Here's what I said about Jonathan Marchessault in my season preview of the Florida Panthers: "Jared McCann and Jonathan Marchessault are the two Panthers I can see taking a late flier on in deep leagues... Marchessault scored 18 points in 45 games for Tampa Bay last season despite averaging only 12 minutes of ice time per game. When Tampa was hit with injuries, Marchessault filled in admirably. If Florida was hit by the injury bug, I could see both of these guys becoming relevant in 12’ers; for now they are potential waiting for their chance." And that's me quoting me! Well, Florida did get struck by the injury bug and while McCann didn't provide much value this season, Marchessault certainly did. The return of their two best players hasn't hurt Marchessault at all. In fact, it's helped him on the power play. He recorded his first career hat trick in the 7-0 win over the Blackhawk, which also included four shots and four PIM. That brings Marchessault's totals to 28+20 with 34 PIM and 2.5 shots per game in 67 GP. Not bad for a guy the Panthers signed for $750k for this season and next. The Panthers have an interesting offseason ahead to determine how their forward core is going to look next season. Regardless, I think Marchessault is worry of a late round pick next season. I don't think there's more upside than what he's doing this season but there's no complaints with a 34+25 per 82 games when he's not hurting you elsewhere. I expect the Panthers to be back in the playoffs next season with Marchessault providing some nice depth behind the big guns. Let's take a look at what else happened this weekend around the league:
Viktor Arvidsson has been among the best waiver wire pickups of the season, especially at the forward positions. He's thriving in Nashville seemingly out of nowhere. A late bloomer, which caused him to be drafted at 21 years old in the 4th round by Nashville, Arvidsson first made his name in the league by scoring an overtime goal in Game 6 against the Sharks last season, his rookie campaign. Now, in his sophomore season, we're seeing upside that I quite frankly didn't know what there. On Saturday, Arvidsson scored his first career hat trick on eight shots, albeit in a 7-4 loss against Florida. He came right back on Sunday to record an assist with six shots. That brings his totals to 18+21 in 54 games with well over 3 shots per game and a +16 rating. Arvidsson moved back onto the first line Saturday which helped sparked this surge. He's a clear as day hold at the moment and should be even if he eventually drops down a line. Regardless, Arvidsson is available in over 50% of leagues so do your part to fix that and pick him up. Here's what else I saw around the league this weekend:
There have been a lot of bad trades over the last five years in the NHL. It's no surprise that Nino Niederreiter has turned into an excellent player in Minnesota after being traded by the Islanders, the team who drafted him fifth overall. Who knew trading a player who just went in the top five in the draft at 20 years old was a bad idea? Anyways, Nino has been solid for a few years now but he's starting to peak in his age 24 season. Niederreiter scored two goals and an assist with four shots in the 4-3 win over the Coyotes on Thursday. This brought Nino to 30 points (14+16) on the season while being +18. The PIM are below average and the shots are barely above two per game but with his developing power play prowess to supplement his even strength play, Niederreiter is looking like a clear hold at the moment. Hopefully everyone in dynasties held onto him because the best is yet to come. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
In my season preview for the Chicago Blackhawks, I projected that Richard Panik would be the new player that slides into the Blackhawks' top 6. "Panik should get a chance in the top 6 because quite frankly, the Blackhawks don’t have anybody else. He could be a decent streamer but I can’t expect anything more from the 25 year old." And that's me quoting me doing what Grey does! In the long term for the season, I still think that'll be the case, but for now, Panik is must-own. After scoring in the season opener, Panik had an assist on Friday and came back with a hat trick on four shots on Saturday, both against the Predators. He's getting power play time right now and with 5 points in 3 games, Panik should be held for the time being as he rides the hot streak. Here's what else I saw this weekend around the NHL:
The story of the weekend around the league was the goaltending performances. There were quite a few duds and a bunch of outstanding starts, including 3 shutouts Friday, 4 shutouts Saturday and one more on Sunday. The best of the bunch was a 38 save shutout by Fredrik Andersen in the 4-0 win against the Bruins on Friday. It's rare for the Ducks to be outshot but they buried their chances and were continually bailed out by Andersen. We all know that Andersen is very good at this point so the most telling thing was that in their next game, John Gibson received the start despite Andersen coming off a shutout. Bruce Boudreau is giving both of his goalies plenty of action and seemingly has a set schedule so you have to pay attention every day and start whoever gets the nod. Here's what else I saw around the league this weekend, starting with Friday's games:
The New York Islanders are struggling to score goals. Shocking. They’re struggling to win as a result because, you know, you need to score goals to win hockey games. Outside of their top line of Thomas Vanek, John Tavares and Kyle Okposo, no one else is producing much of anything and with top prospect Ryan Strome decimating the AHL with 33 points in 23 games so far, they decided to call him up. A smooth skating, playmaking center with a nose for the net Strome is the next big hope for a team that has just one playoff berth since 2007 and hasn’t won a Cup since 1983 and he could be the next big thing in fantasy hockey, too. Last year Strome absolutely ruined opponents in the OHL posting 94 points with a +43 rating in just 53 games played for the Niagara Ice Dogs, so he was called up to Bridgeport and put up 7 points in 10 games for good measure. At every level he has shown the ability to adapt and excel so there’s reason to believe success awaits the dynamic young centre in the NHL. He’s got nothing but space to work on a weak Isles team and there’s is talk that he’ll debut on the second line for the Isles and I don’t know if that’s more of an endorsement of Strome’s skills or an indictment of the Isles as a team. Either way, if he can pair with someone like Michael Grabner he has the potential to produce for fantasy owners immediately. He’s owned in just 8% of Yahoo! Leagues and 4% of ESPN Leagues, so if you’re looking for a stellar keeper, snatch him up! Anyway, here’s what else I saw in fantasy hockey yesterday:
Cam Fowler (1 G, 2 A, 3 SOG, +2) has a career plus/minus rating of -56, ouch! In his rookie season he posted a monster 40 points, but with a terrible -25 rating. He followed with a typically bad sophomore campaign posting just 29 points and a -28 rating on a less than stellar Ducks squad. And then last year, the lockout shortened season, and his season line was flat out awful with just one goal, ten assists, and a -4 rating in 37 games. That’s a tough way for a kid to start his NHL career and it can make fantasy owners flea en masse. Still, amid all those ugly numbers there was hope in the form of 123 shots, exactly, that he poured on net in each of his first two years. He’s back at it again with 51 in 33 games played and he’s on pace for another 40 point year, this time with a +6 rating and counting in the right direction. Not only that, Fowler is a great source of power play points with 11 so far this season while averaging just over 3 minutes per game on the man-advantage. Comparisons to Scott Niedermayer still stick with him and they aren’t unwarranted. Now that he’s maturing and the Ducks offense is one of the best in the league, Fowler is the fantasy gold his rookie season teased he might become. He’s rightly owned in 100% in ESPN leagues but just 61% of Yahoo! Leagues. Yet another player with a massive disparity in ownership between the two fantasy worlds. Thing is, he should be owned everywhere, period. Here’s what else I saw in fantasy hockey yesterday: