Since Dougie Hamilton went down with a broken jaw, the Devils have been in a massive tailspin. It got much worse over the last two nights as Toronto beat them 6-4 and 7-1 going into the All-Star Break. The hope is that Hamilton will be back after the break, and it's obvious that they need him on the blue line. Toronto was led by Mitch Marner, who had three goals and four assists with nine shots between the top games. Marner has multiple points in six of his last seven games, including a goal in all seven games. I wrote a couple weeks ago that Marner was about to get hot and get past the point per game mark, but he did it much faster than I anticipated. It helps that he moved to the top line again, as Auston Matthews had four goals and two assists between the two games. When these two are clicking, it's as dangerous of a combo that there is in the league. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Those of you that have been patient holding Evander Kane for almost four months were rewarded on Saturday night. Kane played his first game of the season with the Oilers and went right on McDavid's wing. Kane scored in the first period and finished with three shots in the 7-2 win over the Canadiens. He's still available in 50% of ESPN leagues and very close to that on other sites. Kane is a must own immediately, and if you use FAAB, you should bid a large amount of your budget. Yes, he could do something stupid and be banished, but the upside is too high for him to be on waivers. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
The Winnipeg first line did all of the scoring for the Jets over the weekend, totaling six goals between Friday and Sunday. Nikolaj Ehlers contributed to all six goals, dishing two assists on Friday while scoring a goal and three assists on Sunday. With nine shots between the two games, Ehlers is over four shots per game and inching closer to a point per game again. Not bad considering he has the worst shooting percentage he's had since his rookie season. Loyal Razzballers know how much I like Ehlers. There could be additional upside with Maurice gone because for whatever reason, he refused to use Ehlers on the first power play unit. Hopefully that changes because he clearly deserves to be there and we could see new career highs as an effect. Obviously Ehlers should be owned in all formats. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend, a light slate of games due to all of the postponements. As noted on Friday, I won't be listing every player that goes on the COVID list or every postponement because it's changing rapidly, but I'll note where it's making an impact on lines, PP units, etc.
Since returning from injury, David Krecji has been on a tear. That continued on Saturday with two goals on five shots in the win against the Wild. That brings him up to 4+11 in 17 games this season. We know the deal with Krejci by now. He is always on the fringe of holding and streaming because of his shot rate. Right now, the shot rate is still poor with 28 SOG in 17 games. However, he's +15 and 15 points in 17 games is too good to ignore. Obviously it can change, but for now, I'm holding Krejci since he has four games in six nights, including a back to back on tuesday and Wednesday this week. It's hard to ask for better opponents to play than Ottawa, the Rangers, and Montreal twice. It's not going to be exciting, but Krejci's on the first power play and that puts him over the edge. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Being the stand alone game on Thursday afternoon, I was watching the Jets-Panthers game in Finland closely. For the first half of the game, Patrik Laine looked awful. He was so bad that he didn't even get 4 minutes of ice time in the first period. Well, Laine ended up making the natives who came to watch him happy, as he ended up scoring a hat trick on seven shots. That matched his total from the first 12 games of the season. Obviously I wasn't panicking about Laine, but my hopes that his ice time would take a nice jump this season isn't looking promising. There's still plenty of time, and I wouldn't be surprised if Laine goes on a run where he scored 9 goals in 10 games. His floor is just a bit lower than I hoped because the Jets are so good that Maurice doesn't have to give him big minutes. I said he would score 50 in the preseason, and the shot rate has jumped to the point where it's possible if he can get his time on ice back up. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It's Christmas in February! I'm going to hit on all of the trades that I haven't discussed to this point and then update this post with every trade that takes place today. These are all my instant thoughts from both a real life and fantasy perspective. Let's get right to it!
The Tampa Bay Lightning head into the 2017-18 season looking to get back into the playoffs following an extremely disappointing 2016-17. After two deep runs in the playoffs, the Lightning couldn't overcome a plethora of injuries, causing them to miss the playoffs by a single point. Picking them to make the Stanley Cup Finals in the presesason didn't work out so well for me. Anyways, a healthy team should have no problem making the playoffs again but some puzzling offseason moves leave me a bit concerned of their overall upside. From a fantasy perspective, Tampa has their usual set of elite options with some new supplemental pieces. Additionally, we finally have a clear goaltending situation with Andrei Vasilevskiy, one of my favorite targets, getting full time duties. Let's take a look at what Tampa Bay is working with:
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!