Remember a month ago when it was a foregone conclusion J.T. Miller was going to get traded? It sure seems like he played the Canucks into close enough contention that it’s no longer a consideration. Please, blog, may I have some more?
We've reached the home stretch with three weeks left in the season. Today, I'm going to hit on some notable things that'll help you for your fantasy playoffs and other things just to watch for future gain. Let's get to it! Owen Power signed with the Sabres and should make his NHL debut on Tuesday against the Maple Leafs. It's not the best matchup obviously, but if you need defensemen help, I'm good with adding him. The Sabres finish the week with a back-to-back against the Flyers which is pretty advantageous.
As a Sabres fan, the last decade has been bleak, to say the least. There's starting to be some light at the end of the tunnel, and the newest example came on Monday night. The Sabres did something they hadn't in 33 years: win a game after being down by four goals. The Sabres came back from 4-0 to tie the game at 4, then went down 5-4 before Alex Tuch tied the game with 2:14 left, then Tage Thompson won it with 11 seconds left. The team is 6-1-2 in the last nine games with plenty of encouraging signs. We should see Owen Power sooner than later as well. From a fantasy perspective, the biggest story has to be Thompson. He's up to 28 goals on the season and over three shots per game. The jump he's made this season while moving to center is remarkable. Thompson is still available in over 50% of leagues and quite frankly, I don't understand it at all. He's a clear hold. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
In stunning fashion, the Coyotes have won six of seven games this month, including games against the Avalanche and Maple Leafs. In their last six games, they have goal totals of 8, 9, 5, 5, and 6. Just as we all expected, an offensive juggernaut in the desert. Wait, that's not Vegas... Arizona won both games in a back-to-back on Monday and Tuesday, winning 5-3 in Ottawa and 6-3 in Montreal. Their lead man was Lawson Crouse. Crouse had a hat trick on four shots in the win over Ottawa before scoring a goal and an assist with three shots in Montreal. That brings Crouse to 19+13 on the season, easily a career high in goals and one off his career high in assists. For the time being, Crouse is an elite streamer. You can even make a case for holding him in hits leagues given his gaudy total, and the PIM are great as well. Crouse looked on the path to being a massive bust, and while he still has a way to go, this is an incredible encouraging season from the 24 year old. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
David Perron had a horrible start to the season and was shaping up to being one of the biggest fantasy busts of this year. To say things have turned for the better is an understatement. Perron scored two goals on seven shots against the Predators before scoring a goal on seven shots against Winnipeg. Since Perron went back on the top line, Perron has exploded. He has eight goals and five assists in the last ten games with 35 SOG. It's good enough across the board that Perron is a clear hold in all formats again. He's only available in about 25% of leagues, but even in a shallow league, I wouldn't be cutting Perron to keep a stream spot. The schedule is a little light the next couple weeks, but it really picks up in the last week of March and early April. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Over the past few seasons, Patrik Laine has caught plenty of his slack for his game. The goals have been on the decline and his defense has remained terrible. The good news is that Laine has completely righted the ship this season. Laine had a hat trick on Thursday, bringing him up to 16+15 in 29 games. That's the best goal and assist rate of his career. The confidence in his game seems to fully be back which is great to see. He's one of the premier offensive players in the game, and it's crazy to think that Laine is still only 23 years old. It will be very interesting to see what happens with Laine in the offseason as he's one year away from free agency, but I have to say, I love the fit in Columbus right now given their style of play. There's a great chance that Laine is back to being the 35+ goal scorer that he was shaping up to be, with 50 goal upside. The shots aren't elite which keeps his value down a bit, but I'm back to being a big believer in dynasties again. Props to Fungazi for picking him in the Three Point Challenge. If you need streamer help for the weekend, go check out JKJ's piece from yesterday here! Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Yes, the Sabres are still a bad hockey team, but the good news for long suffering fans like me, is there are finally some signs of hope. One of the best signs is how well the first line has performed since Tuch returned from injury after the trade. They single-handedly won the game for the Sabres on Sunday against Montreal, and it started with their highest paid player. Jeff Skinner was left floundering on the fourth line or scratched by Ralph Kreuger last season because, well, Krueger had no clue about coaching hockey. Skinner had one of the games of the season on Sunday afternoon, scoring four goals and an assist on six shots in the 5-3 win over the Canadiens. That bring Skinner up to 20 goals with 14 assists in 45 games. Is he worth his massive contract? No, but he's proving once again that he's still a damn good hockey player. I've had him on the fringe for a while, but I feel good about holding him now. His shot rate is back over three per game on the season so that's plenty good enough given his contribution in points. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Those of you that have been patient holding Evander Kane for almost four months were rewarded on Saturday night. Kane played his first game of the season with the Oilers and went right on McDavid's wing. Kane scored in the first period and finished with three shots in the 7-2 win over the Canadiens. He's still available in 50% of ESPN leagues and very close to that on other sites. Kane is a must own immediately, and if you use FAAB, you should bid a large amount of your budget. Yes, he could do something stupid and be banished, but the upside is too high for him to be on waivers. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
We don't know what's going to happen come playoff time, but the Florida Panthers have established themselves as a regular season juggernaut. After destroying the Stars 7-1 on Friday, they came back to score nine goals on Saturday, beating Columbus 9-2. Among the highlights between the two games were Sam Bennett scoring a hat trick on Friday and totaling six points between the two games, Jonathan Huberdeau having six points, and MacKenzie Weegar having a rare four point game from a defenseman on Saturday. They're clicking on all cylinders right now and that means great things in fantasy. They have ten skaters that I consider locks to be held, and another four that are quality streamers depending on team needs. Side note, I'm going to do another hold/stream list soon. Could we see the Panthers win their first playoff series since 1996? As long as their goaltending is passable, it's firmly in play despite being in a division with three elite teams. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Pittsburgh is absolutely rolling right now, winning their ninth and tenth straight over the past two nights. The total line has dominated on both nights, being sparked by the return of Bryan Rust. In both games, Rust scored two goals and an assist, bringing his total to 11 points in 3 games since returning from injury. Bonkers. Jake Guentzel had two assists with four shots while Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist with two shots and two PIM. All three of these guys are top 50 players rest of season, with Guentzel being a top 20 guy and the other two probably just outside of it. They're a viable DFS stack every time they play. I wouldn't be surprised to see an uptick in minutes in the short term with the team heading to the West Coast. If you have any of these guys on your team, you have to be thrilled. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It's no surprise that an ex-Sabre destroyed the Sabres in their first game against their former team. I've seen it for the better part of the decade. The surprise was that the Sabres stormed out to a 3-0 and 4-1 lead, only to blow the game. Sam Reinhart had a goal and three assists with two shots in the comeback, but that's not what makes me excited. Four points doesn't make me excited? Well, it does, but what really excites me is that Reinhart moved onto the first line once the game was 4-1. The line change sparked the Florida comeback, and I'd have to think they keep Reinhart there to start next game. I've already been holding Reinhart, but he is available in a fairly large number of leagues. I'd grab him now because if he stays on the top line, we could see him push towards a point per game.
To say Jacob Markstrom finished October on fire would be an understatement. Markstrom had a 20 save shutout against the Flyers on Saturday, his third in the past four games. The Flames are off to a great start with Markstrom at the forefront. He's saved nine goals above expected over in the last four. He's a clear workhorse which is why I had him a bottom end #1 goalie going into the season, but the upside is higher than that because of the volume. Who knows, maybe he puts together a top five season because of how Sutter wants to play. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend: