At least once a season, Nick Schmaltz has a monster game for the Desert Dogs. One of those games came on Thursday. The Coyotes buried the Blues 5-0, with Schmaltz recording a hat trick and adding a power play assist. The minutes are through the roof right now, playing over 18 minutes in every game in 2023, and averaging over 20 per game. That's enough to put him in the elite streamer range, if not on the fringe. I can't quite get to hold with poor PIM/hits and a below average shot rate, but I can see holding him for stretches while he's playing this well. The first line looks really good for Arizona (more on the other two later) and the Coyotes are actually above real .500 at home, plus their schedule is super home heavy the rest of the way. Schmaltz should at least be near the top of your streaming priority list. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It has been a terrible year for Kris Letang on and off the ice, but mostly off. He suffered a stroke and his father passed away shortly after. After almost a month away from the team, Letang returned on Tuesday and carried the Penguins to victory. Letang had a vintage performance, scoring two goals and two assists with six shots, four hits, and two blocks in the 7-6 OT win over the Panthers. I'm not going to say Letang will have a monster second half based on one game in his age 35 season. The good news is that there's a lot of games left for him to make an impact, and we know how big the upside is. If I said Letang was a top five defenseman the rest of the way, would you be shocked? I wouldn't. Now, the floor is much lower in the past, even assuming he can stay healthy. However, Pitt is starting to round into form, offensively at least, and the opportunity is there for a big finish. If your team is in position where you need to take a gamble, I would float some offers to the Letang owner. If I had him and was patient through the first three months, fingers crossed that he can salvage the season. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
I've never seen an organization do more to sabotage their own team and coach as the Canucks have over the last six weeks. They've been openly interviewing coaches for two months while Boudreau was still employed. It was already reported that Rick Tocchet was going to take over the Canucks before the Canucks played on Saturday night. It was highly emotional for the fans, players, and coaches, as Zach Hyman had a goal and three assists with five shots to lead Edmonton to a 4-2 win over the Canucks in Boudreau's last game. He was 50-40-13 in his Vancouver, a 90 point pace per 82 games, much better than it should be with their roster. Boudreau is one of the best coaches of the last 20 years, and I hope he gets another chance. Fantasy wise, Tocchet steps in and well, he was really bad when he coached the Lightning and Coyotes. His only playoff appearance was in the bubble because of an expanded playoffs. The schedule does lighten up quite a bit for the Canucks in the short term, which obviously helps. The distraction of the entire situation being gone also helps, but at the same time, they're going to trade Horvat sooner than later, and this could end up a slight negative for the value of their players. If anything, I lean neutral to their values, but I really don't like the way things are trending in Vancouver. Shame on Aquilini and Rutherford for handling this situation as poorly as possible. As for the Oilers, they're on fire finally starting to solidify their playoff positioning being carried by their superstars. The big thing I would say is never panic about their lines, Hyman and RNH will score plenty regardless, and will end up taking extra shifts with McDavid and Draisaitl anyways. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
This Nashville Predators team plays nothing like the style we've come to expect from them over the years. They're hemorrhaging chances left and right, especially against top competition. So needless to say, it was always going to be difficult for them to get a result in Carolina. Luckily for them, they have Juuse Saros. Saros had the second most saves in a non-OT game in NHL history on Thursday saving 64(!) shots in the 5-3 win over the Hurricanes. I bet over 30.5 saves for Saros, can I get paid double for him going over twice? Ha! It's going to be hard for Saros to improve in GAA considering the team in front of him, but he's been playing much better lately to the point where the save percentage should be an elite asset once again. Saros is still a #1 fantasy goalie, both for this season and in dynasties. Amazingly, despite making his debut seven seasons ago, he's still only 27 years old. Let's take a look at what else happened the last two nights:
While I wasn't expecting a repeat of last season from Filip Forsberg, his drop off was a much higher level than it should have been. Thankfully, he started the turn around in a massive way this weekend. Against Anaheim on Friday, Forsberg had a goal and two assists. He followed it up with an even better game, scoring a hat trick on six shots against the Golden Knights. With those performances, Forsberg is on a 33+41 pace, which isn't amazing, but far more acceptable given Forsberg's shot rate. Here's to hoping that Forsberg can keep building. Nashville is going on a long road trip soon, which could lead to a bit more ice time for Forsberg when Hynes can't protect matchups as easily. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Colorado has been decimated by injuries at a level we've never seen before. The return of Valeri Nichushkin makes him their second healthy top six forward. Luckily for them, Mikko Rantanen put the team on his back on Sunday. After scoring Colorado's only goal against the Rangers on Friday, Rantanen scored all three goals for Colorado on Sunday, tying the game with 7.1 seconds left before winning the game in overtime. Quietly, Rantanen is up to 19 goals on the season, playing at a higher point pace than his monster 2021-22. The shot rate is down a bit so his goal rate is a bit unsustainable, but hopefully the shots tick back up without MacKinnon. Regardless, Rantanen has cemented himself as a top 10 fantasy hockey player. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
One of the goaltending performances of the season came in the marquee showdown on Tuesday. Toronto sure didn't make it easy on Matt Murray, taking seven penalties, but Murray stood up to the challenge and then some. Murray had a 44 save shutout, leading Toronto to a 4-0 victory. I thought the Toronto goaltending would be rough this season, but Murray has been very good when on the ice. Same goes with Ilya Samsonov. It could fall apart just like it did for Campbell last season, but the reason I liked these guys as #2 goalies is their floor is so high because of wins. When Toronto gets this level of goaltending, it's extremely hard to beat them. Here's to hoping Murray can stay healthy because he could be a big difference maker in fantasy. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Remember when the Devils fans were chanting "Fire Lindy" two games into the season? My, how the tides have turned. The Devils have won 13 of 14 since, including 10 in a row. The most recent win was 5-1 against the Canadiens on Tuesday with their star players leading the way. Jack Hughes scored twice on seven shots and added an assist in the victory. Hughes now has multiple points in six of his last ten games, and is pushing 4.5 shots on goal per game. Even with a lack of penalty minutes, that's enough to be the top 20 player that I ranked him as before the season. The future is incredibly bright in New Jersey with two elite defensemen prospects coming to support the excellent foundation in place. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
To say the injuries are piling up on Washington is an understatement. They have six players on IR plus Orlov missed Monday's game. The salaries of these players combines to over $40 million. Washington pulled off the upset over the Oilers on Monday on the back of their power play. Four of the five Capital goals came on the power play, with Evgeny Kuznetsov leading the charge with two goals, two assists, four shots and two PIM playing over 20 minutes. It hasn't been the best start to the season for Kuz, but this will certainly help. It's also encouraging that he has 3+ shots in five of his last seven games. If I owned Kuz in fantasy, I would be patient. With the lack of depth Washington is dealing with, the minutes should get back up towards the 20:17 he averaged last season. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
The Coyotes are stuck in a continual rebuild, but acquiring Shayne Gostisbehere has been one of the bright spots. Inexplicably, the Flyers gave a second round pick for Arizona to take Ghost Bear, only to give up a first and other assets to get Risto from the Sabres. Woof. Now, the Desert Dogs have rebuilt Gostisbehere's value. He scored two goals and an assist with four shots in the 6-3 win over the Blue Jackets on Tuesday. that gives him 4+4 in six games this season. In five of those games, he has at least four shots on goal. Yes, the plus-minus is bad, but those PPP are excellent. Even if Chychrun returns and play games, I can't imagine Gostisbehere losing his PP1 spot. Unless your league puts a big priority on plus-minus, he needs to be held everywhere. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
We're one day from the start of the season with the Predators and Sharks facing off in Europe. It's time for my annual post with 10 bold predictions for this year. Among the correct predictions I made last season were Sam Reinhart scoring 30+ goals and being over a point per game and Cale Makar having 85+ points, being the first to do so in 28 years. Well, technically Josi got to 85 before Makar, but I'm still counting it! We won't talk about me predicting the Devils to make the playoffs... let's get to this year's 10!
What's poppin, Razzpimples? Ya boi JKJ is back for another year of fantasy hockey content here at Razzball! Going a different route this time around, though. I'm gonna be your D daddy! No, no, not that kind of D, ya silly goose! Defenders. All the defenders. I don't exactly know why, but I've taken a real liking to that position. If you're familiar with my baseball work, I handle all the RP business. Taken a liking to relievers in baseball, and in hockey it's the defenders.