Things escalated over the weekend with the Devils holding out Taylor Hall from two games due to precautionary reasons. A trade is on the horizon, and all indications are that the team wants to get a deal done before the trade freeze on the 19th. There’s no guarantee that it happens, but Shero seems to want to make the big move now. So what does that do for Hall owners in fantasy? Well, if you’re in a weekly lineup league, you have to bench him this week. The Devils already don’t play until Wednesday this week, and if Hall is still on the team then, I highly doubt that he plays. There’s also the chance that there are some visa issues for Hall when he is traded which causes him to miss a game. This is a clear blow to the rest of the Devils. Nico Hischier, Jack Hughes, and Kyle Palmieri all lose a big chunk of value. I would still hold Palmieri, but in redrafts, I think I would cut the other two guys and only look to stream them. The Devils are really devoid of talent on the wings and as good as Hischier and Hughes are going to be, I doubt it will be consistently good for this entire season. Let’s take a look at some other things going on around the NHL:
Razzball favorite Oliver Bjorkstrand has played over 20 minutes in each of his last two games. In the previous five games, he has 27 SOG. He’s available in almost 95% of leagues and I don’t really understand it. The Blue Jackets start the week with a back-to-back, including Detroit on Tuesday, so stream Bjorkstrand to start the week and be open to the idea of holding him.
Jack Eichel has extended his point streak to 16 games. In the process, he has moved up to second in the league in goals and tied for fifth in points. The Sabres are currently in second place of the Atlantic Division and while I don’t expect that to continue, Eichel is playing his way into Hart consideration. Rasmus Dahlin returned and looked great on the power play immediately. He failed to meet expectations early in the season, but there’s still plenty of time in the season for him to go on a massive tear. After all, Dahlin is still only 19 years old.
I’ve talked about Anthony Duclair plenty over the last few weeks so I hope frequent readers grabbed him and haven’t looked back. With his latest hat trick, Duclair is up to a whopping 18 goals. While he will have some regression, the shot rate is terrific so he’s an easy hold.
If you look at the top 10 players over the last two weeks, there are a ton of stars like Eichel and Duclair. Evander Kane is up there solely for PIM, but two other players that are having big success in December are Anders Lee and Clayton Keller. Lee getting 17 PIM in one game has helped, but the points are also starting to add up. However, the shot rate is still disappointing and I’m not exactly running out to grab him if he’s available. On the other hand, Keller has be very excited. The minutes are really climbing, and 29 shots in the last 5 games, including four games of 5+. I was on the fringe with Keller for a while, but he’s an easy hold now. If the Coyotes acquire Hall, and they’re the presumed front runner at the moment, that will only help Keller’s value because of the power play.
While the points haven’t been coming in yet, Kappo Kakko has been playing first line minutes for a couple weeks now. I would buy Kakko even in redrafts.
Cale Makar isn’t travelling with the team for its upcoming two game road trip. There is some chance that he’s back on Thursday, but in weekly leagues, you have to sit him. The Avs have put him on IR so for those in daily lineup leagues with injured reserve spots, you can put him there now.
For those of you looking to stream guys this week, the team to target is Columbus. As mentioned above with Bjorkstrand, they start the week playing Monday and Tuesday. Additionally, they play the Kings and Devils this week after the Red Wings. In other words, they’re playing arguably the three worst teams in the league right now all in a row this week. I would stream Bjorkstrand first, but Gustav Nyquist and Alexandre Texier are both legitimate options as well.
Best wishes to Oskar Lindblom who has been diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma. He will be out for the season as he receives treatment. With Travis Konecny also out with his concussion, their wings are really thin. That’s not even mentioning Hayes, Laughton, Patrick, and Raffl out as well. It doesn’t help them that James van Riemsdyk is a complete mess this season either. Right now, Joel Farabee is playing with Giroux and Couturier which makes him a solid streamer by default.
The Red Wings are the worst team in the league and it’s not even close. Everyone knew they would be bad, but to be that much worse than the Senators and Kings is remarkable.
Zach Bogosian has requested a trade from the Sabres and he may be the new front runner for worst player to ever request a trade. He is a complete disaster on the ice at this point, and that’s extremely rare anyways because of his health issues.
The team with the best goal differential in the league? The Colorado Avalanche. Given all of the injuries that they’ve suffered, that’s incredibly impressive. I think they need one more guy (Taylor Hall?) to be a true Cup contender this season already, but they aren’t that far off.
If someone who doesn’t pay close attention to hockey once to watch a game, do not show them the Islanders. Otherwise, they may never want to watch hockey again. They’re the modern version of the trapping Devils. Yes, they will have success, but it is incredibly boring to watch, and it’s hard to see playoff success when teams play more attention to detail on a game to game basis.
Three Point Challenge: Reminder that you can’t take anyone in the Top 10 in points, so no McDavid, Draisaitl, Marchand, Pastrnak, MacKinnon, Eichel, Carlson, Panarin, P. Kane, or Huberdeau. We will make picks for Tuesday’s games, so I will take Brayden Point against the Senators.
That’s all for now guys. I’ll be back on Wednesday recapping the action from 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!