Ben Bishop didn’t give up a goal for three straight games and the first period in Thursday’s game. Then, something sadly familiar happened: he was injured. Bishop left Thursday’s game against the Wild with Anton Khudobin playing in relief. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Hey folks! We're chugging right along with team previews, moving over to the Central and checking in on the Yotes, the Hawks, the Avs, and the Stars this time around. If you missed out on the Pacific installments, you can find them both right here:
Prince Igor Shesterkin had one of the easiest games of his life on Thursday, recording a 16 save shutout in the 4-0 win over the Devils. The debate I have is where he should be ranked in dynasties. Vasilevskiy is clearly #1 still, but could be Igor be #2 overall? With Hart having a brutal season, there aren't many other candidates. Hellebuyck definitely deserves discussion, but it appears that Shesterkin has played his way into being a top 3 dynasty goalie. The Rangers are coming on strong right now, and it should only get better going forward as their young players develop. Amazingly, the Rangers could have another incredible run in net after King Henrik dominated for almost 15 years. Let's take a look at what else happened on Thursday night:
It's time to get rolling with my fantasy hockey rankings. Instead of starting with my top 10 and going from there, I'm going to be starting with goaltenders today, defensemen Tuesday, and then forwards and my top 200 by the end of the week. I will be ranking the guys in order, but I am putting more focus on tiers than the exact rankings of players. I will be writing in detail about guys that I aggressive with in my rankings, either because I like them a lot or also don't want anything to do with them. Let's get to it!
Tony DeAngelo grew up in New Jersey and on Thursday, he had the best game of his career against the Devils. DeAngelo scored a hat trick on seven shots while adding two assists to have the best game of the NHL season by a defenseman. In the preseason, I ranked DeAngelo 32nd at defensemen, way above consensus. Here's what I said: "Alright, somebody I really like! Now, that’s not to say there’s concern here with DeAngelo. One, he’s still unsigned and I’m not sure if a deal gets done sooner than later. Two, it’s possible that Fox takes his PP time. I think the two play together on PP2 but we’ll have to wait and see. However, if DeAngelo is playing on opening night getting PP2 time, he could get 40 points and 100 PIM. Yes, the shot rate is slightly below average, but it’s extremely difficult to get that out of anyone on the blue line. You won’t need to take him this early, but I’m targeting DeAngelo because he fits so many team builds." And that's me quoting me copying what Grey does! Well, I may have overshot the PIM, but I was way under on the points. DeAngelo now has 11+25 in 42 games and he worked his shot rate up to over two per game, a solid number for a defenseman. Hopefully you guys checked out my preseason rankings and you own DeAngelo everywhere because I'm not expecting a drop off given the style the Rangers play. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Loyal Razzballers know that I've been a big fan of Juuse Saros for a while. He's had a tough start to this season, but I still believe in the player long term. Saros was less than two minutes from a shutout on Tuesday, making 24 saves on 25 shots in the 2-1 win over the Sharks. His overall numbers are still poor, but the Predators have started to tighten up defensively. Saros is still only 24 years old and is one of the best long term goaltending prospects. Saros is starting to see even more action starting five of the last eight games. There's real upside here so if you need goaltending help, I'd grab him now. Additionally, I would try to get him in a dynasty league before he boosts his value back up. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Joel Quenneville saw that Sergei Bobrovsky was rounding into form on Saturday after a strong performance against his old team. He rewarded him by starting him on Sunday despite being the second game in as many days. Bob delivered once again. After making 33 saves in the 4-1 win over Columbus, Bobrovsky stopped 30 of 31 shots in the 5-1 win over the Sharks. Yes, the season has been worst case scenario to this point for Bob. However, there's still plenty of time to turn it around and I think we see it. Sure, maybe he won't be the top 5 goalie he's been in the past, I can almost guarantee that. However, he could end up being a #1 again and for that reason alone, he's a great trade target. Over the rest of this month, he plays Tampa twice and Boston, with some decent offenses and poor ones mixed in. However, look at this January schedule: OTT, BUF, PIT, ARZ, VAN, DET, MIN, CHI. Not exactly a murderer's row. In fact, they don't even play Tampa again after this month. If I owned Bob, which I do, I'm being patient because I think it's going to turn around. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
