It's been a long road to recovery for Artturi Lehkonen. With Big Val in the player assistance program, it couldn't have happened at a better time. After being eased back into the lineup, Lehkonen moved onto the top line the game before Tuesday night. While he went to the second line to open the game, Lehkonen blew up against the Capitals, scoring two goals and adding two assists putting five shots on goal in the 6-3 win. There's a few encouraging things here. One, Lehkonen was on the first power play unit. That alone is massive for his value. Additionally, it was Lehkonen, not Drouin, closing the game for the Avs, as Lehkonen scored an empty netter with a minute left from MacKinnon and Rantanen. Even in this role, Lehkonen received 18 minutes, which is plenty to succeed. This puts him right back on the fringe. Gun to head, I lean towards holding, but his schedule in the near term is heavy on busy days, so I see the case for leaving him as an elite streamer. Let's take a look at what else happened the last two nights:
Last season, Alex Lyon saved Florida by getting them into the playoffs until Bob returned from injury. While I'm not predicting a Stanley Cup run from the Red Wings, Lyon has saved somebody for the second straight season. The Red Wings were in a massive downward spiral, and Lyon has stepped in to get them back into the playoff picture. Lyon had a 30 save shutout in the 3-0 win over the Flyers on Thursday. He's won 12 of his 19 starts, and is currently sitting at a .920 save percentage. So why is he available in 70% of leagues? He's clearly a #2 goalie in 12'ers at the very least, and I'd argue that he's near the top end of #2's right now. If you need goaltending help and Lyon is available, consider it your lucky day and pick him up. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Hello everyone. Welcome to the sixteenth edition of JOT This Down! Keep the questions, comments, and concerns coming. I’ll be here all week to answer any and everything you may have.
It's been a disastrous season for the Wild, and it's hard to imagine them digging out of this hole. Monday was a lone bright spot, both for the team and their oldest player. The Wild beat the Islanders 5-0, with Marc-Andre Fleury posting a 21 save shutout. The win gave Fleury the second most wins in NHL history, passing Patrick Roy. It's been a very up and down career for Fleury. He was incredible in the 2008 playoffs getting Pittsburgh to the finals. His most iconic moment clinched the Cup the year after. There were a handful of years right after that where his poor play was the reason the Penguins were eliminated early in the playoffs. They won a Stanley Cup with him as the backup. He also saved them the next year when Murray struggled early in the playoffs to lead Pittsburgh to back-to-back cups. He carried Vegas to the Cup finals in their inaugural season. That's how I'm going to remember MAF. There were too many down years for him to be in that inner circle of all-time goalies, and his best generally wasn't among the current elite, as evidenced by him being a Vezina finalist once in 20 seasons. However, when he was at his best, it was incredible to watch, and that will put him in the Hockey Hall of Fame sooner than later. For this season, Gustavsson is back, so I expect them to split the games fairly evenly. He's a streamer in good matchups for now, but like most goalies, MAF can turn into a hold sooner than later, or be complete unusable. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It's not too often that we get a day in the NHL where all 32 teams play. On Saturday, we were treated to sixteen games spread out over the entire day and it did not disappoint. The Oilers set a franchise record with their 10th win in a row, the Avalanche came from 3-0 down to beat Toronto, and the Flyers snapped the Jets point streak, amongst other things. There were a lot of big performances along the way, but Connor Ingram's 38 save shutout was one of the highlights. So I was right about a Coyotes goalie being a top 15 goalie, I just failed to pick the backup who showed little in the NHL before this season, whoops! Arizona continues to stay right around the wild card spots, and Ingram is the biggest reason why. Don't be surprised if they ride him more in the second half if he can maintain anything close to this .919 sv%, assuming Vejmelka doesn't turn it around. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
It's not too often that an NHL record that's stood for over one hundred years gets broken. That happened on Wednesday night. Despite his role shrinking, Kris Letang had the period of a lifetime. Letang dished five assists in the second period in a seven minute span, becoming the first defenseman in NHL history to record five assists in a period. He finished the game with six assists, all at even strength to give him a +6 rating in the 7-0 win over the Islanders. Even with this game, Letang is far from the defenseman he used to be, partially due to age, and partially due to the arrival of Karlsson. He's under two shots per game, and has only three goals as a result. However, the assists are still very good, the hits and blocks are solid, and the PIM are much higher than they've been. He's the perfect #3/4 defenseman on most teams since he's hitting most of the categories and piling up assists.
It's safe to say that we've reached the point that nobody doubts Boston anymore. Their two top centers retired, and yet the team is chugging along at 16-4-3. Their new captain was the reason they won both games over the weekend. Brad Marchand scored the overtime winner against the Leafs on Saturday, his eighth shot on goal in the contest. He followed it up with a natural hat trick, scoring all three goals for the Bruins in their 3-1 win over the Blue Jackets. That gives Marchand 11+12 in 24 games, almost exactly a point per game. The big thing is his shot rate is at an all-time high. In my preseason rankings, I was uncertain on Marchand's ceiling, but speculated his shot rate could improve without Bergeron. He's at exactly 3.5 per game, and with his elite PIM as always, Marchand is still in the conversation for a top 20 player. At 35 years old, Marchand is showing no signs of slowing down. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Vincent Trocheck was off to an awful start this season with only four points in his first ten games with no positive signs. Well, Chytil went down injured, and that set Trocheck off on a resurgence. Trocheck had a goal and two assists with two shots in the 4-1 win over the Wild. That give Trocheck six points in his last three games, but more importantly, the playing time has skyrocketed. He played only 16:46 on Thursday because the game was in hand, but before that, Trocheck had topped 20 minutes in four of the last five games. Now, it hasn't been perfect. The shot rate is down quite a bit, and it hasn't changed that much with more playing time. I lean towards holding him again in all formats, but if you include SOG, Trocheck is on the very bottom end of holds towards the fringe. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Hello everyone. Welcome to the third edition of JOT This Down! Thank you to everyone who provided feedback in volume two. I really appreciate it. Keep the questions, comments, and concerns coming. I’ll be here all week to answer any and everything you may have.
Steve Yzerman can't ask for a better start from his big offseason swing. After his first game without a point as a Red Wing, Alex DeBrincat followed it up with a hat trick and an assist with five shots in Sunday's win over the Flames. That brings DeBrincat to a whopping eight goals and four assists in his first six games with Detroit. He's clicked with Dylan Larkin (two goals and three assists over two games) to give Detroit an elite first line. We've seen DeBrincat score 41 goals twice before playing with Kane, so it's not like this is completely out of nowhere. While this shooting percentage won't last, given how much Detroit is rolling the first line, I'm expecting career highs across the board for DeBrincat. There's a real chance Detroit plays its way into the playoff picture this season if the first line can win its matchups on a regular basis. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Obviously you guys know that I've gone out of order with my rankings, but I had to get my Top 200 out there for everybody's drafts. If you've missed it, you can see those rankings here. Today, I'm going to show you the method behind the madness of my forward rankings. Part one will be out today, part two will be out tomorrow. I'm going to try and get a bold predictions post out on Monday as well, and then the season will be underway. As a heads up, I am going to be in London from Thursday until Tuesday. I will probably only get to the site once per day, but I will be sure to answer everybody's questions on all posts when I get the chance. Thanks for your understanding. And with that, the first half of my forward rankings.
We've reached the final three weeks of the season, with every team having 8-10 remaining games. Unlike last season, there are plenty of races to be decided, both for the playoffs and the lottery odds, which makes things much more interesting. In this post, I'm going to give some additional schedule info to pair with the Playoff Manifesto, along with some injury news. This is a reminder that now is not the time to hold anybody that is going to miss multiple games. Volume is everything, and you can't afford to hold anyone missing games. Two games from say, Marchand, isn't as good as four games from someone like Verhaeghe. Be aggressive. Anyways, I'll start with the injuries before looking at the schedule. Let's get to it!