After his remarkable first half, it looked like Patrick Kane reaching 100 points was a formality. Then he struggled mightily in the second half, enough to the point where he needed 6 points in the last 5 games to get there. Kane got there with time to spare in style, scoring a goal and an assist with five shots on Friday and followed it up with three goals and an assist with four shots on Sunday. He's the overwhelming favorite for the Hart Trophy now and now has an outside shot of the Richard Trophy. As for where he's ranked for next season, I will probably have Kane ranked #3 or #4 overall. Despite the amazing year, Kane is more of the second half player where he was closer to a point per game than the first half monster. Here's what I saw over the weekend:
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:
Brad Marchand is really good at his job. He looks like a troll, plays like a troll by starting things while teetering on the edge of dirty and now, he’s trolling us all with his offensive prowess. Please, blog, may I have some more?
There were 12 games in the NHL last night and there was an insane amount of goals. Two games had 11 goals, three had 7 or more and another bunch had 5+. The goalie that had the only shutout of the night was Martin Jones, who arguably had the hardest matchup in the league, stopped all 33 shots he faced in Chicago. In his first season, Jones has been a workhorse (only 5 goalies have started more games) and has put up solid stats across the board, especially wins. He's a big reason why the Sharks are in prime position to get back into the playoffs after one season out. I'm not a huge fan of Jones going forward but he's still a very good #2 goalie going forward. Here's what else happened in an action packed night around the league:
Garret Sparks made Toronto Maple Leafs history on Monday night, becoming the first goalie in franchise history to get a shutout in his NHL debut. The 22 year old former 7th round pick got the nod with James Reimer injured and Jonathan Bernier struggling and he made Mike Babcock look like a genius stopping all 24 shots he faced. Sparks won't be up on the Leafs long unless Reimer's injury becomes a long term issue but he could be a solid streamer Wednesday at the Jets if Babcock goes back to him. We've seen rookie goalies get hot out of nowhere before, most notably Andrew Hammond last year. Here's what else I saw in the four games on Monday night:
Long term hockey relationships can be the source of fantasy gold. Consider the illustrious history of such legendary lovebirds as Gretzky-Kurri, Hull-Mikita, Hull-Oates (yes, “Hull & Oates”), Trottier-Bossy, Lemieux-Jagr, Lindros-Leclair, and those-were-the-days when Crosby-Malkin, and Toews-Kane were linemates. The less romanticially-inclined out there might simply call them ‘Pairings’. Call them what you will, when you see chemistry like that on the ice, it’s something to behold. And when you successfully draft one of these duos to your fantasy team, it feels like an absolute coup, doesn’t it? You sit there basking in your 3rd round glory: “I’ve got Getzlaf AND Perry!” and dreaming of doubling up your point total on almost every Anaheim goal this season. But in a deep redraft or dynasty league, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get both, even with your first two picks. So what’s a deep leaguer to do? For every Gretzky to Kurri, there has always been that third wheel, catapulted into short term fantasy relevance as long as they stay on that line. Correctly identify the answer to that trivia question and you’ve got yourself a bona fide sleeper, and maybe even a keeper. So who are the candidates a quarter-way into the season?
Out of all players, Devan Dubnyk was on the most fantasy hockey championship teams last season. Dubnyk went from waiver wire fodder to start the season to arguably the best goalie in the league once he went to Minnesota. He started off slow this season in the percentages while accumulating wins but has started to turn things around, including a 23 save shutout against the Predators on Saturday. His numbers are starting to improve and should only get better behind a strong Wild team. He won't approach last year's totals, those are completely unsustainable, but he should still push towards being a top 10 goalie come the end of the season. Here's what else happened on an action packed weekend:
Hey guys! With the short three game slate yesterday, I'm going to change things up for today. I will recap those games in the Friday night post. I was getting a lot of feedback in the comments that people like the advanced stats included so I'm going to take a look at some stats for the first three weeks of the season, both from a team perspective and individual players. I will give definitions for the stats, show who ranks well or poorly and what that means going forward. For example, James Van Riemsdyk has the 4th best Corsi For percentage in the entire NHL at 62.1%. That means when JVR is on the ice, Toronto has 62.1% of the total shots taken. Obviously, league average is 50%. Going forward, this means that JVR is dominating the game when he is on the ice and along with the opportunity to score a ton of points, his plus-minus will probably be better than expected in the preseason. He's an excellent trade target because Mike Babcock is putting him in a great position to succeed. Now, 10 games isn't a great sample size to say that all of these things are going to hold but they should be a solid indicator of things to come. These stats are coming from HockeyAnalysis and War on Ice. Let's dive in and take a further look!
Hello all! I'm back with the next addition of my rankings getting us through the top 75 overall players. At this point in the draft, you should still be targeting best player available. While I'm a proponent of waiting on goalies, unless your entire league is reaching for goalies, you're probably best off getting one goalie at some point in the top 75. At this part of the draft, we're reaching the end of the goalies who could put up an elite season that can carry you to fantasy glory. If your league is reaching for goalies, don't panic. Simply keep taking the top skaters available and take multiple goalies later on hoping someone takes the next step in their game. In this part of the draft, we are looking at a ton of young players with upside who could find themselves in the top 50 next season, especially the wunderkind leading off the list. Let's get to it!
So you’ve survived the first round of the playoffs and you’re feeling good, but the game isn’t over so don’t slack now. Last week I touched on a few key bits of strategy to help you win your league and promised an update on one of the most important aspects to victory in the playoffs, tracking games remaining for all 30 teams. Since its Monday it should really be “games this week” but you mean what I know. There are a good amount of teams with four games this week, so that’s good, but some key players like Devan Dubnyk and the Wild only get a couple this week, so it’s as important as ever to keep your eyes on the schedule and make sure your key players aren’t left putting up goose eggs on off nights when you need them the most. Anyway, you know I’ve got your back so I won’t waste more time with a bunch of blah blah hoopla, you’ve got lineups to set and moves to make, so without further adieu he’s the breakdown for games remaining this week: Games By Team For The Week of March 30 - April 5: 4 Games– Washington, Tampa Bay, Vancouver, St. Louis, Colorado, Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Detroit, Buffalo, Chicago, Florida, Edmonton. 3 Games– Calgary, Dallas, Carolina, New Jersey, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Columbus, Arizona, San Jose, New York Rangers, Boston. 2 Games– Minnesota, Anaheim, Winnipeg, New York Islanders, Nashville. I’ll update this list halfway through the week and be back again next Monday with another reminder. Good luck this week! Also, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey recently: