three shots. I salute you, Mr. Jagr.
Jonathan Marchessault – Assist and three shots. His role seems secure even with the coaching change which is great to see.
Corey Crawford – 38 saves on 39 shots in the win. Monster performance from Crawford as he really seems to be settling in.
Pekka Rinne – 37 saves on 40 shots in the 5-3 win over Colorado. Good Rinne is a great thing.
Viktor Arvidsson – Gaol on two shots. I think it’s to the point where I’m holding in 12’ers, even if it’s just for a week or two.
Kevin Fiala – Goal on four shots. I still don’t trust him at all at 20 years old but I love him in dynasties and Fiala is an okay streamer right now.
Ryan Johansen – Goal and an assist with four shots. You know how if you make 3 shots in a row in NBA Jam without the opposition scoring you go on fire? That’s what Johansen has right now. En fuego.
Roman Josi – Two assists with a shot. That’s six assists in the last five games for Josi. The heater is real.
P.K. Subban – Assist and two shots finishing +3 playing 29 minutes. Things are starting to fix themselves in Subban’s stat line. No brainer top 10 at the end of the season.
Austin Watson – Goal and an assist with two shots and five PIM. Anytime somebody gets a Gordie Howe hat trick, you get a shoutout in my daily notes! That said, this game doubles Watson’s point total. This is his annual update.
Tyson Barrie – Assist with four shots but -3. I don’t have any doubts the offense will start to come for Barrie but the plus-minus is starting to get ugly.
Rene Bourque – Goal and an assist with four shots. Bourque has played his way into a top end streamer as long as he sticks with Nathan MacKinnon (seven shots).
Mikhail Grigorenko – Goal on six shots playing almost 18 minutes. There’s a ton of talent here but Grigo has never put it together for extended stretches. I’m really pulling for the kid but it’s still only worth streaming outside of deep leagues.
Mikko Rantanen – Goal and an assist with two shots. Rantanen now has 7 points in his last 5 games after only 3 points in his first 11. The 20 year old is a great dynasty play, no doubt about it. For redrafts, it’s right on the fence of holding vs. elite streamer. Right now, I’d think I’d hold due to MacKinnon’s play.
Zach Hyman – Goal on five shots with two PIM. I still don’t have any faith in Cherry for fantasy purposes.
Nazem Kadri – Goal on two shots with six PIM. Dude is a fantasy God right now. I will call him Lothario. Damn it, no, that’s Grey!
Auston Matthews – Goal on two shots with two PIM. The goals will continue to come as long as the shots remain at this level.
Frederik Andersen – 28 saves on 30 shots in the 4-2 win over the Oilers. For the last month or so, Andersen has been a #1 goalie. Do I think that lasts? No, but he could be a #2 given the volume.
Connor McDavid – Goal and an assist with two PIM. The kid went through a double digit game goalless drought and still has 31 points in 24 games. Not fair.
Cam Talbot – 10 saves on 14 shots through 2 periods before being pulled. Buzz, your girlfriend, woof! That’ll put a hurting on his numbers.
Erik Haula– Goal and an assist with three shots. Great deep league option for the faceoffs and shorthanded points but due to the lack of his power play time, I generally don’t stream Haula.
Nino Niederreiter – Assist and three shots for some streamer success. As long as he’s on the third line, he’s a solid streamer but nothing more.
Jason Pominville – Two goals on six shots. No different than his previous two linemates although he’s more towards Nino’s category of streamer.
Jason Zucker – Goal and an assist with four shots. He’s currently slotted in the top six and we’ve seen Zucker produce in the past so like a lot of other Wild players, he’s a solid streamer.
Sven Baertschi – Goal on three shots in his return from a brief absence. Baertschi was hot before his time off meaning like all of the Wild guys above him, streaming is his category. He’s my second favorite for dynasties though behind Nino.
Ben Hutton – Goal and an assist with four shots. If you subscribe to the theory that one defenseman on each team has to be fantasy relevant, it comes down to him or Troy Stecher while Alex Edler is out until the new year. I slightly prefer Stetcher, who had two assists and three shots in this one, mostly due to shot volume but Hutton is a viable option.
Henrik Sedin – Two assists playing 21 minutes. No slowing down the Cyborg who always gives us what we expect: all of the assists and none of the shots.
Brandon Sutter – Goal and an assist with two shots playing over 21 minutes. Sutter is an elite streamer but still somebody I wouldn’t own in 12’ers due to the horrible +/- and zero penalty minutes.
Carey Price – 36 saves on 38 shots in the 2-1 loss to Anaheim. Even when the Canadiens lose, Price is a monster the majority of the time.
Max Pacioretty – Assist with four shots. Keep shooting the puck!
Andrew Shaw – Goal on two shots with 17 PIM after he lost his mind at the end of the game. Shaw is already at 58 PIM making him an elite streamer or even hold if you’re desperate for PIM.
Cam Fowler – Goal on four shots playing almost 24 minutes. No slowing him down.
Ryan Kesler – Two assists with a shot. See Fowler, Cam above.
Rickard Rakell – Goal on six shots. He’s scoring at a rate better than anybody named Crosby to this point of the season.
John Gibson – 39 saves on 40 shots in the win. Gibson is somebody I’ve mentioned in the comments section frequently and in my notes as somebody to target as a buy low. The team in front of him has been better than I thought which goes a long way.
Max Domi – Goal on three shots. The assists have dried up recently but Domi has three goals in his last five. It’s definitely still worth holding.
Mike Smith – 40 saves on 42 shots in the 2-1 OT loss to San Jose. That’s three great starts in a row for Smith. Do I trust it at all? Absolutely not. Would I be fine with gambling on him right now? Sure.
Brent Burns – Game winning goal on four shots. Brent Burns doing Brent Burns things, no surprise.
Martin Jones – 18 saves on 19 shots in the win. The 42-19 shot discrepancy shows how lopsided this game was. Easy night for Jones who is creeping back towards last year’s sv% with an even better GAA.
Wednesday’s Streamers – There are three games on the slate making streaming prevalent but options limited. Here’s my top three choices:
Jake Guentzel (11.8%) – He’s been great in his first four game, Guenztel remains in the top six and second power play unit plus the Isles are a mess.
Conor Sheary (11.1%) – Sheary is off the first PP unit with Patric Hornqvist returning but first line and second PP unit is plenty good enough on this short slate.
Dwight King (0.7%) – He’s more of a deeper league choice but King has played well recently and is slated to play on the first line with Anze Kopitar. Given the lack of options, I’ll take King going against the Sharks who are on the second of a back to back after an overtime game with travel.
That’s all for now guys. Man, these daily notes are getting long! My next set of notes will come out Friday given the short slate tonight. There is some good news though. On top of the newest podcast that will come out Thursday, No Halftime has decided to jump on board and temporarily sponsor us! For those who don’t know, it’s a daily fantasy app featuring one on one matchups. All of the details will be given on the podcast that comes out Thursday morning, including a promo code that gives new users a free $10 to test the product! It’s a great service for all sports, including hockey, that I hope everyone enjoys as much as I have enjoyed it for the past 6 months since I learned about it through the baseball podcast. If you guys can support us just by trying it out, they will join us full time which enables Reid and I to continue what we’re doing. For now, as always, feel free to ask any questions or leave any comments below. Take care everyone!