There’s only one team in the NHL that hasn’t been shut out this season. Any guesses? Well, it’s somebody you wouldn’t suspect. That team would be the Ottawa Senators. Right now, they’re getting carried by Connor Brown. Please, blog, may I have some more?
It's that time of the year again. For those of you who haven't seen this post in the past, I will break down every team's schedule for fantasy hockey playoffs i.e. starting on this coming Monday, 4/4. I will note when a team has a back to back or a light day. A light day is a day where there are four or less games on the schedule, with the exception of Wednesday, 4/27. I am including that day where there are five games because it's the last day of the season where you'll need streaming, as the last two days both have a lot of games. I will do the teams in alphabetical order so it's easy to find everyone, and next to each team, there will be (A,B,C,D). Those numbers will be how many games the team has in each of the four weeks left in the season. For example, (4,2,3,3) means they have four games from 4/4 - 4/10, two games from 4/11 -4/17, etc. This post is going to be extremely long, so it will be broken into two parts, with part two coming on Monday. If you have a specific question about a team next week that will be in part two and you need it answered immediately, please let it be known in the comments section and I'll answer it for you. And away we go!
David Perron had a horrible start to the season and was shaping up to being one of the biggest fantasy busts of this year. To say things have turned for the better is an understatement. Perron scored two goals on seven shots against the Predators before scoring a goal on seven shots against Winnipeg. Since Perron went back on the top line, Perron has exploded. He has eight goals and five assists in the last ten games with 35 SOG. It's good enough across the board that Perron is a clear hold in all formats again. He's only available in about 25% of leagues, but even in a shallow league, I wouldn't be cutting Perron to keep a stream spot. The schedule is a little light the next couple weeks, but it really picks up in the last week of March and early April. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
It wasn't hard to figure out who to feature in the opening paragraph tonight. Andre Burakovsky started off the weekend with two goals on six shots against the Red Wings and finished it off with a hat trick on six shots against the Panthers. That brings Burakovsky to 12+8 in 24 games on the season, quite the respectable total. He's still available in 40% of leagues and that needs to change immediately. With Gabriel Landeskog out for two weeks, Burakovsky is playing on the top line and top power play unit. That's enough to make him must own in all formats, and he showed why on Sunday, getting a hat trick in a tough matchup. It should be an excellent December for Burakovsky and hopefully it continues into the New Year. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
One of the best coaches of the past two decades finally received another chance. Bruce Boudreau was hired by the Canucks and promptly won his first game 4-0. Thatcher Demko had a 31 save shutout and looks to be the biggest beneficiary of the coaching change. Boudreau has always had a great defensive system that inflated the numbers of his goaltenders. Dubnyk was never that good of a goalie, but he was great in fantasy. Same goes with the Washington guys earlier, or the other Wild goaltenders. Demko has the chance to be a bottom end #1 now. I'd also expect the stars on the Canucks to start turning things around. I still think the roster is incredibly flawed, but this is a huge win for the Canucks in real life and for us in fantasy. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
The Blues have cooled off a bit since their hot start, but that doesn't mean that all of their players have. Pavel Buchnevich tore it up over the weekend, scoring a goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM on Friday before coming back with two goals and an assist with five shots on Saturday. Buch is crushing it across the board on the seasons now with 8+8, 18 PIM and 58 shots in 19 games. Add in a +8 rating and he's a top 20 forward at the moment. Do I expect that to last? No, but his fit in St. Louis couldn't be better and now he's getting plenty of minutes, especially with David Perron out of the lineup. Somehow, he's still available in over 20% of leagues which is blasphemous. He has a real chance at being a top 50 player this year. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
In Ilya Sorokin's first two starts, he allowed ten goals. In the next seven, he's allowed eight total. Sorokin kept up his hot streak with a 24 save shutout against the Jets on Saturday. Semyon Varlamov is back for the Islanders, but for now, Sorokin is getting all of the volume. I had him pegged as a great platoon guy this year who ideally was your #3, but would be fine as a #2. Now, it would be terrific if Sorokin is your #2 because he could easily end up being a top 10 goalie even without much volume. The GAA and save percentage look to be elite while the wins on a per-game basis should be as well. Long term, Sorokin looks like a top five goalie. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
The Washington Capitals have received plenty of criticism for their blockbuster trade on Monday. If things go like they did on Tuesday, I'm sure they'll have no complaints. Anthony Mantha scored a goal and added an assist with six shots in the 6-1 win over the Capitals. If it wasn't for a spectacular Elliott save, Mantha would have had a three point game right off the rip. I wrote in the trade deadline blog that I would have added Mantha right away after the trade for the upside. If you were slow to pull the trigger, odds are somebody else in your league already grabbed him, but go check. He's still available in about 25% of leagues and he needs to be owned everywhere, especially with Washington playing the Sabres tonight. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Jake Guentzel was on an absolute tear before he suffered a concussion after a hit from Rasmus Ristolainen. He was owned by most of Razzball Nation as we got on top of it before Guentzel broke out. Thankfully, Guentzel recovered quickly and returned on Friday night. He scored a goal on three shots in his return and then repeated that performance on Sunday. The Penguins have a decent schedule this week with four games, including a back to back on Saturday and Sunday to close the regular season. You can wait a day since the Pens don't play tonight but I'd look to grab Guentzel again if you cut him when he went down. The minutes and role are right back to where they were pre-concussion so I'm looking for Guentzel to finish the season strong before he contributes to a potential playoff run for Pittsburgh. Here's what else happened on the penultimate weekend of the season:
I think most fantasy hockey players would agree that Antti Raanta is worth streaming every time he gets the start. The problem has been that Raanta rarely plays because he's behind one of the best goalies in the world, Henrik Lundqvist. A healthy Lundqvist never sat three games in a row while healthy. Until this weekend. After a game on Thursday, Vigneault turned to Raanta again and he posted a 26 save shutout in the 1-0 win over his former team in Chicago. To the surprise of everyone, Raanta started again on Sunday and posted another shutout, this time an easy 5-0 win over the Devils in which Raanta posted 19 saves. If you streamed Raanta on Sunday, hold him until Tuesday to see if he gets another game. This certainly isn't going to last, this is Lundqvist's team, but ride the hot wave while you can. At the least, Raanta is a must-stream every time he gets the nod. Let's take a look at everything else that happened over the weekend:
Goalies can be notoriously difficult to rank and project for accurately. I give each starter projections but I might not bother trying to predict what kind of numbers a backup is going to offer unless I have reason to believe that they're going to play enough to be worth owning. Most of the time, backups aren't, but there have been some gems in the understudy group in recent years. Cam Talbot's stellar work behind Henrik Lundqvist last year helped ease the pain of the wounds Jimmy Howard's 2014 campaign left me. Damnit, Howie! At any rate, Chad Johnson filling in for Tuukka Rask showed similar value. For the most part, though, backups are backups and largely worthless without a starter getting injured. Then we have the always wonderful goalie committees. Is there anything worse than goalie by committee? Yes, yes there is, but for the purposes of this post, no, no there is not. The Hurricanes look to provide a buttload of frustration for anyone willing to draft their way into that sad state of affairs again in 2015 with Anton Khudobin set for a bit of a regression and Cam Ward being, well, Cam Ward. On the flip side the duos of Brian Elliot and Jake Allen in St. Louis and Frederik Andersen and stud rookie John Gibson where if either guy is asked to go 60 starts their season would end up bleh, but limit them to around 40 starts a piece and they stay healthy and rested, the numbers stay sexy, and you stay happy with a cheap no. 2 tender. Anyhooze, lets get to the meat o' the matter, Razzball's 2014-2015 Fantasy Hockey Goalie Rankings: