Going into the season, I was high on Aaron Ekblad because the reports out of Florida were that Yandle was going to get scratched to open the season and his future was in doubt.  One bout of COVID later, and Yandle was in opening night and scored.  For the bad luck I’ve had on rankings this year <cough Lehner cough>, Yandle has not impacted Ekblad one bit.  Ekblad had hit a bit of a rough patch over the last week, but he fixed that in a big way on Thursday.  Ekblad scored two goals and added two assists with six shots in the 5-4 win over the Predators.  That brings Ekblad to 8+7 in 22 games, an incredible rate of goals for a defenseman.  Add in three shots per game and strong PIM, and Ekblad has a chance at finishing as a #2D this season.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:

Wednesday’s Games:

Philipp Grubauer – 26 save shutout in the 4-0 win over the Sharks.  Sure, Grubauer owners have been a bit lucky in terms of volume since Francouz hasn’t played a game, but Grubauer’s level of play is no surprise to me.  This is why I ranked him as a #1 goalie.  He’s a 2.07/.921 with 11 wins in 17 games, making him a clear #1.

Nathan MacKinnon – Assist with two shots, left the game after a clear head shot.  Fingers crossed he’s okay.

Mikko Rantanen – Two goals and two assists with four shots.  Gabriel Landeskog had a goal and three assists while Nazem Kadri dished two assists.  The top guys took care of business on the ensuing 5 minute power play after MacKinnon’s head shot.  If MacKinnon does miss time, I assume this is the new first line, with Kadri getting a boost in value while the other two drop off a bit.

Vitek Vanecek – 18 saves on 19 shots in the 2-1 win over the Bruins.  Ilya Samsonov has returned so Vanecek is only a streamer in plus matchups now.

Frederik Andersen – 26 saves on 27 shots in the 6-1 win over the Oilers.  Andersen is piling up wins and while the sv% is below average, the GAA is average which is an upgrade.  He should be a bottom end #1.

Jason Spezza – Three assists with two shots.  Spezza is still producing despite the limited minutes.  I wouldn’t use him in standard leagues, but he has nice value in deep leagues.

Jimmy Vesey – Two goals.  Meh, pass.

Travis Boyd – Two assists.  I really wish Boyd received more minutes as I think he’s a nice player.  As is, I have no interest.

John Tavares – Goal and an assist with three shots.  He’s a bit behind pace, but the floor is still extremely high.

Zach Hyman – Goal and an assist with five shots.  Hyman is an elite streamer, but I’m not holding anymore as he’s off the top line and actually on the third line at the moment.

Torey Krug – Two assists with four shots and two PIM.  Disappointing start in St. Louis for Krug as he has only one goal.  That should regress in a positive manner, but even still, the hope of Krug pushing towards being a #1 is dead.

Oskar Sundqvist – Goal and an assist.  Berube is playing him a ton of minutes, but Sundqvist is a bottom end streamer at best.

Marc-Andre Fleury – 36 saves on 37 shots in the 5-1 win over the Wild.  Fleury being good this season after being awful last season and just bad two seasons ago is more proof of goaltending being voodoo.  If you own him, enjoy it while it lasts.

Mark Stone – Goal and an assist.  William KarlssonChandler Stephenson, and Alex Tuch all had a goal and an assist.  The first two are easy hold, Stephenson is a solid streamer, while Tuch is up for debate.  His role is changing a lot, but for now, I prefer elite streamer.

Thursday’s Games:

Matt Martin – Two goals on five shots.  Casey Cizikas had a goal and an assist.  This says a lot more about the state of the Sabres than these two.  Why am I tortured so much as a fan?

Jordan Eberle – Goal and an assist with two shots.  Eberle is firmly on the fringe.  I would slightly lean towards elite streamer, but I can’t argue against holding.

Filip Zadina – Two goals on six shots.  It’s been a disappointing season for Zadina, but this game shows the upside he has long term.  I’m not streaming him at the moment, but that could change relatively quickly.

Jordan Staal – Goal and two assists with two shots and two PIM.  I was about to be out, but Staal pulled me back in.  He’s an elite streamer once again.

Nino Niederreiter – Goal and an assist with two shots.  After some brief line shuffling, Nino was back on the second line.  I lean towards holding him, but like a lot of guys in this post, it’s not crystal clear.  I don’t feel the need to list every Hurricane player, but pretty much every relevant Carolina skater besides Aho had two points in this one.

Paul Stastny – Two goals on three shots playing almost 23 minutes.  Maurice sure loves to ride his top players.  Stastny is a solid streamer because his shot rate is poor, but if you want someone who hits all of the categories at a decent rate, you can hold him.

Corey Perry – Goal and an assist with two shots.  Perry has been better than I expected, but he doesn’t play every game and the shot rate is poor.  He’s an okay streamer in select matchups.

Jonathan Drouin – Two assists with two shots and two PIM.  Drouin has been a lot better in real life, but for fantasy, his value is suppressed by his shot rate.  Decent streamer.

Igor Shesterkin – 32 saves on 33 shots before leaving the game with 6 minutes left due to a lower body injury.  Fingers crossed that this was precautionary given that the Rangers were up 6-1 as Igor has been very good.

Chris Kreider – Hat trick on five shots.  That’s two hat tricks in just over a week while Kreider has nine goals in the past six games.  Easy hold while he’s on this tear.

Ryan Strome – Two assists.  Seven points in the past seven games for Strome despite Panarin leaving the team.  Strome is on the fringe depending on team needs.

Pavel Buchnevich – Goal and an assist.  I really like the way Buch is playing.  Would lean towards hold.

Alexis Lafreniere – Goal and an assist.  We’re finally starting to see signs of life.  I’m not streaming yet in 12’er redrafts, but the role is there for Lafreniere to change that quickly.

Claude Giroux – Two goals and an assist with four shots.  The points are coming in bunches for Giroux this season, but regardless, the assists are elite.  The shot rate really needs to increase if he’s even going to score 12+ goals though.

Nicolas Aube-Kubel – Two assists.  Maybe on a different team the value would be there, but NAK’s role is too small on Philly to matter in fantasy.

Oskar Lindblom – Two assists with two shots.  At the moment, Lindblom has no fantasy value, but if he moves back into the top six, he could be a quality streamer again.

Travis Konecny – Two assists with two shots.  Nice to see Konecny back in the lineup.  The shot rate has been a disaster this season so hopefully that turns sooner than later.

Alex Killorn – Goal and an assist with three shots playing almost 23 minutes.  Killorn hits all of the categories at a good enough rate that he can be a hold or elite streamer depending on team needs.  He holds more value in roto leagues.

Aleksander Barkov – Three assists with four shots.  My man!  I picked Barkov for three points in the challenge and he delivered.  That’ll put me back on top.  Thank you Sasha!

Jonathan Huberdeau – Goal and an assist with three shots. Thankfully, the minutes are moving back up towards his usual level.  If that holds, Huberdeau will have every chance to keep up last season’s 95+ point pace.

Filip Forsberg – Goal and two assists with five shots.  Nashville has disappointed, but Forsberg has not.  He’s in the midst of the breakout season I have been waiting for.  Forsberg is up to four shots per game making his 36 goal pace (per 82 games) completely in line with his normal shooting percentage.

Viktor Arvidsson – Three assists with four shots.  Somehow, Arvidsson has only two goals on 79 shots this season.  Arvidsson is an elite streamer who could easily turn into a hold as soon as he regresses to the mean.

Mattias Ekholm – Goal and an assist with four shots playing over 27 minutes.  With Ryan Ellis out at least a month, Ekholm is a hold in all formats.

Boone Jenner – Goal and an assist with two shots.  Remember when Jenner was one of only three players to score 30+ goals and have 75+ PIM in a season?  That was five seasons ago now.  Somehow, he only has 2 PIM this season now.  He’s a decent streamer, but the ceiling is quite low.

Josh Norris – Goal and an assist with two shots.  Norris’ rookie season has been very good despite the Senators being bad.  Long term, he’s definitely a middle 6’er, but it’s hard to say whether he ends up on the second or third line.  In standard leagues, he’s a bottom end streamer.

Dillon Dube – Hat trick on four shots.  He moved onto the second line for this game with Matthew Tkachuk (three assists, two PIM, two shots) and Lindholm.  Here’s to hoping he stays there as Dube could be a strong streamer.

Jake Virtanen – Two goals on five shots.  The Cannon has been awful this season and still has zero assists.  Pass.

Thatcher Demko – 31 saves on 32 shots in the 3-1 win over the Maple Leafs.  Demko is rounding into form and looks to be a decent #2 again with long term upside of being a #1.

That’s all for now guys.  I’ll be back on Monday recapping all of the action from the weekend.  As always, feel free to ask any questions, leave any comments, or give any suggestions below.  Thanks for reading, take care!

  1. ashtray says:
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    I received an offer from the league Bruins fan where he wants Grzelcyk and wants to offer Dylan Strome. I was right on the brink of cutting Grzelcyk anyway but I’m wondering if there’s any upside left for Strome? Would he be a decent IL stash for later in the year in a 12 team?

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      I don’t really see it for Strome. The shot rate is awful and even with solid minutes, he isn’t doing much. I don’t expect him back centering the top line either. I would be quite surprised if Strome ends up a hold, so no, I definitely wouldn’t do this trade, I would want somebody better than Strome.

      • ashtray says:
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        Do you see some potential out of Grzelcyk then? I was rostering Leddy as an injury replacement but now I’m thinking about keeping him in favor of the Boston guy. I’m also rostering Rielly, Krug, Sergachev, Klingberg, and Gudas (for the Hits).

        • Viz

          Viz says:
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          Yeah he was pretty good before the first injury, and he went right back on the first power play unit which is good to see. I would prefer him over Leddy, although it is close.

  2. The Harrow says:
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    wasn’t just coach b.s. this time, mackinnon full practice, sounds good. one of those rare times coach speak turned out to be true. remember when kuemper about 9-10 days ago “was fine”. or lehner “would be back soon” (weeks ago).

    • The Harrow says:
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      or the big one, “parakyo has been dealing with something, but he’s only missing practices for “maintenance”. yeah ok, now parakyo, from being shoved out there for weeks, is now out so long STL won’t even try to say how much longer it even is.

      • The Harrow says:
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        yeah lehner i remember was “fine” driving to the game, got there, night of, minutes before was ruled out from “upper body” so what he got a concussion on the drive over to the game? more likely he got it earlier, lied about it, played with it, then stopped doing that. i forgot how much worse even figuring out what goes on with hockey injuries is than baseball (both FAR worse than football).

        • The Harrow says:
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          scratch that on mackinnon, more coach speak b.s. esp bad here as reports all over all day long he’d be back

  3. Venice Canuck says:
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    Viz:
    Love your opinion on this – Grez is available in one of my 12er leagues with standard cats – G,A, +/-,PPP,SOG, Hits. I have Carlson, Barrie, Ekholm, Hughes, and Anderssen and would need to drop one. I am thinking Ekholm, but I like what he has been doing lately, and Anderssen woudd be my second option, but he seems on the cusp of breaking out.
    Your thoughts?
    Thanks in advance!

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      I would probably just hold the guys you have. Ekholm gets a pretty big boost with Ellis down so I would hold him, the debate is between Grzcelyk and Andersson, you can go either way on that one, but I agree with you that he has a potential breakout coming depending on how Sutter uses him.

  4. ashtray says:
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    I have Lehner coming back and will need to make a decision with roster space. Who gets the cut out of Lehner, Grubauer, Driedger, Peterson, and Sorokin. 12 team league W, L, SHO, SV, GA.

    • Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:
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      man if only FLA would stop jerking bob around on time this would be easy. if not dynasty here i’d go peterson probably. esp with losses as a thing. but i’d not have 5 goalies in 12 teamer unless you have really oddly large sized benches, or maybe start 3 per day? or i guess have 2 goalies starting and really oddly sized and shallow starting rosters (such that you are benching D and F’s often already, thus having all those goalies can make sense)

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      Meh, it’s tough because Florida is using Bob a lot more again and Sorokin gets low volume. I would lean towards Petersen I guess, although Sorokin definitely has a case. I wouldn’t cut Sorokin now as he should play against the Sabres tomorrow, but after that game, you could go that route if you’d rather keep Petersen

  5. Mantis Tobaggan MD says:
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    here’s a senko quote, back maybe today:
    “The three surgeries is in the past, there is some speculation still, but it was a different injury, not the same injury three times”

    hmmm. so does that mean 3 separate parts of the same shoulder all kept him from playing more than a few games at a time after each one? that sounds worse maybe. that OR i guess the doctors they were using did surgery on the wrong parts the first 2 times? or he’s claiming the first and second injuries somehow didn’t lead to the 3rd (or the surgeries were done wrong the first 2 times). either way that doesn’t appear to be a positive insight.

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      Yeah, I’m not a doctor but it does sound like that could be worse, like the original injury has caused subsequent injuries to different parts of his shoulder. Here’s to hoping that he can actually stay healthy because he’s a hell of a player.

      • Mantis Tobaggan MD says:
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        yeah sounds like some sort of deterioration that moved spots or the surgeries themselves CAUSED it. either way, he looked pretty good tonight.

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