When Brayden Schenn was bumped onto the first line and first power play unit, I said to grab him immediately. No matter who the player has been this year, their value has skyrocketed. Schenn has been playing great for a couple weeks now but he had his best game of the season last night. Jakub Voracek is out for at least two weeks now so Schenn will be locked into this role going forward. Expect him to be around 15 points for the last 20 games of the season with the upside for more. For analysis on the trades yesterday, go to my column here. Here’s what I saw in the games around the league last night:
Cam Atkinson – Goal on five shots playing almost 22 minutes. Atkinson has taken a nice step this year in terms of shot rate. With this goal, he reached 20 goals for the third straight year as well. He’s not flashy but for the bottom of your roster, Atkinson is solid.
Antti Raanta – 26 saves on 27 shots in the 2-1 win over the Blue Jackets. He’s been solid this year and while he probably won’t get many starts down the stretch, Raanta should be streamed when he plays.
Mats Zuccarello – Goal on three shots. Zucc just keeps chugging along putting up points.
Derek Stepan – Goal on three shots. He’s having his worst season since his rookie year but Stepan has had a great start to the second half. I expect Stepan to continue to play well down the stretch.
Louis Domingue – 27 saves on 33 shots in the 6-0 loss to the Penguins. It’s not going to be this ugly but it’s going to be pretty ugly for the rest of the season. The Coyotes are going to be really bad.
Marc-Andre Fleury – 30 save shutout. The Penguins are starting to play better hockey so I expect the wins to come in at a higher rate for the rest of the season.
Patric Hornqvist – Three goals, an assist and five shots. I’m horny for Hornqvist! Not really, but he’s been much better since moving onto the first line. Hornqvist is also finally starting to see regression with his shooting percentage. With the way Sidney Crosby is playing, expect Hornqvist to keep it up for the rest of the season.
Sidney Crosby – Three assists and a shot. He’s almost to a point per game after being way behind pace for most of the year. My prediction of Crosby getting 50 points in the second half looks to be a bit light.
Chris Kunitz – Goal and an assist with three shots. It’s pretty mediocre across the board outside of his plus-minus but I’m holding while he’s on the first line.
Kris Letang – Goal and an assist with three shots. His line across the board is outstanding besides plus-minus which is creeping back towards even. For the rest of the season, I would rank him as the #2 defenseman.
Evgeni Malkin – Assist and three shots in his second game back from injury. Expect him to play at his normal level.
Dougie Hamilton – Assist with three shots and two PIM. With Kris Russell shipped to Dallas, Dougie should get some more ice time down the stretch. This year has been a disappointment on the whole but I expect a bounceback in a big way next year.
Sam Bennett – Same line as Hamilton. It’s not as good as I expected but he’s made some significant progress the last few months. My expectations were probably too high going into the season considering Bennett is still 19 but I still have all of the faith in the world that he’ll be a fantasy superstar one day.
Claude Giroux – Four assists with a shot. The shot rate is a bit down from last year but he’s still been very good across the board.
Wayne Simmonds – Two goals on six shots with two PIM. Simmonds has been an absolute animal on the first line and it hasn’t mattered who is on the opposite wing; as long as Giroux is his center and he’s on the first power play unit, Simmonds is going to produce.
Mark Streit – Assist with a shot. He’s been coming on lately being the offensive weapon he was expected to be at the beginning of the season. Not having the spot on the first power play unit is a pretty big hit though. He’s on the fringe of 12’ers.
Andrei Vasilevskiy – 31 saves on 32 shots in the 2-1 win over the Maple Leafs. He should be owned in all dynasties to see what the Lightning do in the offseason with him and Ben Bishop. Vasilevskiy should be streamed every time he starts but again, start every goalie you can against the Leafs.
Tyler Johnson – Two goals on four shots. He’s arguably been the biggest bust of the fantasy hockey year to this point. Johnson has all the talent to salvage his year with a big stretch run, only time will tell. It’s just a guess but I think his ADP will be too low next season because of all the people he’s burned this year,
Nazem Kadri – Goal on his only shot plus two PIM. It’s a shame that there is little talent for Kadri to play with. That said, I could see him being a sleeper next year with some quality prospects coming up and because Kadri doesn’t have the goals to match his shot rate.
Morgan Rielly – Assist and a shot. Rielly is another guy I’ll be on next season; he doesn’t have the penalty minutes but he’s progressed every season and should start to get a better grip on things with a full offseason of work with Mike Babcock.
Jimmy Howard – 39 saves on 41 shots in the 3-2 overtime win over the Stars. Petr Mrazek has a minor injury so pick up Howard everywhere until Mrazek is back. While he’s been poor on the whole this year, Howard has been great in two straight starts.
Andreas Athanasiou – Two goals on four shots. He has potential to be a top 6 player in the future but Athanasiou doesn’t get the opportunity now to even be a streamer in deep leagues.
Pavel Datsyuk – Game winning goal on his seventh shot. He’s been close to his typical self this year; unfortunately at this point in his career that includes Datsyuk missing 15 games.
Vernon Fiddler – Goal and an assist with two shots. He has no fantasy relevance but I just wanted to say that I can see Fiddler scoring a big goal for the Stars in the playoffs. Fiddler just seems like one of those guys who play on the fourth line and find a way to step up.
Benoit Pouliot – Out indefinitely. Insert profanity laced rant here. Horrible luck for Pouliot who was playing excellent hockey.
Mike Condon – 30 saves on 36 shots in the 6-2 loss to the Sharks. Avoid Canadiens goalies like the plague. Unless they’re playing the Leafs of course. Then again, if the Leafs were ever going to light a team up, it would be Montreal. What a mess.
Joe Thornton – Goal and two assists with two shots. This puts Jumbo Joe at 60 points on the season and back in the top 10 in scoring. Unreal.
Brent Burns – Goal and two assists with five shots. Dude is an absolute animal. He’s a good bet for 25+40 at this point with the second most shots in the league.
Joe Pavelski – Two goals and an assist with six shots. He stays one point ahead of his linemate getting to 61 points. Man, the top of the Sharks roster is amazing. If the bottom six can break even, they could pull off an upset in the playoffs. It’s a damn shame they’ll have to play the Kings or Ducks right off the bat though.
Chris Tierney – Two assists with two shots and two PIM. He has the chance to make a real impact starting next year depending on what the Sharks do in the offseason.
Tuesday Streamers – There are nine games on the slate tonight giving us plenty of options to stream. Here are my top 3 choices:
Craig Smith (18.8%) – His line, especially Filip Forsberg, is absolutely on fire right now. Dallas is a complete mess defensively, played an overtime game last night and has to travel to Nashville to play on a back to back. Expect Nashville, especially this line, to push the tempo early and often.
Charlie Coyle (18.7%) – Going back to the well here. The Wild are playing much better and should dominate the puck against the Avalanche. Coyle is getting massive minutes right now and is a decent bet to get his 20th goal of the season.
Zack Kassian (0.7%) – He’s still on the first line and gets a revenge game against the team that drafted him. It wouldn’t shock me to see Kassian play to his full potential in this one; that means like a true power forward which could mean scoring with a fight.
That’s all for now guys. I’ll be back on Wednesday recapping all of Tuesday night’s action. As always, feel free to ask any questions and post any comments below. Take care everyone!