The Oilers are peaking at the right time, as they've gone from battling for a playoff spot to battling for the Pacific Division. It started with a 5-4 win over the Coyotes on Monday, before a dominating 7-4 win over the Golden Knights on Tuesday. The man leading the way was Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who continued his career season. RNH had a goal and an assist on Monday, before following that up with a goal and four assists with two shots against Vegas. That brings RNH up to a whopping 96 points (35+61), blowing away his previous career high of 69 points. 96, much nicer than 69. McDavid and Draisaitl justifiably get most of the attention surrounding the Oilers, but the impact that RNH has made this season can't be understated. Adding a third 100+ point player to the mix is insane, and Edmonton has as good of a set of forwards as there is in the league. They're a bit light on games the rest of the way, but their schedule is among the softest in the league, so look for the studs to continue to crush. As for where RNH will rank next season, that's an extremely difficult question to answer. I have to expect some regression, but how much? Given the mediocre shot rate, I assume I'll have RNH towards the bottom of the top 50? If he's only a PPG guy, there's plenty of value but it would be a bit underwhelming compared to other guys in his range i.e. his floor is lower. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
This year couldn't be going any worse for the Columbus Blue Jackets. A horrible record, terrible injuries to key players, and dreadful goaltending have sunk them from the beginning. Now that they're in the Bedard race, their fans probably aren't even happy that they won on Tuesday night. Their prize free agent signing, Johnny Gaudreau, dominated the game with two goals and three assists, plus six shots on goal. That brings him up to 62 points in 64 games, a far cry from last season, but not a complete disaster. The question isn't about what to expect from Gaudreau for the rest of this season, but going forward. He turns 30 in the summer, but I'm not expecting drop off in the short term. Can he approach 100 points again? I have my doubts, but if Columbus is lucky enough to get Bedard, it can't be ruled out. Bedard would be the perfect compliment, and Fantilli wouldn't be a bad consolation prize. I was lower on Gaudreau than consensus so I don't have any of him this year, but there's always a chance that with his talent, he makes a huge difference over the last month. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Another big domino fell in the trade market on Thursday with Vladimir Tarasenko joining the Russian contingent in Manhattan. The Rangers also received Niko Mikkola, while giving up Sammy Blais, Hunter Skinner, a first round pick in 2023, and a conditional fourth round pick in 2024 that will almost certainly turn into a third (the Rangers need to make the playoffs for that to happen). The first round pick that the Blues get will be the lesser of the New York and Dallas first round picks. I'm a big fan of this move for the Rangers. A late round first for a quality rental is a solid price, they get to dump Blais in the deal, Skinner isn't much of a prospect, and they get some blueline depth with Mikkola. Tarasenko gets a boost in this trade, and potentially a big one. He'll almost certainly go on the opposite wing of Panarin, and if Zibanejad stays at center with Panarin, that's a great spot to be in. The big question is whether Tarasenko goes on the vaunted first power play unit in Trocheck's place. It's a different position than he's used to playing on the power play, but Trocheck isn't exactly lighting the world on fire. Trocheck would be a big loser if Tarasenko does take that spot. We should get an answer on that tonight. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
The #1 name on most trade boards has been moved and it's still January! Razzball favorite Dr. Bo Horvat was shipped to the Islanders on Monday for a top 12 protected 1st round pick in the 2023 draft, Anthony Beauvillier, and Aatu Raty. With only six total games on the docket this week (four the past two nights), this gives me a chance to do a full breakdown on this trade. I'm going to look at the move from both sides before making some final conclusions. Let's get to it!
The Senators have been a disappointment this season despite their big forward acquisitions in the summer. Turns out that you can't get away with completely ignoring the blue line and being forced to give bad players big minutes. Anyways, we don't care about that for fantasy, we care about their scoring, and their top players have largely delivered. Claude Giroux had a great weekend, totaling three goals and two assists with ten shots over two games. Giroux is having his best goal scoring season since his monstrous 34 goal, 102 point season in 2017-18. Unsurprisingly, that season and this season are Giroux's two highest shooting percentages, but it seems a bit more sustainable in this environment in Ottawa. Even with an inconsistent PP1 role, Giroux has still played his way into being a bottom end hold in all formats. The one problem is that after Ottawa's game on Tuesday, they don't play again until February 11th. My biggest point here with bottom end holds over these bye weeks is that you need to know your league format and whether the waiver wire is strong enough that you can drop someone like Giroux to get more games. In head to head leagues, volume is king, so you can make a case after Tuesday that you can let him go for players with a bunch of games after the All-Star break. In roto, I would hold onto Giroux without hesitation. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
It feels like it's been forever since I've written daily notes. I guess being stuck inside due to a blizzard will do that. It was great to be able to watch the NHL on Tuesday night with a massive slate of games. He didn't have the biggest game of the day, but Erik Gustafsson can be a huge difference maker that impacts the vast majority of fantasy leagues. Gustafsson scored a goal and added a power play assist in the 4-0 win over the Rangers. This is notable because John Carlson is out "long term" after taking a puck to the face last Friday against Winnipeg. It seems like an eternity ago, but Gustafsson did have 60 points with Chicago four years ago with 18 coming on the PP. It's his top unit to run now, and the minutes have been decent even before Carlson's injury. The blocks are okay and the hits are below average, so in those formats he's still on the fringe, but without them, I think he's a no brainer hold. He's available in over 90% of leagues right now, so open another tab, put a claim in for Gustafsson, and then come back and see what else happened on Tuesday night!
There were a few choices for the lede today, but I’m going to go all in on Stackin’ The Kraken despite them lining up against a tough opponent in the Florida Panthers. Seattle is riding a 7 game winning streak and is 8-1-1 in its last 10 games. They don’t have a flashy superstar to write up but they’ve got a pretty cohesive group of players that are definitely getting results.
One of the leaders of said skater group is center Matty Beniers, (DK: $4,800). I had Beniers slotted in as one of our mid-value picks for today as early as Thursday afternoon, and he did not disappoint in that night’s matchup. The Kraken gave up 2 first period goals to the Caps Thursday night, but stormed back to tie it in the 3rd and won it on a Beniers goal just 7 seconds into OT. Taking a peek at some other picks today, you’ll see just how hot the west coast’s newest NHL addition has been.
The Panthers have won 11 in a row, and 14 of their past 15 games. There's been plenty of crazy games in this stretch that has them tied for the league lead in points. On Tuesday, they tied the game with less than four minutes left before they won it 20 seconds into overtime, and it was the usual suspects. Aleksander Barkov scored all three goals in the 3-2 OT win, with Jonathan Huberdeau assisting on all three goals. Barkov has a new career high in goals, 37, despite playing in only 63 games to this point. Additionally, Huberdeau now leads the league in points. Yes, that's correct, he leads the league in points. Both of them will be in the discussion to be first round picks in drafts next season. It's going to be great to see them in the playoffs, hopefully for longer than last time around. Let's see what else happened on Tuesday:
Who would have thought that a seven point game wouldn't get the opening? It would take something extravagant and that's what happened, with Jason Robertson scoring back-to-back hat tricks. R0bertson carried the Stars to victory on Friday scoring three on seven shots, including the overtime winner. He capped it off with an empty netter to seal the game against Minnesota on Sunday, totaling six shots and two PIM with his hat trick. That brings Robertson to a whopping 29+25 in 47 games and three shots per game. Robertson seemingly came out of nowhere last season to earn a second place finish in the Calder race. Now, the sky appears to be the limit. Robertson is still only 22 years old and has his center of the present and future already with him. It looks like the Stars have their new Benn and Seguin. They can only hope Hintz and Robertson reach that level, but it's not out of the realm of possibility. I don't think Robertson quite cracks the top 20 for the rest of the season and next year, but he's a slam dunk top 50 player. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Igor Shesterkin has been long anointed as "the next one." It turns out he's even better than I expected, and I have him at +1200 to win the Vezina. Shesterkin saved 36 of 37 shots in the 4-1 win over the Capitals on Thursday, losing his shutout with one minute left to an Ovechkin flubbed deflection. Let's face the facts. The Rangers are the good bad team. Yes, the power play is great, but they're a below average even strength team being propped up by how good Shesterkin. He's certainly the best goalie in dynasties, and for this season, it's a two man tier of Shesterkin and Vasilevskiy. If NHL players were in the Olympics, one of these guys would have been stuck backing up, probably Igor. Pretty absurd. Regardless, I'm not a first round pick goalie guy, but starting next season, I wouldn't be surprised if Igor stays in that territory for the next 5+ years. Let's take a look at the last two nights:
Yes, the Sabres are still a bad hockey team, but the good news for long suffering fans like me, is there are finally some signs of hope. One of the best signs is how well the first line has performed since Tuch returned from injury after the trade. They single-handedly won the game for the Sabres on Sunday against Montreal, and it started with their highest paid player. Jeff Skinner was left floundering on the fourth line or scratched by Ralph Kreuger last season because, well, Krueger had no clue about coaching hockey. Skinner had one of the games of the season on Sunday afternoon, scoring four goals and an assist on six shots in the 5-3 win over the Canadiens. That bring Skinner up to 20 goals with 14 assists in 45 games. Is he worth his massive contract? No, but he's proving once again that he's still a damn good hockey player. I've had him on the fringe for a while, but I feel good about holding him now. His shot rate is back over three per game on the season so that's plenty good enough given his contribution in points. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
One of the most popular names discussed in the trade market lately has been J.T. Miller. A big reason is because whoever trades for him would have him signed for next season as well. The main reason is because he's a damn good hockey player and he showed that on Thursday. Miller had a hat trick and an assist with five shots in the 5-1 win over the Jets. Miller is on pace for the best season of his career, which says a lot because he was over a point per game two seasons ago. There's no guarantee Vancouver moves him, but if he does, I'm hesitant to think it would help his trade value. If anything, I would expect it to hurt. He gets massive minutes that he might not get on his new team, including top power play time. I wouldn't necessarily sell high on him, especially two months from the deadline, but it's something to think about. Here's to hoping we don't have to worry about that. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights: