It's not exactly breaking news that John Tavares moves the needle for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He showed why he was worth the mammoth contract on Sunday, scoring a hat trick on seven shots with two PIM in the 7-6 win over the Blackhawks. The main thing that I want to talk about here is Toronto in general. This offense is incredible, but they also remain a sieve defensively. I have a hard time treating them among the truly elite teams in the league until that is tightened up, at least somewhat. That's why I picked them to finish third in the division again. But for us in fantasy, stream everyone you can for the Leafs, and against them for that matter. I'd have a hard time playing any goalie against them right now; it better be someone that's damn good. They're a fantasy gold mine on both sides. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Hey everyone! I wanted to do a post focusing on things going on during the preseason. Injuries, players that are standing out both positively and negatively, interesting line changes, etc. Let's get right to it!
I'll be honest, David Krejci has always been a Guy to me. Not a guy, not a GUY, just a guy. I even cut him on Thursday morning to stream a goalie, proof that I am human. Krejci scored a hat trick on Thursday, scoring on all three of his shots in the 8-4 win over Pittsburgh. That brings him to 14+19 on the season in 44 games. He doesn't quite need that pace to be fantasy worthy, but it's close because his PIM and SOG are well below average. In a 12'er, I probably lean towards holding but it's super close. Shallower, he's a streamer, deeper it's an easy hold. His playoff schedule is also great so use that to your advantage. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Hi, folks I apologize for missing my streamer column this week. I’m a college admissions counselor and my weekends have been taken up with reading applications and watching the Olympics. I stumbled into some free time and need to solve a pressing problem on one of my own fantasy hockey teams, so join me as I explore the world of goalies before the fantasy playoffs. As some of you know I only use one goalie, and stream when necessary. This strategy gets me an additional skater to play for 3-4 games a week, and prevents me from fretting about ratios and wins- I can focus on getting offensive categories and can roll the dice on my ratios (sv% and GAA). I drafted Braden Holtby for this role, but his last few starts have been absolutely terrible: 5, 4, 6, and 4 goals allowed in his last four starts. His GAA on the season is 2.95, nearly a full goal greater than last year and a full half goal above his career average. Because the playoffs are coming, I need to figure out why this is happening. I’ve been content to let Holtby’s performance slip and slide, but now the heat is on to get decent performances- a championship is on the line. So, I’ve built a goalie-stats spreadsheet to try and figure out where I can gain an advantage and if need be, work a trade before the end of the weekend, or decide to ride out the storm.
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:
He hasn't been talked about much but as far as disappointments go, Ryan Johansen is near the top of the list. It wasn't that long ago that he was a 22 year old scoring 33 goals and 30 assists, followed up by 26+45. Johansen had 4 straight 60+ point seasons before this year and to be blunt, he's been awful compared to his high standards. Johansen had his best game in quite some time Thursday, dishing three assists and putting three shots on goal in the 5-0 win over the Kings. The main reason I'm encouraged by this? Filip Forsberg. The Swedish star returned from injury on Thursday and immediately went onto Johansen's wing. Still, five goals and under 1.5 shots per game on the season isn't going to get it done for Johansen owners. In the last three games, Johansen has at least three shots on goal, so I think he's going to keep building. I don't think we see Columbus Johansen again, but I don't see why last season's Johansen can be back for the rest of the season. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
You don't need me to tell you how good Evgeni Malkin is at hockey. I'm still flabbergasted that he wasn't one of the players in the NHL 100 because he's clearly one of the best 100 players ever. Certainly better than Toews or Keith. I also wanted to use the word flabbergasted in a sentence. Oh, yeah, so about that Malkin fella. He scored his 12th career hat trick on Tuesday night as the Penguins kept rolling against the Sharks. Malkin is well over a point per game, gives great penalty minutes, and the shot rate remains over three points per game. As I always say about Malkin, just stay healthy! As noted here, the playoff schedule is rough for the Pens, but Malkin should definitely help you get to that point. Let's take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:
Am I shocked at how well the Jets are doing? No. Reid and I talked about the Jets' ceiling on the Central Division podcast and we said that second place is certainly within the realm of possibility (I guess we sold them a little short, first is in play). Long term readers know how much I love Connor Hellebuyck. The only reason I was scared off a bit for redrafts is that Kevin Cheveldayoff said that Steve Mason would be their starter to open the season. Well, Mason was lit up in his first game as a Jet and the rest is history. Hellebuyck continued his outstanding breakout season over the weekend, saving 30 of 31 shots in the 2-1 SO win over the Flames on Saturday, then a 29 save shutout in the 1-0 win against the Canucks on Sunday. Hellebuyck is currently the #2 goalie on the season, and while there's a chance he falls off a little bit (I'm certain he'll finish as a #1G), I think he's solidified himself as the #2 goalie in dynasty leagues. The Jets are going to be really good for a long time and Hellebuyck will be a big reason and also a beneficiary of the talent around him. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Hey everyone! While there are still a bunch of teams that have their bye this week, it's nowhere near as many as last week. The lack of games made it the lightest week of the season and leaving little to talk about fantasy wise. Therefore, I'm going to use this post to make one fantasy hockey prediction for each team for the rest of the season. We'll be back to the usual daily notes on Wednesday and Friday this week. Let's get going!
There have been a few big games by individuals this season but Patrice Bergeron's on Saturday is the new leader for the best of the year. Bergeron scored four goals and added an assist with seven shots in the 7-1 win over the Hurricanes. Bergeron was the second player this year to score four goals after Alex Ovechkin. Per usual, Bergeron is crushing all of the categories. He's playing around a 40+35 pace while already having a +19 rating, solid PIM and pushing four shots per game. Bergeron is a slam dunk top 50 player for the rest of the season who should push towards the top 25. Again, the top line in Boston is as good as it gets and Bergeron is at the forefront of their success. That line just gave up their first goal against at even strength all season! Remarkable stuff. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend: