Today brings a nice 10 game slate with a lot of lopsided matchups and two marquee games. Let's get right into what we learned from the last two nights around the league and what to look forward to tonight: THREE THINGS WE LEARNED ON 3/27 AND 3/28 1) Connor McDavid is the best player in hockey. Okay, this isn't exactly groundbreaking, but it's worth bringing up that McDavid now has back to back 100+ point seasons at 21 years old, along with his first 40 goal season. It's sickening how good he is. Almost as sickening as his GM:
Now is the time of the year where we see college players decide to forgo their collegiate career and sign an entry level contract. There have been a bunch of players in recent years who have made an immediate impact, such as Chris Kreider and Brock Boeser. We could have another name to add to the list. Ryan Donato signed an ELC with Boston and had quite the NHL debut, scoring a goal and two assists with six shots playing almost 20 minutes.. With all of the graduates the Bruins have had over the last year, Donato is currently their #1 prospect (at least in my eyes). He was a great goal scorer at Harvard and did very well in the Olympics scoring five goals in five games. His shot is his best attribute but he's also a strong skater. I don't see superstar upside, but Donato can definitely become a top 6'er. He's a streamer for now depending on who he's with and how many minutes he's getting, but he's certainly a solid dynasty target. Donato played on the first power play unit and the second line on Monday, so here's to hoping that's what we get for the rest of the season, at least until Patrice Bergeron returns. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Hey, everyone. It’s been a busy couple weeks for me, with work at its most intense and a recent bout of the flu. I hope you are all securing playoff positions and building potent lineups for a championship push- for many, these next few weeks are critical. Advice comes in many shapes and forms, but here’s my extended-streamer column for the week of 2/12.
Gretzky, Lemieux, Forsberg, LaFontaine. That's the list of players in the last 30 seasons to have multiple five assist games in one season. Add Mathew Barzal to the list after Friday night. Barzal became the first rookie in 100 years to have three five point games in one season dishing five assists in the 7-6 win over the Red Wings. That puts Barzal over a point per game on the season and makes him the prohibitive favorite for the Calder (sorry Boeser). Our second podcast ever, which took place before last season, saw Reid and I hype up Barzal for dynasties. Regardless, he's blown away my expectations this season. Now, it's not all rosy for fantasy. The penalty minutes are low, but more importantly the shot rate is barely over two per game. On the other hand, he's 20 years old and is over a point per game, so it's hard to complain. There's a top 20 fantasy player in Barzal's future if he can get that shot rate up. Regardless, he'll be a borderline top 50 player next year solely for the points, and it's only going to get better from there. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Jake Guentzel started awfully slow this season after an outstanding playoff run for the Penguins last season. He's started to pick things up and had his best game to date on Monday, scoring two goals and an assist with six shots in the 5-4 OT win over the Flyers. That gives Guentzel six goals in his last six games, more than he had in his first 20 games combined. He's actually benefited quite a bit from Evgeni Malkin's injury as Guentzel took his spot on the first power play unit. That said, I'm hoping Malkin slides between Guentzel and Kessel on the second line when he returns which should really help Guentzel at even strength. Obviously he's a must own but here's to hoping Guentzel keeps building on this and pushes towards being the top 50-75 player that was expected from him after leading the Stanley Cup Playoffs in goals. Let's take a look at what else happened on Monday night:
The difference between Mark Scheifele being a first round fantasy pick and a middling to late second round pick comes down to his shot rate. He scored 32 goals last season but his 20% shooting percentage was due to regress. While the shots haven't been coming in, they did on Thursday and the goals were flowing. Scheifele scored a hat trick on four shots in the 5-2 win over the Stars. That brings him to 7 goals and 8 assists in 12 games, an excellent start for Scheifele. Still, I have to assume the goals are going to drop since he has only 23 SOG on the season. Scheifele should be a point per game regardless but again, shots are what we need for him to jump into superstar fantasy status. Let's take a look at what else happened around the league on Tuesday night:
Aleksander Barkov is in a dead heat with McJesus for the most time on ice per game as a forward in the NHL. Barkov has been making those minutes count in October and he continued to do so on Monday. Barkov finished the month with a bang scoring a goal and three assists with two shots against the Lightning. The bad news for Barkov is that his team was still electrocuted by the Lightning losing 8-5. The good news for us fantasy owners is that it doesn't affect us. Barkov has been outstanding and if these minutes last, a top 50 season is a near lock. Let's take a look at what else happened around the league on Monday night:
Reid and I talked about John Tavares extensively on Tuesday's podcast. We both saw him as a viable option for The Three Point Challenge but decided to go elsewhere since it's rare for someone to post consecutive three point games. Well, Tavares shoved it up both of our you-know-wheres! He scored a hat trick and added an assist in the 5-3 win over the Coyotes. All of a sudden, a slow start (3 points in 7 games) has been erased with Tavares at 10 points in 9 games. This is why we wait at least a month before we panic about players, especially studs like Tavares. Look for him to be his usual self going forward, which means being a top 20 forward. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It's the final countdown! This will close out my rankings following my Top 50, Top 100 and Top 150 posts. After the Top 200, there will be a revised list coming out later in the week updating for injuries and other moves and a separate post about some players I would target with my last pick or two. Let's get right to it!