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!
Mats Zuccarello has gone through three separate streaks this season. He started the season on fire, he had a cold streak, and now he's on a heater again. Zuccarello started off the weekend with a hat trick and an assist against the Blackhawks, before adding a goal and an assist against the Senators. That brings Zucc's point streak up to ten games. He's well over a point per game, and pushing towards three shots per game. The 35 year old has shown no signs of slowing down, being rejuvenated playing with Kaprizov. Zuccarello is starting to erase his plus-minus hole as well. Even including the plus-minus, Zuccarello has been a top 50 player, and should continue to be so. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
What better way to become the third player ever to 800 goals than to score a hat trick? Alex Ovechkin did just that on Tuesday, scoring three times and adding an assist against the Chicago Blackhawks. He's only one goal behind Gordie Howe for second all-time, and then the real chase towards Gretzky starts. Ovechkin already has 20 goals this season in 31 games, a mere 53 goal pace for the 37 year old. He's over four shots per game, and while the plus-minus is disappointing, it's starting to turn around a bit. My love for Ovechkin is well known in these parts, so I don't need to belabor the point, but I can't wait for the greatest goal scorer ever to push towards 895. Here's to hoping he keeps battling father time and gives hockey fans a great chase. Let's see what else happened over the last two nights:
Colorado has been decimated by injuries at a level we've never seen before. The return of Valeri Nichushkin makes him their second healthy top six forward. Luckily for them, Mikko Rantanen put the team on his back on Sunday. After scoring Colorado's only goal against the Rangers on Friday, Rantanen scored all three goals for Colorado on Sunday, tying the game with 7.1 seconds left before winning the game in overtime. Quietly, Rantanen is up to 19 goals on the season, playing at a higher point pace than his monster 2021-22. The shot rate is down a bit so his goal rate is a bit unsustainable, but hopefully the shots tick back up without MacKinnon. Regardless, Rantanen has cemented himself as a top 10 fantasy hockey player. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
With a strange schedule this week due to Thanksgiving in the United States, I'm going to be back on Tuesday recapping tonight's action. I know it's been a bit for daily notes, but managing through this snowstorm in Buffalo has taken up a lot of time. As a result, I'm going to change things up and talk about one player on each team that is changing my opinion about them for fantasy, for better or worse. Let me know in the comments section if you like this type of post (or if you don't, speak the truth) so I know going forward. Let's get to it! Things couldn't be going worse for John Klingberg with the Ducks. The team signed him in order to help out in the early part of the season and probably trade him at the deadline for assets. Instead, he hasn't helped at all, and is even off the first power play unit now. The shot rate is dreadful, as is the plus-minus. You can still hold for upside later in the year, but he's no longer must-own in 12'ers and even 10'ers.
Mikhail Sergachev had the game of the weekend, scoring two goals and two assists on three shots in the 6-3 win over the Capitals. However, I was starting this post with Sergachev after watching the first ten minutes of the game. Sergachev moved to the first power play unit and immediately delivered, with one goal and one primary assist coming there. That is a massive boon to his value. Whether it lasts, who is to say? I would bet against it staying that way for the whole season, which is why I wouldn't panic if I owned Victor Hedman. However, in the short term, this is enough to make Sergachev a #2 defenseman in a 12 man league, with upside to be a #1. Getting to feed Stamkos and Kucherov for shots over and over again is a godsend to fantasy value. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
The Canucks have been showing signs of life lately, especially offensively. Right now, there's no better cure for early season woes than going against the Ducks. On Thursday, Vancouver scored eight goals, and their big offseason acquisition led the way. Andrei Kuzmenko had a hat trick and an assist, giving him eight points in his last four games. He's found great chemistry with Pettersson (more on him later) and Kuzmenko has kept his spot on the first power play unit. He's on the fringe, but for now, I would definitely hold while he's this hot. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
The Sabres got off to a hot start this season despite their top line struggling to get on the scoresheet. On Saturday, they started the turnaround against the Blackhawks, but that game paled in comparison to what they did on Monday. Against the Red Wings, the Sabres scored eight goals, led by their $50 million man, Tage Thompson. Thompson had the game of the early season, scoring three goals, dishing three assists, and putting nine total shots on goal. All it took was two games for Thompson to turn his October into a monster month with 6+6 in nine games with over four shots per game. Granato told him that he needed to start shooting the puck more, and that's turned into 25 shots in the past three games alone. Obviously he's not going to keep up that rate, but Thompson could turn into a top 50 player if he pushes his shot rate to over four per game. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
In terms of expected goals and puck possession, the Devils have been the best team in October, bar none. They've been absolutely dominant and earned every single bit of their 6-3 record. Their most impressive win came on Friday beating the Avalanche 1-0, and they followed that up with a complete demolition of Columbus, 7-1. The common denominator? Vitek Vanecek started both of these games. Vanecek saved all 24 shots from Colorado before saving 20 of 21 shots from the Blue Jackets. We're looking at a time share in New Jersey, but Vanecek appears to have grabbed the upper hand for now. Before the season, I had little interest in either of their goalies. Now, with how well they're playing, both could be owned in 12'ers, but Vanecek definitely has to be. Ride the hot hand while you can. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Vancouver has managed to blow multi-goal leads in each of their first four games. Pretty remarkable stuff that already has Boudreau on the hot seat. The good news is that there's still been some offensive bright spots for the Canucks, and Elias Pettersson is leading the way. Pettersson had five points over the last two nights, totaling two goals, three assists, and six shots in the two games. That brings Pettersson to 3+3 in four games, along with 3.5 shots per game. That's a good start to one of my bold predictions of the season, which is that Pettersson will score 45+ goals this year. Time will tell if that pans out, but I have no doubt that Pettersson can be a top 25 player despite the low penalty minutes. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It wasn't that long ago that Vladimir Tarasenko requested a trade from the Blues. It wasn't that long ago that Tarasenko could have went to Seattle in the expansion draft. Now, St. Louis has to be thanking their lucky stars that he's still on the roster. Tarasenko had his biggest game of the season on Thursday, scoring a hat trick on four shots and adding two more assists in the 6-2 win over the Sabres. Tarasenko now has 31+41 in 67 games, with a great chance of setting a career high in points. It's a remarkable turnaround for the Russian who is certainly a top 100 player for drafts next season. I don't see him cracking the top 50, but it's great to see Tarasenko playing great hockey again. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights: