One of my favorite late round gambles on the blue line this season was Erik Gustafsson. Gustafsson played 35 games last season and has 16 points and two shots per game. That doesn't sound great, but that was with zero power play time and limited minutes. Keith and Seabrook were falling off a cliff giving Gustafsson prime opportunity. He took advantage of it and then some. Gustafsson dished three assists on Monday night while putting a shot on goal and adding 4 PIM. That brings Gustafsson up to a whopping 17+42 with 34 PIM and almost exactly two shots per game. That's with 18 STP, a number which could be higher if he played on PP1 all year. So what do we make of Gustafsson for next season? Well, it's early to say. I think these numbers are mostly sustainable as long as Chicago doesn't add a PP specialist in the offseason. I don't expect them to with the young guys they have coming, especially Jokiharju, but there's always a chance. Gustafsson looks like he'll be a solid #3 next season, possibly a bottom end #2. The goals will probably come down a bit, but 40+ assists should be a near lock with Chicago's style and strong PP, and he's average in PIM and shot rate. If he's going to be better, it's because he takes a few more shots. Let's take a look at what else happened on Monday night:
It's nothing new when Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler have big games, and both managed to do so twice this weekend. In Friday's 5-2 win over the Avalanche, Wheeler registered a point on all five goals, going 1+4, while Scheifele scored a goal and two assists with three shots. They followed that up with Wheeler getting two more assists and Scheifele posting a 2+1 game. Wheeler already has 20 assists in 16 games to go with 19 PIM and 3 goals, while Scheifele is up to 9+10 with 20 PIM. Wheeler was a borderline first round pick that I had ranked as a high second rounder, while Scheifele was more 2nd/3rd range. With his shot rate at exactly 2.5 per game right now, that solidifies him as a second round value. Remember when ESPN had him ranked in the 60s? Hilarious. These two should continue to put up points no matter the opposition. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
I generally don't like to lead posts about obvious must-holds, but a five point game deserves recognition. Brayden Point went off on Tuesday night scoring a goal and dishing four assists. That brings him to a whopping 7+7 in 11 games. He's on the lethal top power play unit meaning the 22 year old looks like he can take another jump from last season's breakout. The shot rate will determine just how good Point will be for fantasy, but he looks the part of a borderline top 50 guy for the foreseeable future. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
He won't win the Hart, but Anze Kopitar's season should not go unnoticed. He had his best game of the season scoring four goals on seven shots in the 7-1 win over the Avalanche. That brings Kopitar to 33 goals and 53 assists in 75 games. That's a new career high in assists and points, and goals may not be too far behind. Not so bad for a guy people were worried about after last season's 52 points. He'll never be in the top tier of fantasy players because of the lack of PIM and average shot rate, but Kopitar has reestablished himself as a fringe top 25 guy. Here's to hoping he keeps it rolling over the last two weeks. Let's take a look at what else happened on Thursday night:
A season after making the Stanley Cup finals, the Tampa Bay Lightning put up a valiant effort in their attempt to return. Unfortunately, they ran into the buzzsaw that was the Pittsburgh Penguins and fell in the Conference Finals. Nevertheless, I think that last season was a rousing success for them. They didn't have Steven Stamkos throughout the playoffs due to a blood clot and now they have him locked up for 8 more seasons at a very good price. The emergence of Jonathan Drouin following a holdout also brings optimism for a return to the Cup finals. They still have some work to do figuring out parts of the roster but they're positioned to be a contender for years to come. As expected with a contender, there are plenty of fantasy options to choose from so let's take a look!
I went to sleep a little early last night and decided to do the post this morning. Having a two-week old baby messes with your sleep schedule so you gotta take it when you can. Please, blog, may I have some more?
I had high hopes for Jonas Hiller this year. Unfortunately those hopes have been shot down like a French plane over Germany. If there was ever a situation for a Goalie to turn things around this start against Nashville was it. Please, blog, may I have some more?