Nino Niederreiter‘s first season in Carolina couldn’t have gone any better with 14+16 in 36 games.  Last season really couldn’t have gone worse with 11+18 in 67 games.  Well, this year has certainly been closer to 2018-19 and we can be thankful for that in fantasy.  Niederreiter scored two goals and an assist with three shots on Friday before dishing an assist on Saturday, adding six shots.  That brings Nino to 9+3 in 16 games with over three shots per game, 13 PIM, and a great +11 rating.  The second line in Carolina has been incredible, sparked by Niederreiter and Trocheck’s revival.  He’s an easy hold in all formats for the time being.  I wish that the minutes were a bit higher, but considering what Nino is doing with what he’s getting, there can be some growth with additional minutes, namely in the assist department.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:

Robby Fabbri – Two assists with three shots.  Fabbri was a nice get for Detroit in the middle of their rebuild.  He’s a decent streamer at the moment since he’s actually +3 on their dreadful team.

Keith Yandle – Three assists with a shot.  After the hot start, Yandle has cooled off a bit.  However, he’s taking a lot of dumb penalties which is a bonus in fantasy.  I’d like to see the shot rate go up, but either way, he’s settling in as a #3.

Aleksander Barkov – Goal and two assists with four shots.  Barkov has been playing the best hockey of his career to this point in the season.  None of it looks fluky.

Patric Hornqvist – Two goals on three shots.  Hornqvist looks rejuvenated in Florida.  I’m skeptical he can continue at this rate, but he’s an easy hold for the time being.

Jonathan Huberdeau – Two assists with a shot.  He never gets mentioned with the top players, but Huberdeau is in the top 10 in points after he was last season as well.

Anthony Duclair – Goal and an assist with four shots and two PIM.  Solid streamer bordering elite status, but not at a hold level yet.

MacKenzie Weegar – Goal and an assist.  Nice player in real life who has really helped Ekblad, but nothing for fantasy.

Patrick Kane – Goal and two assists with four shots playing over 24 minutes.  All of these guys I had ranked in the 5-8 range like Kane, Marchand, Ovechkin are all performing extremely well.  People were getting Marchand and Kane in the second round of drafts which was just blasphemy.  Kane has been as good as ever.

Teuvo Teravainen – Two assists with six shots.  However, he missed Saturday’s game with a UBI and is expected to miss some time.  Tough break for Teuvo who has played well when on the ice.

Jaccob Slavin – Goal and an assist with two shots.  For whatever reason, Slavin’s offense has dried up this season.  He should stumble into more points than he has, but I would leave him on the waiver wire for now.

Martin Necas – Goal and an assist with five shots and two PIM.  The third part of the first line mentioned in the open, Necas is finally becoming the offensive player I expected after hyping him up the past couple seasons.  He’s an elite streamer that can be argued as a hold.  I suspect that this line starts to get a bit more playing time with how they’re rolling at the moment.

Mike Smith – 20 saves on 21 shots in the 2-1 win over the Flames.  I’m not really buying into this start from Smith, but if you want to grab him while he’s hot, that’s fine.

Laurent Brossoit – 29 save shutout in the 2-0 win over the Canucks.  He’s been good to start this season, but I don’t really trust Brossoit outside of playing the Senators.

Thatcher Demko – 29 saves on 30 shots as the tough luck loser.  We’re starting to see some progress from Demko.  I’m holding him, but keep expectations in check.

Saturday’s Games

Sam Reinhart – Two goals on three shots with two PIM.  The plus-minus is bad, but in terms of expected goals, Reinhart has been extremely unlucky.  Despite that, he has 10 points in 12 games.  Reinhart is on the fringe, but I think he’s barely a hold.

Nathan MacKinnon – Goal and two assists with five shots.  MacKinnon was incredible in the outdoor game showing why he’s in the best player discussion.  He has 4+14 in 18 games and he has been very unlucky in the shooting department.  It’s scary to think about, but it should get even better.

