Nothing helps getting your season back on track like playing against the Buffalo Sabres.  Carter Hart has had a really rough go of it in the opening month of the season, but on Sunday, he looked to turn it around in Buffalo.  You’d think that after the Sabres were shutout 3-0 on Saturday that they would come out firing on Sunday.  Nope.  Hart stopped all 28 shots he faced, most of the routine variety, to beat the Sabres 3-0.  Brian Elliott only needed to make 23 saves on Saturday as the Sabres are in complete disarray.  As I always say, goalies are voodoo, but I’d be stunned if Hart doesn’t make a jump towards being a #1 fantasy goalie again.  If you can buy low on Hart, I would try to do so.  The fact that the Flyers are 11-4-3 despite Hart’s horrible start shows you what kind of upside the team has.  Elliott should be streamed every time he starts as his save percentage is over .930 in his eight games.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:

Friday’s Games

Nazem Kadri – Goal and two assists with four shots.  It’s been inconsistent for Kadri, but with 12 points in 18 games, I’m still holding as he pushes towards three shots per game.  I also doubt his plus-minus stays this bad on a team as good as Colorado.

Mikko Rantanen – Goal and an assist with two shots.  After a bit of a rough patch, Rantanen appears to be getting back on track with five points in the past three games.

Phil Kessel – Goal and an assist.  Kessel is on a heater with eight points in the past five games.  He moved up lines so I feel good about him being a hold for the time being.

Brad Marchand – Goal and an assist with three shots and four PIM.  He’s crushing every category like he always does.  How was Marchand going in the second round of drafts!?

Ryan Strome – Goal and two assists with five shots.  Despite Panarin’s absence, Strome seems to have gotten his game on track.  He’s right on the fringe with a slight lean towards elite streamer.

Chris Kreider – Goal and an assist.  Same story as Strome, although I marginally prefer Kreider.

Ryan Lindgren – Two assists.  He plays big minutes on the first pair with Adam Fox (two assists), but he doesn’t carry any fantasy value.  Lindgren lets Fox do most of the offensive work.

Cam Talbot – 27 saves on 28 shots in the 3-1 win over the Kings.  Talbot’s return from injury went as well as we could have hoped with the lone goal against coming with less than three minutes left.  He should go back to being a solid #2.

Saturday’s Games

Sean Couturier – Goal and an assist with five shots.  Since returning from injury, Couturier is on an offensive tear with ten points in the last six games.  Vigneault is really letting the team cook offensively right now which is nice to see and big for Couturier’s fantasy value.

Joonas Donskoi – Goal and an assist with two shots.  Decent streamer while he’s in the top six, but not much upside.

Andre Burakovsky – Two assists with two shots.  Burakovsky is all upside, but the shots are poor and the minutes are quite low.  Solid streamer still, but there’s not enough to hold.

Samuel Girard – Two assists.  Makar didn’t play in this game, but it doesn’t sound serious.  I would only use Girard with Makar out as his role drastically changes.

John Carlson – Two assists with three shots.  Carlson is as consistent as they come on the blue line.  He’s pushing towards being the top defenseman again.

Carl Hagelin – Two assists with a shot.  Swagelin was never much of a fantasy asset, but he certainly isn’t anymore.  And there’s your annual Hagelin update!

Nico Hischier – Goal and an assist with two shots.  Hischier should play his way into being a bottom end hold, but it’s not automatic.

Mikael Backlund – Goal and two assists with four shots.  Backlund was pointless in his previous eight games.  He’s a bottom end streamer in his current role.

Johnny Gaudreau – Two assists with a shot.  Johnny Hockey is close to a point per game, but he’s barely over two shots on goal per game.  At that rate, his goals are certainly going to dry up; he’s not going to shoot 20% forever.

Andrew Mangiapane – Goal and an assist with four shots.  Mangiapane was regularly been playing over 20 minutes lately.  He’s a solid streamer because of that, but he’s not close to holding.

Matthew Tkachuk – Goal and an assist with three shots.  Solid start for Tkachuk, but I suspect that we see a bit of an uptick in his production going forward.

Drake Batherson – Goal and an assist with two shots.  That’s a goal in five straight for Batherson.  He’s back to being an elite streamer while he’s hot.

Thomas Chabot – Two assists with five shots and two PIM, -4.  That stat line basically sums up Chabot.  The numbers are going to be excellent, but you have to stomach the bad plus-minus.

Mattias Ekholm – Two goals on four shots in his return from injury.  I don’t see a path to Ekholm becoming a hold unless Josi or Ellis get injured.

Juuse Saros – 29 saves on 30 shots in the 2-1 win over the Blue Jackets.  It’s been a rough season for Saros, but this weekend really helped things go in the right direction.  I think he’ll get back to being a #2 goalie again, but the downside is bigger than I anticipated.

Jack Campbell – 30 save shutout in the 4-0 win over the Oilers.  This was only Campbell’s third game of the season due to injury, but he’s only allowed four goals.  I’d stream him in every start, but they probably will be infrequent.

John Tavares – Two assists with five shots.  It feels like Tavares isn’t doing much because Matthews and Mitch Marner (goal and an assist, there shots) get all of the attention, but he still has 19 points in 22 games.  I assume he’ll stay right around a point per game all season.

Kris Letang – Two goals and an assist with three shots.  After a brutal start, Letang has eleven points in the past ten games.  The shots are way down, but hopefully that turns and he gets back to his usual level.

Sidney Crosby – Goal and an assist with five shots.  Congrats to Crosby on playing his 1000th game.  He’s just under a point per game despite the Pens power play being a big disappointment.  I have to suspect that turns which gives him some more upside.

Brock Nelson – Goal and an assist with two shots.  Nelson has had a rough go of it so far this season, but Beauvillier returning should help his cause.  I’m not holding, but I could see him getting back to that level again like last season.

Andrei Vasilevskiy – 20 save shutout in the 5-0 win over the Stars.  Insert superlative to describe Vasilevskiy here.

Steven Stamkos – Goal and an assist with two shots and two PIM.  Stamkos has quietly put up 10+9 in 17 games with solid PIM and shots.  Just stay healthy!

Tyler Johnson – Two assists.  He played 9 minutes in this one so easy pass.

Anthony Cirelli – Goal and an assist in his return.  I don’t think Cirelli keeps up this offensive pace, but I’m still inclined to hold him for the time being.

Mikhail Sergachev – Two assists with a shot.  Sergachev has a great chance of setting a career high in points despite it being a shortened season.  The assists are really piling up with 14 in 19 games.

Brett Pesce – Two assists with a shot.  The minutes are so high that Pesce can stumble into a decent amount of points.  I’d probably leave him on the wire in 12’ers, but it’s very close.

Patric Hornqvist – Goal and an assist with two shots.  How did Florida get him for Matheson?  Absolutely horrible trade by Rutherford.  Hornqvist is an easy hold in all formats.

Adam Boqvist – Two assists with a shot.  There’s upside here long term, but right now, Boqvist is lacking the shot rate to be a hold.

Valtteri Filppula – Two assists with a shot.  Frans Nielsen had a goal and an assist with two shots.  Both of these guys were last fantasy relevant over five years ago.  Don’t even think about it.

Robby Fabbri – Two assists.  Despite Detroit being terrible, Fabbri has had a decent season.  He’s a solid streamer.

Evgeny Svechnikov – Goal and an assist with three shots.  The older Svechnikov has had his career derailed by injuries.  He scored again on Sunday so he’s worth monitoring to see if he can finally put things together.

Matt Dumba – Goal and an assist with two shots playing over 27 minutes.  It’s been a slow start for Dumba, but I’m still holding him as he’s hitting all of the categories at a decent rate.

Jordan Greenway – Two assists with five shots.  Greenway has found another level of offense this season that I didn’t think he had in him.  He’s actually getting power play time now so with his penalty minutes, he’s not far off being an elite streamer.

Anze Kopitar – Two assists with a shot.  All your assists are belong to Kopitar!

Drew Doughty – Goal and an assist playing over 30 minutes.  The Kings are still getting dominated in Doughty’s minutes, but in fantasy, we don’t care.  I would try to sell high if I could, but I doubt you’d be able to.

Adrian Kempe – Goal and an assist with five shots.  Kempe is off the first line at the moment but has stayed on the first power play unit, where both of his points on Saturday happened.  He’s a solid streamer for now with upside from there if he moves back on Kopitar’s wing.

Rickard Rakell – Goal and an assist with four shots.  Remember when Rakell scored 33 and 34 goals in consecutive seasons?  He was 22 and 23 then.  Somehow, as he approaches 28, the goals have fallen off drastically.  Now, he’s over three shots per game right now with only two goals which means he’s going to have positive regression soon.  He’s an elite streamer because of that.

William Karlsson – Two goals on three shots.  Wild Bill is really starting to come on with eleven points in the past ten.  He’s an easy hold while he’s hot.

Alex Pietrangelo – Goal and an assist with four shots.  As expected, Pietrangelo did not hurt Shea Theodore‘s value or vice versa.  Theodore had two assists with three shots and two PIM.  Theodore is crushing while Pietrangelo has had some rough luck that will turn.

Nikolaj Ehlers – Goal and an assist with three shots.  This season has been by far the best Ehlers has ever played.  He’s over three shots per game with 11+11 in 20 games.  There’s a real chance at a top 50 season, possibly pushing towards the top 25.

Connor Hellebuyck – 40 saves on 41 shots in the 2-1 OT win over the Canadiens.  Hellebuyck put up a vintage Vezina performance in this game as Montreal absolutely dominated.  The overall numbers are right in line with last season.

Timo Meier – Two goals and an assist with four shots.  All of the top Sharks had a big game with Brent BurnsLogan Couture, and Evander Kane all had two points, as did Kevin Labanc.  Despite the team being quite poor (they’re last in the league with 3 regulation wins), the top players have been good to great.  Meier has had horrible shooting luck despite this game so I’m expecting him to get on a run.  I’m holding him for that upside.

Marco Scandella – Two goal and an assist with three shots and five blocks.  He had no points in his first 13 games of the season so Scandella gets the award for most unlikely three point game. Easy pass.

Ryan O’Reilly – Goal and an assist with three shots playing almost 24 minutes.  The floor for RoR is extremely high for a middle tier fantasy player.

Zach Sanford – Goal and an assist with three shots and four PIM.  Not interested in using him in fantasy, even if he’s on the first line.  No power play time zaps his value.

Sunday’s Games:

James van Riemsdyk – Goal and an assist with four shots.  The new first line for Philly has JVR with Joel Farabee (two assists with four shots) and Couturier.  Farabee has played his way into being a hold while the other two are no brainers now.

Tuukka Rask – 20 saves on 21 shots in the 4-1 win over the Rangers.  Been a brutal stretch for the Bruins defensively, but I wouldn’t panic at all if I owned Rask.  If anything, I’d target him in a trade.

Charlie Coyle – Two goals on five shots.  With Krejci out, Coyle is centering the second line.  That makes him a solid streamer for the time being.

David Pastrnak – Two assists with four shots and two PIM.  Pastrnak has been nothing short of incredible this season.  I feel pretty certain that he’ll be a top five player on a per-game basis come the end of the year.

Charlie McAvoy – Goal and an assist with three shots.  Even at two shots per game, McAvoy is a solid #3D.  Hopefully it continues to increase as it;’s the only thing holding him back from being a fantasy star.

Roman Josi – Two assists with three shots.  Josi has been a big disappointment, but he’s another player due for positive regression.  Two goals on 70 shots is simply unsustainable, in this case in a good way.

Juuse Saros – 28 saves on 29 shots in the 3-1 win over Columbus.  Nice to see Saros start both games of the back to back.  I talked about Saros above.

Ilya Sorokin – 20 save shutout in the 2-0 win over the Penguins.  Watching the Isles can put you to sleep, but they know how to churn out results.  That’s two straight shutouts for Sorokin.  He doesn’t play much because Varlamov has been so good, but he’s worth streaming in his next start, which should come against the Sabres later in the week.

Josh Bailey – Two assists with two shots.  Bottom end streamer for assists but that’s it.

Alex DeBrincat – Goal and three assists with five shots.  It’s looking clear that last season was the outlier and not two seasons ago.  He has top 25 upside with his current shot rate.

Patrick Kane – Goal and two assists with three shots.  Congrats to Kane on his 400th goal.  He’s showing no signs of slowing down any time soon.

Ryan Carpenter – Two goals on three shots.  And there’s your annual Carpenter update!

Three Point Challenge: We will do the Three Point Challenge on Tuesday.  No top 10 in the league in points.  We’ll change it up to the current top 10, which means no McDavid, P. Kane, Draisaitl, Matthews, Marner, Scheifele, DeBrincat, JVR, Backstrom, and Huberdeau.  I’ll got with Barzal against the Devils.  Eli Man Penguin Boy, Veritas, and myself all have one correct pick.

That’s all for now guys.   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. nick says:

    hi VIZ,

    trade offer received yesterday :

    Tavares C +tristan Jarry G
    for my
    Taylor Hall LW and Varlamov G NYi

    Tavares done much, but Hall is stuck at 1 goal and -13 !!
    Jarry is better last 15 days, Varlamov had a hot start of the season…

    i’d do it, as i have Grubauer / Bobrosky /G.Smith !

    Thanks Nick

    • Viz

      Viz says:

      This is a tough one, usually I say add the better skater, but I would be worried having Jarry and Bob as my 2/3. I also don’t know who G. Smith is as far as a goalie goes. If you’re out of patience with Hall, which I would understand, I’m fine with the trade.

  2. Fleeced says:

    I’d like to activate Karlsson off the IR to add to my D core of Barrie, Werenski and Fox. Should I drop either of them for Toews, Dahlin, or Ristolainen? Or hold?

    Who do I drop to activate him? Either Hughes, Kyrou, Reinhart, Kaprisov, or Fiala.

    (G), (A), (+/-), (PIM), (PPP), (SOG)

    • For An Armenianless Vacation Come to Akron says:

      drop e.karlsson easily if you only want 3 D men. and probably all of those others over karlsson if you want 4. not sure as to which of those i’d drop for that 4th D, nor which if wanting the 4th D.

    • Viz

      Viz says:

      I would hold all of those guys. I don’t have high expectations for Karlsson, I’m not convinced he’ll be any better than Toews. If you want to give Karlsson a chance, which I think is fine, I guess I’d drop Kyrou? It’s him or Reinhart, but on a dreadful Sabres team, Reinhart is playing well at the moment.

  3. Nightpandas says:

    Happy Monday Viz

    Would you move Eichel and Connor for Marchand and Kadri…redraft, no keepers 12 team

    G A Pts +\- SOG Hits Blocks

    Rest of my skaters
    BTakchuk Monahan Necas Zucarello PKane Roslovic Fiala Bjorkstrand Larkin Palmieri Kreider
    Nurse Rielly, TSmith, Toews, Josi


    • Viz

      Viz says:

      Man, this is tough. Kadri is so clearly the worst player of the four here, and since PIM isn’t a category, that hurts Marchand and Kadri’s side quite a bit. You get a boost in hits, but not that many. I think I would just hold in your scoring format, I can’t imagine Jack staying at 4% shooting while Connor looks incredible. Make no mistake, Marchand is the best player in the deal, but I don’t think Kadri is quite good enough to balance things out as the 4th piece.

  4. No Bueno says:

    who would you rather ROS and in a keeper league? Barzal or Taylor Hall? Thanks!

    • Shitwolf says:

      I would think hall gets traded this year?? I don’t think it makes much sense for Buffalo not to since they are a dumpster fire and hall is a FA at the end of the year.

      He has been bad af though so lets see what the great Viz thinks!

      Wheeler for 3!

      • Viz

        Viz says:

        I won’t begin to guess what they’ll do. LeBrun reported two weeks ago that they were talking about a long term deal, but things have completely fallen apart since then so who knows. Sounds good on Wheeler.

    • Viz

      Viz says:

      I’d go Barzal right now for both, although it’s closer than it seems right now because of Hall’s struggles. He’s shooting under 2% right now, which is obviously ridiculous. I think he’s more of the player he was last year, which is around 65 points in a full season, give or take 5-10 points either way. It’ll turn, but Barzal is 5.5 years younger, and his playmaking is at an elite level. I’d like to see him with better linemates, but regardless, Barzal and Hall profile somewhat similarly, so give me the younger player long term, and the current situation is better as well for ROS.

  5. For An Armenianless Vacation Come to Akron says:

    16 teamer with hits/blocks/PIMs/shots/PPP/SHP added. dynasty. have these D men (ferraro in 1/7 of the prospect slots and i call him up when he plays but down when he isn’t), 6 start: subban, severson, pietro, doughty, nurse, provorov, savard (obv the best i have in hits/blocks, more than double the NJ 2 below in both). drop which of severson/subban:

    subban: a little bit better in blocks, a good bit better in shots, PPP’s a bit better,
    severson: a little bit better in hits, better plus/minus, has a SHP, slightly more minutes and obv the age advantage

    • Viz

      Viz says:

      Meh, this is mostly a team needs decision. I don’t think Severson is going to keep his PP spot going forward, I assume Vatanen will get on the PP eventually at Severson’s expense, so that makes me slightly prefer keeping Subban gun to head.

  6. Veritas says:

    Great article as usual Viz! Koskinen is killing me. Should I feel bad about wanting to drop him for Bernier? Gibson is killing me too but at least he starts. Bob has been marginally better. My league is a 12 team Yearly redraft H2Hcounts W, GAA, SV% and SV. My other goalies are Bob and Gibson. (Ullmark is injured)

    I’m going to take a bold pick, Evgeni Malkin vs PHI for the three point challenge

    • Viz

      Viz says:

      Thanks! Yeah, I think you can get rid of Koskinen, I think with how he’s playing and conversely, how well Smith is playing, that we see Smith get the majority of starts for the time being. I feel so bad for Gibson being behind that team. Hopefully by the time they’re starting to get good in maybe two years, he’s not on the decline.

      Sounds good on Malkin, have to think it starts to turn eventually. Good luck!

  7. Chris says:

    Hey Viz! I need you opinion on something.

    Would you do this trade in a dynasty league?
    I would give up Hedman (my keeper D) and I would get Carter Hart (who I would probably keep instead of Samsonov ) and McAvoy to replace Hedman as my keeper.
    Do you believe in Hart as a stud goalie for the foreseeable future? Better than Samsonov? And in McAvoy as worthy keeper replacement for Hedman?

    12 team league. G/A/PPP/HITS/+-/GWG

    • Viz

      Viz says:

      Oh man, this is a tough one. I do believe in Hart going forward and over Samsonov, but I don’t know if it’s worth giving up Hedman. I like McAvoy, but he’s never going to be at the level Hedman is. In general, I prefer to keep the better skater as goalies are voodoo and it’s realistic that Samsonov ends up better than Hart, so I would lean towards not doing this, but I think part of it depends on how good your team is now. If your team isn’t good now, I’d be more likely to do this (it’s at least debatable) while if you are contending, I would not do this.

  8. ashtray says:

    I am playing in a really weird Goalie set up with the cats being W, L, SHO, GA, SV. 12 teams.

    Anyway, Bernier’s numbers are fantastic over the last month. But it’s Bernier. And it’s Detroit. Anything to see here?

    I’m rostering 4 goalies and mostly trying to pick decent matchups. I have Lehner (IL), Grubbauer, Dreidger, Rittich, and Peterson. Other available goalies in addition to Bernier are Hutchinson, Sorokin, Nedeljkovic, and Subban.

    Do you like any of those FA’s over any of the guys I am currently rostering?

    • Viz

      Viz says:

      Bernier was actually decent last season too, it wouldn’t shock me to end see him end up being a #3 in a 12’er. The problem is with losses as a category, that does put a damper on his value in this format. So I think you can lose Rittich, I’ve been using him too, but Markstrom is almost back and Rittich has had a rough go of it lately against Ottawa. I’m just trying to debate which goalie is best to add. I think I would go Sorokin right now, only because the Islanders have three games coming up against the Sabres at the end of the week and odds are, you will get one elite start from Sorokin. I would say it’s him or Bernier though, Hutchinson and Nedeljkovic is about to be back to being the third stringer, and I’m really having a tough time buying into Subban.

  9. Eli Man Penguin Boy says:

    ehlers vs VAN (esp on back to back after getting shutout by the usually horrible VAN D/goalies) for 3 pt tues.

  10. Eli Man Penguin Boy says:

    espn saying wahlstrom (so far little minutes, but he’s playing everyday, his only knock from being a tippy top prospect was his skating, his shot and offensive awareness (using the EA sports categories from the 90’s) were always highly valued) both just got a SH goal but hasn’t shown up as having any SH minutes yet. but IF that’s real he’s a really big buy now. i’ve had him stashed for years in some places (see some of his highlights from when he was like 15 or 16).

    • Eli Man Penguin Boy says:

      oh yeah AND his hits and shots are already good (in limited minutes, which is always a good sign as i’m only in hits/blocks leagues entirely); which is nice for a guy labeled as shot/playmaker but bad skater in general. now how much of this is just “guy trying to keep job” vs guy looks like this long term, i’m not sure. i’m dropping tippett for him NOW in a 16 teamer with real life sized rosters (where i kept tippett over kyrou less than 2 months ago, yuck). tippett’s knock is that his D was really bad (a far bigger problem than wahlstrom’s if they both stick).

      • Eli Man Penguin Boy says:

        those clearly weren’t SH goals by neither of wahlstrom nor the ders. NYI weren’t on a penalty when those occurred. him and pageau even from the 3rd line on a tear though, obv i’m not suggesting to buy him for redrafts (outside of maybe deep 16’s+) and he should’ve been already a stash guy for dynasties with stash stuff. still less than 11 minutes, which has been his normal.

    • Viz

      Viz says:

      I do like the player quite a bit, I just have a hard time seeing him getting real minutes any time soon on that team

      • Eli Man Penguin Boy says:

        yeah that is obv likely an issue for at least this year. the spot where i just added him over tippett i have beauvillier too, so handcuff value, as it’s possible wahlstrom moves up in event of him getting hurt again.

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