We've seen this story before. Last year, upper management called out Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin for poor play. This year, it was Jim Montgomery. Benn had one goal through 20 games, but he now has three over the last two games. Benn scored two goals and an assist with five shots and two PIM in the 6-1 win over the Canucks. This came after a goal and an assist on four shots against the Oilers. He wasn't going to shoot 2% forever, but Benn did not look good over the first six weeks of the season. That said, we've seen a big hot streak from him before so there is hope he can do it again. The schedule looks fairly good over the short term so I'm expecting Benn to turn this nice stretch into a hot streak. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
The gap between Brad Marchand and the rest of the league right now for fantasy hockey is incredible. Marchand scored five points on Monday, tallying two goals and three assists and a +4 rating. It's nothing new, but the first line in Boston has managed to find a way to get even better. Marchand is crushing every category with 10+18 in 15 games with a +13 rating, 28 PIM and 41 SOG. He's as good of a bet as any to finish as the #1 player in fantasy this season. Honestly, he'd be my pick as long as he avoids a lengthy suspension. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
The last lottery pick for the Washington Capitals has really come into his own. Jakub Vrana had an incredible weekend, starting with two goals on eight shots against the Sabres. He followed it up with a hat trick on five shots against the Flames on Sunday. That brings Vrana to 9+5 in 16 games with just under three shots per game. He's a main stay on the second line and second power play unit, so the question is whether or not he's a hold. For now, I lean towards yes. I don't think it'll last all season, but Vrana is playing excellent hockey right now and I want to take advantage of it. The 23 year old has made a jump in every season of his career and looks to be down that path again. Given that he had 24+23 last season, another slight improvement will get right right onto the fringe. Vrana isn't an automatic add given that Washington has only two games this week, but I'm holding onto him while Vrana has his foot on the accelerator. Let's take a look at what else happened this weekend:
We're at the end of individual rankings! Almost 15,000 words later, we've ranked the top 100 forwards and 40 defensemen. Now, we conclude that with my goaltending rankings. I'm going to start by talking about my goaltending strategy for drafts, then split the goalies into tiers. I'm not going to go in-depth on every goalie, just the ones that I feel are worth talking about, mostly because I'm higher or lower on somebody. The reason I don't want to go very in-depth on every goalie is that the variance on goaltending from season to season is massive. In other words, even the best goalies have poor seasons from time to time, and guys will come out of nowhere to have excellent seasons. Did anyone know who Jordan Binnington was a year ago? The public certainly did not. Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss were afterthoughts for most. Darcy Kuemper was the backup and wasn't drafted outside of deep leagues. Those goalies were the 3rd-6th ranked goalies at the end of the season. This is why I never draft goalies in the first two rounds, and never more than one in the first 7-8 rounds. If you like to have one presumed top end goalie, that's fine, go for it in the 4th-5th rounds if they're still there. Just do not reach, because the range of outcomes in goalies is incredibly wide, while forwards and defensemen are much more certain. Any other questions on this, let me know in the comments section below. Here are my tiers:
Hey guys! Over the next month, I will be taking a look at each team’s players to watch out for going into the 2019-20 fantasy hockey season. This analysis features everything from surefire studs, to sleepers, to streamers, deeper league holds, even to rookie-eligible prospects that may make an appearance at some point this season. Please let me know if you guys enjoy this type of material! Reminder that the stat totals are from last season. Last year my previews went alphabetically, but this year we’re going to go division-by-division, starting with the top team. On our 12th stop on the 31 in 31 tour, we’re heading South, wayyyyy South to look at the Dallas Stars! With a great team defence and consistently great goaltending, the Stars found themselves a goal away from playing in the WCF. With their secondary scoring questions answered and a few loose ends tied, this team is looking like an absolute wagon in this log-jam of a Central.