At the end of the day, Patrick Kane chose playing with a former linemate over his best chance to win a Cup, and his hometown. Kane signed a one year deal with the Red Wings, the rival of the team he's most known for, the Blackhawks. Boy, it's going to look weird seeing him in that jersey. Anyways, most would assume that Kane will play on the wing with DeBrincat and Larkin because of his connection with DeBrincat. I'm a little skeptical, except on the power play. No matter how Kane looks physically, Kane is a lock for Detroit's top power play unit. That alone puts him on the fantasy radar. However, there hasn't been one skater that has returned to peak form after a hip resurfacing. It would not surprise me if Kane struggles at even strength, and at the least, I expect Detroit to ease him back in. That means cushy minutes in a limited even strength role, plus the power play time. How good is that going to be for fantasy? I wouldn't be spending a ton of FAAB to get him if he's available. If you have nothing to lose, I'm fine with making a spec add on him if you're in a 12'er or deeper, but keep expectations in check. I would guess the most likely outcome is Kane is a solid streamer who goes back and forth between a bottom end hold and slightly usable. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Towards the 2020 NHL trade deadline, the Maple Leafs acquired Campbell and Clifford for the Kings for two draft picks and a former undrafted player who looked like a AAAA player. He was coming off a big season for the Marlies, but was struggling at the NHL level. That player was Trevor Moore. Now, he's a top six player on one of the best teams in the league. Moore scored two goals on five shots against the Coyotes on Monday. That brings him up to 9+6 on the season with a shot rate pushing towards three per game. Moore is certainly on the fringe, but right now, I'm leaning towards holding. The big reason is that Kevin Fiala moved onto a line with Moore and Phillip Danault (1+1). Moore and Danault are both good play drivers, but Fiala is right there with them with an elite skill set. Albeit in a short sample, this line is generating opportunities at a rate as high as any in the league. They also get the bonus of going against weaker competition because of the Kopitar line. While this start looks like an outlier based on Moore's previous stats, the underlying numbers suggest that he should continue to produce. Let's take a look at what else happened Monday night:
How does Sidney Crosby keep getting better at 36 years old? Crosby had a hat trick and an assist on Tuesday, leading the Penguins to a 5-3 win over the Blue Jackets. He opened the scoring in the game, he got the lead back in the last six minuets and then sealed the game with an empty netter. That brings Crosby to 10 goals and 9 assists in 14 games while pushing four shots per game. He's on a nine game point streak and is a top 20 forward again. With the arrival of Erik Karlsson (goal and an assist, two shots), Crosby has a great chance of getting to 100 points for the first time in five seasons and 40 goals for the first time since 2016-17. I think at this point, he has to be considered a top five player of all-time. If you have him in fantasy, enjoy it, because there's no reason to expect regression. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Even for Nikita Kucherov, the start to this season is on another level. Kucherov scored two goals and two assists with five shots and two PIM against the Maple Leafs, and then followed it up with a goal and an assist with six shots against the Canadiens. That brings Kucherov to 10+12 in 13 games, including 11 in the last three games. He also has 5+ shots in the last five games, and seven of the last nine. This game pushes him past Pettersson for the league lead in points. The top guys on Tampa look so much better, and I can't help but think that being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs helped them for this season. So many long playoff runs for the Lightning that a real offseason had to do them wonders. We can't expect this level, but Kucherov looks poised to give his 128 points from his Hart Trophy season a run for his money. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Nobody was expecting much from the Ducks this season, but they're currently on a five game winning streak to get them to a 6-4 record. On Wednesday, their best player (for now) carried them, as Troy Terry scored a hat trick and an assist with six shots in the 4-3 OT win. That brings Terry to 5+4 in ten games, averaging exactly three shots per game. Terry is one of those guys who is always close to the fringe one way or the other. Right now, I have him as a bottom end hold, but I don't expect that to hold for the rest of the season. However, unlike the past few seasons, the talent around him is at such a higher level that he has more upside than usual. While it probably won't last, you can see the core coming together for the Ducks, and it's only a matter of time until they become a force again. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
I was extremely bullish on Tyler Toffoli's fit with the Devils, even though he wasn't a lock to be on PP1. "Before last season, Toffoli had never topped 31 goals or 29 assists, so expecting a repeat for a guy entering his 11th season in the league seems farfetched. That said, it’s hard to pick a better spot to be in than New Jersey right now for even strength play. People were worried about Toffoli’s power play role to open, but it looks like the Devils are starting with the two balanced unit approach. Personally, I hate it, but it’s a big boost to the value of the guy who normally would be on PP2, which Toffoli looked to be. I’m all the way in." And that's me quoting me in my bold predictions saying Toffoli averages at least a point per game. He was off to a solid start, but he had his first big game on Tuesday. Toffoli scored a hat trick on six shots in a revenge game against the Canadiens. That brings Toffoli to 4+2 in five games with 4.5 shots per game. There's a real chance that he ends up as a top 50 player. Let's take a look at what else happened in the Monday game and the Frozen Frenzy.
The hockey season is underway with nine total games in the books so far. In this post, I will cover those games quickly at the end highlighting some notables, and will have the same for Friday despite a shortened Thursday schedule. Monday morning will have my first big set of daily notes from the weekend. This post will open with 10 Bold Predictions for the season. These are all meant to be bold; I'd be glad to hit on three of them. Last season, we had some awful whiffs (thanks Cole Sillinger) but also hit on Dahlin being a top 5 defenseman and predicting massive failure for Chicago and Philly from a fantasy (and real) perspective. Let's get to it!
We’re keeping it moving with my fantasy hockey rankings today with my defensemen rankings. My plan is to do two posts of tiers, with another post at the end of guys I like as lottery tickets for your last couple picks. Please, blog, may I have some more?
It's time! Today's post will cover my current Top 20 players overall for the upcoming season. For those that are new to Razzball, my rankings consider goals, assists, special teams points, and shots on goal first and foremost. I put secondary value into plus-minus and PIM/hits as their values shift depending on league format. It's easier to stream players in these categories, especially PIM/hits, so I put priority into scorers, and especially shot volume as it is the best predictor for goals. Let's get to it!
We found a new level of ridiculousness on Thursday night. The Canadiens were in Florida and they managed to tie the record for the most goals in a first period in modern NHL history, and they did it in barely over 13 minutes! Both Montreal goalies allowed 3+ goals in the first 13 minutes, and Sergei Bobrovsky allowed goals on the first three shots he faced. My god. The Panthers ended up winning 9-5 to keep pace in the Eastern playoff race. The only player who made more than two points was Matthew Tkachuk, who had a goal and three assists to keep up his torrid pace. Thanks Aleksander Barkov for not getting three points when I pick him in the three point challenge! Anyways, Florida is battling hard for a Wild Card spot, so expect their studs to get all of the minutes they can handle. For playing all games against Eastern teams the rest of the way, Florida's schedule is fairly soft, so expect it to come down to the wire. 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:
Even with Columbus up 4-0 halfway through the game, it never felt remotely close to over. In the span of the first four minutes of the third period, the Penguins turned a 4-1 deficit into a 4-4 battle. A careless overtime penalty set the stage for Sidney Crosby to score the overtime game winner to complete the comeback. Crosby had a goal and two assists with four shots in the win, setting up a game on Thursday with the Islanders for the first wild card spot. While he's not at his peak anymore, Crosby still has a chance for 100 points again. You don't need me to tell you how good Crosby is, but where he'll rank going into next season is an interesting debate. My guess is that it's somewhere around 20th overall, a clear second rounder in drafts, but perhaps it's a few spots above that. Even at 36, he's given us no reason to expect him to slow down. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights: