Dating all the way back to the preseason, I called Pekka Rinne the biggest wild card of the fantasy hockey season. In some seasons, he plays like the #1 goalie. In other seasons, he’s been a detriment to fantasy rosters. This year, he’s settled more in the middle but closer to the good side. We saw that top end ability once again on Thursday night when Rinne posted a 31 save shutout in the 2-0 win over the Oilers. So what do we do with him going forward? Honestly, nothing really changes. One, Peter Laviolette has already said that he wants to play Juuse Saros more down the stretch. Two, his variance is so high that any game or even any month doesn’t change his long term prognosis. Basically, if you want to gamble, Rinne is someone worth the shot based on the high upside. If you want stability, stay the hell away. In dynasties, I’m down on him only because I’m a huge believer in Saros but for the rest of the season, I’m more on the side of Rinne being a top 10 goalie the rest of the way. Here’s what else happened around the league the last two nights:
Brad Marchand – Two goals and an assist with three shots and two PIM. Another scummy move, another massive game in fantasy. His owners don’t care about it! I can’t stand him but he has to be a second round pick next season.
David Pastrnak – Three assists with five shots. Now here’s a talented guy I can behind. He’ll certainly be in my top 50 next season; how high he’ll be depends on how he finishes this season.
Nicklas Backstrom – Goal and two assists with three shots. His first assist was a thing of beauty.
Oshie goal pic.twitter.com/0eEGHJS5f3
— nope (@myregularface) February 2, 2017
He’s played like prime Backstrom for the last 6-8 weeks. Keep rolling with the good times.
Evgeny Kuznetsov – Goal and an assist with two shots and two PIM. I kind of expect him to end the season in the top 10 in points which is insane considering the horrific start.
Matt Niskanen – Two assists with three shots and two PIM. I’m inclined to try and sell high on him with John Carlson back but I’m not sure you’d be able to.
T.J. Oshie – Goal and an assist with two shots. If my life was on the line and I needed someone to score on a breakaway, I’d go with Oshie. Look at that goal gif’ed above. That’s just unbelievable.
Deryk Engelland – Goal and an assist with four shots. And there’s your annual Deryk Engelland update!
Sean Monahan – Two goals on three shots. The assists have really fallen off but the goals are coming back in full force.
Brian Elliott – 28 saves on 29 shots in the 5-1 win over the Wild. I still put him firmly in the”desperate for starts” category.
Peter Budaj – 22 save shutout in the 5-0 win over the Avalanche. Budaj has been terrific and I’m on the record saying he’s been better than the Kings could have expected from Quick. Regardless, I’m not taking anything away from a game against the Avs.
Dustin Brown – Goal and an assist with six shots. He’s played his way back onto the streaming radar, especially in hits leagues, but that’s it.
Jeff Carter – Two goals on eight shots. He’s a beast. They call him Cart-ah.
Alex Galchenyuk – Assist with a shot playing 16 minutes in his return. Get him back in your lineups immediately.
Michal Neuvirth – 15 saves on 16 shots in the 3-1 win over the Canadiens. I don’t trust either Flyers goalie right now.
Shayne Gostisbehere – Scratched again. If you’re fighting for a playoff spot, I’m fine with cutting him. I’ll be sure to talk to Reid about him on the podcast that will go up Friday in the late morning / afternoon.
Sean Couturier – Goal and an assist. Bottom end streamer but nothing more in his current role.
Robin Lehner – 42 saves on 44 shots in the 2-1 OT loss to the Rangers. Another monster start for Lehner and while he hasn’t been great this season, it’s been good enough. His play has moved him up a bit in my dynasty rankings as well.
Henrik Lundqvist – 36 saves on 37 shots getting the win. The King Stay The King!
J.T. Miller – Two assists with four shots. I was at this game and Miller was standing out on most shifts. He’s reached underrated status considering he’s still only 23 years old. Miller is another dynasty favorite in these parts.
Mike Hoffman – Goal and an assist with four shots. He’s heating up again and should surpass his previous career highs in goals and assists despite missing some time. Hoffman has been terrific.
Erik Karlsson – Three assists with three shots. The shots have been skyrocketing lately and Karlsson has 6 points in the last 3. I expect him to finish the #2D overall with a big second half.
Mark Stone – Two goals and an assist with three shots and two PIM. I see Stone in the same light as J.T. Miller except he’s been this good for three straight seasons going back to his rookie year. If the shots ever went up, we’d be looking at a top 50 guy.
Kyle Turris – Goal and an assist with three shots. It’s solid across the board right now for Turris.
Viktor Arvidsson – Goal and an assist with two shots and two PIM. It’s right on the fringe right now but I’d lean towards holding him.
Ryan Johansen – Goal and an assist with two shots. Every time he goes through a down swing, he has a strong game. I’d like for the shots to go back to peak Columbus days but it’s not far off top 50 with surprisingly good PIM.
Nikolaj Ehlers – Goal and an assist with three shots. There’s plenty of guys that I hit on this season but I’m probably proudest of Ehlers. This kid is so damn good already and he didn’t even turn 21 yet.
Patrik Laine – Two assists with two shots and two PIM. He’s had a point in every game since he’s returned. Laine isn’t far off a point per game now. His offensive ability is off the chart.
Mark Scheifele – Two goals on six shots with two PIM. That’s a third straight multi-point game for Scheifele. He’s pushing closer and closer to a first round pick next year.
Jamie Benn – Goal and two assists with five shots. Five game point streak for Benn who is starting to put together that hot stretch I’ve been talking about for a month.
Patrick Eaves – Goal and an assist with five shots. Eaves remains right on the fringe for me. If you need PPP, it’s a no-brainer, otherwise it’s super close.
John Klingberg – Goal and an assist with five shots. We keep seeing the signs of a breakout but then he doesn’t do much. Again, it’s the same story; he’ll be great again if the shot rate can stay up consistently.
Jake Allen – 26 saves on 27 shots in the 5-1 win over the Maple Leafs. I don’t want to overreact to one game but I feel like Allen might finally take off with the coaching change. I’d strongly consider buying low if possible.
Colton Parayko – Goal and two assists with three shots. I’m going to love me some Colton Parayko in drafts next year.
Alex Pietrangelo – Two assists with a shot. Mr. Dependable will have plenty more upside next year if things go as expected in the offseason.
Paul Stastny – Two goals and an assist with three shots. He’s also right on the fringe for me.
Alex Steen – Goal and an assist with two shots. The shot rate hasn’t gone up as I hoped but you still have to hold Steen with his point production.
Patrick Kane – Goal and an assist with five shots. He scored a power play goal which was only his third of the season. That shows that there is upside for more in the second half.
Duncan Keith – Two assists. Keith has been his usual self this season; solid shots, assists and PPP.
Artemi Panarin – Goal and an assist with two shots. He’s fallen off quite a bit lately but Panarin has the ability to get as hot as anybody at any moment.
Christian Dvorak – Goal and an assist with three shots. I like the long-term upside but I don’t think he’s even streamer worthy at this point.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Goal on three shots with two PIM. He’s been a bit better lately but man, that plus-minus is brutal.
Brendan Perlini – Goal and an assist with two shots and two PIM. Same story as Dvorak except I think Perlini has even more upside than Dvorak does.
Martin Jones – 32 saves on 33 shots in the 4-1 win over the Canucks. Not far off a standard Jones performance at this point.
Brent Burns – Goal and an assist with five shots and two PIM. Brent Burns doing Brent Burns things!
Tomas Hertl – Assist. I’m grabbing him everywhere I can.
Patrick Marleau – Goal on two shots. Congrats to Marleau for reaching 500 goals.
Chris Tierney – Two goals on five shots. There could be a bit of upside here in the long term but there’s not enough of a role at the moment.
Sebastian Aho (18.0%) – Going back to the well here after a hat trick and four points at home. Look for him to take advantage of easier matchups at home against an up and down Oilers team.
Matt Cullen (1.8%) – He’s expected to return Friday and with Conor Sheary going down with an injury, he’s expected to play on the first line. That’s good enough with me on a small slate.
Andreas Athanasiou (6.0%) – He’s slowed down a bit but I like the spot at home against the Isles.
That’s all for now guys. As mentioned above, expect a podcast to drop in the late morning or early afternoon today. Please leave any questions or comments below. We will do the Three Point Challenge for Saturday’s games so leave your picks here or in the podcast post. I’ll be back with daily notes on Monday recapping the weekend’s action. Thanks for reading and enjoy your weekend, take care!