It’s an unpopular opinion but for my money, Erik Karlsson is the best player in the NHL. He makes a bigger impact on a game to game basis than any other skater in the league; it’s scary to think about where the Senators would be without him. Karlsson had another one of his big games on Tuesday night with the game winning goal in overtime on his third shot while adding two assists in regulation. The Swede now has 60 assists (60!) to lead the league and 13 goals in 71 games with over three shots per game. He’s even been a bit unlucky; his shooting percentage is its lowest since his rookie season. Karlsson came into this year as somebody to go around the turn in 12’ers but he’s a slam dunk first rounder now. Here’s what else I saw around the league Tuesday night:
J.F. Berube – 33 saves on 34 shots in the 2-1 shootout loss to the Pens. He got the start on the back to back but while the Isles are battling for home ice with the Rangers, I expect Thomas Greiss to start almost every game.
Kyle Okposo – Goal on three shots. He’s very strong across the board this season outside of plus-minus. With his past three seasons all in the same ballpark, we know what we are getting from Okposo at this point.
Marc-Andre Fleury – 25 saves on 26 shots in the win. Expect Fleury to play almost every game until the Penguins have clinched.
Chris Kunitz – Goal. Bottom end in 12’ers but worth considering while the Pens lineup is gutted and Kunitz is playing with Sidney Crosby (assist, 5 SOG, 2 PIM).
Alex Ovechkin – Goal on seven shots. The Great 8 doing what he does. Looks like he’s going to fall just short of 50 goals this year but for my money, Ovechkin still has to go #1 overall next season.
Evgeny Kuznetsov – Assist and two shots. He now has 20+50 with 30 PIM and is +30. It’s absurd for a guy in his second full season who a lot of people had outside of the top 100 preseason.
Braden Holtby – 25 saves on 26 shots in the 2-1 OT win over the Hurricanes. His goals against and save percentage are right in line with last season but Holtby now has 1 more win in 16 less starts. With the Caps having #1 in the league wrapped up, expect Philipp Grubauer to get some more starts down the stretch.
Pavel Datsyuk – Goal and an assist with four shots. The Red Wings are in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in about 5,000 years so expect the big guns for Detroit to get big minutes down the stretch.
Tomas Tatar – Goal and an assist with two shots. He’s been a bit disappointing this year after coming close to 30+30. That said, he’s with Datsyuk now and Tatar has the upside to be a difference maker in the fantasy playoffs.
Petr Mrazek – 42 saves on 46 shots in the 4-3 loss to the Flyers. A rare goalie start when the goalie plays extremely well despite giving up 4 goals. Expect the Red Wings to ride Mrazek while they battle for the second wild card spot.
Gustav Nyqvist – Assist and four shots and two PIM. Big disappointment this season and he’s back on the third line again. Ugh. Could be a nice buy-low next season since Nyqvist burned a lot of people this year.
Michael Raffl – Two goals on five shots. He came be streamed in the right matchups but after looking like he could get a chance on the first line all season, Raffl dropped down pretty early and for good reason.
Wayne Simmonds – Goal on eight shots. My man. Just like the Red Wings, the Flyers big guns should all get huge minutes for the rest of the year. Unlike the Wings, the first line for the Flyers has been amazing for the last few months so expect these guys to keep rolling.
Shayne Gostisbehere – Goal on six shots. After he cooled off, Ghost Bear now has 4 goals in his last 4 games and has 16+23 in 50 games to probably be the waiver wire pickup of the season.
Jonathan Bernier – 26 saves on 27 shots in the 4-1 win over the Lightning. The Leafs are now 3-1-1 in their last 5 games; they can’t even tank right! I’d still avoid Bernier like the plague.
Ben Smith – Goal and an assist with three shots. And there’s your annual Ben Smith update!
Marc Marincin – Two assists. And there’s your annual Marc Marincin update!
Zach Hyman – Goal and an assist with three shots. And there’s… Gotcha! Hyman is kind of interesting right now as the Leafs are giving him nice minutes. He projects to be a strong two way player who doesn’t have the highest offensive ceiling. Hyman could be 12’er worthy down the line but at this point, leave him for 16’ers or deeper.
Al Montoya – 27 saves on 28 shots in the 4-1 win over Montreal. Mentioned yesterday here that he was a strong stream and Montoya delivered. He’s a strong stream whenever he starts.
Vincent Trocheck – Goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM. I talked about him at length Friday and he keeps producing. Trocheck should be a strong value guy next season.
Aleksander Barkov – Goal on three shots. No slowing this kid down.
Jaromir Jagr – Assist and two shots. No slowing this old guy down.
Alex Galchenyuk – Goal on three shots with four PIM. The breakout is happening in full force right now. What took so long for the Canadiens to realize he needs to play at center is beyond me. Gally should be a hot name next offseason.
Mark Barberio – Assist and two shots. If you’re desperate right now in deep leagues, Barberio has been a nice option since P.K. Subban went down.
Charlie Coyle – Assist and a shot playing almost 22 minutes. Streamer success! I think he’s a hold in 12’ers as Coyle gets insane minutes during the Wild playoff push.
Nino Niederreiter – Goal on three shots. Solid streamer in 12’ers.
Mika Zibanejad – Goal and an assist with four shots. I thought he could take another step this year but it didn’t happen for the Swede. Zibanejad still has an outside shot at 50 points and the quality of linemate improving next season could help a lot.
Mike Hoffman – Goal on three shots. Still has a shot to get to 30 goals despite his coach disliking him. It would be hilarious if the Sens trade him away in the offseason.
Mark Stone – Assist. Hotter than a pistol!
Jhonas Enroth – 24 saves on 26 shots in the 5-2 win over the Stars. With the Kings fighting for home ice, don’t expect Enroth to get more than a game or two the rest of the way.
Rob Scuderi – Two assists. To be blunt, Scuds is horrible at this point in his career and shouldn’t be in the NHL, let alone owned in fantasy.
Anze Kopitar – Goal and an assist. He’s heating up at a great time for the Kings and his fantasy owners.
Kris Versteeg – Goal on two shots. More streamer success! Keep streaming him as long as he’s on the first line with Kopitar.
Alex Goligoski – Goal on three shots. Good news is that he scored a goal. Bad news is that he was on the ice for all 5 Kings goals. Yikes. It should be better as long as John Klingberg is out but I don’t think he’s must own once Klingberg returns.
David Krejci – Goal and an assist with two shots and two PIM. Krejci is heating up again and while he’s not going to reach 2013-14 levels, Krejci has been great for assists again. Just wish he took more shots.
Torey Krug – Assist and two shots. That’s an assist in three straight. Brutal luck for Krug this year having 3 goals on 207 shots. I suspect he will be extremely undervalued going into next season.
David Pastrnak – Assist and two shots. Pastrnak is really heating up and should be held in 12’ers right now if you have the spot. If you have unlimited streaming ability, that’s obviously different but if your moves are capped, hold Pastrnak.
Brent Burns – Goal and an assist with four shots. So good. So, so good.
Joonas Donskoi – Goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM. The biggest streaming success! He’s available almost everywhere and while I wouldn’t hold him yet, keep streaming him while he’s in the top 6.
James Reimer – 21 saves on 23 shots in the 3-2 win over Boston. He looks to be getting a game a week which is more than I expected. It helped that he had a shutout in his start before but considering it was a full week after, it’s clearly Martin Jones‘ job.
Wednesday Streamers – It’s a busier Wednesday than normal with 6 games on the slate. All of my streamers on Monday and Tuesday had at least one point so here’s to hoping the hot streak keeps going! Here are my top three options:
Sam Reinhart (6.3%) – You guys know how much I like Reinhart. He gets the Canadiens on the second of a back to back and he’s sticking with a red hot Jack Eichel.
Robby Fabbri (4.7%) – Same story with Fabbri as Reinhart. A matchup with Edmonton puts Fabbri in a nice spot.
Blake Comeau (1.1%) – The Avs are playing their top 6 huge mintues (Comeau played over 20 minutes last game) and he’s in a nice spot with Nathan MacKinnon centering him. The Canucks are a mess right now to make this even sweeter.
That’s all for now guys. I’ll be back on Thursday recapping tonight’s action. As always, feel free to ask any questions and post any comments below. Take care everyone and good luck during your playoffs!