Sure, it’s on the basis of playing two more games than Washington, but the Islanders in first place in late March is a truly remarkable feat.  Yes, they did make the Conference Finals last season, but in this division, they were not expected to contend for first place.  Goaltending is going a long way for their success, and their future is starting to become more of the present.  Ilya Sorokin saved 36 of 37 shots in the 2-1 OT win over the Flyers on Monday night.  That brings Sorokin to 8 wins in 11 games with a 1.97/.922 stat line.  That’s elite right off the bat for the rookie which has led Sorokin to starting four games over the past two weeks.  Semyon Varlamov‘s numbers and Sorokin’s are nearly identical and for now, Trotz seems content to split between the two of them.  Long term, Sorokin is one of the best goalies for fantasy hockey, granted he’s a 25 year old rookie.  That said, he’s playing enough right now that I would own Sorokin in all formats.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:

Artemi Panarin – Three assists with three shots.  Three Point Challenge success for yours truly!

Adam Fox – Goal and two assists with two shots.  Four game point streak for Fox who has been surging with Panarin returning which isn’t a big surprise.  He looks more like a #3 than #2, but it could easily go either way at the end of the season.

Chris Kreider – Two goals on four shots.  Despite the massive goal total, Kreider is more on the fringe because of his shooting percentage.  I lean towards hold, but it’s close.

Ryan Strome – Two assists with six shots.  Easy hold again with Panarin back on his wing.

Kappo Kakko – Two goals on six shots.  Kakko had life easy on Monday playing with Strome and Panarin.  I still wouldn’t touch him in fantasy, but I’m not quitting long term.  It’s easy to forget that he just turned 20.

Carter Hutton – Suffered what appeared to be a bad injury.  Dustin Tokarski played his first NHL game in five years.  Linus Ullmark should come back soon, at which point the Sabres won’t be a dumpster fire, they’re just be a trash can fire.

Joonas Donskoi – Two goals on five shots, both assisted by Tyson Jost and Valeri Nichushkin.  It looks good on the surface, but the first goal was an empty netter and the other came with 11 seconds left in the game.  Donskoi is on a five game point streak to bring him up to 21 points in 30 games.  He’s a decent streamer, but let’s just say that 32.3% shooting isn’t going to last.

Philipp Grubauer – 24 saves on 25 shots in the 5-1 win over the Coyotes.  I almost expect Grubauer to allow one goal per game right now.  That’s because one goal is the most he’s allowed in a game in seven straight games!

Filip Gustavsson – 35 saves on 36 shots in the 2-1 win over the Flames.  The first career start for Gustavsson was a massive success.  He looked great and so many injuries for Ottawa has him getting starts for now. Obviously it’s a desperation stream, but this is where you would be able to get Ottawa starts.

Mike Reilly – Two assists with two shots.  Not much here for fantasy, although that can change if Chabot misses time.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau – Two assists with two shots.  JGP is right on the fringe of bottom end hold or elite streamer.  The points are strong, but the PIM and SOG are below average, so it comes down to team needs.

Alex Nedeljkovic – 19 save shutout in the 3-0 win over the Blue Jackets.  Nedeljkovic has played extremely well this season with a 1.96/.930.  The problem is that he’s bound to go to the AHL when Mrazek returns and Mrazek is practicing now.  I’d stream Nedeljkovic in every start, whenever those happen.

Jesper Fast – Goal and an assist.  Fast is a nice player in real life, but nothing here for fantasy.

Sebastian Aho – Two assists with three shots and two PIM.  Everything for Aho is right in line with expectations.

Cam Talbot – 24 saves on 25 shots in the 2-1 win over the Ducks.  Talbot has been a solid #2 when on the ice this season.

Connor Hellebuyck – 22 save shutout in the 2-0 win over the Canucks.  Hellboy had a bit of a rough stretch as Winnipeg played a bunch of games against the Maple Leafs and Canadiens.  That should ease up and get his numbers back to being the solid #1 we’re accustomed to.

Adam Lowry – Two goals on four shots.  Not much here for Lowry now that he’s stuck on the third line.  He’s an interesting free agent this summer.  I like him defensively, but he seems like the type of guy who is going to get overpaid.

Mark Stone – Two goals and an assist with three shots.  Even without Max Pacioretty, Stone can not be contained.  His season is absolutely insane despite the shots regressing.

William Karlsson – Goal and two assists with four shots.  He’s on the first PP unit with Patches out, as is Jonathan Marchessault (goal and an assist, 7 SOG, 2 PIM).  It boosted the minutes for both guys above 20.  I would hold Karlsson for now although it may not last, while Marchessault has been an easy hold.

Robin Lehner – 15 saves on 16 shots in the 5-1 win over the Blues.  Super easy night for Lehner.  I can’t wait to see Vegas play Colorado twice this week the way that both of these teams are playing.  I still believe that Lehner is going to be great while he plays.

Martin Jones – 41 saves on 42 shots in the 2-1 win over the Kings.  Having watched this game, all I can say is “wow.”  Jones was incredible for the second game in a row.  That said, it’s very hard to trust him as he’s still above both 3 GAA and below .900 sv%.  He’s a desperation play.

Tuesday’s Games

Nathan MacKinnon – Goal and two assists with eight shots and four PIM.  Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen each had a goal and an assist with three shots.  This line is playing better than any line in hockey at the moment.

Samuel Girard – Two assists with two shots.  His season totals are excellent, but it’s somewhat fringy with Makar back.  I’d probably hold, but it’s not automatic.

Phil Kessel – Goal and an assist with three shots.  I lean towards elite streamer, but I’m okay with holding.

Alex Goligoski – Goal and an assist with three shots.  This doubled his point total from the first 32 games.  And that’s that.

Lawson Crouse – Goal and an assist with five shots.  This may have been the best game I’ve seen Crouse play.  That said, there’s nothing to see for fantasy.

Sean Couturier – Two goals on three shots.  Philly is failing apart, but Couturier certainly is not.  Same goes with James van Riemsdyk, who had two assists with three shots.

Jakub Voracek – Two assists with two shots.  Voracek is very assist heavy at this point in his career, but he has so many that it’s worth holding.

Travis Zajac – Goal and an assist with two shots.  Just, no.

Janne Kuokkanen – Two assists with two shots.  Kuokkanen has nine points in the last nine games.  He’s a middling streamer now with the shot rate keeping him down from more.

Ty Smith – Two assists with four PIM.  He’s kept his role on the top PP unit, but I lean towards leaving him on the waiver wire.

Yegor Sharangovich – Goal and an assist with four shots.  Nice late find by the Devils in the fifth round, but Sharangovich is only a bottom end streamer.

Noel Acciari – Two assists with three shots.  Acciari’s 20 goals from last season is going to be one of the most bizarre occurences ever.

Patrick Kane – Two assists with two shots.  Business as usual for Kane.

Juuse Saros – 31 save shutout in the 2-0 win over the Red Wings.  Saros has completely fixed his numbers over the  last month.  He’s now a #2 going forward despite Nashville’s struggles.

Andrei Vasilevskiy – 16 saves on 17 shots in the 2-1 win over the Stars.  Vasilevskiy gave up an early goal and then he barely faced any more shots.  The #1 goalie with ease.

Three Point Challenge:  We will do it for Thursday’s games with the bigger slate.  I have three correct picks after Panarin on Monday with Eli Man Penguin Boy, Veritas, and Shitwolf all on the board with one.  No players in the top ten in points, which means no McDavid, Draisaitl, Kane, Marner, Rantanen, Scheifele, Stone, Barkov, Kopitar, Huberdeau, or Matthews.  I’ll go with Sean Couturier against the Rangers.

That’s all for now guys.  I’ll be back on Friday recapping the action from the next two nights.  As always, feel free to ask any questions, leave any comments, or give any suggestions below.

  1. Chet says:
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    Hey, Viz! What are your thoughts on Nedeljkovic in dynasty leagues? Also, I’ll take Tavares @ OTT on Thursday for the 3 points. Thanks.

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      It’s weird, because I always liked him but didn’t love him, and then the Hurricanes waived him in January which make me think less of him. Then all of a sudden, they need him and he looks like he could be their goalie of the future. I don’t think it’s a lock he’s Carolina’s long term guy by any means, but there’s a real chance of it. We should get a pretty clear picture this offseason of what their plan is. I would say that I like him and think he’s worth owning, and is a decent trade target, but there’s a bit of risk involved.

      Sounds good on Tavares, good luck!

  2. Chet says:
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    Thanks, Viz! Much appreciated!

  3. Dubjay says:
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    Hey Viz,
    What do I do with my goaltending situation?
    Grubauer has been amazing so really happy to have him as a set and forget goalie. The rest have some questions
    C.Hart-I almost dropped him yesterday. Tell me why I shouldnt?
    J.Reimer-Nedelkovic is also available but I was thinking(like you)that he will be sent down soon
    J.Campbell-picked him up yesterday. Love the team and he’s been playing well.
    J.Saaros is available. Want to grab him but not sure who to drop.
    What do you think? Lately I’ve been starting grubauer every game. Considering maybe sitting him for one or both of the vegas games. I’ve started Reimer every game he has played which is every second game. Solid numbers. I don’t know much about Campbell but if he has a chance of taking the reigns on the Leafs, that’s good enough for me.

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      I think at this point, you have to play Grubauer every game, even against Vegas. I would definitely hold Campbell, Andersen is out 7-10 days and I wouldn’t be surprised if Campbell takes the job. Saros is on fire, I guess I would add him for Hart? I have no idea what is happening with Hart, it’s one of the most bizarre collapses I’ve ever seen. The goalie curse in Philly appears to still be real.

      • dubjay says:
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        Yeah, happy that Im not a real Flyers fan. They havent had a good one since who….Hextall? I dont want to drop Hart but if I keep him, I will be temped to play him. And hes just killing my ratios.

        • dubjay says:
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          Would you rather drop T.Hall or C.Hart? Hall is on my bench but I havent been starting him for the same reasons as Hart. My two failed early draft picks.

          • Viz

            Viz says:
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            Probably yeah, as crazy as that sounds. Mason had a good season or two I guess, and Hart did before this year. I guess I would drop Hall only because Philly has two games with Buffalo early next week and if Hart doesn’t do well in that game(s), good riddance.

            • Dubjay says:
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              Damn. Didn’t get your late post so I dropped Hart. Actually feels like a relief. Every year I tell
              Myself “don’t draft goalies early” and then every year I do.
              Ok so which 2 would you start tonight?
              Grubauer vs Vgk
              Campbell @Ott
              Saros vs Det

              • Viz

                Viz says:
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                I hear you on waiting, I never take a goalie in the first 3 rounds and rarely do in the 4th. There’s just too much variance with them… man that’s a tough call tonight. It depends a bit on what you’re looking for. I think Saros is a must assuming he gets another start off the shutout. Then, it’s deciding if you want the more likely to win goalie in Campbell, or the better goalie in a lower scoring game in Grubauer. Personally, I have a tough time benching Grubauer against anybody, but Vegas is the closest thing to that (if Patches is back), so if you want to go Campbell over him, I’m okay with it.

                • dubjay says:
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                  I NEVER plan on taking a goalie early. But I always get suckered. Yeah I think that I will go with Saros and Campbell but will be watching that Col/Vgk game to see how he does against the Knights. Saros and Campbell are the shiny new toys. Too tempting to try them out and they couldnt be in a better position to win. Although the Sens have looked pretty good lately.
                  Thanks again for all of your help.

                  • Viz

                    Viz says:
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                    Hahaha, yeah I’ve been there before myself. That’s why I made that hard rule so I don’t break it, although I end up tempting myself to take someone in the 4th I probably shouldn’t either!

                    The Sens definitely have looked better, I just want to see if Campbell take the job and run with it. Could be a huge second half difference maker. No problem at all!

  4. Richard says:
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    Pick up Gustavsson and drop Brian Elliot? I also have Price, MaF and Jack Campbell for goaltenders

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      Meh, not really a fan of either guys. Gustavsson has played well in 2 games and should get volume, so if that matters to you, go for it. The problem is that Ottawa’s next 8 games are against Toronto, Montreal, and Edmonton: do you really feel good about starting him in any of those games? Elliott has been terrible too, but the Sabres are on their schedule twice next week, so I guess I’d hold him?

  5. Veritas says:
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    Artemi Panarin vs PHI for the Three Point Challenge

    • Eli Man Penguin Boy says:
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      ya got me this time too busy on baseball drafts or league stuff, and i’d have gone for this tie. oops, i assumed 8 pt NYR game he HAD to have at least 3. nope. zibanejad wasn’t kidding about his stats regressing to normal, that’s now 2 6 pt games in like a week or something. might’ve been less than a week.

      • Eli Man Penguin Boy says:
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        holy crap, not only 2 6 pt games in week or less, that’s TWO NATURAL hat tricks across both of those 2. all PP too

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      Brutal to not get it when the Rangers score 8!

      • Veritas says:
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        A total heartbreaker

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