Quick, who is second in the NHL in points? The question would be harder to answer if you guys couldn’t see the title of this post. Phil Kessel has been absolutely incredible all season and he’s certainly not getting the credit he deserves. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Welcome to my favorite post of the year, my live trade deadline post! From now until all of the trades come through later today, I will provide all of the details for each trade with my instant analysis. I will launch this post with everything from over the weekend as well since I haven't given my thoughts on those at this point. Be sure to keep checking this page as I will be constantly updating it. Any questions can be asked in the comments section and I'll get to them as soon as I get a chance. Here we go!
Hey there! It’s Lackeydrinksonme! I missed last week’s streamer column as I was on a work trip, and this weekend I’ve been dealing with back spasms, which are some of the worst things ever. As you may know, putting more skaters on the ice usually results in a fantasy hockey victory. Rather than picking up and dropping a player for one game, I take time to map out days with fewer games, so you can grab someone for 2-3 additional starts a week from a single player. Let’s get going!
No, I'm not talking about the musical. I've used "Teach Me How to Dougie" before, so I needed to change it up. Dougie Hamilton scored the first hat trick of his career on Saturday, albeit in a 6-3 loss to the Panthers. He probably won't match last season's 50 point total, but Hamilton has been just as good. He's over three shots per game, the plus-minus is solid, the PIM are there, and a career high in goals is a near-certainty (he needs one more). As someone who has a betting ticket on the Flames to win the Cup, I just wish Glen Gulutzan would play Dougie more. Their first pair is so damn good that there's no reason for Hamilton to be under 25 minutes per game. Regardless, he's a solid #2 fantasy D for the all-around contribution with upside to be a bottom-end #1. With his recent play (11 points in his last 10 games), hopefully that happens. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
The Chicago Blackhawks are in last place in their division for the first time in what seems like an eternity. They are lacking in the scoring department in a big way. There's one easily move that Joel Quenneville can make to help their cause: play Alex DeBrincat more. The 20 year old scored his second hat trick of the season on Thursday while adding an assist. He's now tied for third on the team in points and second in goals. However, on a per-minute basis, he scores more goals than anyone on the team by a country mile and he's incredibly close to Kane in points per minute. DeBrincat is averaging under 15 minutes per game on the season and to be blunt, that makes no sense to me. The Blackhawks aren't completely dead in the water, especially if Corey Crawford eventually returns (it's been reported that he could return to the ice "soon"). Either way though, getting DeBrincat more ice time helps the team now and helps his development. He's playing at a 28 goal pace with bottom six ice time! DeBrincat is an elite streamer in 12'ers right now but if his minutes increase as they should, I would bet he becomes a hold down the stretch. Let's take a look at what happened in the NHL over the last two nights:
It's nice to have a bunch of superstars and a lot of luck on your side. The Penguins became the first team in almost two decades to win back to back Stanley Cups. On top of their usual fantasy studs, they had a few wingers emerge that look at the verge of becoming elite fantasy assets. Not much has changed on the whole but hey, why change a team that keeps winning? Let's take a look at the Penguins' roster and see what they're working with for fantasy hockey:
The Toronto Maple Leafs went from the basement to the playoffs as one of the biggest surprises of the season. Rookies, Mike Babcock, Frederik Andersen, the vets, everyone contributed to this massive turnaround. Now, the Leafs are looked at as a perennial playoff team with future aspirations of a true Stanley Cup contender. I don't expect them to be a real contender this season, mostly because their blue line still needs a piece or two, but they should be a solid playoff team with plenty of fantasy contributors. Let's take a look at the riches Toronto is working with:
In my preseason rankings, I wrote the following about Chris Kreider: "He’s good for 20+20 with strong penalty minutes but I’m not expecting much more even though he has a ton of potential." What I meant to include was 20+20 at the halfway point! For years, Kreider has been talked about as an elite talent but somebody who hasn't been able to put it together. Like a few other players on the Rangers, Kreider has seemingly put it all together at this point and the results are outstanding. In the 6-2 win over the Avalanche on Saturday, Kreider scored a hat trick on six shots extending his point streak to 4 games (8 total points). In 33 games, Kreider now has 15+14 with 19 PIM and 91 shots. Add in Kreider being +6 and you're looking at a contributor in all categories. At this point, we're looking at a guy who should push towards the top 50 at the end of the season and going forward; he's still only 25 years old. Let's take a look at what happened to close 2016 and the opening day of 2017:
Evander Kane has been a polarizing player for years. The talent is noticeable on a regular basis but inconsistency and off-ice issues have plagued him during his career. Kane started off the season slowly but right now, he's on quite the hot streak. In Tuesday's game against the Red Wings, Kane scored two goals on four shots and added a fight for good measure. That gives Kane 7 goals and an assist in the last 9 games with elite shots and strong PIM. Given that he's an elite option in PIM and SOG with the potential for strong goals, I ranked Kane in my top 100 going into the season because the player raters always love him for his contributions across all categories. We're starting to see why yet Kane is still available in 59% of leagues. He's carrying the third line for the Sabres right now and the change in role has been a good thing for him. It allows him to have the puck on his stick more often and his linemates do a great job cycling the puck. I'd definitely own him in all 12'ers and I have been rolling him in some 10 man leagues as well. Here's what else happened around the league on Tuesday night:
I think most fantasy hockey players would agree that Antti Raanta is worth streaming every time he gets the start. The problem has been that Raanta rarely plays because he's behind one of the best goalies in the world, Henrik Lundqvist. A healthy Lundqvist never sat three games in a row while healthy. Until this weekend. After a game on Thursday, Vigneault turned to Raanta again and he posted a 26 save shutout in the 1-0 win over his former team in Chicago. To the surprise of everyone, Raanta started again on Sunday and posted another shutout, this time an easy 5-0 win over the Devils in which Raanta posted 19 saves. If you streamed Raanta on Sunday, hold him until Tuesday to see if he gets another game. This certainly isn't going to last, this is Lundqvist's team, but ride the hot wave while you can. At the least, Raanta is a must-stream every time he gets the nod. Let's take a look at everything else that happened over the weekend: