A week without hockey in December did not seem right at all.  Thankfully, the NHL is back up and running.  Sure, there are plenty of postponements, but I’ll take what we can get.  There’s not a lot of games over the past two nights, but I’m going to do a quick recap of everything that happened.  Goaltending was mostly optional, especially in Wednesday’s games.  The highlight was a 8-7 SO win by the Sharks over the Coyotes, where Arizona scored two goals in the last three minutes of the game to send it to overtime.  Phil Kessel had four assists and four shots in the game, and was dominant throughout the entire game.  He’s an elite streamer for now, but he can end up a hold depending where he goes at the trade deadline.  Yes, I’m assuming he’s traded, but that seems like a formality.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights.  I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays!

Brayden Point – Two goals and an assist with six shots in his return.  Pretty, pretty, pretty good.  You probably don’t even have to cut someone to clear room for Point on your roster because somebody you have is on the COVID list, or just injured.

Corey Perry – Goal and an assist with three shots.  Perry has been better than expected in a limited role.  There’s some deep league value here.

Alex Killorn – Two assists with three shots playing over 26 minutes.  Killorn benefits greatly from Point’s return.  I have elite streamer for now, but he could turn into a hold.

Victor Hedman – Two assists with four shots.  Hedman is smashing all of the categories and is over a point per game.  He’s the favorite to be the top fantasy defenseman now.

Jonathan Marchessault – Two goals and an assist with three shots.  Marchessault in on the best goal pace of his career by a mile.  Sure, it’ll regress some, but the assists should improve too.  Slam dunk hold.

Reilly Smith – Goal and an assist with three shots.  With Mark Stone on IR, the second line is getting more run while also being the first power play unit with Patches and Theodore.  I have been holding Smith anyways, but now, it’s not close.

Chandler Stephenson – Goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM.  Even with the lower power play role for now, Stephenson is an easy hold.  You can’t be dropping guys over a point per game.

Adrian Kempe – Goal and an assist with three shots.  The assists are weak, but Kempe is pushing three shots per game and over a 30 goal pace.  That makes him an elite streamer, bare minimum.  He’s on the fringe for me.

Lawson Crouse – Two goals and two assists with five shots.  Crouse is easily having the best offensive season of his career.  The hits are elite and he’s a solid contributor elsewhere.  His value is very dependent on league format.

Johan Larsson – Three assists with three shots.  And there’s your biannual Larsson update!

Shayne Gostisbehere – Goal and an assist with five shots.  Ghost Bear is getting all of the minutes he can handle with Chychrun out.  He needs to be held in all formats.

Janis Moser – Tow goals.  Not bad for his third career game.  He’s getting a decent amount of minutes, but I’m not looking to use him now.  Long term, there’s some promise here.  Welcome to the Razzball Database!

Logan Couture – Goal and an assist, as did both of his linemates, Timo Meier and Alexander Barabanov.  Couture and Meier are both givens in terms of fantasy.  Having watched this whole game, Barabanov was the best Shark on the ice without a doubt.  The shot rate is dreadful, but I really liked the way he played on this line.  I see deep league value, and a bottom end streamer with upside.

Jesper Bratt – Goal and two assists.  Bratt has played his way onto the fringe as he could have a new career high in points by the end of January.

Jack Hughes – Goal and two assists with six shots.  There’s the Hughes we’ve been waiting for!  I lean towards holding him for the upside.  Ruff seems intent on giving Hughes the first line center role and embracing the ups and downs.

Yegor Sharangovich – Goal and an assist with four shots.  I have Sharangovich as a bottom end streamer until he locks into a top role and starts producing.

Tage Thompson – Two goals on three shots.  Even with two new linemates, Thompson looked excellent.  That includes less support behind him than usual.  I’m still holding.

Rasmus Dahlin – Two assists with two shots. Dahlin has been excellent offensively in recent games.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he pushes 60 points at the end of the year.

Alex Tuch – Assist in his Sabres debut.  No shots is upsetting, but that will come.  He’s an elite streamer who can easily be a hold if you want to take a chance on the upside.

Dante Fabbro – Two assists with a shot and two PIM.  If you need short term help, Fabbro is a viable option as long as Roman Josi is out.

John Carlson – Goal and three assists with five shots.  This hasn’t been Carlson’s best season, yet he’s rapidly approaching a point per game.  He’s close to a lock to being a top five defenseman.

Dmitry Orlov – Two assists with a shot and two PIM.  Solid player in real life, but Orlov is a deep league option at best.

Carl Hagelin – Goal and an assist with two shots.  And there’s your annual Swagelin update!

Mika Zibanejad – Goal and an assist with five shots.  Nice to see Zibanejad continue the tear that he was on before this brief hiatus.

Artemi Panarin – Goal and an assist with three shots.  The Breadman should stay well above a point per game.  As long as their depth continues to suck, Gallant will roll the top six massive minutes.

Gustav Forsling – Two assists with a shot.  The assists are strong, but everything else besides plus-minus is very bad.  I don’t like one dimensional guys at the bottom of my roster, especially in assists, so Forsling is a pass for me.

Vladimir Tarasenko – Goal and two assists, as did Jordan Kyrou.  Tarasenko is a slam dunk hold who is thriving more than anyone could have expected.  Kyrou received a huge boost as Pavel Buchnevich missed the game due to a non-COVID illness.  When he returns, Kyrou could be on the third line.  I’d hold anyways because I like the player so much, but that would dent Kyrou’s value quite a bit.

Torey Krug – Two assists with a shot.  Krug’s offense hasn’t translated to St. Louis as well as did in Boston.  He’s still a hold, but we have to keep expectations in check.

James van Riemsdyk – Two goals.  Some games, JVR plays 19 minutes like Wednesday.  Others, he plays 12.  You have no clue what you’re going to get.  He’s hot at the moment, but he’s still only a middling streamer.

J.T. Miller – Goal and an assist with five shots and two PIM.  The minutes are going up and down for all of the Vancouver forwards, but Miller’s is the most consistent.  He’s their #1 and should push a point per game.

Thatcher Demko – 22 saves on 23 shots in the 2-1 OT win over the Ducks.  “Thatcher Demko had a 31 save shutout and looks to be the biggest beneficiary of the coaching change.  Boudreau has always had a great defensive system that inflated the numbers of his goaltenders.  Dubnyk was never that good of a goalie, but he was great in fantasy.  Same goes with the Washington guys earlier, or the other Wild goaltenders.  Demko has the chance to be a bottom end #1 now.”  And that’s me quoting me from three weeks ago!  I sold Demko short; he can be a top five goalie the rest of the way with the workload he’s receiving.

That’s all for now guys.  If there’s enough action in Thursday’s games that is worth writing up, I’ll be back on Friday.  If not, I’ll be back on Monday morning.  As always, feel free to ask any questions, leave any comments, or give any suggestions below.  If I don’t have a post on Friday, Happy New Year to all of you loyal Razzballers!  Thanks for reading, take care!

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11 months ago

Viz – Have to thank you for that Demko blurb you quoted, I was scuffling big time at goalie and picked him up when I read that. He has helped my squad immensely. Happy New Year to you!

11 months ago

Your column is one of the most easily digestible fantasy formats I’ve come across and you aren’t afraid to think for yourself with your assessment. That’s help lead to several big hits on guys over the years for me (maybe a miss or two but that’s the game we’re playing). Thanks again for keeping this going and here’s to another year. Happy New Year, dude!

Mordacious Levator
Mordacious Levator
11 months ago

wait a minute, if MTL has 13 (i’m seeing 13 players, but maybe that involves coaches/trainers) players on corona list, i KNOW other teams got games postponed from FAR less than 13, AND the NHL even lately is postponing games, so the question is, who did MTL’s owner fuck over at the league offices such that they are forced to play now but not those other teams with less than this many players lost to corona list?
and it’s not like the teams are the ones making these decisions, so it’s not like “those other teams that had postponed games didn’t want to play them, but MTL was willing”; that’s not a thing.

anybody got any clue what’s going on here?

Mordacious Levator
Mordacious Levator
11 months ago

for example, COL’s had at least 2 different sections of games postponed, did they ever during that timeframe ever once get to 13 players out (i checked, it was 13 as of thurs game they did play) to justify having to be postponed (which is the justification we’re given by NHL on all these postponements). trying to remember when the last postponement occurred, but maybe after tues’ games (MTL played both tues and thurs) there hasn’t been any, and for some reason 6-7 players used to be enough to get postponed before tues night, but after tues night you need more than 13?

Mordacious Levator
Mordacious Levator
11 months ago

checked, COL wasn’t 2 different periods postponed, what it was was we were told somewhere in the middle that they’d stop postponing them, but instead that didn’t happen. the point being i’m fairly sure COL didn’t have 13 players out such to get them postponed at all, and here we got MTL with that many on thurs (probably similar number on tues, maybe a bit smaller, played that one too though) but played anyway. maybe the teams themselves DO have some input on whether games are postponed or not, but we never get to hear about it (except for instances like this when looking at the details), and MTL figures they’re so bad why put off games anyway, let the AHL’ers go. COL obviously wouldn’t be of that opinion (nor would any other team that hopes to make playoffs).

– all this to say i thought there was, and certainly should be, some rule on why a game is being postponed, and the teams themselves certainly shouldn’t get a choice, as the most injured teams would certainly want to wait every bit as long as they could to play their games (STL got lucky in 2 postponements that had nothing to do with their own corona numbers, got back kyrou/perron/r.thomas and got an extra 2 games put later in season that if not postponed would’ve been played with AHL’ers rather than them in the lineup). some objective players out number would make sense and be easy to show the league is doing this stuff on the up and up (no angle shooting possible by teams cherry picking when they play their games or not).

Mordacious Levator
Mordacious Levator
11 months ago

did some more research, as of dec 18th (this is first day of COL’s postponements that’ve gone from dec 18th – at least thurs, and supposedly ended thurs), COL only had 5 corona players on that date (some others since of course). so as of dec 18th 5 was enough, but by dec 30th 13 wasn’t. seems odd.

Mordacious Levator
Mordacious Levator
11 months ago
Reply to  Viz

yep. hilarious that as much as we follow these sports we don’t even know if/what the parameters are really.