Hey guys!  I'm very sick at the moment so I'm going to keep this short and sweet.  I'm going to focus on players who aren't trivial holds in this set of daily notes.  In other words, sorry Jakub Voracek, but this is the extent of me writing about you.  Let's focus on Nino Niederreiter for a minute.  El Nino killed it last season; he was a borderline top 50 player, definitely top 75.  He hasn't started off that well and then was injured.  Niederreiter returned on Thursday and had a hat trick before the midway point of the second period.  He scored three goals on four shots as the Wild cruised to victory over the Sabres.  We know his upside and after this game, he's up to 13 goals in 30 games.  The penalty minutes are strong, he's +11, and he's only 48.5% owned because of his injury.  Go pick him up now if he's available.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the past two nights:
The Montreal Canadiens stormed out of the gates last season and never looked back en route to winning the Atlantic Division.  They have a roster that seems like a random collection of players with no clear plan.  They've gutted their blue line losing a good top 4 in the last year (Subban, Beaulieu, Sergachev, Markov) leaving themselves depending on Shea Weber far too much.  Like last offseason, they made a massive trade in the summer, this time involving two young talents.   This is a team who is getting the small things right but the big things wrong and that gives me significant concern going forward.  Per usual, it's all on Carey Price's shoulders.  Their fantasy assets for this season look to be limited but there are a few guys with elite potential and some intriguing guys for deeper leagues.  Let's take a look at what Les Habitants are working with:
We talked about Mikael Granlund on last Friday's podcast for a few minutes. Granlund was on an 11 game point streak, the longest of any player during this season, going into Saturday's game. You can say that he extended it in style. Against the Canucks, Granlund scored his first career hat trick on six shots while also having an assist and finishing +4. That brings his totals to a ridiculous 15+33 in 51 games while being +30. He's now a top 10 forward on the season based on RCL categories finally delivering on the hype surrounding him entering the league. As for where he'll be ranked going into next season, check out the podcast. Here's what else happened around the league this weekend:
On the last podcast, Reid and I looked at a bunch of players who were under 50% that I thought were must-own. I made a massive oversight leaving somebody off that list: Conor Sheary. I just looked and saw that he's 45% owned which absolutely blows my mind (I thought he was in the 70's or 80's). Sheary had an excellent weekend scoring twice on three shots on Friday and then getting two goals and an assist with four shots on Sunday. That brings Sheary's totals to 17+17 while being +17 in 39 games. Seventeens are wild! Anyways, Sheary is on pace for 35+35 over 82 games with an excellent plus-minus and decent enough shots. That's closer to a top 50 player than someone who is on the waiver wire. We've seen guys in the past be excellent fantasy values being a passenger on Crosby's line so if you're in one of the leagues where Sheary is available, pick him up immediately (I'd put him ahead of everyone discussed on the podcast). Then come back and read what else happened around the league this weekend!
When Johnny Gaudreau underwent surgery for his finger injury, the expectation was that he was going to miss six weeks. Flames fans and fantasy owners had to be thrilled when he came back on Sunday in less than three weeks. The team did surprisingly well in the 10 games Gaudreau missed, mostly due to Chad Johnson between the pipes, but they didn't score than 3 goals in any game during that stretch. That changed in a big way Sunday night against a strong Ducks team. The Flames scored a whopping 8 goals beating the Ducks 8-3 with Gaudreau scoring the opener and adding an assist later on. He was finally playing well before his injury so hopefully this is a sign of things to come. We know that he's a top end player but the impact of his return will be felt throughout the lineup. More on those guys later in the Sunday section, let's get to the games!
It's no secret that coming into the season, I loved the best players on the Jets. While the team itself is of to a mediocre start, the forward in my top 50 that I was highest on compared to consensus was Mark Scheifele. After a monstrous second half last season, I wrote repeatedly how much I liked him for 2016-17 and dynasties going forward. It was evident looking at Fantasy Pros where I was 16 spots higher than anyone else and 19 spots above consensus, quite a margin for a player who I had ranked 32nd overall. Well, it's been a terrific start to the season for Scheifele and it continued over the weekend. On Friday, Scheifele had a goal, two assists and two shots while being +3 in the 5-3 win over Detroit. He followed that up with a goal and an assist with two shots and +1 on Sunday despite the Jets losing 5-2 to the red hot Rangers. That gives Scheifele a total of 7 goals and 7 assists in 13 games with a +5 rating, 10 PIM and almost 3 shots per game. It puts him easily in the top 20 skaters on the season in the player rater and is making me look smart! I salute you, Mr. Scheifele. With the workload that he's receiving, I have little doubt that he will produce going forward at an elite rate. Let's take a look at what else went on around the league over the weekend.
In my preseason rankings, this is what I wrote about Mitch Marner and his teammate William Nylander. "Putting them back to back because I’m unsure which one will be on the second and third line. Either way, I think there is value there in redrafts but the one in the top six could end up a hold." Well, it turns out Marner was that guy but both are clear holds at this point. Nylander has been getting the attention with Auston Matthews but Marner has equally impressed me. In my season preview for the Leafs, I said the following: "Marner, the fourth overall pick in 2015, is an incredible offensive talent. He had over two points per game this season in the OHL with 39+77 in 57 games along with 68 PIM. In standard redrafts, I like drafting Marner late. He won’t have the hype that the other young guys do but could be just as good as a rookie, if not better." And that's me quoting me again! In the 3-2 Leafs win on Thursday, Marner dished three assists and added two shots and two penalty minutes. This brings his totals up to 6 points in 7 games with above average shots and great PIM in the early going. Clearly he needs to be held right now and is elite in all dynasty formats. Also, shoutout to frequent commenter Shitwolf for being the first person to ever get a player correct for the Three Point Challenge! Nothing like somebody getting it on the first night we do it. Shitwolf and Mitch Marner go down in Razzball history! Here's what else happened the last two nights in the NHL:
Wednesday night saw the first showdown between the first two picks of the 2016 NHL draft, Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine. It looked like Matthews was going to have the best of it when the Leafs were up 4-0 in the second period but then the Jets, led by Laine, turned things around to win 5-4 in overtime. Laine stole the show with his first career hat trick on five shots, including the tying goal with 55 seconds left and the overtime winner. He was moved up to the first line a couple games ago solidifying his minutes and has delivered ever since. I picked him as the better rookie for fantasy over Matthews (assist, seven shots) and still feel strongly about that. Laine is easily a top 100 player for this season and by next year, he's going to be a top 50 player and eventually a top 20 player. Every time he's on the ice, you can see the potential as an Ovechkin-lite. Let's take a look at everything that happened in the Wednesday and Thursday night games:
Everyone who reads this space knows my love for Brent Burns. His beard brings about a magisterial power that guides him on the ice. The Sharks played on Monday and Tuesday to open the week and their all-world defenseman delivered. In Monday's loss to the Rangers, Burns scored two goals and an assist with seven shots. He followed it up with 2 assists and three shots against the Islanders putting him in the early league lead for points. Burns and Erik Karlsson are in a class of their own right now among defensemen and should battle each other season for top dog status on the blue line. Here's what else I've seen around the league the last two nights:
In my season preview for the Chicago Blackhawks, I projected that Richard Panik would be the new player that slides into the Blackhawks' top 6. "Panik should get a chance in the top 6 because quite frankly, the Blackhawks don’t have anybody else. He could be a decent streamer but I can’t expect anything more from the 25 year old." And that's me quoting me doing what Grey does! In the long term for the season, I still think that'll be the case, but for now, Panik is must-own. After scoring in the season opener, Panik had an assist on Friday and came back with a hat trick on four shots on Saturday, both against the Predators. He's getting power play time right now and with 5 points in 3 games, Panik should be held for the time being as he rides the hot streak. Here's what else I saw this weekend around the NHL: