Mark Stone has been a favorite of Razzball Hockey (aka me) for a few years now. One of the most underrated players in hockey, Stone is an above average first liner, no doubt about it. Somebody is going to pay him a ton in the offseason as an unrestricted free agent and he'll be worth every penny. Stone had an incredible game on Tuesday scoring two goals on seven shots while adding in three assists as well. That brings him to 6+12 in 15 games. He's somehow available in 25% of leagues on ESPN, which is crazy. Stone should be owned everywhere, and while I've been clamoring for him to be traded so he's even better, it's become abundantly clear that he'll produce just fine in Ottawa this season. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Hat tricks have been in vogue lately so Blake Wheeler decided to take it to another level. Wheeler scored a hat trick in the first period on Sunday and later added an assist in the 7-1 win over the Penguins. Wheeler has been the fantasy stalwart we've become accustomed to in the early going with 4+8, +3, 12 PIM, 35 SOG and 4 STP in 10 games. I don't know how many more years Wheeler will keep up this level of play but for now, he's a top 20 player with relative ease. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
I both love and hate the first few weeks of the season. Love, because the excitement of the start of the NHL season makes me feel like I’m twelve again, collecting Pepsi bottle caps with the faces of all my favourite players on the under-side; and memorizing all the stats on my hockey cards – that my step-mom will eventually sell without my permission, in a box for $2 at a garage sale. Yeah, Gretzky rookie card and all. Sigh.
Hey everyone! We are only two days away from the season starting and the preseason is in the books. Today, I'm going to take a quick look at all 30 teams in regards to lines, injuries and surprise players who may make the team. Players officially have to go down by Tuesday so there will be a little guess work on my part for the last couple guys to make the roster but at least for standard leagues, nearly everything is clear at this point. Let's get right to it!
It's hard to say a team that finished in 7th place in their division with 84 points overachieved but I'd argue that the New Jersey Devils did just that. Amazingly, they were in playoff contention for the majority of the season until their all-world goalie Cory Schneider went down with an injury. The Devils had plenty of surprises among their forwards while their defense is as bad as it gets from a fantasy perspective. Will their forwards repeat or was last season a fluke? Let's take a look!
For the second time in a week, Jeff Carter had a monster game. On Thursday, Carter had two goals and an assist with 3 shots in the 3-0 win over the Flames. After this game, Carter passed the 60 point plateau while being +17 and over 3 shots per game on the season. The penalty minutes keep him from the truly elite but Carter will still be firmly in the top 100 going into next season. Keep rolling him for the last 10 days of this season. Here's what else I saw around the league the last two nights:
The story of the weekend around the league was the goaltending performances. There were quite a few duds and a bunch of outstanding starts, including 3 shutouts Friday, 4 shutouts Saturday and one more on Sunday. The best of the bunch was a 38 save shutout by Fredrik Andersen in the 4-0 win against the Bruins on Friday. It's rare for the Ducks to be outshot but they buried their chances and were continually bailed out by Andersen. We all know that Andersen is very good at this point so the most telling thing was that in their next game, John Gibson received the start despite Andersen coming off a shutout. Bruce Boudreau is giving both of his goalies plenty of action and seemingly has a set schedule so you have to pay attention every day and start whoever gets the nod. Here's what else I saw around the league this weekend, starting with Friday's games:
Nobody has Benn better across the board this season than Stars captain Jamie Benn. See what I did there? Hilarious! I'll see myself out... Benn had another monster game on Thursday scoring two goals and an assist with six shots in the 4-3 win over the Lightning. That's his third multi-point game in the last four and gives him 36+44 in 72 games with 56 PIM and 229 shots. He's the number 3 skater on the season behind Patrick Kane and Alex Ovechkin but as of now, I would have Benn as my #2 player on the board going into next season behind Ovechkin. It's been an incredible year for Kane but I can't see him repeating it and Benn's extra PIM make up enough difference for me. Here's what else I saw around the league Thursday night:
Both divisions in the Western Conference are in the midst of a three way battle that will have a major impact throughout the playoffs. The Blackhawks found themselves playing three games in a row against their competitors and lost their third in a row. The Blackhawks were thoroughly dominated on Monday night by the Kings, losing 5-0 at home. Jonathan Quick posted the shutout for L.A. stopping all 32 shots he faced. Quick is currently the number 4 fantasy goaltender on the season with better numbers across the board than last season. The Kings remained in first in the Pacific while the Blackhawks remained in third. They have overcome being on the road before but it still makes things quite difficult for Chicago. On the other hand, the Kings getting home ice, a situation they're rarely in, would be a nice bonus against the Ducks or Sharks. Expect Quick to get the majority of the starts down the stretch to be one of the biggest difference makers in the fantasy playoffs. Here's what I saw around the league Monday night:
He's always piled up the assists but Jason Spezza has never been known as a goal scorer. This year, it's a different story because if he wasn't injured, he'd have set a career high in goals. On Friday, Spezza scored a goal and an assist on four shots against the Blackhawks before Spezza scored for the fifth consecutive game Saturday, burying two goals on seven shots against the Blues. Spezza now has 28 goals and 25 assists in 64 games; his career high is 34 goals. Spezza is now a top 50 skater on the year and with the talent the Stars have, he should be around there next year. Here's what else I saw around the league this weekend: