It's nothing new when Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler have big games, and both managed to do so twice this weekend. In Friday's 5-2 win over the Avalanche, Wheeler registered a point on all five goals, going 1+4, while Scheifele scored a goal and two assists with three shots. They followed that up with Wheeler getting two more assists and Scheifele posting a 2+1 game. Wheeler already has 20 assists in 16 games to go with 19 PIM and 3 goals, while Scheifele is up to 9+10 with 20 PIM. Wheeler was a borderline first round pick that I had ranked as a high second rounder, while Scheifele was more 2nd/3rd range. With his shot rate at exactly 2.5 per game right now, that solidifies him as a second round value. Remember when ESPN had him ranked in the 60s? Hilarious. These two should continue to put up points no matter the opposition. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Mark Stone has been a favorite of Razzball Hockey (aka me) for a few years now. One of the most underrated players in hockey, Stone is an above average first liner, no doubt about it. Somebody is going to pay him a ton in the offseason as an unrestricted free agent and he'll be worth every penny. Stone had an incredible game on Tuesday scoring two goals on seven shots while adding in three assists as well. That brings him to 6+12 in 15 games. He's somehow available in 25% of leagues on ESPN, which is crazy. Stone should be owned everywhere, and while I've been clamoring for him to be traded so he's even better, it's become abundantly clear that he'll produce just fine in Ottawa this season. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
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:
Rick Nash, the vice president of The Round Face Hockey Club, was traded to the Bruins as they look to make a deep run this postseason. I'm going to have a live trade deadline post again this year updating all of the trades throughout tomorrow. I'm also going to be recording a podcast with Reid right around 3 pm tomorrow to give our thoughts on everything that happens. I have the feeling it's going to be crazy. For Nash, I think he's a solid speculative add if you need the shots. He played on Sunday against Buffalo on the second line, recording five shots on goal in 17:27. He's over three shots per game on the season, the plus-minus should improve on Boston, and everyone can use goals on their team. I don't think he'll be a world beater, but with only 20 games left, it's certainly possible that Nash gets hot with his shot volume. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
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.
In my second half predictions post, I said that Jack Eichel would be in the top 5 in scoring for the rest of the season. He's certainly started on the right track. Eichel scored the OT winner on his seventh shot against the Flames on Monday before exploding against the Oilers with a goal and three assists with five shots on Tuesday. The Sabres power play looks like last season's unit again, the unit that was #1 in the entire NHL. Eichel is leading the way there but has also been dominant in all phases. He's currently in the midst of a 7 game point streak totaling a whopping 14 points in those 7 games while averaging almost 5 shots per game. This game put Eichel above a point per game for the season and I expect him to finish there. Sure, the plus-minus is poor, but everything else is outstanding. He's a first round pick for me next season, no doubt about it. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Growing up, the Avalanche were always my second favorite team. My grandpa was a huge Peter Forsberg fan and it didn't interfere with my Sabres since they were in the Western Conference. I've always kept a close eye on them even though my rooting interests are now firmly with the Sabres and "Team Whoever I Bet In Game X." Anyways, Gabriel Landeskog has been a personal favorite of mine in this new Avalanche era. He became the youngest captain in the league when it wasn't cool to make your young top pick a captain. Landeskog won the Calder and led the Avs on a massive warpath to a shocking #1 seed in 2013-14. When I started at Razzball, things looked on the up for Landeskog at 23 years old. Then, like the rest of the Avalanche organization, Landeskog struggled mightily. Thankfully for all of us fantasy owners, he's back. Landeskog had the best game of his career on Saturday scoring a hat trick and two assists with five shots against the Lightning. Sure, the Avs lost, but it doesn't change his stat line for us! The Kog now has 13+11 in 28 games with a strong plus-minus and solid PIM plus shots. In fact, I'd be surprised if the penalty minutes don't jump soon. It's amazing that Landeskog just turned 25 so he's not even in his prime yet. Look for him to be a top 100 player for the rest of the season and for at least the next few years. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
There were plenty of positives and negatives for the Buffalo Sabres last season. Injuries were a big reason why they stayed at the bottom of the Atlantic Division. Their defense was as bad as anyone's in the league. Sam Reinhart failed to take a step forward. On the other hand, they had the best power play in the league, Jack Eichel was outstanding and their goaltending, notably Robin Lehner, was excellent. Out went Dan Bylsma and Tim Murray, in comes Phil Housley and Jason Botterill. It's time for a return to the playoffs for the Sabres and they have the talent to make it back. How the team improves tactically under Housley and how much the defense improves will be the major factors. Let's see what my hometown team are working with:
First off, I want to apologize for not having notes on Friday. I wrote them up Thursday night, scheduled the post and then when I logged on Friday afternoon, it was nowhere to be found. I have no idea what happened so hopefully it's a one-time incident. Anyways, the first two major trade dominoes fell on Sunday night. We'll get to the Wild's big move later but the first trade of the night was Ben Bishop getting moved. I'm not shocked that he was traded but I am pretty shocked that it was to the Kings. There are a few players impacted by this move. First, Bishop's value takes a massive hit. If you are in a redraft, I think you can just cut Bishop. He probably gets one out of three games down the stretch for the Kings barring another Jonathan Quick injury. That's seven games the rest of the season. I would stream Bishop in all of those games but I don't think it's worth holding. If you're in a dynasty and out of contention, I think it makes a lot of sense to buy low on Bishop on the hopes he lands somewhere nice in the offseason. Peter Budaj goes to Tampa in the trade and he loses all of his value; you can safely drop him. The real winner is Andrei Vasilevskiy who should be the workhorse down the stretch. We know that he's been up and down all season but he should be owned in all leagues now for the upside. Here's what else happened around the league the last few nights:
Early in his career, Jason Pominville was one of the most underrated forwards in the league. You could lock him in for 60+ points in his prime and he even reached 80 in a season. In recent years, there's been a fairly big drop off but for the last month, it's been a blast from the past. Pominville had a massive game on Tuesday night scoring two goals and two assists with three shots in the 4-2 win over the Jets. Going back exactly one month, Pominville has 5 goals and 12 assists in 14 games. Pretty, pretty, pretty good. There's only one game tonight and the Wild are in it. If he's still available in your league, pick him up to stream. Since they play Friday and Sunday as well, I'm definitely holding Pominville for the rest of the week and then reevaluating on Sunday night. Here's what else I saw around the league the last two nights:
On the last podcast, Reid and I looked at a bunch of players who were under 50% that I thought were must-own. I made a massive oversight leaving somebody off that list: Conor Sheary. I just looked and saw that he's 45% owned which absolutely blows my mind (I thought he was in the 70's or 80's). Sheary had an excellent weekend scoring twice on three shots on Friday and then getting two goals and an assist with four shots on Sunday. That brings Sheary's totals to 17+17 while being +17 in 39 games. Seventeens are wild! Anyways, Sheary is on pace for 35+35 over 82 games with an excellent plus-minus and decent enough shots. That's closer to a top 50 player than someone who is on the waiver wire. We've seen guys in the past be excellent fantasy values being a passenger on Crosby's line so if you're in one of the leagues where Sheary is available, pick him up immediately (I'd put him ahead of everyone discussed on the podcast). Then come back and read what else happened around the league this weekend!
Elias Lindholm has had a disappointing start to his NHL career. After being a top 5 pick in 2013, Lindholm has failed to reach 40 points in the first three seasons of his career. It's certainly not the end of the world given that he just turned 22 years old; not everybody is a McJesus or MacKinnon and dominates right out of the gate. Lindholm is currently in the midst of the best streak of his young career. On Friday night against the Sabres, Lindholm dished an assist and added four shots extending his point streak to five games. He followed up it with a massive game scoring a goal and two assists with five shots in the 7-4 win over the Islanders. That brings his point streak to six games and gives him 18 points in 33 games to this point. Obviously this isn't going to last but Lindholm is an elite streamer at the moment and like a few other young forwards on his team, there's some real sleeper potential here for 2017-18. Let's take a look at what else happened around the league over the weekend: