This year couldn’t be going any worse for the Columbus Blue Jackets.  A horrible record, terrible injuries to key players, and dreadful goaltending have sunk them from the beginning.  Now that they’re in the Bedard race, their fans probably aren’t even happy that they won on Tuesday night.  Their prize free agent signing, Johnny Gaudreau, dominated the game with two goals and three assists, plus six shots on goal.  That brings him up to 62 points in 64 games, a far cry from last season, but not a complete disaster.  The question isn’t about what to expect from Gaudreau for the rest of this season, but going forward.  He turns 30 in the summer, but I’m not expecting drop off in the short term.  Can he approach 100 points again?  I have my doubts, but if Columbus is lucky enough to get Bedard, it can’t be ruled out.  Bedard would be the perfect compliment, and Fantilli wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize.  I was lower on Gaudreau than consensus so I don’t have any of him this year, but there’s always a chance that with his talent, he makes a huge difference over the last month.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:

Alex Tuch – Two goals on five shots in his return to the lineup.  To say the Sabres missed him is an understatement.  Get him back in your lineup immediately, as the Sabres schedule is jammed back coming up (I did a full breakdown of the schedule for the rest of the season here).

Dylan Cozens – Goal and an assist with four shots.  While he’s slowed down a bit, Cozens is still a bottom end hold, and it should get better going forward.

J.J. Peterka – Two assists.  Peterka is back in the top six, but it’s only a bottom end streamer for now.

Owen Power – Two assists.  The totals are a bit disappointing for fantasy, but he drives offense at an incredible level.  Once he settles into the league, he’s going to be a stud.

Auston Matthews – Goal and two assists with five shots.  Matthews and Mitch Marner (2A, SOG) are getting all the minutes right now as the Leafs go 11/7.  They’re already fantasy superstars, but more minutes can only help/

Artturi Lehkonen – Two goals and an assist in 10 minutes of ice time before breaking his finger.  Lehkonen will almost certainly be out for the rest of the regular season.  The Avs can’t stay healthy at all, it’s brutal.  Denis Malgin will get first crack in the top six for streaming in deep leagues.

Valeri Nichushkin – Goal and two assists with two shots.  Nice to see Big Val back on track with 15 points in his last 10 games.

Cale Makar – Three assists.  It feels like Makar has disappointed and yet, he has 55 points in 52 games with elite contributions everywhere.  The floor is as high as it gets for defensemen.

Josh Anderson – Two goals and an assist with six shots and four PIM over two games.  In hits leagues, Anderson is an elite streamer at the least.  It’s just hard to hold somebody who has 9 assists in 66 games.

Jonathan Drouin – Three assists with four shots.  Drouin is a complete afterthought at this point.

Jamie Benn – Two goals and three assists with eight shots over two games.  Benn is a borderline top 20 forward this season for his all-around contributions, and I never saw it coming.  Incredible resurgence from him.

Miro Heiskanen – Five assists with six shots over two games.  Heiskanen has been fantastic as expected.  He looks like he’ll be a guy at the bottom of the top ten for defensemen going forward.

Wyatt Johnston – Two goals and an assist with four shots over two games.  For now, Johnston is a bottom end streamer.  Long term, I’m all in.  I see a guy who ends up a top end option.  I love him in dynasties.

Vince Dunn – Two assists with two shots.  Just an unbelievable year from Dunn, who is on a ten game point streak.  The shots are a little low, but he’s a clear #2 now.

Andrei Svechnikov – Out for the season.  Horrible blow for the Canes and their playoff chances.  It looks hopeful that he’ll be back to start next season, but even that isn’t a guarantee.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi – Two goals and an assist with three shots.  He’s had some huge games, but on the whole, Kotkaniemi is a bottom end streamer.  The shot rate is poor and the points are mediocre.

Brady Skjei – Goal and an assist with two shots and two PIM.  Decent deep league guy, but Skjei is a step behind behind useful enough in 12’ers.

Andrei Vasilevskiy – 22 saves on 23 shots in the 4-1 win over the Devils.  Even in a disappointing season, Vasilevskiy is the #7 goalie.  That’s why he’ll remain a top goalie for the foreseeable future.

Brandon Hagel – Goal and two assists with two shots.  Steven Stamkos missed the game which boosted Hagel back up to PP1.  He’s firmly on the fringe.

Matt Irwin – Goal and an assist.  And there’s your annual Irwin update!  Is it even annual?  Maybe not.

Patrick Kane – Goal and an assist with six shots.  Kane’s shot rate has been elite in New York which is a great sign for going forward.

Mika Zibanejad – Two goals on five shots.  Zibanejad is another guy who doesn’t get enough credit for how good he is.  He’s a top 25 guy again.

Vincent Trocheck – Two assists with two shots.  Trocheck is an elite streamer in standard leagues and a clear hold when hits are included.

Jonathan Marchessault – Goal and two assists with four shots and two PIM.  Marchessault is also an elite streamer.  You can justify holding him while he’s a hot schmoato.

Ivan Barbashev – Two goals on four shots.  Barbashev is a solid streamer in his current role for Vegas.

Kris Letang – Goal and two assists with four shots.  Jake Guentzel had two goals and an assist with six shots, while Evgeni Malkin had a goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM.  Even in a horrible defeat to the Canadiens, the big guns in Pittsburgh all showed up.  Except Tristan Jarry, who allowed four goals on seven shots in a period, completing the rare feat of allowing more goals than saves he made.

Kiefer Sherwood – Goal and an assist with two PIM.  Nothing to see here.

Juuse Saros – 28 saves on 29 shots in the 2-1 win over the Red Wings.  Even though the Predators sold, there’s still hanging around the playoff race.  For as long as that lasts, expect Nashville to ride Saros as much as they can.

Hampus Lindholm – Goal and an assist with two PIM in his return to the lineup.  Get him back in your team immediately.

Dmitry Orlov – Assist with a shot, +3 in a 6-3 loss.  That’s quite impressive.  Orlov is on PP1 right now.  He’s a clear hold in all formats and is available in over 50% of leagues.

Taylor Raddysh – Hat trick on four shots and two PIM.  That brings Raddysh up to 20 goals, a rare bright spot on a dreadful Chicago team.  There’s some deep league value, but I really don’t want to use Blackhawks right now.

Boris Katchouk – Goal and two assists with two shots.  The other Lightning player to come in the Hagel trade, Katchouk has done very little this year.  Easy pass.

Tim Stutzle – Two goals on four shots.  The full breakout is upon us.  He’s going to be quite high in my rankings next season.

Leon Draisaitl – Two goals on six shots.  You basically expect Draisaitl and Connor McDavid (1+1, 4 SOG, 2 PIM) to get 2+ points every night right now.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Goal and an assist with two shots.  RNH has a real shot at 100 points after never having 70 in his previous 11 seasons.  The crazy thing is that it’s almost all in power play points.

Warren Foegele – Two assists with four shots.  Foegele moved up with Zach Hyman out, but it’s a minor injury for Hyman.  Also, Foegele has had the chance before and hasn’t really delivered, so he’s bottom end at best.

Brock Boeser – Three assists.  Boeser is a solid streamer at this point.

J.T. Miller – Goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM.  Miller has been thriving under Tocchet, with four multi-point games in his last five, and six in his last ten.  Last year will almost certainly stay the outlier, but he’s been quite good this year.

Conor Garland – Two assists.  Middling streamer.

Clayton Keller – Two goals on four shots.  It has to be tough for someone as good as Keller to be wasting away years on a dreadful Arizona team.  He is on an absolute tear right now.

Barrett Hayton – Two assists with two shots.  Hayton has been decent getting plenty of opportunity this season.  Long term, there’s upside still.

Juuso Valimaki – Two assists with two shots and two PIM.  Valimaki has eight assists in his last eight games since he’s been the top D in Arizona.  He’s piling up a ton of blocks, so he’s a clear hold in those formats, and on the fringe otherwise.

Matias Maccelli – Goal and an assist with three shots.  Maccelli has looked like quite the playmaker, and he’s actually a plus player on Arizona.  There’s a lot to like, but he has to start shooting to become anything in fantasy.  He’s still under one SOG per game.

Ryan Pulock – Two assists.  I thought Pulock was going to turn into a guy who was a #3/4 defensemen in 12’ers that was a clear hold.  The offense has completely disappeared.  He’s a deep league only guy.

Vladislav Gavrikov – Two assists with a shot and two PIM.  Gavrikov is stumbling into some points in L.A., but none of it is really sustainable.

Boone Jenner – Two goals on six shots.  Patrik Laine had two assists with six shots.  The big guys for Columbus carried them against a weak Sharks roster.  Jenner is a solid streamer while Laine is on the fringe.

Gavin Bayreuther – Two assists with a shot.  No.  Just no.

Logan Couture – Goal and two assists with two shots.  Tomas Hertl and Alexander Barabanov each had two points.  Couture and Hertl are solid streamers while Barabanov is middling.  Not a ton of appeal for the Sharks right now outside of Karlsson.

Derrick Pouliot – Two assists with a shot.  Nice of the former elite prospect to be back in the NHL, but I have zero expectations for fantasy.

Three Point Challenge:  We will do Thursday’s games per usual.  You can’t select McDavid, Draisaitl, Pastrnak, Kucherov, Thompson, Karlsson, M. Tkachuk, Marner, Robertson, or Pettersson.  I’ll go with Barkov against the Canadiens.

That’s all for now guys.  Be sure to ask any questions, leave any comments, or give any suggestions below.  I’ll be back on Friday recapping the action from the next two nights.  Thanks for reading, take care!