Devon Toews – Goal and an assist with two shots.  Toews is finally getting the notoriety he deserved with the Islanders.  He’s an easy hold as a bottom end defenseman.

Mikko Rantanen – Two assists with four shots.  The jump in shot rate for Rantanen is doing wonders for his value.  Even though he has 13 points in 14 games, he can be as valuable as his 87 point season (in 74 games) if he’s registering 3.5 shots on goal per game.

Igor Shesterkin – 26 saves on 27 shots in the 4-1 win over the Capitals.  Igor has been on a roll lately pushing his numbers to 2.23/.922.  Despite the brutal division, Igor should end up as a bottom end #1 goalie with upside from there in the future.

Ryan Strome – Goal and an assist with two shots.  Strome was back on the first power play unit which would do wonders for his value.  He’s right on the fringe.

Pavel Buchnevich – Two assists with four shots.  Solid start from Buch with 12 points in 16 games and an average shot rate.  He’s also right on the fringe.

Artemi Panarin – Two assists with a shot.  Panarin hasn’t missed a beat this season.

Jonathan Bernier – 38 saves on 39 shots in the 2-1 win over the Panthers.  Bernier has been respectable this season with a 2.74/.910 with 4 wins in 6 starts.  He can have games like this so if you want to gamble on upside, you can stream him occasionally, but it’s a big risk.  He’s the kind of goalie that can be very low owned in DFS and help you win a GPP though.

Auston Matthews – Two goals and two assists with four shots.  Saturday was the day of the M’s with MacKinnon, Matthews, and McJesus going off.  Matthews is at a goal per game which is absolutely ridiculous.

Mitch Marner – Goal and two assists.  Thirty points in 19 games!  The Canadian division has been awesome for the Maple Leafs.

Morgan Rielly – Two assists with a shot.  He’s becoming a pure AAGNOF, but the assists are going to be incredible.

Kris Letang – Two goals.  Been a disappointing start for Letang, much like Pittsburgh’s second line.  That said, he does have six points in the last six games so he could finally be getting rolling.

Sidney Crosby – Two assists with two shots.  The goals are coming in at a normal rate for Crosby, but the assists are lagging.  I can’t help but think that’s going to improve with his passing ability.

Logan Couture – Two goals with two PIM.  The top line was great in this game as Evander Kane had a goal and an assist with five shots, while Kevin Labanc dished two assists with a shot.  Couture and Kane have been very good despite the overall team being weak, while Labanc is a middling streamer.

Jordan Kyrou – Goal and two assists with two shots.  The big thing here is that Kyrou played over 20 minutes as his role in the top six is being solidified.  He’s an easy hold everywhere now.

Brayden Schenn – Goal and an assist.  The big shot rate gives Schenn top 50 upside which he’s only pushed towards once in his career, his first year in St. Louis.

Ryan O’Reilly – Goal and an assist with two shots.  RoR’s floor is as high as anyone in the middle tier of players because of his minutes.  He’s pushing a point per game which he could do for the first time in his career.

Mike Hoffman – Two assists with two shots and two PIM.  Hoffman looks like he’s finally settled into the Blues lineup as he played over 21 minutes in this game.  As mentioned last week, the short term upside is extremely high with their easy schedule over the next ten games.  Either way, Hoffman has 10 points in his last 10 games.

Alex Iafallo – Two goals playing 20 minutes.  Iafallo is back on the first line making him a solid streamer.

Anze Kopitar – Two assists.  Seven game point streak for Kopitar who is really piling up the assists.

Drew Doughty – Two assists with four shots and four PIM.  Doughty’s shooting percentage will surely regress but he plays so much that he’ll be a hold regardless.

Phil Kessel – Goal and an assist with three shots.  After a rough patch, Kessel scored in two consecutive games.  He’s a solid streamer, but not that close to a hold.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Two assists with a shot and two PIM.  I haven’t owned OEL for years, and while he’s started this season well, his minutes are the lowest they’ve been in years by far.  I don’t see that changing.  I would probably hold, but the ceiling is pretty low barring a Chychrun injury.

Calle Jarnkrok – Two goals on three shots.  I could see some deep league value since Hynes trusts him, but that’s it.

Elvis Merzlikins – Week to week after injuring his arm.  Joonas Korpisalo has been rough this season, but it’ll be his crease for the time being.  He’s on the fringe between desperation and a bottom end hold.  They don’t play Carolina or Tampa for a while so I guess he has that going for him?

Alex Nedeljkovic – 24 save shutout in the 4-0 win over the Lightning.  A decent prospect, there’s a chance he ends up being the goalie of the future in Carolina.  Both of Carolina’s normal goalies are UFA after this season so at the least, I think Nedeljkovic will be the backup next season.  Decent dynasty option, but Mrazek should be back sooner than later which would kill his short term value.

Sebastan Aho – Goal and an assist with two shots and two PIM.  Andrei Svechnikov also had a goal and an assist as he moved back onto the first line with Teravainen out.  Both of them are great and make a nice DFS stack while together.

Kaapo Kahkonen – 26 saves on 27 shots in the 5-1 win over the Ducks.  Nice start to the season with Kahkonen, who is at 2.46/.911.  Talbot should be back soon, but Kahkonen is a solid streamer when the Wild have plus matchups.

Kevin Fiala – Two goals and an assist with five shots.  After a slow start, Fiala has six goals in his past seven games.  The shot rate is outstanding so I think we see him go on a heater like at the end of last season.

Mats Zuccarello – Goal and an assist with two shots.  Nice to see Zucc back in the lineup.  He’s playing with Kirill Kaprizov (two assists) which makes Zucc a decent streamer.  There’s a little more upside if he stays healthy, but his shot rate has been poor in his career and I doubt that changes now.

Mikko Koskinen – 43 saves on 44 shots in the 7-1 win over the Flames.  He faced a lot of easy shots, but still, that was a much needed great game from Koskinen.  It looks like he’ll be in a pure split with Smith for the time being.  I wouldn’t hold him and would only stream at your own risk.

Connor McDavid – Hat trick with two assists.  This was the second time in three weeks that McDavid had five points… less than halfway through the game!  They got so far ahead that Tippett didn’t play him much down the stretch.  One of these days, he’s going to get 7+ points in a game.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Two goals and an assist.  If RNH keeps up this shot rate, he could push towards a career high in goals despite it being a 56 game season.  He’s been outstanding.

Darnell Nurse – Two assists with a shot playing over 32 minutes!  Why is Nurse playing 32 minutes in a 7-1 game?  Come on Tippett, give him a break.  Nurse has been incredible this season, especially in hits and blocks leagues.

Leon Draisaitl – Two assists.  The shots are down, but there’s no reason to complain with 30 points in 20 games.

Sunday’s Games

Kyle Palmieri – Two assists with three shots and two PIM.  Since returning from their COVID break, Palmieri has six points in four games.  I said he was a hold on Friday, and feel better about it now.

Andreas Johnsson – Goal and an assist with two shots.  I had hopes for Johnsson in a bigger role, but it hasn’t panned out yet.  He does have five points in the past six games so he’s worth monitoring, but that’s it for now.

T.J. Oshie – Two goals and an assist with four shots.  Been a rough season so far for Oshie, but I’m still holding for the time being.

Nicklas Backstrom – Two assists with two shots.  This has been Backstrom’s best start to the season in 5 years.  The shots are dropping off hard lately which is a bit worrisome, but Backstrom will be an easy hold regardless.

John Carlson – Goal and an assist with four shots.  Carlson has had a rough go of it at evens, but I can’t imagine that lasts given his history.

Drake Batherson – Goal and an assist with four shots.  His minutes have been trending in the wrong direction, but his spot on the point on the top power play unit looks locked in.  I still like Batherson as a solid streamer, but I’m not holding anymore.

