The season is upon us! Tonight, the Lightning start another title defense while we also get the debut of the Kraken. I’m going to write up some quick notes from around the league to get everybody up to date on what’s happening around the league. Please, blog, may I have some more?
As good as the Jets have been, Friday was a huge boost for their team. Not only did they get Wheeler, Schmidt and Perfetti back, Nikolaj Ehlers returned for his first game since the second game of the season. He immediately went onto a line with Pierre-Luc Dubois and Kyle Connor, and it worked out as well as it has in the past. In the 4-2 win over the Lightning, Dubois scored two goals with four shots and four PIM, with Connor having a goal and an assist plus four PIM of his own. Sunday was even better with Connor scoring a hat trick, Dubois dishing four assists, and Ehlers scoring a goal and two assists. This line has the potential to be one of the best in hockey yet again, and with Dubois playing the best hockey of his career right now, it can be even better than last season. All of them are easily top 50 players with Connor in the top 20, and the other two with the potential to push towards that, but probably a step behind that. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
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!
A lot of the big names that were expected to move at the trade deadline happened over the weekend. That means that I'm going to cover all of them in this post, while I'll cover the rest in a post for Tuesday morning. I'll mention every trade that happened over the last few days, however big or small, and comment on its fantasy impact. Let's get to it!
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:
We have our first big named moved prior to the trade deadline. It appears that teams want to get their business done early this season, especially Montreal, and they did on Monday sending Tyler Toffoli to Calgary for a prospect and picks, including a first. In Toffoli's first game, he scored a goal on four shots in 12:18 of ice time. The game was lopsided so it's hard to make a lot of judgments yet. Toffoli started the game on the third line, but his goal was assisted by Lindholm and Gaudreau as Sutter was trying out different looks. Given how well the first line has played, I can't imagine Toffoli stays there, but it's worth noting. If he's on the third line and second PP, he's capable of being a hold like Mangiapane has been in that role in the past, but it also caps his ceiling quite a bit. I'm not rushing to hold him, but his underlying numbers are still quite good this season despite Montreal being a dumpster fire. I wouldn't be surprised if he does turn into a hold at some point again, so if you want to make the spec add, I'm completely fine with it. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
For players that aren't superstars, Cam Atkinson is among the best for having games that he completely dominates. He did that on Tuesday night, scoring a hat trick on seven shots and adding an assist in the 6-1 Flyers win over the Devils. Atkinson is pushing three shots per game with 12+7 in 27 games. He has eight points in the last seven games and is receiving more ice time since Yeo took over as the coach. That's enough to make him a hold in all formats. Let's take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:
The hits keep coming for Tampa Bay. Brayden Point is now out indefinitely after an ugly crash into the boards on Saturday. The Tampa lineup is starting to get pretty thin. Stammer has been forced to go back to center, with Alex Barre-Boulet getting time on the top line. Barre-Boulet scored in Sunday's game against the Wild. He's a decent streamer now. The more interesting player is Anthony Cirelli, who scored two goals on five shots with two PIM on Sunday playing over 24 minutes. It's pretty clear that Cirelli is going to be the top minute getter for Tampa for the time being. I think he becomes a must hold in all formats. Let's take a look at what else happened around the league this weekend:
We're down to the last few weeks of the season, and whether you play in a roto league or H2H league, it's time to be aggressive with your moves. The 150th best player could easily be better than the 50th over a small sample. so we want to be getting volume from our players. This is especially true in net where variance swamps everything. Carey Price suffered a concussion on Monday and is ruled out for at least a week, if not more. Jake Allen has fallen off a bit lately, but his overall numbers are still quite strong. He's available in over 80% of leagues which doesn't make any sense. If you need any goaltending help, go get him now. With Montreal having a back to back with Calgary on the weekend, the expectation is that Cayden Primeau starts one of the games. He's been solid in Laval this season so if you're in a deep league, I'm fine with streaming Primeau given Calgary's struggles. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Injuries have robbed us of an amazing Cale Makar season. The good news is that he's back now and dominating games on a consistent basis. Makar had three assists with four shots in Colorado's 5-2 win over the Ducks on Monday. That brings Makar up to a point per game on the season with a +12 rating in 22 games that isn't a fluke at all. We've seen a slight uptick in his shot rate this season, but a big jump there is what it will take for Makar to move into being a top five defenseman instead of being a middling to bottom end #1. With how well he plays in his age 22 season, I have no doubt that it's coming. For dynasties, I think he has to be the top defenseman. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
The Ducks season has gone very poorly. Not Sabres poorly, but still, the results have been extremely disappointing. The good news is that their young players have shown some flashes of what can be in the future, and on Thursday night, their two cornerstones scored their first career goals. Trevor Zegras scored in his 11th career game while Jamie Drysdale scored in his first. For this season, we shouldn't expect much from either. At the moment, Zegras is a bottom end streamer, while Drysdale should be left on the waiver wire until we see how much he plays, or if he even stays on the Ducks. In dynasties, there's a ton to like for both. Zegras has the chance to be one of the best playmakers in the league who scores plenty of goals for himself. Drysdale doesn't have massive offensive upside, but he should be good enough in all facets of the game, including quarterbacking the power play, that he ends up as a #2 fantasy defenseman while playing top pair minutes for the Ducks. It may be bleak now, but the future is bright in SoCal. Let's take a look at what else happened on Thursday night:
Tristan Jarry had his best game of the season on Monday night stopping 42 of 43 shots in the 4-1 win over the Bruins. He's crossed both hockey versions of the Mendoza line and the wins are strong, but it's still not pretty overall. However, I'm very bullish on Jarry and Casey DeSmith going forward. The Penguins are playing much better lately and their schedule going forward is outstanding. They still have six games with the Sabres and all eight games against the Devils. That means half of their remaining games are against teams that they should handle with ease. Think of how well goalies like Andersen normally rank at the end of the season because of how many wins they get. Both Pens goalies should have those kind of numbers in the second half. It's hard to say how the starts will be split, but if you're desperate for goalie help, I'm fine with holding DeSmith, and Jarry is a nice trade target. Let's take a look at what else happened on Monday night: