Jeff Skinner was off to a slow start with the Sabres going pointless in his first four games. That said, having watched all of the games, he was generating plenty of chances and it was only a matter of time. That time was on Saturday, as Skinner did all of the work on Rasmus Dahlin's first career goal getting his first point as a Sabre, and he followed that up with a smooth backhander in the third period for his first goal. Yes, Skinner played only 13 minutes in this game, but I expect him to settle in the 17-18 minute range as the season progresses. Other players had bigger games on Saturday, but I wanted to highlight Skinner for two reasons. One, if you own him, do not panic and hold onto him. Two, if you don't, you might be able to buy low, and I think it's a great opportunity to get a 3 time 30 goal scorer on the relative cheap. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
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:
There are probably a dozen different players who I could give this lede to. There were a bunch of people who hit the 3 point challenge, my love affair for the Jetse guys is paying off and there were also some shutouts. I decided to take a look at somebody who generates some talk in the comments, Max Domi. Domi finally broke and in a big way with a goal and two assists and two shots. It was shockingly his first goal of the season but he now has 9 assists in 12 games, including 8 in the last 8 games. The shots have slightly increased, not as much as I hoped, but with almost a penalty minute per game as well, he's easily a top 100 player at this point. Domi's minutes are a bit inconsistent but with how thin the Coyotes roster, I expect them to go up as the season progresses. Let's take a look at what else happened around the league the last two nights.
Just like the Devils who I wrote about yesterday, the Carolina Hurricanes overachieved quite a bit reaching 86 points. Young defensemen really stepped up giving the Canes one of the best young bluelines in the league. They'll need better goaltending this season and the young forwards to now take that step to make the push into the playoffs. While I don't think they get there because I don't trust either goalie (Spoiler!), they are a team that could surprise. Let's take a look at how their roster is shaping up along with their top 5 prospects.
It's been quite a while since we've seen a shutout streak like the Blues are on. On Friday, Brian Elliott had one of the easiest shutouts of the season making 15 saves in the 4-0 win over the Canucks. The next day, Jake Allen recorded the fourth consecutive Blues shutout, stopping all 32 Capitals shots in the 4-0 win. Both have been outstanding this season and should be started every game the rest of the way. Get them in your lineup every time they start; the Blues will be highly motivated down the stretch to get home ice throughout the Western Conference Playoffs. 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?