It's no secret that coming into the season, I loved the best players on the Jets. While the team itself is of to a mediocre start, the forward in my top 50 that I was highest on compared to consensus was Mark Scheifele. After a monstrous second half last season, I wrote repeatedly how much I liked him for 2016-17 and dynasties going forward. It was evident looking at Fantasy Pros where I was 16 spots higher than anyone else and 19 spots above consensus, quite a margin for a player who I had ranked 32nd overall. Well, it's been a terrific start to the season for Scheifele and it continued over the weekend. On Friday, Scheifele had a goal, two assists and two shots while being +3 in the 5-3 win over Detroit. He followed that up with a goal and an assist with two shots and +1 on Sunday despite the Jets losing 5-2 to the red hot Rangers. That gives Scheifele a total of 7 goals and 7 assists in 13 games with a +5 rating, 10 PIM and almost 3 shots per game. It puts him easily in the top 20 skaters on the season in the player rater and is making me look smart! I salute you, Mr. Scheifele. With the workload that he's receiving, I have little doubt that he will produce going forward at an elite rate. Let's take a look at what else went on around the league over the weekend.
We’ve made it! There’s four games on the slate tonight, all of which are rivalry games. And I don’t mean fake rivalries that NBCSN uses every Wednesday! I’m going to look at a few different things in this post. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Dustin Byfuglien (2 A, 6 SOG, +1) started at right wing for the first time in, well, a while. The Jets hope moving him back to wing will help them find some semblance of an offensive spark, somehow, someway. At first glace this sounds like it's going to be great for his owners, right? Shifting to the wing can only increase his value, right? Well, he lined up with Olli Jokinen and Devin Setoguchi, a slot previously occupied by Bryan Little who is actually having his best season as a pro, so maybe that's not so bad. When asked about the shift Buff dutifully replied that he would do whatever it takes to win, but added that this wasn't his decision. Gee, I wonder how he really feels about it? Apparently the Jets don't much care what he thinks and it's still not his decision because they said today that they'd be keeping the big fella at wing for now. This back and forth dance from defense to forward and back again the Jets have him doing is slowing his development at either position, but it mostly hurts his blue line skills. A lot of folks wondered why he was snubbed from the US Olympic team and it's because he's not a good defensive defenseman yet, in fact I'd still label him a liability on the blue line and his horrible plus/minus can attest to that. I'd call this a desperation move from a team in complete disarray, riddled with injuries and not entirely sure what to do about it. Since moving from Atlanta to Winnepeg it has been all down hill for a franchise that started out, well, at the bottom of the hill and has since been trying to skate to the top. Obviously trying to ice skate uphill is going to be problematic, but that hasn't stopped the Jets from giving it the ole' college try, eh? Only time will tell how Buff reacts to the switch, but I doubt it changes his overall numbers much. He'll likely give us the same 60 some points he was already on pace to deliver for his owners, so whoop-dee-freakin-doo! If this was a better team the switch would mean more, but it's not, so it doesn't. Blah, the Jets are terrible in so many ways. Anyway, here's what else I saw in the world o' fantasy hockey yesterday:
At just 5’9” he is one of the smallest players in the league, but Torey Krug’s game is anything but. Debuting with four goals in five games in last year’s Eastern Conference Semifinals he helped the B’s topple the Rangers and hasn’t slowed down one bit to start his rookie season. Currently tied for first in goals scored among defensemen with seven, he averages nearly 18 minutes a game and what’s more, he’s getting top powerplay minutes as well. Amid a roster dripping with talent from top to bottom it has been Krug, the rookie, that boosted the B’s lackluster powerplay and that’s just what the league needed, the B’s strengthening one of the few weak parts of their game. At any rate, being as small as he is as a defensemen does come with some increased injury risk, but so far Krug has shown himself to be tough as nails taking big hits and quickly shaking them off. To be successful he'll have to avoid those hits rather than endure them, as even the biggest guys have been felled by the plague of concussions in recent years. Most of the time he relies on his quickness and good vision to avoid getting hit too hard and while there are some concerns about his ability to handle larger power forwards on the defensive end, it’s all cylinders go where it matters to us. Going into the season Krug was more known than he would have been because of last year’s playoff performance, but he’s still available in 27% of Yahoo! Leagues. Listen, he has a booming shot, great hands, explosive acceleration and a tremendous hockey IQ so this rookie isn’t just for keeper leagues. If he's on Team USA's radar he should definitely be on yours, so add him where you can. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in fantasy hockey last night:
The Minnesota Wild were a playoff team largely due to goaltender Niklas Backstrom and some timely offense. Sometimes it showed up in bunches while other times it would hibernate for a week at a time. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Sheldon Souray’s goal with 2:08 left in regulation lifted the Anaheim Ducks to a 2-1 win over Chicago and pulled the Ducks within three points of the top spot in the league. Please, blog, may I have some more?
The Anaheim Ducks scored three times in the third period to rally back and knock off the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2. Bobby Ryan and Teemu Selanne scored 64 seconds apart to break a 1-1 deadlock and Sheldon Souray hit an empty-netter with 21 seconds left to seal the win. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Johnathan Toews and Marian Hossa each scored twice as the Chicago Blackhawks nuked the Dallas Stars 8-1. Nuked is an understatement. Chicago led 3-0 after the first and 6-0 after the second. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Brent Seabrook’s overtime goal past Steve Mason gave the Chicago Blackhawks a 4-3 win last night and a 21-game unbeaten streak to open the season at 18-0-3. Johnathan Towes hit him with a beautiful cross-ice pass and Seabrook buried it to an open net to end the game. Please, blog, may I have some more?
For the first time this season a game was postponed due to weather. The Tampa Bay Lightning’s game at Boston fell victim to Winter Storm Nemo so Steven Stamkos and company won’t have to play back-to-back games. Please, blog, may I have some more?