The Devils have built arguably the best young core in the league. There’s a lot of talk about Hughes and Hischier leading the way now, with Nemec and L. Hughes on the way. There’s Meier and Bratt also playing a huge role. However, there’s another former first round pick making a huge charge in his sophomore season. Dawson Mercer scored a hat trick on Tuesday in the 5-1 win over the Penguins. I had to do a double check because I did not realize this, but Mercer now has 27 goals on the season. I knew he was having a good year, but man, that’s a huge jump for the 21 year old. Mercer is a natural center, but with the two former #1 picks in the fold, there’s no reason to put Mercer on the third line right now. He’s thriving on Hischier’s wing, and is definitely worth a middle to late round pick in drafts next season. I’m not sure how much better it will get other than a potential increase in ice time because his skating is below NHL average, but his playmaking in traffic is so good and his compete level is so high that incremental increases help a lot to get into the 70 point range. Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Pavel Dorofeyev – Two goals on Monday. Dorofeyev, a former third round pick, now has seven goals in 14 games for Vegas. He was out there at the end of the game with the goalie pulled as well. Nothing for now, but could be something here long term. Welcome to the Razzball Database!
Matt Boldy – Goal and an assist with three shots. And just like that, Boldy has 30+30. Now imagine if he gets an elite offensive center to play with. The upside is huge long term.
Jason Robertson – Goal and three assists with four shots. Robertson is over 100 points and will top 300 shots by season’s end. He’ll be firmly in the debate for a top 10 overall spot in my rankings going into next season.
Jared McCann – Two goals and an assist with nine shots over two games. Last season, JKJ and I both predicted massive things from McCann. We were only one season off. He’s arguably the biggest individual reason why Seattle will be in the playoffs, granted their strength is in numbers.
Daniel Sprong – Three assists with four shots and two PIM over two games. Sprong has been the best even strength scorer in the league this season on a per-minute basis. That’s absolutely mind blowing.
Philipp Grubauer – 20 saves on 21 shots in the 8-1 win over the Coyotes. The overall numbers are still quite bad for Grubauer, but I would stream him down the stretch with the matchups Seattle has.
Alex Lyon – 39 saves on 40 shots in the 2-1 win over the Sabres. Of course the Florida season gets saved by their third string goalie when going into the season, they had a $10 million goalie and a former first round pick waiting in the wings.
Brandon Montour – Two assists with four shots. Montour has been a savior for the Panthers. I’m not sure I buy him being a #1 option for fantasy next season, but thankfully there’s time to dig in.
Devon Levi – 34 saves on 36 shots in the loss. If you need a goalie, I expect Levi to start all of the games until Buffalo is officially eliminated. At this point, I fully believe he’ll be starting for the Sabres opening night next season. If he’s available in a keeper league, grab him now. Welcome to the Razzball Database!
Alex DeBrincat – Two assists with three shots. It hasn’t been his best season, but I still love DeBrincat long term.
Jesperi Kotkaniemi – Goal and an assist with two shots. He’s actually finished the season quite well despite the injury to Svechnikov. I’m still not a big fan long term for fantasy, but he has given me some pause in that evaluation.
Ville Husso – 24 save shutout in the 5-0 win over the Canadiens. Husso has fallen off as Detroit has. He’s going to finish as a #3, but I see plenty of upside next season. Kasper and Edvinsson are coming, and Yzerman has already started to add and should do more this offseason.
David Perron – Two goals and an assist with five shots. Perron is finishing in style, with nine points in the last five games, and twelve in the last nine. Despite being on the wrong side of the aging curve, I could see Perron doing better next season with a better center to play with.
Dougie Hamilton – Goal and an assist with four shots. The year of Dougie continues. As one of his biggest fans / defenders, it’s nice to see him deliver in a massive way this season.
Vitek Vanecek – 22 saves on 23 shots in the win over Pittsburgh. The save percentage is fine, but the wins are elite and the GAA is strong. Vanecek is a top end #2, and should be next year too.
Thomas Novak – Two goals and an assist with four shots. Going to pat myself on the back for highlighting Novak as an elite streamer down the stretch because of Smashville’s schedule.
Cody Glass – Goal and an assist with two shots. Glass has six points in the last six games. The schedule is quite brutal, but Nashville has been resilient since the trade deadline. Glass is a solid option, although I do prefer Novak.
Andreas Athanasiou – Two goals on five shots. The Flames losing to the Blackhawks encapsulates their season. I want nothing to do with anyone on Chicago.
Noah Hanifin – Goal and an assist with three shots. Given Calgary’s falloff, assuming they miss the playoffs, I’m expecting Hanifin to get traded since he’s one year from free agency. He’s a true top pairing defenseman, so the market for Hanifin would be robust.
Leon Draisaitl – Goal and two assists with two shots. I’ve run out of superlatives for Draisaitl. He could end up with the most points by somebody not named McDavid since Lemieux in 95-96.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Goal and an assist with two shots. One more point from RNH to get to 100. Incredible year.
Stuart Skinner – 20 saves on 21 shots in the 3-1 win over the Kings. Skinner has been a solid #2 on the whole season and my money is on that happening again next season. I just can’t see more unless the Oilers change tactically, and that seems like a mistake given their offensive abilities.
Nathan MacKinnon – Two goals and an assist with seven shots. There’s something hilarious about MacKinnon getting his first 100 point season in a year where he’s only played 65 games (to this point). He’s been the second best player on a per-game basis this year and it’s not even close.
Devon Toews – Two assists. Even in a disappointing year offensively, Toews is still a bottom end #2 because of the elite plus-minus.
Mikko Rantanen – Two assists with eight shots. He missed plenty of glorious chances to get his 50th goal, but I feel safe predicting that he’s going to get there. The Avs are into first place in their division again, and are big favorites to get out of the West according to yours truly.
Kevin Labanc – Two goals on four shots. Labanc has really fallen off after his 56 point season in 2018-19.
Three Point Challenge: We will do Tuesday’s games per usual. You can’t select McDavid, Draisaitl, Kucherov, Pastrnak, M. Tkachuk, MacKinnon, Robertson, RNH, Pettersson, or Karlsson. I’ll go with Tuch against the Red Wings.
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. Good luck to everyone, thanks for reading, take care!