Evander Kane has been a polarizing player for years. The talent is noticeable on a regular basis but inconsistency and off-ice issues have plagued him during his career. Kane started off the season slowly but right now, he's on quite the hot streak. In Tuesday's game against the Red Wings, Kane scored two goals on four shots and added a fight for good measure. That gives Kane 7 goals and an assist in the last 9 games with elite shots and strong PIM. Given that he's an elite option in PIM and SOG with the potential for strong goals, I ranked Kane in my top 100 going into the season because the player raters always love him for his contributions across all categories. We're starting to see why yet Kane is still available in 59% of leagues. He's carrying the third line for the Sabres right now and the change in role has been a good thing for him. It allows him to have the puck on his stick more often and his linemates do a great job cycling the puck. I'd definitely own him in all 12'ers and I have been rolling him in some 10 man leagues as well. Here's what else happened around the league on Tuesday night:
I try not to lose faith in any of my players in the first month of the season. I prefer to stand by my draft decisions and ride out a player’s slow start, rather than regret dropping them too early. Of course, living up to that ideal is a whole other ball of wax, but it usually serves me well for a few weeks at least. If your crew of defencemen is lacking, now is a great time to start shuffling. It is a time of uncertainty and doubt for many owners, which means you can – and should – capitalize and improve your blue line before these cold starters warm up. Below are a few you should alternately covet, drop, and consider for the long run. P.S.: Today's post is not-so-subtly brought to you by the color Green and the word Day.
It hasn't even been two weeks since the regular season started and the hat tricks are already piling up! On Saturday, we had our most recent hat trick in Calgary as new Blue David Perron scored a hat trick on six shots and added an assist in the 6-4 win for St. Louis. Ken Hitchcock shuffled the lines before the game and the biggest beneficiary was Perron getting to play with Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz. Obviously it worked out better than anyone could have imagined. Perron was horrible to start last season in Pittsburgh but took off in Anaheim so there is fantasy potential here. For now, if I had room, I would grab Perron just to be able to stream him on Tuesday to see what happens. The Blues play the Flames again who are a complete dumpster fire defensively at the moment so it's an excellent spot for Perron to produce and there's a chance he turns into a hold. Let's take a look at what else happened around the NHL this weekend:
When players get interviewed before their first game, they always give the same boring mundane answers. "I'm focused on keeping things simple out there." "I'm just going to play my game," etc. They dream of scoring a goal in their first game. Well, Auston Matthews did just that in his first game. And then he did it again. And again, and again. The first overall pick from this year's draft became the first player in NHL history to score 4 goals in his debut, doing so on 6 shots playing 17:37 against the Senators. And the Leafs still lost! Man, they are horrible. Everyone is going to overreact to this game so I'll be the one to say that you need to lower expectations. Yes, there will be flashes from Matthews but like any rookie, consistency will come and go. He also won't get to play a team as hopeless defensively as the Senators are again any time soon. There's no doubting that Matthews will be a superstar but in the fantasy realm that we live in, don't think he's going to be a top 50 player this season or anything outlandish after one game. Here's what else happened around the league in the first two nights of the season:
After a surprising run to the playoffs in 2014-15 that included a playoff series win (thanks to the horrible playoff system the NHL has), the Calgary Flames quickly regressed last season finishing completely out of the playoff picture. So which team are they? While two seasons ago was a clear fluke, I think this team is much closer to that team now, with two years of growth for their young core. They finally have a goaltender that they should be able to count on as well. They don't have a lot of players that should be drafted in 12'ers but they're all studs or carry plenty of upside. Let's take a look!
At this point, it's about time we recognize that Artemi Panarin isn't just riding Patrick Kane's coattails. On Wednesday, the rookie vaulted himself into a tie for 5th in the league in points, scoring a hat trick to lead the Blackhawks to a 5-3 victory against the Rangers. It was a 3-3 game with 3 minutes left until Panarin scored to take the lead and then he sealed it with an empty netter. He now has 22 goals and 35 assists with solid numbers in the other categories. As long as voters don't punish him for being 24 years old, Panarin should run away with the Calder. He's gone from a late round flier this year to a slam dunk top 50 asset going forward that's probably closer to the top 25 than 50. Here's what else I saw around the league the last two nights:
I've always been a huge Peyton Manning fan and thought he was the G.O.A.T. before last night. Even though he didn't play well, it was great to see him win a second Super Bowl. I'm glad he said was going to have a bunch of beers after the game as well, although he should pick something better than Budweiser. Wait, I'm supposed to talk about hockey here. Whoops... The weekend had less action than normal due to the Super Bowl but there was plenty going on. Kyle Okposo had the best weekend of everyone. On Saturday, he had an assist in the blowout loss but on Sunday, Okposo went off with a hat trick, assist and eight shots in the 8-1 massacre of the Oilers. He now has a good chance of setting a career high in points, penalty minutes and power play points which is outstanding. At 27 years old, Okposo is about to enter his prime and as long as he stays healthy, he should be a 60-70 point player for the next couple years. Here's what else I saw around the league this weekend:
At this point, it's no surprise when Jamie Benn has a big night. You almost expect it against Carolina even though he was pointless in the previous three games. Well, it happened on Tuesday with Benn scoring his league leading 19th goal on his only shot of the game with three assists. He's now on a 120 point pace for the year with 39 points in 28 games; I don't know if it's crazier that he's on that pace or that he's not leading the league in points (more on that later). Bottom line is that last year's Art Ross winner is proving that it was no fluke. Here's what else I saw on a busy Tuesday night: