It's been a disastrous season for the Wild, and it's hard to imagine them digging out of this hole. Monday was a lone bright spot, both for the team and their oldest player. The Wild beat the Islanders 5-0, with Marc-Andre Fleury posting a 21 save shutout. The win gave Fleury the second most wins in NHL history, passing Patrick Roy. It's been a very up and down career for Fleury. He was incredible in the 2008 playoffs getting Pittsburgh to the finals. His most iconic moment clinched the Cup the year after. There were a handful of years right after that where his poor play was the reason the Penguins were eliminated early in the playoffs. They won a Stanley Cup with him as the backup. He also saved them the next year when Murray struggled early in the playoffs to lead Pittsburgh to back-to-back cups. He carried Vegas to the Cup finals in their inaugural season. That's how I'm going to remember MAF. There were too many down years for him to be in that inner circle of all-time goalies, and his best generally wasn't among the current elite, as evidenced by him being a Vezina finalist once in 20 seasons. However, when he was at his best, it was incredible to watch, and that will put him in the Hockey Hall of Fame sooner than later. For this season, Gustavsson is back, so I expect them to split the games fairly evenly. He's a streamer in good matchups for now, but like most goalies, MAF can turn into a hold sooner than later, or be complete unusable. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
We know that Jack Hughes has dominated the first three weeks of the season, but his older brother has started off extremely well, while his teammate and younger brother is starting to get going as well. Let's start with Quinn Hughes. On Friday, Hughes scored two goals on four shots, adding two PIM. Against the Rangers, he had three shots on goal, which sounds disappointing, but it illustrates a large change in Quinn's game. The one thing that has been holding Quinn back for years in terms of fantasy value is his shot rate. This was his sixth straight game with 3+ shots, and 7th in eight total games. It signifies a huge chance in his game, one that does fantasy owners wonders. He has eight points in eight games and certainly can come close to repeating last season's 76 points in 78 games, if not topping it. He was always an elite #2 with flaws, but now, he's a #1. Sure, the hits are dreadful, but everything else is magical.
As a change of pace from the usual daily notes, I want to highlight ten different things that have stood out to me in the early going, whether it's good, bad, or something we need to monitor going forward. I'm going to get my first hold/stream list out in the next week or two, but I want some things to take shape more than they currently are. Let's get right to it!
Hello everyone. Welcome to the first edition of JOT This Down! For those who do not know me, my name is Julian Tarevski (Jules) and I am a fantasy sports content contributor from London, Ontario. (I may be an Ontarian but please do not assume I am a Maple Leafs fan.) I will be here every week with a newsletter, think of it like a message to start your Monday and help you prepare for your weekly matchup. I will cover notable line changes, guys who jumped up on the top powerplay unit, category fillers to watch, and sleepers to stream with favorable schedules.
If you didn’t see Part One, you can check it out here. My big takeaway from doing these rankings is that goaltending gets ugly fairly quickly. It’s going to be difficult to get a #2 that you feel safe with unless you reach for goalies early. Please, blog, may I have some more?
In a Pacific Division battle on Thursday, Stuart Skinner stole the show. Against the Kings, Skinner saved all 43 shots he faced in the 2-0 win. We all know about the firepower the Oilers possess, but they made the conference finals last season in large part because of Mike Smith getting hot as he was known to do. The Oilers replaced him with Campbell, but that has been an epic disaster. Skinner has established himself as the clear #1 and will be going into the playoffs. His numbers are that of a #2 in fantasy, and while I do like the 24 year old long term, I don't really see upside past that unless the Oilers completely revamp their defense. That said, for the Oilers to get on a run, they'll need solid goaltending, and Skinner has shown that he's capable of that. He's the goalie of the future and more importantly, the present. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
While the NFL steals the spotlight during Championship Week, the Rangers started the weekend blowing out two top teams in Seattle and Carolina. They scored six goals in both games to bring their winning streak up to five. While it was a group effort on Friday, Artemi Panarin stole the show on Saturday. The Breadman scored four goals and an assist with five shots and two PIM against Carolina, after dishing an assist against the Kraken. Gallant shuffled the lines after Tarasenko's arrival, with Vincent Trocheck and Jimmy Vesey playing with Panarin again, setting up two of his goals. It was Panarin's third three-point game in his last eight, as he starts to heat up. While he hasn't approached his point production of his first three seasons in New York, Panarin is still on pace for 90+ points. That shows what kind of floor he has and why he's worthy of an early draft pick every year. Despite lower shots and PIM/hits, even his below average year (by his standards) is a top 50 player. Who knows, Panarin could finish the season on a massive heater and finally get to 100 points. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
There used to be a time where players received a massive fantasy boost playing with Tyler Seguin. That time has now passed, but right now, he's getting the boost playing with Robertson. With Hintz injured, Seguin has moved onto the first line centering Robertson and Pavelski, and he's blown up. On Thursday against the Kings, Seguin had two goals and an assist with five shots and two PIM. In the six games since Hintz was out of the lineup, Seguin has five goals and three assists with 22 shots on goal. It's unclear when Hintz will be back, but until he does, Seguin is an automatic hold in all fantasy formats. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
As good as the Jets have been, Friday was a huge boost for their team. Not only did they get Wheeler, Schmidt and Perfetti back, Nikolaj Ehlers returned for his first game since the second game of the season. He immediately went onto a line with Pierre-Luc Dubois and Kyle Connor, and it worked out as well as it has in the past. In the 4-2 win over the Lightning, Dubois scored two goals with four shots and four PIM, with Connor having a goal and an assist plus four PIM of his own. Sunday was even better with Connor scoring a hat trick, Dubois dishing four assists, and Ehlers scoring a goal and two assists. This line has the potential to be one of the best in hockey yet again, and with Dubois playing the best hockey of his career right now, it can be even better than last season. All of them are easily top 50 players with Connor in the top 20, and the other two with the potential to push towards that, but probably a step behind that. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It feels like it's been forever since I've written daily notes. I guess being stuck inside due to a blizzard will do that. It was great to be able to watch the NHL on Tuesday night with a massive slate of games. He didn't have the biggest game of the day, but Erik Gustafsson can be a huge difference maker that impacts the vast majority of fantasy leagues. Gustafsson scored a goal and added a power play assist in the 4-0 win over the Rangers. This is notable because John Carlson is out "long term" after taking a puck to the face last Friday against Winnipeg. It seems like an eternity ago, but Gustafsson did have 60 points with Chicago four years ago with 18 coming on the PP. It's his top unit to run now, and the minutes have been decent even before Carlson's injury. The blocks are okay and the hits are below average, so in those formats he's still on the fringe, but without them, I think he's a no brainer hold. He's available in over 90% of leagues right now, so open another tab, put a claim in for Gustafsson, and then come back and see what else happened on Tuesday night!
Dallas locked up the last part of their core on Tuesday, signing Roope Hintz to an eight year contract extension. Even being in the midst of a three game pointless streak, Hintz remains over a point per game and based on game score, he's a top ten forward in the league to this point of the season. I don't expect him to maintain that pace, but his line is right there for the crown of best in the NHL. Fantasy wise, I'd like to see the shot rate uptick 10-20%, but even with where he is, Hintz is a solid piece towards the top end of your roster. If DeBoer played him 20+ minutes like he should instead of 17 per game, the numbers would be even better. Congrats to Hintz for securing the bag! Let's see what happened over the last two nights:
The Jets have been excellent to open the season, but that hasn't stopped them from tweaking things to get better. On Friday, we saw Bowness go back to last season's duo of Pierre-Luc Dubois and Kyle Connor together, something I've been clamoring for. They notched one goal on Friday by Connor from Dubois, but they went off against Chicago on Sunday. Dubois had two goals on eight shots, while Connor had a goal and two assists with two shots. I've been saying it was a matter of time for Connor to get going, and I think that time is now. He's too talented to not pile up goals. Dubois has been quite good across the board so far this season, but career highs are now in play. The shot rate is fantastic, the PIM are strong, and he's playing at a 40 goal pace. It sucks that they're missing Ehlers indefinitely so they don't have a great second winger, but even still, look for these guys to improve their even strength performance while remaining great on the power play. Let's see what else happened over the weekend: