Look, to be honest with you, there wasn't a ton of eventful things that happened in the NHL on Thursday night. We're leading off with Sam Gagner for a couple reasons. One, he had a trick on four shots in the 5-2 win for the Red Wings. Sure, one was an empty netter, but a hat trick is a hat trick and that deserves recognition. Never mind that Gagner came into the game with zero goals on the season and the three points in this game were more than he had all season. The other reason I started off with Gagner is to give him some appreciation. He had a solid career for over a decade now, constantly as an elite streamer while having a few years where he was a bottom end hold. With all of the big games McJesus is having lately, you can try to stump your friends with a trivia question in terms of who the last player was that had seven points or more in a game? As you could guess, it was Gagner, but did you know he actually had 8!? He's one of only eleven players in history to have eight points in a game and for that, I thank Gagner for the memory of that wild night in Chicago. Let's take a look at what else happened on Thursday:
I've run out of superlatives to describe Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. I don't even like starting posts with them because everyone knows how good they are, but this weekend's play deserves the big praise. McDavid had two goals and an assist with three shots on Saturday, while Draisaitl had two assists with a shot and two PIM. Those games were horrible compared to their explosion on Sunday. McDavid scored a goal and dished four assists while Draisaitl had six assists! They were already the top two in the league in points before Sunday's games. Now, they're lapping the field at the end of January. It's a treat to watch these guys on a nightly basis, and even better if you have one of them on your fantasy team. With the way the rest of the North division plays, what's the ceiling for points for these guys? 90? 100? It sounds ridiculous in 56 games, but they're at another level at the moment and they won't have a tough defensive team to play in their entire division. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
It's hard to believe that Filip Forsberg recently had a 20 game goalless streak. He had his best game in months on Tuesday scoring two goals and an assist with five shots and two PIM. The thing that excites me most is that Forsberg played 20 minutes in this game. Forsberg is clearly the best forward on the team and it has been infuriating that his minutes have been down, slump or not. The playoff schedule for the Predators is excellent (you can read up on that here) giving Forsberg the opportunity to be a top 20 player down the stretch. I don't expect that, but he has that kind of upside. The Predators are making their playoff push and it's the time for Forsberg to get his season back on track. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Poor Ottawa. The Penguins were coming off six straight losses before Tuesday night and it wasn't hard to imagine them destroying the Senators. They did just that scoring seven goals. So what can we take away from this game? Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are good! Oh, you meant besides the obvious. Well, Bryan Rust had a hat trick after only two goals in the previous thirteen games. This eliminates any doubt about Rust being a hold. Jason Zucker had a goal and two assists with three shots. He has ten points in the last ten games so yeah, he's an easy hold too as expected after his trade to the Steel City. Conor Sheary also had a goal and an assist with two shots and two PIM. I wrote during the Trade Deadline post that I don't believe in Sheary despite the move. Honestly, I still don't, but getting to play with Crosby and Zucker right now just has to put him into the streaming realm. The power play time will be minimal so it's mostly for deep leagues, but Sheary does have some relevance once again. Let's see what else happened over the last two nights:
It's safe to say that at 26 years old, Jonathan Huberdeau has plenty of hockey to play in his career. The scary thing is that he's going to destroy the Panthers point record. In Sunday's big win over the Maple Leafs, Huberdeau had a goal and an assist to pass Olli Jokinen for the most points in franchise history. After last season's breakout campaign where Huberdeau had 92 points, he's on pace to blow by that this season with 61 points in their first 45 games. The shot rate has fallen off to slightly below average, but I don't think anyone who drafted Huberdeau is complaining. He's a safe bet to finish as a top 20 overall player this season, and since he's entering his prime along with some of his other teammates (notably Barkov), the future is incredibly bright. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
For today’s post, I’m going to write about one thing for each NHL team about their first two weeks that I think it was worth discussing. This is going to be a long post, so let’s get right to it! Please, blog, may I have some more?
Hat tricks aren't that uncommon in the NHL. First period hat tricks are. Evander Kane became the first player in Sharks history to do so, scoring three goals and adding an assist with five shots in the 5-2 win over the Hurricanes on Wednesday. Kane has long been a player that I rate higher than consensus because of his shot rate and penalty minutes. Kane has four goals and two assists in four games since returning from suspension to go along with four PIM and 13 shots. Pretty, pretty good. I don't think it's a coincidence that the Sharks went 0-3 without Kane and are 3-1 since. With their current depth issues, Kane should be leaned on heavily giving him a great chance at a top 50 fantasy season. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Hey guys! Over the next month, I will be taking a look at each team’s players to watch out for going into the 2019-20 fantasy hockey season. This analysis features everything from surefire studs, to sleepers, to streamers, deeper league holds, even to rookie-eligible prospects that may make an appearance at some point this season. Please let me know if you guys enjoy this type of material! Reminder that the stat totals are from last season. Last year my previews went alphabetically, but this year we’re going to go division-by-division, starting with the top team. On our 23rd stop on the 31 in 31 tour, we’re heading to the capital of Canada to check on the Sens! Though it has been a rough past couple of seasons for Sens faithful, things are certainly looking up now. With the prospect cupboard packed with players that will have every chance to play this season, what’s there not to love from the fantasy perspective?
We have a new candidate for craziest game of the year. Chicago and Ottawa was a 5-4 game... with 2 minutes left in the first! The game finished with a ridiculous 8-7 score with Alex DeBrincat leading the way on the score sheet. The 21 year old scored a hat trick and added two assists, bringing him up to 32+28 on the season. Not bad for anyone, let alone a 21 year old. In the preseason, I wrote this: "Everything is in place for DeBrincat to score 35+ goals… if Quenneville plays him the minutes he deserves. DeBrincat scored 28 goals and 24 assists as a rookie despite playing only 14:48 per game. It was infuriating that DeBrincat’s minutes down the stretch didn’t drastically increase with the Blackhawks out of the playoff race. He’s a natural goal scorer who needs to get more playing time for the Blackhawks to have any chance at a bounce back. The penalty minutes won’t be there, but 30+30 is well within reason, and there’s still upside from there." Well, Quenneville was fired, but everything else came to fruition. I love DeBrincat now and going forward. Sure, he'll never give PIM, but he should be an annual 30 goal scorer who has some years pushing 40 like this one. Let's take a look at what else happened on Monday night:
It was quite the weekend for last season's Calder Trophy winner. Mathew Barzal entered Friday's game against the Senators with five goals on the season, and he matched that in two games. Barzal scored two goals and an assist against the Senators before scoring a hat trick against the Maple Leafs on Saturday. That brings Barzal up to 10+25 in 37 games with solid PIM and an improved shot rate. He's still only 21 years old so clearly the best is to come. For the rest of this season, I think he's just inside the top 50 now that his shot rate isn't far from average. If he can eventually get that up towards three a game, it's game over. Barzal has top 20 player upside down the line; hopefully the Isles get some more talent around him. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend: