Connor Hellebuyck hasn’t been as good as in the past, but he’s capable of stealing playoff series for the Jets.  He’ll probably have to do that this year, especially if Ehlers isn’t back.  He had a peak performance on Wednesday with a 32 save shutout in the 4-0 win over the Flames.  Even with Hellebuyck being below expectation, he’s still been a bottom end #1 goalie.  That’s why we take him as a top 5 goalie: safety.  As I have preached for years, goalies are voodoo, but Hellebuyck is one of the only exceptions.  Here’s what else happened the last two nights:

Anders Bjork – Two goals on three shots.  He’s shown a lot more offensive potential than I thought he had in Buffalo.  There’s a deep league sleeper for next year here.

Victor Olofsson – Two assists with four shots and two PIM.  Olofsson has fallen off, but he’s a clear passenger.  The return of Eichel would do wonders for Olofsson, especially on the power play.

Andrei Svechnikov – Two goals and an assist with three shots.  Teuvo Teravainen had a goal and two assists with four shots as the top line in Carolina is reunited with Teravainen’s return.  They’re here to cause havoc in the playoffs.

Pavel Zacha – Two goals on three shots.  Zacha set a new career high in points despite playing 18 less games than last season.  He’s playing at a 58 point pace putting him at elite streamer status and a worthy gamble next season late in drafts.

Sidney Crosby – Two goals and an assist with four shots and two PIM.  Jake Guentzel also had three points while Evgeni Malkin had two.  If Pittsburgh beats the Sabres twice to end the season, they win the East.  Look for them to be going all out in those games.

Connor McDavid – Two assists with two shots.  Seven points in five games for 100!

Evander Kane – Three assists with six shots.  Tomas Hertl had two goals and an assist with four shots.  These two have found terrific chemistry since being reunited.  The core is still decent in San Jose, they just need to really upgrade around them.  The problem is that a lot of the guys are on the decline and some of them far on the decline e.g. Burns so it’ll be interesting to see how they work the offseason.

T.J. Oshie – Hat trick on seven shots.  Despite the game being a clown show, we have to give major props to Oshie for getting a hat trick in his first game since his father passed away.  Incredibly emotional on the bench after his first two goals, he kept it together and finished off the game for the Caps.  What a boss.

Dmitry Orlov – Three assists with three shots.  Orlov has nine points in the last ten games.  This is the best offensive stretch of his career.  I thought he was going to take a big step forward a few years ago for fantasy, but sadly it never happened.

Erik Brannstrom – Three assists with two shots.  There’s massive upside here, but Brannstrom hasn’t received much of a chance yet.  He’s very intriguing in dynasties.

Erik Cernak – Goal and two assists with four shots, two hits, and three blocks.  No idea where this offense came from, but that happens sometimes when you play on such a good team.  Really good player in real life even if it doesn’t translate into fantasy.

Oliver Bjorkstrand – Two goals and an assist with four shots.  In a season that’s been a disaster for Columbus, Bjorkstrand remained a bright spot.  His playmaking reached another level and I still trust the goal scoring to be at a borderline elite level.  It seems safe to say that Columbus will be doing some retooling in the offseason and Bjorkstrand should be at the forefront of their plans.  I’ll be in on him again.

David Backes – If you didn’t see the postgame interview Backes had with Darren Pang, go check it out.  Props to Backes on a terrific career.  He was one of my favorites at his peak.

Kirill Kaprizov – Two goals on four shots and two PIM.  Sure, he’s an older rookie, but Kaprizov coming in and scoring at a 40 goal pace as a rookie is absurd.  The shot rate reached another level in the second half of the season as well.  Could he be a top 25 player next season?  It’s not out of the question.

Adam Lowry – Two goals and an assist with three shots.  Lowry is a very solid player but it generally won’t be much for fantasy because he’s stuck on the third line.

Sean Walker – Goal and two assists with two shots and two PIM.  I like Walker’s game, but barring a big fourth year jump that I don’t see coming, he’ll be on the outside looking in for fantasy relevance.

Anze Kopitar – Assist, his 1000th point.  What a sicko he is.  I hope that the Kings get better sooner than later so Kopitar can not have the end of his career go to waste.  Either way, he’s a first ballot Hall of Famer.

Conor Garland – Two assists with two shots.  The Coyotes are practically dead as far as the playoffs go now, but if you held onto Garland when he was injured, get him in your lineup against the Sharks.

With only six games on the docket Thursday, I will be back on Monday planning the week ahead for those of you in roto leagues that include the finish of the season.  For everyone in H2H leagues, best of luck!  As always, feel free to ask any questions, give any suggestions, or make any comments below.  For those wondering my schedule, I plan to write through the end of next week.  I will include the preview as mentioned above, a look back at my rankings and bold predictions, and then a Bracket Challenge for Razzballers to participate in.  Thanks for reading, take care!

  1. jason batteiger says:

    in fantrax you can turn your h2h’s into full season (end the season may 9th, it’ll just make your finals long)

    • jason batteiger says:

      i know a lot of folks like longer finals anyway, here we were kinda forced into it (well that or ignore 11 days of the season. for rotos this becomes a near necessity with how many games VAN would’ve missed without doing it, and others that missed games since VAN couldn’t stay out of the corona box).

      • Viz

        Viz says:

        Yeah I generally prefer to have playoff matchups two weeks long if you’re doing a head to head league. You’re right that it’s necessary this year

  2. BringDaRuckus says:

    I want to thank you for your advice! For a novice NHL fan and my first season of fantasy hockey, I have been in first place for all season except for two days in a Roto!! And I am nine points ahead today with Saturday being the last day of scoring. It has been fun,

    Grubauer or Gibson in the crease tonight? Yahoo is showing 2 stars for both matchups.

    Thanks again!

    • BringDaRuckus says:

      Or Adin Hill?

    • Viz

      Viz says:

      Glad to hear it! Definitely Grubauer, that’s a 5 star matchup in my mind. There’s a chance Grubauer doesn’t get the start though so you have to keep an eye on that. Same story for Hill, who would be my backup choice if he plays and Grubauer does not.

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