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:
In the marquee match of the night in Washington, both goalies played extremely well. At the end of the game, Braden Holtby came out on top saving 29 of 30 shots in the 2-1 win over the Blue Jackets. He's managed to find a way to improve his goals against and save percentage the season after winning the Vezina Trophy. His counterpart in this game may be the favorite to win the Vezina this year but Holtby has solidified himself as the #1 goalie in hockey, both in real life and fantasy. I highly doubt that I will draft him next season solely because I'm anti-goalie in the first round but there's no doubt that Holtby will be the first goalie on my board. It looks like this will be the second season in a row that he finishes as the #2 overall goalie and that consistency is exactly what you're looking for in your top goalie. If you can find an issue with Holtby, let me know because he's seemingly perfect. Here's what else happened around the league the last two nights:
It's the final countdown! We've finally made it to the end of the top 250. We are to the point where you are taking guys with your last few picks so I'm going to limit the details here. Target categories that you need some reassurance in but be prepared to cut these guys if necessary. If you want to handcuff your goalie, this is also the time to do it. Let's finish this bad boy up!
The Dallas Stars surprised a lot of people last season winning the Central Division with 109 points. They made it to the second round of the playoffs losing in 7 to the Blues without superstar Tyler Seguin. Now, there's hope that last season was just the beginning. While the forwards remain loaded, there are additional question marks on defense now and they still have the goaltending duo that led to their demise. Let's take a look at what they're working with:
For the second time in a week, Jeff Carter had a monster game. On Thursday, Carter had two goals and an assist with 3 shots in the 3-0 win over the Flames. After this game, Carter passed the 60 point plateau while being +17 and over 3 shots per game on the season. The penalty minutes keep him from the truly elite but Carter will still be firmly in the top 100 going into next season. Keep rolling him for the last 10 days of this season. Here's what else I saw around the league the last two nights:
He's always piled up the assists but Jason Spezza has never been known as a goal scorer. This year, it's a different story because if he wasn't injured, he'd have set a career high in goals. On Friday, Spezza scored a goal and an assist on four shots against the Blackhawks before Spezza scored for the fifth consecutive game Saturday, burying two goals on seven shots against the Blues. Spezza now has 28 goals and 25 assists in 64 games; his career high is 34 goals. Spezza is now a top 50 skater on the year and with the talent the Stars have, he should be around there next year. Here's what else I saw around the league this weekend:
For the majority of the year, I’ve been clamoring for Jonas Gustavsson to get more starts for the Bruins. For the last month, Tuukka Rask has been his usual self but that hasn’t deterred The Monster at all. Please, blog, may I have some more?
For the past two weeks or so, I've been talking about Jason Zucker as someone to pick up in fantasy hockey. The second line on the Wild was dominating possession and it was only a matter of time until they broke out. On Thursday, despite the Wild being dominated by the Hurricanes, they persevered and won 3-2 in OT behind two goals by Zucker, who also contributed five shots. He's up to 13 points so far in 15 games so if it was for debate, it isn't anymore; he's a must add in all leagues. Here's what else I saw on the big Thursday night slate:
After missing the playoffs for the first time in over a decade, the Sharks have started off this season on fire winning their three games by a 12-1 aggregate score. The fact that the Sharks have scored 12 goals in 3 games isn't surprising; they have a lot of firepower and are bound to have streaks like this. The stunning part is that they've given up 1 goal in 3 games and the credit goes to Martin Jones. Back to back shutouts against the Ducks and the Capitals for a goalie entrenched as a full-time starter for the first time is nothing short of impressive. It remains to be seen if the Sharks keep it up and to determine if Jones will wear down being a workhorse for the first time but enjoy the ride while you can. Here's what else happened on Tuesday night:
I hate titling the article like something posted on NHL.com... Everything posted there has to be super corny or a terrible pun. Today, I couldn't help myself. There were some surprising performances around the league the first couple nights of the NHL season and one unbelievable, dare I say, Wild, comeback. Okay, I'll see myself out...And we're back! The Wild were down 4-1 going into the third period only to score 4 goals in 5:07 to take a 5-4 lead. Leading the way in the comeback was Zach Parise, scoring the first hat trick of the young season on 6 shots. The Sharks came out and after giving up a goal in the second minute, dominated the Kings for the last 58 . The Jets took it to the Bruins in Boston with a balanced attack leading Winnipeg to a 6-2 victory. The team many were picking to light the league on fire, the Pens, were shut out by my favorite long shot Cup contender, Dallas, 3-0. The biggest thing to do after one game is not overreact but there were some interesting developments and key notes to be made. Let's take a closer look!