With a strange schedule this week due to Thanksgiving in the United States, I’m going to be back on Tuesday recapping tonight’s action. I know it’s been a bit for daily notes, but managing through this snowstorm in Buffalo has taken up a lot of time. As a result, I’m going to change things up and talk about one player on each team that is changing my opinion about them for fantasy, for better or worse. Let me know in the comments section if you like this type of post (or if you don’t, speak the truth) so I know going forward. Let’s get to it!
Things couldn’t be going worse for John Klingberg with the Ducks. The team signed him in order to help out in the early part of the season and probably trade him at the deadline for assets. Instead, he hasn’t helped at all, and is even off the first power play unit now. The shot rate is dreadful, as is the plus-minus. You can still hold for upside later in the year, but he’s no longer must-own in 12’ers and even 10’ers.
Karel Vejmelka has been a top five goalie in the NHL this season based on goals saved above expected. As a result, he’s a step above desperation.
Even with Marchand back, Jake DeBrusk is still on the first power play unit. While it’s not as good as it was when he was on the first line, I still think it’s enough to hold DeBrusk. I never would have anticipated that in the preseason.
The Sabres might be in a massive tailspin (what else is new?) but Tage Thompson certainly isn’t struggling. He’s proving that last season wasn’t a fluke, and his minutes are starting to go up. With his shot rate pushing towards five per game, Thompson is making a legit case for being a top 20 player.
I dismissed Adam Ruzicka originally, but that was clearly a mistake. He’s carved out a role on the top line and is even on the point of the second PP unit. With multi-point games in three of the last four, Ruzicka is a solid streamer with upside from there.
After a very good start, Seth Jarvis is struggling mightily. Even with remaining on PP1, he has 6 points in 18 games. He can turn it around, but we’ve seen it take time for guys to break through in Carolina. He’s more middling streamer right now and could swing in either direction.
Max Domi is making the most of his opportunity with 12 points in 17 games. Given his PIM contribution, he’s a borderline elite streamer depending on your league settings. It’s a far cry from his 72 point, 80 PIM season in 18-19, but it’s nice to see Domi be fantasy relevant again.
In my preseason rankings, I said that ” If you want to gamble on someone’s ceiling, he’s your guy.” That guy was Alexandar Georgiev. He’s been an absolute monster for Colorado with a 2.45/.930. He’s become the clear #1, even though Pavel Francouz has played more lately since he’s also been excellent. He looks every bit of a top five fantasy goalie.
Injuries have decimated the Blue Jackets. If you’re desperate for blue line help in deep leagues, Marcus Bjork is running the power play right now while being on the top pair. He’s not much of a prospect, but opportunity is the biggest value in fantasy hockey. Welcome to the Razzball database!
I did not see the Jamie Benn resurrection coming. He’s been a monster lately, and is up to 20 points in 18 games. His minutes are also starting to creep back up. His minutes are never going to be great, but Ben is doing enough to be a bottom end hold right now. I’m not convinced it will last, but enjoy it while it does.
Even with the return of Tyler Bertuzzi, Dominik Kubalik has been terrific. After two disappointing seasons following his rookie breakout, Kubalik looks to have his career back on track. He’s an easy hold everywhere.
One of the biggest disappointments this season is Evan Bouchard. I really thought he was going to have a big breakout, but instead, he has 5 points in 18 games. He simply can’t be held at this point outside of deep leagues and dynasties.
I’ve been very impressed with Eetu Luostarinen‘s game lately. His minutes are starting to go up and he’s currently on a line with Tkachuk. He’s a middling streamer now that’s worth monitoring.
The story in Los Angeles has to be Gabe Vilardi. Now, he does have a five game pointless streak, but that doesn’t erase his fantastic start. I’m still going to hold him for a bit longer to see how things shake out, but regardless, Vilardi is in the midst of a post-hype breakout.
Calen Addison was one of my favorite late round picks. He was off to an excellent start piling up power play points, but that has dried up. His PIM and shots contributions from the AHL haven’t translated. I still like him long term, but he’s no longer a hold in redrafts.
The top line’s success is the story in Montreal, but I’d like to give props to Kirby Dach. Dach has been the defensive lynchpin on that line since moving up and he’s been piling up the points. The shot rate keeps him from being a hold, but Dach is up to elite streamer territory.
I have to admit that Jusso Parssinen wasn’t on my radar at all. Former 7th round picks aren’t usually worth keeping track of, especially when they’re only 21 years old. Meanwhile, Parssinen was called up and went right onto the top line in Smashville. He has three goals and two assists in four games. He’s looked the part, but obviously there’s no guarantee it will last. He’s an elite streamer for now, but there’s a lot of variability. Welcome to the Razzball Database!
What a start for the Devils. They’re getting contributions up and down their lineup. I don’t think anything too surprising has happened from a player by player basis. although Nico Hischier being a dominant force in fantasy could be. He’s over three shots per game and piling up points in all facets of the game. Hischier is becoming Selke-caliber while scoring at a career high rate. Massive stuff from the former #1 pick.
Brock Nelson has made a huge jump in shot rate. His minutes are going up as well. That’s one way to avoid goals regression due to shooting 21.6% last season. Nelson looks every bit of a 35+ goal scorer again which I was hesitant to believe.
Nothing too surprising has happened with the Rangers. Jacob Trouba has disappointed offensively, and neither of the young guys broke out as they hoped. Trouba is at three shots per game but hasn’t scored a goal yet, so it’s only a matter of time for it to get better for him.
Senators fans have been very bullish on Shane Pinto‘s long term upside. He’s showing plenty of flashes already this season. I’d like to see him get more minutes, but that doesn’t appear to be in the cards. Pinto is a solid streamer, but Smith will have to boost his role for more this year.
Owen Tippett has looked excellent for the Flyers. Torts has rewarded him by playing Tippett for at least 18:43 in each of the past four games. Tippett was seen as an offensive dynamo as a prospect, with an elite shot and a style compared to Kessel. Maybe he’s just a late bloomer and we finally get the Tippett that he was projected to be as a top ten pick. With Konecny out, he’s their go to scorer. He’s an elite streamer now.
Bryan Rust and Kris Letang have both disappointed for the Penguins so far. I’m starting to get a bit worried about Letang. He’s been unlucky with a 96.8 PDO at even strength, but the Pittsburgh possession numbers are below average with him on the ice, and compared to his teammates, they’re much better with Letang on the bench. I know he’s taking tough matchups, and I’m still giving him some benefit of the doubt, but with Letang at 35 years old, there’s at least some real concern.
You can make an easy case that Erik Karlsson is the story of the early season from an individual player standpoint. Here’s to hoping that he can stay healthy because it’s so much fun to watch defensemen when they’re playing at a transcendent level like Karlsson is so far this year.
The Kraken are a big surprise at 10-5-3. A big part of their success is having no black holes on their team, and their offseason additions have paid off. Last season, they were buried by goaltending. Martin Jones has been solid, playing his best hockey in five years. His GAA is an elite 2.30 even with an only average .913 sv%. That shows how well the Kraken are playing defensively. Even with Grubauer back, I have to think Jones keeps the #1 job for now. I didn’t expect this, but Jones could end up being a solid #2.
It’s been a rollercoaster season for the Blues. They’ve won 3 in a row, lost 8 in a row, and now have a six game winning streak. Ryan O’Reilly was one of the unluckiest players in the league, but that’s starting to balance out with three goals in the last five games. He’s still an elite streamer in my book.
Brandon Hagel has solidified himself as a clear first liner, and he’s even earned himself top PP1 time over Killorn, Perry or Namestnikov. It’s more elite streamer than hold for me, but that’s still quite the jump from where Hagel was before the season.
I can’t say that anything with the Toronto skaters has really surprised me. However, both goaltenders they signed in the offseason have started off nicely. The variance is massive for both Ilya Samsonov and Matt Murray, but both are worth holding while healthy now.
I didn’t have Bo Horvat being second in the league in goals at this point, but here we are. I’m one of the biggest Horvat fans, but even I don’t think it’s sustainable. However, with how the power play is rolling and Horvat playing 21 minutes per night, he’s going to easily set career highs in goals and points even with a drop off. He’ll be getting all of the money soon enough.
Another player usage situation that I got completely wrong was in Vegas. Despite Theodore being a top five defenseman in the league so far this year in GSVA, Alex Pietrangelo has been on PP1 and piling up points. As someone who has Theodore but zero of Pietrangelo, it is quite annoying as I don’t understand the choice by Cassidy at all. However, it’s a big boost to Pietrangelo, and to be fair to him, he’s piling up PPA. They’re both #2D for now.
The new leader in the clubhouse for worst luck in the league: Evgeny Kuznetsov. His assist rate is elite per usual, but despite shooting almost three shots on goal per game, Kuz has only two goals. With his normal shooting luck, he’d have 6 or 7 goals, and be sitting at a point per game. His start is actually quite encouraging for what to expect the rest of the season.
It’s been a strange start in the stats department for Winnipeg despite their great play. Josh Morrissey leads the team in points and assists, while Mark Scheifele leads in goals and Kyle Connor is piling up assists. The one thing that isn’t a surprise is Connor Hellebuyck back on track. My preseason Vezina pick has looked the part. It’s not always the most entertaining hockey, but Bowness appears to be what the Jets needed.
Three Point Challenge: With Monday being a big slate and only two games on Tuesday, we will pivot to doing Monday’s games. Congrats to Fungazi for picking Connor for three points, who had a hat trick no less. You can’t take McDavid, Draisaitl, Pastrnak, Kucherov, Karlsson, Robertson, Crosby, MacKinnon, Rantanen, or M. Tkachuk. I’ll go with Timo Meier against the Senators.
That’s all for now guys. As said above, I’ll be back tomorrow right away recapping Monday’s games. As always, feel free to ask any questions, leave any comments, or give any suggestions below. Thanks for reading, take care!