Loyal Razzballers will know my fandom of Martin Necas goes back to when he was drafted by Carolina.  I was perplexed that he fell to 12th overall, and a couple of the guys in front of him are well on their way to becoming busts.  Thankfully, Necas is on his way to breaking out towards stardom.  Necas had two goals and two assists with six shots on Saturday leading Carolina to a 4-3 win over the Lightning.  That brings Necas up to 28 points in 30 games this season and over two shots per game, a big jump on ever level.  The only thing holding him back was playing time and that is certainly not a concern any more.  Somehow, Necas is still available in almost 50% of leagues.  Therefore, we have a few steps to take.  Go to your league’s waiver wire, see if he’s available, add him immediately if he is, and then come back to see what else happened over the weekend!

Friday’s Games

Ilya Samsonov – 24 save shutout in the 4-0 win over the Devils.  He’s been very good overall, although Samsonov was brutal in the third period against the Rangers on Sunday.  He’s looking like a top end #2, but the variance is high even for a goalie.

Alex Ovechkin – Two goals on four shots.  Just like that, Ovechkin is playing his way back into the goals race.  He has at least one goal in eight of his past nine games.

Evgeny Kuznetsov – Two assists with four shots.  Kuznetsov has turned his season around to the point where I’m comfortable with him being a bottom end hold again.

Tom Wilson – Two assists.  The shots are downright dreadful now, but I think he’s still doing enough points wise and with PIM to be held.

Conor Sheary – Goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM.  Easy pass.

John Gibson – 33 saves on 34 shots in the 4-1 win over the Blues.  Finally, a good game from Gibson.  Too bad he was hurt and is still at a 3.02/.898.  The team is so bad that I think you can safely drop him.

Noah Hanifin – Two assists with three shots and two PIM.  His role is bigger now with Sutter, but it’ll take a bit more production for Hanifin to be worth owning in fantasy.

Blake Wheeler – Goal and an assist, as did Paul Stastny and Kyle Connor.  I’m not sure what to do with Stastny.  He’s probably an elite streamer, but it’s decent enough across the board that it’s on the fringe.

Christian Dvorak – Two goals on three shots.  After the hot start, Dvorak’s offense has dried up.  He’s a decent streamer again, but far from a hold at the moment.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Two assists with two shots.  He’s playing a bit better lately, but the plus-minus is rough again.  If you need assists, you can hold him, but he’s not providing much else outside of PIM.

Saturday’s Games

Nick Ritchie – Goal and an assist with five shots.  Ritchie’s hot start has ended as this is the only game in the past ten that he had a point.  He’s a solid streamer because of the shot rate and PIM, but it’s not great.

Max Pacioretty – Goal and an assist with three shots.  The only thing that has slowed down Patches this season is injury.  Here’s to hoping he stays healthy the rest of the way.

Brian Elliott – 24 saves on 25 shots in the 2-1 win over the Rangers.  I still want nothing to do with a Flyers goalie unless they’re playing the Sabres.  Even then, I’m not completely comfortable with it.

Dylan Larkin – Two assists with six shots.  I’m still a big fan long term, but for now, Larkin is on the fringe.  The shot rate is borderline elite, and the PIM are strong, but the team is so bad that it’s hurting him quite a bit.

Calvin Pickard – 21 saves on 22 shots in the 3-1 win over Columbus.  Pickard is the goalie for Detroit in the short term.  Florida and Tampa are on Detroit’s schedule next so Pickard is complete desperation.

Pat Maroon – Goal and an assist.  Maroon’s days of fantasy relevance are over outside of being a PIM streamer in deep leagues.

Sebastian Aho – Goal and an assist with six shots.  Aho is exactly at a point per game and while the shot rate has taken a fairly big step back, he’s still producing near a top 20 level.

Mathew Barzal – Goal and an assist with four shots.  The injury to Lee has hurt Barzal a decent amount.  Here’s to hoping that Lou makes a move to help him out, perhaps Hall?

Bryan Rust – Hat trick on five shots and two PIM.  After a brief rough patch, Rust has caught fire.  The first line is tearing it up, including the first power play unit.  Crosby, Guentzel, Letang, and McCann all had two points.  There’s still a lot of Devils and Sabres games on the schedule so I think we see a heater incoming.

Leon Draisaitl – Goal and two assists with two shots.  He’s managed to repeat last season’s MVP performance, problem is that he’s not even a contender this year because of his linemate.  Connor McDavid had two assists in this one.

Tyson Barrie – Goal and an assist with two shots.  He now has 32 points in 35 points putting that bold prediction of Barrie scoring 50 points firmly in play.  What a dream fantasy situation for him to be in.

Alex Galchenyuk – Two assists.  He’s on the second line right now with Tavares and William Nylander (1+1,  2 SOG) but isn’t playing nearly as many minutes.  Maybe this role turns into something, but for now, Galchenyuk is worth monitoring.

Auston Matthews – Goal and an assist with seven shots.  Matthews was staring down a six game goalless streak before getting the winner in overtime.  It’s only a matter of time before Matthews gets rolling again.

Juuse Saros – 29 saves on 30 shots in the 3-1 win over the Blackhawks.  Unfortunately, Saros was banged up during the game and was inactive on Sunday.  Hopefully it’s nothing serious as Nashville has suddenly played its way back into playoff contention.

Luke Kunin – Two assists with three shots.  Kunin has taken a step back in Nashville after a promising season for the Wild last year.  I don’t see any value here now.

Carter Verhaeghe – Hat trick and an assist with four shots playing over 24 minutes.  With Barkov out, Verhaeghe is getting massive minutes and delivering.  I still don’t know what to make of it, but he needs to be owned everywhere.

Noel Acciari – Two assists with three shots.  He also moved onto the first line for now making him a solid streamer.

Joel Hanley – Two assists with two shots.  And there’s your annual Hanley update!

Adin Hill – 34 save shutout in the 4-0 win over the Sharks.  Hill has been a solid stand-in while Kuemper and Raanta are out.  After Colorado Wednesday, the Coyotes have four games against Anaheim and LA making Hill a nice streamer.

Phil Kessel – Hat trick on four shots.  Look at Kessel get on a hot streak!  I would hold him for now while he’s en fuego, although I think ROS he’s more of an elite streamer.

Clayton Keller – Goal and two assists with two shots.  Keller has finally regained his rookie season form.  He’s an easy hold everywhere.

Sunday’s Games

Colin Blackwell – Two goals with two PIM.  He’s no longer in the top six making Blackwell an afterthought.

Kevin Rooney – Two assists.  And there’s your annual Rooney update!

Adam Fox – Two assists with a shot.  I went through all of the predictions for the USA Olympic Team on The Athletic and was stunned how so few teams had Fox on it.  He should be a stone cold lock.

T.J. Oshie – Goal and two assists with three shots.  He’s played his way back into the hold conversation just like Kuznetsov.  I don’t have a strong belief either way.

Dmitry Orlov – Two assists.  At one point, I predicted Orlov to take a big jump offensively.  It never happened.  He’s still fine in real life, but useless in fantasy.

Tom Wilson – Two goals with four PIM.  As stated above, he needs to be held everywhere despite the poor shots.

Calvin Pickard – 16 saves on 17 shots in the 4-1 win over the Blue Jackets.  This weekend made one thing clear to me: I’d stream any goalie against Columbus right now.  They are an absolute disaster offensively at the moment.

Max Jones – Two assists.  Jones has some long term potential, but he’s far from being a fantasy contributor.  The Ducks are terrible and his role isn’t big enough.

Vladimir Tarasenko – Goal and an assist with four shots.  I have to say that Tarasenko has looked much better than I anticipated off his injury.  It hasn’t translated into a ton of points yet, but the shot rate has been fantastic.  It seems like a matter of time until the Blues straighten things out, at least offensively.

MacKenzie Blackwood – 40 save shutout in the 1-0 win over the Bruins.  It’ll be up and down because of the team in front of him, but Blackwood should turn into a long term starter making him appealing in dynasties.

Jaroslav Halak – 28 saves on 29 shots as the tough luck loser.  Halak needs to be held everywhere while Tuukka is out.

Jonathan Huberdeau – Two goals and an assist with four shots.  Huberdeau has been phenomenal once again.  I can’t understand why he doesn’t get mentioned among the league’s elite.  He’s well over a point per game for the third year running.

Aaron Ekblad – Suffered a horrible injury on Sunday night.  I feel awful for Ekblad, who has in the midst of the best season in his career.  I would be shocked if he’s not out for the season.  Keith Yandle gets a boost as will someone else in deeper leagues.  My guess is Markus Nutivaara but it’s hard to say.

Chris Driedger – 33 saves on 34 shots in the 4-1 win over the Stars.  Driedger is worth streaming when he starts.  He’s going to get himself a decent pay day this offseason.  In dynasties, he’s a nice trade target because he could end up being a starter next year.

Viktor Arvidsson – Goal and an assist with five shots and two PIM.  Arvidsson has been a big disappointment.  Partially it’s bad luck, partially it is his own play.  He’s well over three shots per game so he could easily catch a hot streak, but for now, he’s a middling streamer.

Alex DeBrincat – Two goals on three shots, both assisted by Pius Suter.  We know what DeBrincat is at this point.  Suter has played his way into being an elite streamer as he’s entrenched between DeBrincat and Kane.  Suter has a four game point streak at the moment.

Three Point Challenge:  We will do the Challenge for Tuesday.  You can not take McDavid, Draisaitl, Kane, Marner, Huberdeau, Scheifele, Crosby, Matthews, Stone, or Rantanen.  I’ll go with Point against the Blue Jackets.  I’m still in first with three correct picks, with the same three way tie for second with one correct pick.

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!

  1. JP says:
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    Hey!

    6-teamer points only:
    Goals (G) 6
    Assists (A) 4
    Plus/Minus (+/-) 2
    Powerplay Points (PPP) 2
    Shots on Goal (SOG) 0.9
    Blocks (BLK) 1

    Weber or Toews ROS?

    • JP says:
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      Ond more question 🙂

      Kadri or Couturier ROS?

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      I would lean towards Toews, he’s just part of an offensive juggernaut and Weber has taken a step back, both in points and in shots.

      Second one is closer because of Kadri’s shot rate, but I’d still go with Couturier, he’s been fantastic at over a point per game so far.

      • JP says:
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        Thanks!

        • Viz

          Viz says:
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          Of course, no problem!

  2. Crush All Boxes says:
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    Hey there Viz,
    A little off the subject here but I thought I’d try to get your thoughts if possible…
    I’m in a keeper league with Carter Hart; Would you write the year off and feel confident rolling with him or would you jump ship…
    I also have Grubauer and Peterson and would prefer to keep a goalie… Cats are GA, GAA, SV, SA, SV% & SHO
    Thank you sir, hope all is well…

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      Not really off subject, this is a good question.

      This is really tough to answer for one reason right now: we don’t know where Grubauer is going to be playing next season. He’s a UFA, and there is some chance he doesn’t end up staying in Colorado. If he does stay in Colorado, it’s a really tough decision.

      I’m inclined to write this season off for Hart as a fluke. I have a hard time believing he completely forgot how to play goalie and there’s a reason he was considered a top goalie going into the season at age 22. I would still keep him over Petersen no matter what happens the rest of the season, even though I do like Petersen and LA is moving in the right direction. Hart vs. Grubauer is a tough call because Grubauer is playing as well as any goalie this year and has always been good when getting the opportunity.

      I know it’s not the answer you’re looking for, but I’m glad you don’t have to decide this right now. If you’re pushing to win this year and don’t want to hold Hart, I think you can let him go and just keep Grubauer no matter what he ends up. If you can afford to be patient, I think that’s best and you can decide down the line.

      • Crush All Boxes says:
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        Thank you Viz; part of my trepidation with Hart is with the team itself; if they miss the playoffs do they go into a rebuild, etc… I don’t feel good about where they are. On the flip side, I feel good about LA’s direction and Colorado is, well…Colorado

        • Viz

          Viz says:
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          I don’t think the Flyers rebuild, they just seem to be one of those teams that goes from overachiever to underachiever every other year and can’t find any consistency. I think they have plenty of young players in the lineup already that should get better, and I can’t see them moving a guy like Giroux or anything. I think they make a couple trades, but no major changes.

  3. JG says:
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    Hi Viz, thanks for all your comments all year long. Currently in 2nd place!
    Stats categories: FOW-C GP G A +/- PIM SOG PPP Hit Blk

    In my dynasty keeper league, I have to make a choice of 1 tonight and 1 when segueing returns so I Can only keep 2 (two) of:

    1) schmaltz
    2) puljujarvi
    3) zucker
    4) faska

    Faska rated highest score out of everyone here so far this year, because of FW and SOG, Schmaltz second highest score & young age, puljujarvi (hits, SOG, young age) and Zucker (IR return).

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      Glad you’re in second!

      I think Puljujarvi is the best guy going forward. Tippett is talking about him getting more PP1 time which will help him quite a lot. Given you are in second, I put zucker last because he’s still not bad and struggled mightily when he was playing. Schmaltz and Faksa are close with the extra categories. In general, I still prefer Schmaltz, but it depends how bad you need the faceoffs.

      • JG says:
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        I’ve been patient all year and I shall remain patient going forward with Puljujarvi. Thank you for that. I picked up Zucker when he got hurt and stashed him so I’ll drop him as you suggested.

        Glad I found the site! Cheers Viz

        • Viz

          Viz says:
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          Zucker did come back, but with Malkin still out, I’m not expecting much. Glad you found it too JG, thanks for the question!

  4. jasen James says:
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    Hey Viz,
    I happily snapped up Necas for Hall the other day. He looks like the real deal. Would like to pickup Tolvanen from Nashville. Hes quietly been padding the stat sheet as of late playing on the first line/ PP. I like his HITS potential as well. Just not sure who I have to drop. Playing in a standard Yahoo roto league. My team fell waaaaay behind on hits and +/- so I have been utilizing “operation GUDAS” to try to get back in the game.
    My roster
    C-SCHEIFELE, NECAS(RW)
    LW-RUST(RW),KREIDER
    RW-KANE,BOESER
    D-HUGHES, BARRIE, HEISKANEN, GUDAS
    BENCH-GRZELCYK, HORVAT
    IR-PETTERSSON
    I guess the smartest thing would be to drop my number 4 dman. My normal impulse would be to drop Gudas but man is he valuable with those hits. Hughes has somehow been my least valuable dman over the last month. Im also carrying 4 goalies but like to have the flexibility to maximize games there.
    GRUBAUER, CAMPBELL, SAROS, RIEMER.
    What do you think?

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      Definitely like the Necas move. I’ve always been a Tolvanen fan, definitely hard to fit him into your roster though. If you’re trying to make up hits, I’m fine with grabbing him, I just think you may have to drop a goalie to do it. That, or swing a trade moving out a defenseman, because I don’t want to cut your guys, even if they’re underperforming. Reimer would probably be the cut for Tolvanen, but I get that it’s tough to get rid of a goalie when you’re trying to maximize games.

      • dubjay says:
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        I was leaning Reimer or Grzelcyk for the drop. Dont think that I need a bench D. Just hard to drop a top PP quarterback. I had the choice of grabbing Nedeljkovic or Reimer a month ago. Went for Reimer thinking that Nedeljkovic would be sent down when Mrazek returns. Now Im not so sure. Reimer looks like he may end up being the odd man out/traded.

        • Viz

          Viz says:
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          I think one way or the other, it gets settled at this trade deadline. I could be wrong, but Nedeljkovic is too good for the minors, and they could potentially get him enough starts ROS that he becomes an RFA instead of UFA

  5. Eli Man Penguin Boy says:
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    marchand vs NJ for 3 pt tues.

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      Sounds good!

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