Brady Tkachuk – Goal and an assist with eight shots.  Tkachuk is well over four shots per game and the PIM are great.  Getting him a top end center to play with could see him pushing towards being a top 20 player eventually.

James van Riemsdyk – Goal and two assists.  As far as surprises go, JVR may be the biggest one this season.  I always liked the player, but could not have seen 21 points in 15 games coming.  Sure, he’s not going to shoot over 20% forever, but the playmaking has come such a long way.

Kevin Hayes – Two assists with three shots.  I didn’t love the Hayes contract when he signed in Philly, but he’s certainly been worth it this year.

Sean Couturier – Goal and an assist with two PIM.  Couturier has been excellent when on the ice this year.  His injury was fluky so going forward, he should be somewhere in the top 50-100 range.

David Pastrnak – Hat trick on four shots.  Over his last 82 games, Pastrnak has 59 goals.  He may be good at the hockey game.

Brad Marchand – Two assists.  Marchand is crushing across the board which comes as no surprise.

Pierre Luc-Dubois – Two goals and an assist in his first game back.  I would like to thank Dubois for finally going off as he led me to getting in a tie for second in DK’s big showdown contest Sunday night.  I’d also like to thank Paul Maurice for playing three forwards to start overtime, which led to Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler also getting three points.  It seems like Dubois is going to stay on the wing for now to make things easier for him, which helps his fantasy value quite a bit.  It also hurts Andrew Copp who is back to an elite streamer.

Elias Pettersson – Two goals on four shots.  The Jets had a bold strategy on the penalty kill which was to let Pettersson keep shooting.  After one crossbar, he made them pay with the tying goal late.  He also scored a sweet between the legs goal facing away from the net.  We’re starting to see signs of life from Pettersson so hopefully he builds on this.

J.T. Miller – Two assists with two shots playing over 24 minutes.  Miller has had a rough go of it lately, but he’s still pushing a point per game.  I’m really hoping he starts shooting some more again, but either way, he’ll be quite valuable.

That’s all for now guys; this has been my longest post during the season by quite a wide margin, we’re going over 2700 words!  With eight games on the slate tonight, I could have a post on Tuesday morning if there’s enough notable action on the night.  If not, I’ll be back on Wednesday per usual.  As always, feel free to ask any questions, leave any questions, or give any suggestions below.  Thanks for reading, take care!

  1. LG Hockey says:

    Great write up Viz!

    I was able to grab Trochek and Nino and loving their return to prior levels.

    I’m in a H2H weekly league. Categories are G, A, P, +/-, PPP, SOG, Hits

    Which player would you start this week?

    Nino 4 games (TB, @TB, @TB, @FLA)
    Fiala 4 games (@SJ, @Col, LA, LA)


    • Viz

      Viz says:

      No problem LG! I’d go with Fiala, he’s showing signs of breaking out lately and Nino playing Tampa three times hurts compared to three games against the California teams for Fiala.

  2. Mordacious Levator says:

    16 team h2h dynasty with these extra cats: PPP/SHP/GWG/shots/faceoffs/hits/blocks
    C (4): taveras, e.staal, r.strome (RW), schmaltz (RW), hischier
    LW (4): marchessault (C), stuetzle, r.ritchie, beauvillier, fabbri (C/RW)
    RW (4): tippett, rust (LW), stamkos (LW), batherson, zucker (LW)
    D (6): bouchard, fox, hedman, ferraro, pulock, nurse
    IR/IR+ risto, kucherov, r-joey

    gotta drop a forward for a D here, later somebody for r-joey.

    • Viz

      Viz says:

      I assume that’s supposed to be N. Ritchie? Man, this is a rough decision. It might be Staal unless you really need the faceoffs?

      • Mordacious Levator says:

        yeah nick ritchie, his bro finally did turn up a few games back (CGY i think). with stamkos and now fabbri (back to center for first time since minors, lately) also getting them and 4 other normally known centers (this doesn’t even count r-joey out) i’m top 4 in faceoffs in total, and outside of being pretty ok for a center in hits (.75 per) and just over 5 faceoffs a game, staal hasn’t been good even with good linemates (i’m saying averages not totals, it’s not staal’s fault that BUF had/has a ton of guys that can’t stay corona negative so their games played total isn’t good (well PROBABLY not HIS fault, we’ll never know))

        • Mordacious Levator says:

          yep, b.ritchie played just over 15 minutes total across 2 games just somewhat lately with CGY.

  3. Shitwolf says:

    Hey Ziv what are your thoughts on Zegras just saw he was called up.

    I like to look at the players pictures on yahoo. Some of those guys look like huge beauties or hired goons hahaha. Although Nylander got axed from my roster because of it cuz I couldn’t stand looking at his face anymore lol. Next year when I draft I’m only taking people who I think look nice/cool/beauty/fun/powerful/angry. Damn autodraft giving me my most hated player!

    How are your teams doing?

    • Viz

      Viz says:

      I’m going to watch tonight to see how he plays and how much he looks. He’s an elite prospect with one of the best hockey senses I’ve ever seen so the upside is through the roof, but not sure how well it’ll go this season on the lowest scoring team in the league. Hahaha it is funny, I would like to talk to the person who picks the pictures for everybody and what the process is.

      Pretty good on the whole, Grubauer has done wonders since he fell so far for no reason. Lehner is hurting me a bit though in my big keeper league.

  4. Hepcats13 says:

    Good work as usual! Bjorkstrand or Oshie ROS on Yahoo? Not seeing much so far from either, but Oshie is hotter so far over the past couple of weeks. Thanks!

    • Hepcats13 says:

      Yahoo Roto*

    • Viz

      Viz says:

      Thanks! Close one, I guess I would lean Oshie because Bjorkstrand’s role has taken a hit and we know what we’re getting from Oshie, but it’s close because we’ve seen the big upside from Bjorkstrand last season.

  5. Dubjau says:

    Hey Viz,
    Just got Hintz for bjorkstrand. Now somebody just dropped Dubois. I’m thinking that I should pick him up. Especially if he stays on that top line with wheeler and schieffele. Who would you drop for him? Olofsson? Hintz?

    • Viz

      Viz says:

      Yeah I prefer him to Hintz, I’d make the move. I couldn’t drop Olofsson, he’s incredible on the power play and the Sabres have been very unlucky at even strength.

  6. Gerald says:

    Trevor Segras playing first game tonight

    Thoughts on matt matheson. Would you add him and drop ty smith in a 16 team league?
    Would you drop kapanen for matheui jospeh 16 team?

    Goals Assists +/- PPP shots on goal Hits league

    • Viz

      Viz says:

      Pretty exciting about that, will definitely be talking about him tomorrow or Wednesday.

      I assume you mean Michael Matheson, but I would be holding Smith. I’m not really buying into Matheson in general, he was an absolute dumpster fire last season and the Penguins are shooting 14.5% with Matheson on the ice at even strength, which is completely unsustainable. Smith has stayed on the top PP unit even with Vatanen’s return, so I have no doubt that the points will be better, and the hits are about the same.

      I prefer Kapanen since he’s with Crosby and Joseph bounces around from the second line to the fourth line. He could stay in the top six with Cirelli out, but he could drop right back down at any time and it won’t last.

  7. JP says:

    Hey Viz!
    Hart, Jarry and Shesterkin ROS. What do you think?

    Wins (W) 5
    Goals Against (GA) -3
    Saves (SV) 0.6
    Shutouts (SHO) 5

    • Viz

      Viz says:

      Jarry clearly last, I think I slightly prefer Hart over Igor but it’s getting pretty close.

  8. dubjay says:

    Wow. That Panarin news is shocking. Amazing that stuff like this still goes on in 2021. I guess that you dont mess with Putin. Yikes

    • The Harrow says:

      doubt it happened, that gangster shoved that info out there.

      • The Harrow says:

        he’s likely taking a leave to get a team of security around him 24/7, those guys kill people in all kinds of countries around the world for stuff all the time.

    • Viz

      Viz says:

      Yeah, pretty brutal situation. Clearly politically motivated and more than likely, gives the Russians an excuse to keep him off the Olympic team, which they want to do because he ripped Putin. I don’t want to say Panarin didn’t do it because I wasn’t there, who knows, but for this to come out 10 years later after Panarin rips Putin makes it pretty clear what the intention is here. Nazarov is a puppet for Putin and I just hope Panarin can get his family safe

  9. nightpandas says:

    Viz Man,

    I made the Hall deal (got him for Hornqvist)

    Now I’ve got another trade offer that seems good.

    I give Hall for Toffoli and a couple of pick upgrades, might have kept Hall as a keeper, but this probably is a better move to help me win this year, I’m in first

    Keep 4 F/D, 1 G, 15 teams
    G A Pts +/- PIM PPP SHP SOG

    • Viz

      Viz says:

      Sounds good, I like it! I think I still prefer Hall over Toffoli ROS, but the fact that it’s very close shows why it’s worth considering because of the pick upgrades. I suppose you can use those upgraded picks to also upgrade your roster which makes it worth it? I’m good with the swap for that reason.

  10. For An Armenianless Vacation Come to Akron says:

    woah that’s weird and annoying that risto being back wasn’t reported. BUF is using 8 D men tonight, i’ve seen teams do 7 but 8 is crazy. it’s likely since they want risto in lineup but not large minutes yet since his layoff.

    • For An Armenianless Vacation Come to Akron says:

      wait a minute, one of yahoo or espn is f’ing this up, he’s shown in box score as playing, but in yahoo as “o”. can’t both be right at same time.

      • For An Armenianless Vacation Come to Akron says:

        it’s def on espn, mccabe is also shown (and i just read hours ago about him being out for months), so it’s just 6 BUF D, normal, with espn throwing names into their box scores that aren’t playing.

  11. Beware the Shit Rope says:

    12 teamer with hits/blocks/PPP/faceoffs/shot/points separate from goals and assists added. h2h. dubois now in best situation possible (except for faceoffs), gotta drop somebody for him
    C (2): mackinnon, trocheck, kadri, backstrom, hayes
    LW (2): e.kane, verhaege (C), rust (RW), mantha (LW), n.ritchie
    RW (2): rantanen, t.meier, schmaltz (C), nino (LW)
    W (2)
    F (2)
    D (6): bouchard (after his huge 8 shot game with more than 20 minutes, 2/3 of the next games under 10 minutes, probably a drop again for dobson or somebody on PP with similar hits/blocks/shots and more secure minutes), nurse, barrie, dougie, gudas, chychrun, ferraro
    util (1)
    G (2): bob, grubauer, ullmark
    IR/IR+ gryzelck, dubois, bertuzzi

    so gotta drop a forward somewhere for dubois, this is yahoo so he’ll get LW or whichever wing pretty quickly if he stays on wing on top line. if he goes back to center that’s ok too.

    • Viz

      Viz says:

      First off, agreed on Bouchard, in a 12’er I think you can grab someone else and rotate the hot hands. As for who to drop, this is brutal. I guess Mantha? Verhaeghe is rolling and I assume you need the Ritchie hits? I think it has to be him or Mantha, I have no interest in dropping Nino and Meier gets a boost in this format.

      • Beware the Shit Rope says:

        yeah mantha should be doing better even on DET, but with even larkin being completely horrible pretty sure only fabbri is even doing marginally well for a while now (occasionally the goalies have sv% nights too of course and outside chance of decent GAA nights). but mantha and bertuzzi were quite cheap during draft from this DET downside we’re seeing lately.

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