The Montreal Canadiens stormed out of the gates last season and never looked back en route to winning the Atlantic Division.  They have a roster that seems like a random collection of players with no clear plan.  They've gutted their blue line losing a good top 4 in the last year (Subban, Beaulieu, Sergachev, Markov) leaving themselves depending on Shea Weber far too much.  Like last offseason, they made a massive trade in the summer, this time involving two young talents.   This is a team who is getting the small things right but the big things wrong and that gives me significant concern going forward.  Per usual, it's all on Carey Price's shoulders.  Their fantasy assets for this season look to be limited but there are a few guys with elite potential and some intriguing guys for deeper leagues.  Let's take a look at what Les Habitants are working with:
I call Joe Pavelski "Mr. Consistency" because every season you can make him down for 30 goals, 40 assists and solid contributions elsewhere. It's generally not flashy, just a consistent point with three shots, but at the end of the year it's good enough to justify a first round pick on him. Pavelski showed on Wednesday night that he's capable of dominating a game. Pavelski had a monster outing, scoring two goals and two assists with four shots in the 6-5 OT loss to Florida. The Sharks looked like they were dead before Pavelski scored 2 goals in the last 3:21 to force overtime. He's on pace for right around 30 goals, a small stepback, but he's compensating by playing at a career high assist rate. The shots are also over three per game, he's +9 and the PPP are coming in per usual. Expect Pavelski to provide the value you hoped for drafting him in the back end of the first round and for him to be ranked in that same ball park going into next season. Here's what else I saw around the league the last two nights:
I certainly didn't think I'd be writing about Peter Budaj at any point this year. After all, he played in a whopping one game over the past two seasons combined. Alas, we're here in December with Budaj being a major talking point of the NHL season. After Jonathan Quick went down, the expectation was that offseason signing Jeff Zatkoff would get the majority of the starts but when he went down as well, Budaj stepped in and has kept the job. He had arguably his best two performances over the weekend. Budaj posted a 39 save shutout in the 1-0 OT win over the Penguins before making 29 saves on 30 shots in the 1-0 loss in Boston. Budaj is currently #12 in the ESPN player rater among goalies making him a bottom end #1 or elite #2. With the news that Quick is going to be out until at least March, it's Budaj's job going forward. Despite that, Budaj is still available in over 40% of leagues. Can I explain it? No, not one bit. If you don't already own him and he's available in your league, grab Budaj. Let's take a look at everything that happened around the league the last three nights:
In my preseason rankings, this is what I wrote about Mitch Marner and his teammate William Nylander. "Putting them back to back because I’m unsure which one will be on the second and third line. Either way, I think there is value there in redrafts but the one in the top six could end up a hold." Well, it turns out Marner was that guy but both are clear holds at this point. Nylander has been getting the attention with Auston Matthews but Marner has equally impressed me. In my season preview for the Leafs, I said the following: "Marner, the fourth overall pick in 2015, is an incredible offensive talent. He had over two points per game this season in the OHL with 39+77 in 57 games along with 68 PIM. In standard redrafts, I like drafting Marner late. He won’t have the hype that the other young guys do but could be just as good as a rookie, if not better." And that's me quoting me again! In the 3-2 Leafs win on Thursday, Marner dished three assists and added two shots and two penalty minutes. This brings his totals up to 6 points in 7 games with above average shots and great PIM in the early going. Clearly he needs to be held right now and is elite in all dynasty formats. Also, shoutout to frequent commenter Shitwolf for being the first person to ever get a player correct for the Three Point Challenge! Nothing like somebody getting it on the first night we do it. Shitwolf and Mitch Marner go down in Razzball history! Here's what else happened the last two nights in the NHL:
We should have saw this coming. After years of failing to meet expectations, the public wasn't expecting much from the Sharks in 2015-16 after missing the playoffs in 2014-15 and naturally made the Stanley Cup Finals. They are one of my favorite teams to watch for the absolutely loaded top 6 that they have while Brent Burns is making wild offensive rushes all game. There's a ton of fantasy assets on this roster so let's take a look at what they're working with:
On Wednesday night here, I recommended Jamie McGinn as a streamer in his first game as a Duck, saying "early indications are that he’s going to play with Rickard Rakell and Corey Perry tonight. I like his chances to get a point if that’s the case." Well McGinn on both Wednesday on Thursday. On Wednesday, McGinn scored a goal on four shots against the Canadiens. He came back on Thursday scoring a goal and an assist with two shots against the Coyotes. This is the best opportunity that McGinn has had in his career so it's nice to see him produce right off the bat. This should help him keep this role putting him right on the fringe of 12'ers with how well the Ducks are playing. At the least, he's a top end streamer from this point moving forward. Here's what else I saw around the league the last two nights: