Monday night was a short slate, but there were a couple great games. Florida and Edmonton decided that defense (and goaltending) was optional leading to a 7-5 barn burner. Vincent Trocheck took over the game late, scoring three goals in the third period on six shots to record his first career hat trick. No matter what format you play, Trocheck has been incredible this season. By the end of the month, there's a great chance that Trocheck has set career highs in goals, assists, PPP (already did that) and SOG. The 24 year old is also a monster in faceoffs, hits, and blocks for a forward as well. For those of us in standard leagues, Trocheck looks like a top 35 player for this season and in the future, if not even better. He's basically Jamie Benn with a better shot rate and a lower floor for penalty minutes (obviously plus-minus can shift year-to-year). The only potential downside going forward is that Trocheck is already averaging 21:33 per game, which has nowhere to go but down. Either way, that's of no concern for me; Trocheck is still underrated in my eyes. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
First off, I hope everyone had a Happy New Year's! As much as I personally don't care for New Year's Eve, this year was different because of the Buffalo Bills making the playoffs. I wish I had video of me celebrating with my dad or an audio recording of my friend, who is in Paris, who heard us yelling on speaker phone and him celebrating in the Paris streets. Couple that with an amazing USA win in the WJC outdoor game against Canada that I was at and things in the sports world couldn't be better. Even the Sabres looked competent today despite the loss! Anyways, let's get to what you're here for... I've talked about Josh Bailey being the waiver wire pickup of the year on multiple occasions over the last couple weeks because, well, the Isles top line is on fire. That said, William Karlsson is easily #2 in this department. Wild Bill, a Razzball favorite from the past (aka favorite of mine), scored the first hat trick in Vegas history on Sunday, scoring three goals and an assist in the 6-3 win over the Maple Leafs. That brings Karlsson's totals to 20+13 in 33 games with a +15 rating. Sure, it will regress some because he's not going to shoot 26.3% all season, but let's give Karlsson his due. In the first 183 games of his career, Karlsson scored 18 goals. He has that beat for the Golden Knights in 37 games. His emergence is a huge part of Vegas shocking the world as they sit atop the Western Conference. Karlsson will drop off some in the second half, at least in the goals department, but make no mistake about it, it's not a complete fluke. Karlsson should be a hold for the rest of the season. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last three days of the old year:
I have to admit, I've always had a soft spot for Thomas Vanek. I saw him win the NCAA Championship as Minnesota's best player as a freshman and fell in love with his offensive abilities before the Sabres drafted him 5th overall. Vanek was excellent for many years in Buffalo and while his game isn't where it once was, he can still put up points at a fairly high level. Vancouver switched their lines recently with Vanek playing with Brock Boeser and Sam Gagner. They exploded against Chicago on Thursday with Vanek leading the way. In the 5-2 win over the Blackhawks, Vanek scored two goals and three assists with five shots and two PIM finishing +5. Vanek now has 10 points in his past 4 games giving him 12+16 in 38 games this year. The shot rate has been up over the past ten games (3 per) so I'd grab Vanek while he's on fire, at least as a streamer. I'm sure his name will be discussed as a trade target again at this year's deadline and unlike last year in Florida, I think Vanek will make a difference. Injuries really hurt Florida and Vanek was mostly relegated to 12 minutes on third line duty. We've seen in Detroit last season and Vancouver this year that Vanek is still capable of putting up points. Let's take a look at what else happened Thursday night around the league:
Winnipeg cooled off the red hot Oilers on Wednesday night winning 4-3. They'd probably trade that win if it meant Mark Scheifele wasn't injured. The Jets superstar center fell awkwardly into the boards in the second period and did not return. This is mostly guesswork on my part but from watching a ton of hockey over the years, it looked like Scheifele severely damaged his shoulder or collarbone. Either way, we could be looking at a significant absence. What does it mean going forward for the Jets in fantasy hockey? I think we see the top two lines get their minutes evened out. Consequently, it would give a small boost to Laine and Ehlers while a slight down tick to Wheeler and Connor. The potential winner is Bryan Little. Little scored a goal in this game on three shots and played over 21 minutes. The Jets lack a true replacement as a top six center so it'll be interesting to see what the Jets lines look like tomorrow in practice and during the next game. My speculation: Little becomes must-own, one other player becomes a streamer (Armia?) and not much else changes. Here's to hoping Scheifele isn't out too long for everyone. Let's take a look at what else happened on Wednesday night after a three day hiatus for the NHL:
Hey, everyone. I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas, wonderful time with family and friends, and solid New Year’s Eve plans lined up. Your extended-play streamer column is here, albeit a little reduced due to the holidays. We’re on the downhill stretch for most fantasy seasons, and for most leagues this is a short week. As you might know by now, my managing style and what I discuss in my advice column is maximizing games played and putting more skaters on the ice that your opponent. I don’t have access to my desktop right now, but the abbreviated version of what I want to reiterate every thread is this:
Jake DeBrusk was the second of three consecutive first round picks by the Bruins in the 2015 draft. The other two players are still in the AHL developing but DeBrusk is starting to make his mark with the big squad. In the 7-2 beatdown of the Blue Jackets, DeBrusk scored a goal and two assists with four shots and two penalty minutes. He followed that up by scoring the only non-empty net goal against the Sabres on Tuesday. As you can see below, snipe city: That brings DeBrusk up to 8 goals and 10 assists in 28 games with solid penalty minutes and a decent shot rate. The crazy thing is that he's producing despite getting poor minutes (he's averaging 14 per game on the season). DeBrusk has shown me plenty this season to improve his stock in dynasties. He looks like a lock to be a top six player going forward while having plenty of upside from there. In redrafts, I wouldn't hold him right now, solely because of the lack of minutes. That said, DeBrusk is still a great streamer while he's producing. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights in the NHL:
Hey, everyone. Your extended-play streamer column is here. I hope your fantasy weeks went well, and that you maximized games played and put more skaters on the ice than your opponent. I’m a big believer in accountability, and will be following up on the data I am collecting, and how the previous weeks have panned out. Because I write these over the weekend, matchups are still occurring, so I will use data from the previous completed week, pulled from my most competitive league as well as the two RCL’s. So, in order to give Razzball readers a potential plus-8 or plus-12 skaters in a week, here is my weekly column indicating what teams you should grab free agents from, and some players who might be available in your leagues.
If you follow my writing at all, you know how much I love Brent Burns. I mean, how can you not love this face? He's been among the most disappointing players in fantasy hockey to this point, mostly because he's found a way to have a horrible shooting percentage. Well, since my last set of daily notes, Burns is finally back on track! In his past three games, Burns has three goals and three assists with a whopping 22 shots on goal. There's still plenty of time for Burns to deliver an elite fantasy season with a monster second half. I certainly won't put it past the reigning Norris Trophy winner. I'm going to change things up a bit with this post. Since I'm a bit behind, mainly because of the site going down last Thursday night, I'm going to list every player, by NHL team, that I think is a hold or streamer in standard leagues, guys who become in play with hits, blocks and faceoffs added, and then add some information where necessary. Let's get to it!
Giving up five goals to St. Louis in the opener wasn't extremely concerning for the Penguins. But ten goals to Chicago in game two? I believe that qualifies as a mess. Obviously I'm not going to panic in regards to the Pittsburgh season outlook; I'd actually try to trade for Matt Murray if their owner is panicking. We'll have to wait a few weeks to develop a bigger sample size, especially because this spot was perfect for the Blackhawks, but maybe they're better than I gave them credit for. Let's take a look at the eight games from Thursday night and see what developed:
The Boston Bruins returned to the playoffs on the back of their first line. I would argue that Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak were the best trio in the league. Injuries hurt them immensely in their first round loss to the Senators but thankfully for them, they get a chance to run it back. Boston's roster is almost identical to last season's except for some young players that are ready to make a full time leap. They don't have many interesting pieces from a fantasy perspective but they have a few elite options and some top end prospects. Let's take a look at what they're working with: