Mika Zibanejad was looking like the biggest bust of this season near the halfway point.  Well, it’s changing pretty quickly and amazingly, it wasn’t the Sabres that turned it around.  Last week, Zibanejad had three goals and three assists against the Flyers.  It was so fun that he did it again eight days later!  On Thursday, Zibanejad doubled down with his second natural hat trick and six point game in rapid succession against Philadelphia in the 8-3 win.  That brings him up to 10+16 in 32 games, not exactly lighting the world on fire, but within reason.  He’s still over three shots per game, so while a repeat top 20 season is out of play, a top 50 season is still within reason.  As I said at the time, Zibanejad is prone to huge hot streaks, and I think 17 points in 7 games qualifies.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:

Wednesday’s Games

Sidney Crosby – Goal and an assist with seven shots.  This is basically expected from Crosby against Buffalo.  In 46 games against the Sabres, Crosby has a point or more in 41.

Zach Aston-Reese – Goal and an assist with four shots.  He’s on the second line right now, but ZAR is only a bottom end streamer.

Filip Gustavsson – 28 saves on 29 shots in the 3-1 win over the Flames.  Still can’t put any Ottawa goalie above desperation despite the quality they’re receiving lately.

Jared Spurgeon – Two goals on four shots.  Spurgeon’s offense has dried up this season.  It’s been a bit better with Dumba out but I’m out on Spurgeon in 12’ers.

Ryan Suter – Two assists with a shot.  I’m also passing on Suter at this point in his career.

Drew Doughty – Two assists with three shots.  Doughty has been a solid #2 which I did not see coming.

Evander Kane – Two goals on seven shots.  This season could have gone in a few different directions for Kane, but he’s managed to have the best season of his career to this point.

Brent Burns – Two assists.  The drop off for Burns is happening this season in a big way.  He’s still an easy hold, but it’s far more middling now than ever before.

Connor Hellebuyck – 38 saves on 39 shots in the 5-1 win over the Canucks.  Monster game from Hellebuyck whose numbers are inching back towards last season’s numbers.

Andrew Copp – Four goals.  I still think Copp is only a middling streamer, but the second PP unit has been playing well lately which helps quite a bit.  I’d also like to thank both teams for somehow finding a way for me to push on under 6 goals when it was 0-0 after 1 and 3-0 with only 4:30 left.  That was quite a beat.

Thursday’s Games:

Casey DeSmith – 36 save shutout in the 4-0 win over the Sabres.  Couldn’t have gone any better for DeSmith as a streamer I’ve been highlighting for a bit.  I argued he was a hold and am standing by it.

Sidney Crosby – Three assists with two shots and two PIM.  Again, pretty much expected.

Kris Letang – Two assists with a shot.  No surprise that Letang is surging now that the Penguins are finally playing the Sabres.

Jared McCann – Two goals on five shots.  McCann went onto the first power play unit in this game and scored twice.  He’s an elite streamer for the time being.

Philipp Grubauer – 18 saves on 19 shots in the 5-1 win over Vegas.  After a very early Patches goal, the Avalanche absolutely dominated this game.  Grubauer is firmly in the Vezina conversation.

Gabriel Landeskog – Goal and an assist with four shots.  After falling far behind his linemates in terms of points, Landeskog has caught fire with points in seven straight.  With his overalll stat line, he’s pushing into the top 50.

J.T. Compher – Goal and an assist.  Compher is currently on the fourth line making him an easy pass.

Cale Makar – Goal and an assist with two shots.  For some reason, Makar’s season feels disappointing to me, but in reality, he’s pushing a point per game.  I guess the time missed with injuries coupled with the shot rate being lower than expected is the reason why.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau – Goal and two assists with two shots.  I still lean towards elite streamer, but Pageau is making it a debate.

Nick Leddy – Two assists with a shot.  If you need assists, you can hold Leddy.  If you don’t, then he will do nothing for you.  Assists ain’t got no face!

Anthony Beauvillier – Goal and an assist.  He’s done worse than I expected, but Beauvillier now has a goal in three straight.  He’s a middling streamer with upside.

Anders Bjork – Goal and an assist with three shots.  And there’s your annual Bjork update!

Charlie McAvoy – Two assists with a shot.  McAvoy has made incremental improvements this season.  I was hoping for a big breakout, but he’s settled into being around a #3.

Tuukka Rask – Left the game after the first due to injury.  Despite the bad game today, pick up Jaroslav Halak if you need goaltending help.

Adam Fox – Five assists with a shot.  The points are really starting to pile up for Fox.  It wasn’t looking that good for a bit, but now, Fox is pushing towards being a #2.

Ryan Strome – Goal and three assists with three shots and two PIM.  Panarin back, Strome hold.  It’s that simple.

Pavel Buchnevich – Two goals on three shots.  Buch is on fire and is definitely worth holding for the time being.

Sean Couturier – Goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM.  You couldn’t get a third point for me?

Kevin Hayes – Goal and an assist with five shots.  Nice revenge game from Hayes who has cooled off after a torrid start.  He’s firmly on the fringe but would hold for now with two Sabres games upcoming.

Shayne Gostisbehere – Two assists with a shot.  The strong start is a thing of the past.  Ghost is barely shooting now and is only useful in deeper leagues.

Carter Hart – 6 saves on 11 shots in 22 minutes.  Brian Elliott saved 8 of 11 shots.  To say the Flyers are a disaster in net right now is an understatement.  Hart has clearly taken the lead for the biggest fantasy bust of the season.

Alex Ovechkin – Goal and an assist with four shots.  Ovechkin is piling up goals and getting far more assists than last season.  He’s showing no signs of slowing down at 35.

Evgeny Kuznetsov – Two goals on three shots.  After a brutal start, Kuznetsov has nine points in the past nine games.  I still think he’s fringy, but leaning towards holding again.

Justin Schultz – Two assists with a shot.  Schultz has played his way onto the fringe depending on team needs.

Daniel Sprong – Two assists with a shot.  If you go back in the Razzball archives, you will find some real Sprong optimism on my behalf.  That turned out to be a mistake.  There’s nothing here for fantasy.

Martin Necas – Goal and an assist with two shots.  The minutes are through the roof as Necas moved onto the top line.  I’m holding him without any hesitation.

Seth Jones – Three assists with two shots.  Jones has been decent but not exactly lighting the world on fire.  His name value always makes him get drafted too high for me (I think he’s quite overrated in real life) but if you do have him, keep expectations in check.

Cam Atkinson – Goal and an assist with three shots.  Atkinson, like most of Columbus, has gone cold offensively.  He’s back on the fringe, although I would definitely hold him through the weekend for two games against Detroit.

Kevin Lankinen – 41 save shutout in the 3-0 win over the Panthers.  After cooling off, Lankinen had a monster performance.  Do I trust it going forward?  No.  That said, I would feel good about using him against Smashville this weekend.

Patrick Kane – Goal and an assist with two shots and two PIM.  The craziest part of the game is that Kane actually blocked two shots!

Brandon Hagel – Goal and an assist.  Hagel has been decent for Chicago this season and now he has six points in the past seven games.  I’d still leave on the wire in standard leagues, but in deep leagues, he’s becoming a reasonable option.

Rocco Grimaldi – Four goals on seven shots.  Grimaldi had four points (three goals) on the season before this game so of course he had a hat trick eight minutes into the game.  Talk about a massive outlier.

Roman Josi – Two assists with a shot.  Josi is due for some positive regression.  Two goals on 86 shots is simply not going to last.  The good news is that the assists are starting to pile up.

Erik Haula – Two assists with three shots.  After the brutal injury in Vegas, Haula really hasn’t recovered.  He’s only a deep league option at this point.

Juuse Saros – 20 saves on 21 shots in the 7-1 win over the Red Wings.  Saros is in NBA Jam fire mode right now.

Cam Talbot – 37 save shutout in the 2-0 win over the Blues.  The Blues outshot the Wild 37-11 so it’s safe to say that Talbot stole this game.  It’s a shame he missed so much time due to injury because Talbot is playing like a #1 through 16 starts.

Ondrej Palat – Goal and an assist with four shots.  This has been the best season of Palat’s career.  The only season particularly close was six years ago.  He’s played extremely well on the top line.

Yanni Gourde – Goal and an assist with two shots.  That’s five straight games with a goal for Gourde who deserves to be an elite streamer while he’s crushing.

Roope Hintz – Goal and two assists.  Hintz is at a point per game, but the problem is that he can miss a game at any time.  The injury is a real issue so we just have to hope he’s in the lineup.

Joe Pavelski – Goal and two assists with two shots.  I’d say it’s impossible for Pavelski to keep shooting 20%, but he just did it two seasons ago.  It feels like Dallas is going to get on a run soon with Pavelski at the forefront.

Jason Robertson – Goal and an assist with five shots.  Robertson has been thrusted into a bigger role than expected and he’s done extremely well.  He’s reached elite streamer status.

That’s all for now guys.  I’ll be back on Monday recapping the action from the weekend.  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!

    In a 6 teamer points only. Thinkin’ about dropping Hart and add Shesterkin or Talbot. What do you think?

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      I would definitely drop Hart, can go either way on which guy you pick up. Would lean Igor because the upcoming schedule for the Wild is a bit difficult and Igor is more likely to get a long string of starts.

  2. Dubjay says:
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    In a 6 teamer he should be long gone. You could start the fill in the blank backup on most teams in the league and have better production

  3. VeniceCanuck says:
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    In my 12-er with standard Cats, after a strong start, Backstrom has not been all that productive, and his lack of shots is starting to be noticeable. Necas is available, and I like his move onto the first line. Picked up Gourde recently and have him and Horvat as my other two Cs. Your thoughts?
    Thanks in advance!

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      I’m with you, I still like Bjorkstrand, but Necas’ current situation is better. I would make that swap

  4. Chet says:
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    Hey, Viz! Do you feel any of the following players will eventually become NHL all-stars?

    Alex Tuch, Jordan Kyrou, Jakub Vrana

    Thanks.

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      On a regular basis, I would say none of them get there, but they all have the chance to make it once when they have their peak season. Out of the three, I would rank them Kyrou, Tuch, then Vrana in terms of all-star potential, with Kyrou having the most upside. Gun to head, I say Vrana never gets there, Tuch makes it once, and the Kyrou makes it once, maybe twice.

      • Chet says:
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        Thanks for taking the time to answer, Viz! Much appreciated.

        • Viz

          Viz says:
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          Of course Chet, any time!

    • The Harrow says:
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      def kyrou best chance on this. tuch best chance of outright best fantasy player though for hits/blocks leagues.

      • Chet says:
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        Thanks for the input, Harrow. It sounds like you guys agree, Vrana should be the first to go from my team.

  5. dubjay says:
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    Hey Viz,
    Have another G question for tonight.
    Which 2 do you start of
    Grubauer vs VGK
    Riemer vs TBL
    Saros @ CHI
    Campbell vs EDM

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