Injuries have robbed us of an amazing Cale Makar season. The good news is that he’s back now and dominating games on a consistent basis. Makar had three assists with four shots in Colorado’s 5-2 win over the Ducks on Monday. That brings Makar up to a point per game on the season with a +12 rating in 22 games that isn’t a fluke at all. We’ve seen a slight uptick in his shot rate this season, but a big jump there is what it will take for Makar to move into being a top five defenseman instead of being a middling to bottom end #1. With how well he plays in his age 22 season, I have no doubt that it’s coming. For dynasties, I think he has to be the top defenseman. Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Claude Giroux – Goal and an assist with four shots. The Sabres snatched defeat from the jaws of victory once again as the Flyers stormed back late to win. Giroux has the best expected goals rate on the Flyers and remains a solid hold in all formats.
Sean Couturier – Goal and an assist with four shots. While the Flyers struggle overall, Couturier continues to crush.
Ivan Provorov – Goal and an assist with six shots. In the last three games, Provorov has 20 shots on goal, a pleasant surprise. That pushes his overall shot rate to where it’s an asset on the season. He’s a hold regardless, but Provorov can improve his overall value significantly.
Dylan Cozens – Left the game with what appeared to be a shoulder injury and did not return. The one reason I was still watching the Sabres appeared to suffer a severe injury. Just torture me some more, why don’t you?
Nathan MacKinnon – Two assists with seven shots. Mac Daddy continues to be the best player on the ice virtually every time he plays. What an animal.
Valeri Nichushkin – Goal and an assist. The new third line has been playing extremely well in Colorado. Nichushkin is a middling streamer, Tyson Jost (goal on four shots) is in the same range, while Joonas Donskoi (assist, two shots) is pushing towards being an elite streamer. Donskoi has eleven points in the past nine games while he received some shifts on the top PP unit on Monday as well.
Casey DeSmith – 19 saves on 20 shots in relief of Tristan Jarry. Jarry left the game after the first period and did no return. DeSmith needs to be held everywhere now.
John Marino – Two assists. As I suspected, Marino’s rookie points barrage appears to be an aberration. There’s nothing here for fantasy.
Mike Matheson – Two assists with a shot and two PIM. Easy pass.
Justin Holl – Two assists with two shots. Holl is great in both hits and blocks and stumbles into enough assists playing on Toronto that he’s a nice hold in deep leagues.
Mitch Marner – Goal and an assist with two shots. Marner has managed to play even better than the previous two seasons. Props to the North Division, and props to Marner for still improving.
Connor Hellebuyck – 29 saves on 30 shots in the 5-1 win over the Jets. After this hot stretch, Hellebuyck’s GAA is the same as last season’s with the save percentage inching closer. The wins are even better so he’s solidified himself as a top five goalie.
Mark Scheifele – Two goals and an assist with three shots. The shot rate is down a bit, but Scheifele is still well over a point per game. He’s firmly established as a second rounder in fantasy leagues.
Nikolaj Ehlers – Three assists with a shot. He slowed down a bit, but Ehlers is still at a point per game and over three shots per. Maurice changed the lines putting Ehlers and Kyle Connor (two assists, two SOG) with Scheifele and they delivered. That line could do some real damage if they stick together.
Robin Lehner – 24 saves on 25 shots in the 4-1 win over the Kings. The Kings scored in the first minute of the game and then Lehner shut the door. I have little doubt that Lehner will be fantastic when he plays. Here’s to hoping he gets plenty of starts and stays healthy.
Jonathan Marchessault – Two assists with two shots. Marchessault is in the midst of his best season since his first in Vegas. The schedule sets up nicely for a big finish from the Vegas players.
Marcus Johansson – Goal and an assist with three shots. He’s scored a goal in two straight after get back from missing a month due to injury. He’s a middling streamer.
Kevin Fiala – Goal and an assist with two shots. Fiala has been a big disappointment, but he’s getting a ton of PIM and pushing three shots per game. I’m still a believer and wouldn’t be shocked to see a big second half, but you can argue that he’s more of an elite streamer than hold right now. I’ve been stubborn and keeping him for the upside, but you can go either way.
Erik Karlsson – Two goals on three shots. Karlsson looked terrific in this game, arguably the best that I’ve seen from him this season. He’s right on the fringe, but with a bunch of games against the Kings and Ducks coming up, I guess I’d lean towards keeping him.
Ryan Donato – Two assists with three shots. I had higher hopes for Donato this season, but it hasn’t totally clicked in San Jose. He’s been fine and is a middling streamer, but that’s it.
Ryan Murray – Two assists with a shot. Murray has failed to put any offense together in New Jersey. He has 15 shots in 26 games! Easy pass everywhere.
David Krejci – Three assists with a shot. Krejci is the perfect streamer if you need assists. Otherwise, leave him on the wire. Assists ain’t got no face!
Craig Smith – Three assists with four shots. Smith’s workload is limited right now in Boston. He’s only a bottom end streamer.
Brad Marchand – Goal and an assist with three shots and four PIM. It turned out that Marchand had a false positive test. He did not miss a step in his return.
Carey Price – 17 save shutout in the 4-0 win over the Oilers. Doesn’t get much easier than that. Price’s overall numbers are still below average. He’s a bottom end #2.
Paul Byron – Two assists with two shots. If you want to know how relevant Byron is for fantasy, he’s getting waived seemingly every other week.
Brendan Gallagher – Goal and an assist with two shots and two PIM. Gallagher has been a bit disappointing, but he’s still over three shots per game and the goals have been very good. I’m still holding, but it’s not automatic.
Phillip Danault – Two assists with a shot. Danault has been better since Julien was fired, but he’s still a bottom end streamer.
Artturi Lehkonen – Goal and an assist with two shots. Once a top six player in Montreal, Lehkonen has spent most of the season on the fourth line. No thanks.
Artemi Panarin – Goal and two assists. Panarin has been outstanding when he plays this season. Here’s to hoping he stays on the ice because he’s been a no doubt top ten player.
Ryan Lindgren – Two assists. He plays on the top pair, but brings little offense. Nothing here for fantasy.
Elvis Merzlikins – 37 saves on 38 shots in the 3-1 win over Tampa. Elvis left the building with a victory that he earned for himself. His overall numbers are disappointing, but there’s a chance that he gets moved at the deadline. I still like him a lot long term, but Columbus is so bad right now that he’s only a step above desperation.
Nick Foligno – Two assists with a shot. Foligno is only a bottom end streamer, but there’s a chance that he’s also moved at the deadline which could boost his value.
Sergei Bobrovsky – 35 saves on 36 shots in the 4-1 win over the Red Wings. Bob’s numbers are bad, but his wins are piling up because Florida is playing so well. He’s a #2 solely for the wins.
Carter Verhaeghe – Two goals on six shots and two PIM. Nothing can slow Verhaeghe down at the moment. Absolutely mind blowing what he’s doing this season out of nowhere.
Kevin Lankinen – 31 saves on 32 shots in the 2-1 win over the Hurricanes. Lankinen’s save percentage is still borderline elite despite the last month being rough. I have no idea how the season will end, but he’s earned being a hold.
Miro Heiskanen – Two assists with two shots. Today was the best I’ve seen Heiskanen look this season. Here’s to hoping he can start playing like he did in the playoffs last year.
Calle Jarnkrok – Goal and an assist with two shots. Jarnkrok is up to a middling streamer with all of the guys missing on Nashville right now. Somehow, they’ve caught fire without Forsberg and Duchene.
Eeli Tolvanen – Goal and an assist. Six game point streak as Tolvanen is starting to show how he broke a bunch of KHL records. The shot rate is the one thing holding him back, but right now, he’s still an elite streamer in my book.
Three Point Challenge: We will do the Challenge for Thursday. You can not take McDavid, Draisaitl, Kane, Marner, Huberdeau, Scheifele, Crosby, Matthews, Stone, or Rantanen. I’m still in first with three correct picks, with the same three way tie for second with one correct pick. I’ll go with Zibanejad against the Sabres.
That’s all for now guys. I’ll be back on Friday recapping the action over the next two nights. As always, feel free to ask any questions, leave any comments, or give any suggestions below. Thanks for reading, take care!