In my preseason rankings, I had a bunch of players much higher or lower than their ADP. I will recap these players on both sides of the spectrum at the end of the season but Mike Hoffman appears to be my biggest hit at this point. I had him ranked in the top 100 (97th to be exact) and said "I’d be absolutely thrilled to get Hoffman because if he gets top power play time, he could be a top 50 player." Well, he's getting that time and he's crushing it so far this year. After his two goal,one assist, seven shots and two PIM effort on Thursday, Hoffman has 13 goals and 12 assists in 21 games. Depending on the website, his ADP was 20-40 spots later my ranking so hopefully you all are reaping the benefits. Here's what else happened on Thursday night:
As far as fantasy disappointments go for this hockey season, Evgeni Malkin may have been right at the top going into this week. In 17 games, he had 12 points, which is far below his normal standards. On Tuesday, Malkin single-handedly beat the Wild, scoring two goals and adding two assists in the 4-3 win. Now, 16 points in 18 games with 18 PIM and a +5 doesn't look as bad. One more big game and Malkin is back to his normal levels. I assume this game kills the chance to buy low but I'd look to add as many of the top Penguins as possible in trades; you can't keep these superstars down.
Here's what else I saw on Tuesday night:
Petr Mrazek was the goalie waiting in the wings, for the Wings, for a couple years until the end of last season. He took over the job and played well through the playoffs until they lost to the Lightning in 7 games. Now, he's on the better side of the Wings platoon in net and he showed why he should get the majority of the starts on Tuesday, stopping all 38 shots against Washington in the 1-0 win, including a whopping 15 shots from Alex Ovechkin. Ideally, you would still own Jimmy Howard with Mrazek but Mrazek looks to be on the better side of the split right now.
Here's what else I saw on the massive slate on Tuesday:
If it wasn't for a late injury last season, Tyler Seguin would have almost certainly led the NHL in points. Instead, his teammate and linemate for most of the year, Jamie Benn, won the Art Ross trophy. Stars coach Lindy Ruff put newly acquired Patrick Sharp on the wing with Seguin and Benn the last two games, and there were immediate dividends. On Saturday, in a 4-2 win, Seguin had 2 goals and 2 assists, Benn had 2 goals and an assist and Sharp had 2 assists. If these three stick together, and there's no reason to expect them to be separated, they're going to be the best line in hockey this season and carry the Stars back into the postseason as a legitimate threat.
Here's what else I saw this weekend:
In seven seasons since the Flames took Mikael Backlund 24th overall he has failed to live up his draft position or the hype that followed. Not once has he topped 40 points or 20 goals, so it might seem odd to peg him as a second half sleeper now, but after he returned from an abdominal injury recently he’s been on fire. Since January 7th he’s put up three goals, two assists, a game winning goal, a shorthanded goal, 11 faceoff wins, three hits, a plus-3 rating and a block in three games. That pushes his season line to 4/5/9/+3 in just 14 games and it looks like he might finally be ready to live up to the high expectations heaped upon him nearly a decade ago.
Back in April 2013 the Washington Capitals were interested in adding some veteran help for a playoff push. The Nashville Predators had some help in the form of Martin Erat and so they struck a deal. Erat went to the Caps and Filip Forsberg (1 G, 2 A, 5 SOG) came over to the Preds in a package deal. At the time no one really batted an eye, but now all eyes are wide open watching “Fil the Thrill” roll through opponents night after night on his way to one of the best starts a rookie forward has had in years. I honestly didn’t see this coming, but after he posted just 34 points in 47 games in the AHL last year, honestly, who did? His preseason was stellar, but preseason means squat and I figured he was just playing hard against weak competition to earn himself a roster spot like any respectable rookie. The last I saw of Fil he was easy to knock of the puck, undersized, lacking strength and looking overwhelmed playing North American hockey, but clearly he had some skill. Oh my how things have changed. With a deceptively awkward but quick wrister at his disposal Fil stretched his point steak to seven games with the three-point effort last night. What’s more, he has a six game goal-scoring streak mixed in and 12 points (7 G, 5 A) over that span. He’s currently on the top line with James Neal (1 A, 2 SOG, +2) and Mike Ribeiro (1 SOG, +2) and that’s a good place to be. He hasn’t just been good, he’s been dominant and his line has outscored opponents 13-1 at even strength so far. The downside here, yes there’s a downside, is that there’s really no chance he can keep this scoring pace up. You know that. You don’t want to admit it, but he will. The upside there is that he’ll fall from dominant to thrilling, retaining tons of value all season long. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey last night:
Former Hobey Baker winner Johnny Gaudreau (Yahoo – 31%, ESPN – 53.4%, CBS – 73%) didn’t start the season off well with no points in his first five games but he has come alive recently with nine points in his last six games, sporting a plus-9 rating on the season to boot! He’s little and he’s young, but you have to remember that this is a guy who put up 80 points in 40 games in his final season at Boston College, so the mighty-mini playmaker has skills to spare and it’s quickly translating into success at the NHL level. I don’t think he keeps this torrid pace up, but the Flames look pretty damn solid, a lot more so than anyone really expected going into the season. He plays on a line with Sean Monahan, another guy you should own and I touch on in this post, and gets time on the top power play unit for the Flames so the chances will keep coming so long as Johnny can keep cashing them in. The word is out on CBS and he’s gaining traction fast in ESPN leagues, but of course Yahoo lags behind at just 31% owned. Why must you plague me so, Yahoo league owners? Do you have an aversion to winning or are nearly 70% of teams abandoned already? Get with the program y’all, add this guy yesterday! What’s that I hear? You didn’t get a chance to cash in on Johnny? Well scope out the rest of these guys, maybe you’ll beat the rush:
It’s not sunny in Philadelphia right now when it comes to hockey. The Flyers dropped a 3-1 decision to the Carolina Hurricanes to fall to 0-3-0 this season and they have scored just three goals in three games. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Alex Ovechkin’s first hat trick in two years fueled the Washington Capitals to a 5-1 win over the New Jersey Devils as part of a 12-game Saturday in the NHL. Ovechkin scored twice in the third period when the Capitals scored four times to break open a 1-1 game. Please, blog, may I have some more?
So if you told me yesterday afternoon that the Dolphins would only score 6 points against the Jets I wouldn’t be that shocked. But if you then said “and the Florida Panther’s will outscore them” I would recommend you have your head examined. Please, blog, may I have some more?