James Neal opened the season on an absolute tear, a stretch that included a four goal game. He fell off dramatically over the last two months, but he had another massive game on Tuesday. Neal had a hat trick and an assist in the 7-5 win over the Rangers. So should we care? I mean, the Rangers are a disaster defensively. And the answer is… yes and no. What great advice! It all comes down to your team needs. Neal has been excellent on the power play and should continue to do so on Edmonton’s first unit. The goals are going to keep coming in. On the other hand, he’s -23 and has only eight assists on the season. If you’re desperate for goals and power play points, or are in a league with extra categories that include PPG, then there’s a case to hold Neal. Otherwise, I would prefer to stream him so he doesn’t tank my plus-minus while also giving less assists than any other fantasy relevant player. Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last three nights:
Nick Paul – Two goals. Paul has flashed a bit this season but he’s not even a bottom end streamer at this point.
Jake Guentzel – Goal and two assists with seven shots before suffering a shoulder injury. Guentzel will miss the next 4-6 months which will more than likely cost him the entire season. Brutal break as he was playing the best hockey of his career. The Penguins have had awful luck all season. My guess is that this gives Alex Galchenyuk another chance with Evgeni Malkin (2+1, 5 SOG, 4 PIM) but it’ll take a few good games for me to consider using Gally.
Patric Hornqvist – Goal and an assist with five shots. Hornquist could also benefit from Guentzel going down. He’s on the fringe right now but I lean towards holding for the shots and PIM boost.
Bryan Rust – Two assists with two shots and twelve PIM. I always liked Rust but he found another level of play that I didn’t think was possible. He’s crushing every category and is well on his way to career highs across the board despite missing a month.
Alex Killorn – Two goals and an assist with four shots. Killorn is another player who is playing above what many thought his ceiling was. Killorn has gone from being a solid streamer for years to being an automatic hold.
Tyler Johnson – Goal and two assists. Johnson is a decent streamer but nothing more.
Ondrej Palat – Goal and an assist with three shots. Palat remains in the elite streamer tier.
Anthony Cirelli – Goal and an assist with two shots. I’m a huge fan of Cirelli’s game but he doesn’t have the role to be anything more than a decent streamer. Sometimes that changes, but for the most part, it’ll take a serious injury to someone else for him to become a valued fantasy asset.
Conor Sheary – Goal and two assists with four shots. Sheary has been atrocious this season and this game doesn’t change that. Nothing to see here.
Marcus Johansson – Goal and an assist with two shots and two PIM. He’s barely over a shot per game making him an easy pass.
Kyle Connor – Hat trick on eight shots with six PIM. The top six for Winnipeg absolutely dominated the Avalanche as Mark Scheifele had four points, and then Blake Wheeler, Nikolaj Ehlers, and Jack Roslovic all had three. These guys are all studs besides Roslovic. Roslovic is playing with Wheeler and Ehlers which makes him a solid streamer. There’s plenty of upside there if he can put together a decent stretch of games.
Nathan MacKinnon – Two goals on nine shots. MacKinnon is as good as it gets in the league right now.
Nazem Kadri – Goal and an assist with two shots and two PIM. The assists are a bit disappointing, but the PIM are top tier and the points are solid. He’s a step above the fringe for me as a certain hold.
Erik Johnson – Two assists with two shots. Johnson’s offense has gone by the wayside so he’s a fantasy afterthought now.
Samuel Girard – Two assists with two shots. Girard generates a lot offensively but for whatever reason, it hasn’t translated into points. He’s an easy pass right now, but there’s a chance that eventually changes.
Casey Cizikas – Two goals on three shots with four PIM. He’s going to score double digit goals again somehow but he’s an easy pass for fantasy.
Evgeny Kuznetsov – Two goals on three shots. I really wish the shot rate was higher, but it looks like that’s never going to happen. That said, he’s right around the point per game pace we hope for.
Jonathan Marchessault – Two goals on eight shots. Very nice stretch for Marchessault who is piling up the shots. I feel like what we’re getting now is close to his worst case, granted his ceiling isn’t that much higher.
Reilly Smith – Goal and an assist with four shots. Smith is boring but he does enough to be held.
Frederik Andersen – 26 saves on 27 shots in the 4-1 win over the Wild. Andersen’s numbers have been remarkably steady over the last four seasons. His wins are among the best in the league though which drags him up to being a #1.
John Tavares – Goal and an assist, as did Auston Matthews and William Nylander. Minnesota simply doesn’t have the players to match up with the opposition’s best players.
Petr Mrazek – 29 saves on 30 shots in the 3-1 win over the Canadiens. Mrazek’s save percentage is rough, but the wins are great and the GAA is decent. He’s settled into being a #2.
Teuvo Teravainen – Two assists with five shots. Teravainen is right at a point per game despite having some horrible shooting luck. Teravainen is becoming one of the best playmakers in the league.
Erik Haula – Goal and an assist with four shots. Haula has played very well since returning from injury. He’s a top end streamer as it’s mostly been a matter of health for Haula.
Zach Werenski – Hat trick on six shots. Year four is when we typically see defensemen put it all together offensively. It’s crazy to think that Werenski is still only 22 years old, but here we are. The assists are down, but he’s been terrific on the whole.
Gustav Nyquist – Two assists with three shots. Nyquist is on the fringe but I lean towards elite streamer.
Boone Jenner – Goal and an assist with three shots. In my first year writing for Razzball, Jenner was one of three players in the NHL to have 30 goals and 75 PIM. That feels like a different life time. Now, he’s a bottom end streamer at best.
Alex Wennberg – Two assists. Wennberg is one of the most disappointing players in the NHL. So much playmaking talent but his game has simply fallen apart.
Elvis Merzlikins – 36 saves on 37 shots in the 4-1 win over the Panthers. It’s Elvis’ show while Korpisalo is down. He has struggled so far this season, but maybe he puts it together with regular action. Keep an eye on him since any starting goalie can get value fairly quickly.
Jonathan Bernier – 34 save shutout in the 2-0 win over the Sharks. This says more about the Sharks than it does about Bernier. Red Wings goalies are the easiest fade in the league.
Martin Jones – 21 saves on 22 shots as the tough luck loser. Jones is very, very bad. The end.
Patrick Kane – Two goals and two assists with six shots and two PIM. Another year, another season with Kane being top 10 in the league in points.
Olli Maatta – Goal and an assist. And there’s your annual Maatta update!
Dylan Sikura – Two assists with four shots. Not much to see here.
Dylan Strome – Goal and an assist. As discussed in Monday’s post, Strome is right on the fringe and comes down to team needs.
Alex DeBrincat – Goal and an assist with five shots. Extremely disappointing season for DeBrincat, solely because he’s shooting 8.5% instead of last season’s 18.6%. The shot rate this season is actually better, so if anything, I’m buying low on DeBrincat.
Artemi Panarin – Goal and three assists with five shots. Panarin is easily having the best season of his career with the Rangers. He’s crushing across the board.
Ryan Strome – Goal and an assist with three shots and four PIM. Strome is pushing a point per game playing with Panarin. It’s already the second best season of Strome’s career behind his 2014-15. He looked poised to break out then, but the former top five pick is finally putting it together. He needs to be held everywhere.
Adam Fox – Two assists with a shot. He’s yawnstipating across the board. I would probably leave him on the waiver wire but it’s somewhat close.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Goal and three assists with three shots and two PIM. RNH remains a solid streamer.
Oscar Klefbom – Two assists with three shots. Klefbom left the game in the third period but there hasn’t been an update on his status. Keep an eye out. If he missed time, my guess is Ethan Bear will QB the first power play unit which would automatically give him value.
Jujhar Khaira – Two assists with a shot and two PIM. Zero fantasy relevance.
Justin Braun – Goal and an assist. Easy pass in all formats.
Jakub Voracek – Two assists with a shot. Voracek is on the fringe based on team needs given the big drop in shot rate.
Anze Kopitar – Two assists with four PIM. Very nice bounceback by Kopitar on a dreadful team. It’s decent or better across the board as he continues to build a case for the Hall of Fame.
Adrian Kempe – Goal and an assist with five shots. Kempe has flashed a ton of upside but he hasn’t put it together. That said, he has six points in the last seven games so maybe he can put together a nice stretch in the second half. I’m not streaming him yet, but it’s worth monitoring.
Antti Raanta – 38 saves on 39 shots in the 3-1 win over the Blues. Raanta is still available in over 40% of leagues and I do not understand it. He needs to be owned in all formats because he can play as a #1 while Kuemper is out.
Jakob Chychrun – Two assists with a shot. I’m liking the future upside, but for now he’s simply on the fringe.
Ryan Ellis – Left the game after a cheap headshot from Corey Perry. Here’s to hoping he doesn’t miss too much time. If he does, expect Dante Fabbro to get some PP run. Mattias Ekholm would also get a nice boost.
Matt Duchene – Goal and an assist with three shots. Duchene is starting to get rolling again so I’m holding him everywhere.
John Klingberg – Two assists. He didn’t play 20 minutes and didn’t register a shot on goal. I said on Monday that he isn’t a hold anymore and I’m standing by it.
Mattias Janmark – Goal and an assist with four shots. I like the player but there’s just not enough there for fantasy anymore.
Three Point Challenge: We will make picks for Thursday’s Games. Reminder that you can not take someone in the top 10 in scoring. I will select Mark Scheifele.
That’s all for now guys. I’ll be back tomorrow recapping tonight’s action. As always, feel free to ask any questions, leave any comments, or give any suggestions below. Thanks for reading, take care!