There comes a point in the season where teams are desperate for their superstars to carry them towards the playoffs. That time is now and it’s happening in Tampa Bay. Nikita Kucherov has been spectacular all season but he had his best game Monday night scoring a hat trick on seven shots and adding an assist in the 5-1 win over the Senators. Look how remarkably similar all three goals are:
Neat look at Nikita Kucherov's natural hat trick tonight. All three goals identical. pic.twitter.com/NbGAqi0YMi
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) February 28, 2017
He now has nine points in his last three games and twenty-five shots on goal over the pats four. Kucherov is producing points at the fourth highest rate in the league this season (min 20 GP) and sits as a top ten forward on the season despite missing some time. I had him as a high second round pick going into this season but he’s been ever better than that. I expect to have Kucherov ranked as a first rounder going into next season and given that he’s still 23 years old, we may not have seen the best from him. Let’s take a look at what else has happened in the game around the league the last two nights:
NOTE: There is a separate post going up regarding trades that will be updated throughout the trade deadline. For instant analysis, go here
Max Pacioretty – Two goals on eight shots Monday, assist with eight shots on Tuesday. At one point, Patches wasn’t shooting the puck. Now, he’s pushing four per game and is a borderline top ten forward on the season. What a turnaround.
Alexander Radulov – Goal and three assists with three shots Monday, shot and two PIM Tuesday. Playing at a 60 point pace doesn’t surprise me; being on pace for 70+ PIM does. He should be in my top 100 next season.
Shea Weber – Three assists with three shots over two games. Nice to see a recent surge after Weber’s production dried up for over a month.
Alex Galchenyk – Two goals, both in overtime, on four shots. Gally is finally starting to get rolling again after the long time off due to injury.
Carey Price – 26 save shutout in the 1-0 OT win over CBus. That’s five great starts in a row for Price putting a brutal stretch in the rear view mirror.
Kyle Palmieri – Goal and an assist with six shots. He now has seven points and eighteen shots over the last four games. Ride him while he’s hot.
Travis Zajac – Goal and an assist. He’s also on fire with eight points in the last five. I’m fine with any choice in regards to Zajac. You can ride the hot schmotato or you can choose not to chase the recent production and assume it dries up.
Mike Hoffman – Assist with five shots. The Hoff has looked great since returning from injury so be sure to get him back in your lineup.
Jonathan Drouin – Three assists with a shot. I’m all in on Drouin going forward.
Victor Hedman – Two assists with three shots. That gives him ten points in his past ten putting him on pace for almost 70 points. What an incredible year from the Swede.
Tyler Johnson – Two assists with four shots. This was his third multi-point game in the past five cementing him as a hold for the time being.
Andrei Vasilevskiy – 39 saves on 40 shots in the 5-1 win over Ottawa. We couldn’t ask for a better start in the first game for Vas as the unquestioned #1. For more analysis on the new situation in Tampa, listen here.
Marian Gaborik – Goal and an assist with two shots on Monday, shot on Tuesday. I don’t even want to stream him right now.
Jake Muzzin – Goal and an assist with four shots on Monday, three shots on Tuesday. Even without defensemen being awful, I wouldn’t want to use him in 12’ers.
Nick Shore – Goal and an assist with two shots Monday, two shots on Tuesday. And there’s your annual Nick Shore update!
Mikael Granlund – Goal on five shots Monday, goal and two assists on Tuesday. He’s pushing the top five forwards on the season now if you didn’t realize how remarkable Granlund’s breakout is.
Jordan Schroeder – Goal and an assist with three shots over two games. Not much to see here.
Jared Spurgeon – Two assists with eight shots. Given the ugliness of defensemen, there is no question that Spurgeon should be held everywhere.
Ryan White – Two goals and an assist with three shots. Who knew that he was the marquee addition for the Wild!? Despite these games, he’s fantasy irrelevant.
Jason Zucker – Two goals on seven shots. He just keeps scoring like the rest of the Wild roster. Keep holding him.
Martin Hanzal – Two assists with four shots in his first two games on Minnesota. I still like him plenty and think he’s right on the fence of 12’ers. Breakdown in the podcast linked above.
Erik Haula – Goal and an assist with four shots. Hanzal’s arrival pushed him to the fourth line so I’m not using Haula anymore outside of the deepest of leagues.
Marco Scandella – Goal and an assist with three shots. And there’s your annual Marco Scandella update!
Chris Stewart – Three assists with three shots. This random contribution from the fourth line is simply that: random. Don’t use him outside of super deep leagues for PIM.
Radim Vrbata – Assist with a shot. He’s going to be a hot ticket today at the deadline. A ten game point streak is pretty amazeballs.
Patrice Bergeron – Two assists with a shot. Get one point for me you bastard! Ugh!
Brad Marchand – Goal and an assist with four PIM. Brad Marchand doing Brad Marchand things.
Tuukka Rask – 22 saves on 23 shots in the 4-1 win over the Coyotes. The roller coaster ride of Rask continues. Thankfully it was as good as expected against the Coyotes.
Filip Forsberg – Two goals and an assist with four shots. Ten goals and three assists in the past five games. I repeat, ten goals and three assists in the past five games! He’s making me look like a genius. Shoutout to The Lost Vikings for calling him for three points!
Ryan Johansen – Goal and an assist with two shots. Like his linemate, the heater is real.
Roman Josi – Two assists with six shots playing almost 31 minutes. Do as the Roman does.
Brian Gionta – Goal and an assist with two shots. Meh, he’s been ice cold. He’s been an okay streamer at times and perhaps that’ll be better if he’s moved at the deadline.
Evander Kane – Goal on two shots with six PIM. Standard Kane who has a shot at a 30 goal, 100 PIM season.
Jake McCabe – Goal and an assist with three shots. He’s irrelevant right now in fantasy but there could be some long term value in deep dynasties.
Kyle Okposo – Goal and an assist with five shots. Okposo has been through a brutal stretch but I’m holding him through the tough times.
Braden Holtby – 29 saves on 30 shots in the 4-1 win over the Rangers. He’s as good as it gets right now in net.
Marcus Johansson – Two goals and an assist with four shots. He remains on the fringe for me given that he was pointless in his previous four. Unlike the majority of his teammates, Johansson has been very streaky.
Evgeny Kuznetsov – Two assists with three shots with two PIM. After a brutal first two months, Kuz is up to 50 points on the season. Look for him to keep rolling.
Matt Niskanen – Two assists with four shots. I think he is the loser of the Kevin Shattenkirk (4 SOG in 18 minutes) but nice to see him produce in this game. More analysis in the trade deadline post.
Steve Mason – 33 save shutout in the 4-0 win over Colorado. Mason has been horrible this season outside of a 3-4 week stretch. A game against the Avalanche won’t change my feelings on him. Pass.
Claude Giroux – Two assists with two shots and two PIM. Man, Giroux’s season has gone downhill quickly. I expect to be lower on him than most next season.
Wayne Simmonds – Two goals on four shots. If it wasn’t for his plus-minus, Simmonds would be among the best forwards in the league. You still have to love his five stat contribution.
Cam Ward – 29 saves on 31 shots in the 3-2 SO loss to the Panthers. The Hurricanes are quickly falling apart making Ward fringe at best.
Vincent Trocheck – Goal on four shots with two PIM. He has a decent shot at 30+30 with almost three shots per game. Pretty good for where he was drafted.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Two assists with a shot. Still a good streamer but not at the level of a hold. Could he get moved today? I doubt it but stranger things have happened.
Cam Talbot – 25 saves on 26 shots in the 2-1 win over the Blues. No brainer #1 goalie right now and should be going forward. That said, this may be absolute best case for Talbot given the incredible start volume.
Alex Pietrangelo – Assist with a shot playing almost 28 minutes. Moving out Shatt Deuces really helps his value.
Patrik Laine – Goal and an assist with four shots. That’s a point per game on the season now. As a rookie. With 31 goals. Kid is disgusting and by disgusting I mean beautiful.
Mathieu Perreault – Goal and two assists with three shots. He’s on fire right now with nine points in the last five. Perreault has been a favorite streamer of mine so I’ll look to use him again for the Friday / Saturday back to back.
Mark Scheifele – Goal and two assists with two shots. I don’t know where the shots have gone but the points keep coming in full force.
Connor Hellebuyck – 16 saves on 21 shots in 33 minutes before getting pulled. Purely “desperate for starts” right now.
Antti Niemi – 18 saves on 20 shots in the 3-2 win over the Penguins. Despite this game, hard pass.
Antoine Roussel – Goal and an assist with four shots. He could actually get to 15+20 on top of the 150 PIM. Use him if you need the PIM.
John Klingberg – Two assists with two shots. Despite a horrible first half, Klingberg has an outside shot at 50 points. It’s been very up and down but he could end up being only a slight negative value based on where you drafted him.
Ben Bishop – 28 saves on 30 shots in the 2-1 OT loss to the Flames. Nice debut despite not getting the win. Reid and I disagreed about Bishop on the podcast.
Brian Elliott – 28 saves on 29 shots getting the win. I still think it’s “desperate for starts” although it may be a tier above right now. I have little hope of this strong play continuing.
Frans Nielsen – Two goals on four shots with two PIM. Solid streamer but Nielsen isn’t at the level he was at during his time in New York.
Henrik Zetterberg – Two assists with three shots. Credit where credit is due, I did not expect this type of resurgence from Zetterberg at 36 years old.
Markus Granlund – Goal on his only shot playing almost 22 minutes. Great streamer while he’s playing with the Cyborgs.
Joe Pavelski – Goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM. Mr. Consistency just keeps chugging along stuffing the stat sheet.
Martin Jones – 21 saves on 22 shots in the 3-1 win over the Maple Leafs. Look for Jones to remain the workhorse as the Sharks push for the #1 seed out West.
Nick Schmaltz (14.6%) – The matchup with Pittsburgh isn’t ideal but there’s only two games tonight. Pickens are slim! Give me the red hot Schmaltz who has ten points in the past eight.
Brayden Point (4.3%) – With four goals and three assists in the past seven, roll with Point tonight who is playing with a red hot Drouin.
Elias Lindholm (6.8%) – He’s cooled off but like I said above, options are limited. Not a bad spot for him against the Lightning.
That’s all for now guys. Be sure to check out the live trade deadline post that will be up today as I will provide instant analysis on all trades as they are announced. Reid and I will record a podcast Wednesday night that will summarize everything in more detail so look for that to drop Thursday morning. As always, feel free to ask any questions or leave any comments below. Thanks for reading, take care!