Mika Zibanejad was looking like the biggest bust of this season near the halfway point. Well, it's changing pretty quickly and amazingly, it wasn't the Sabres that turned it around. Last week, Zibanejad had three goals and three assists against the Flyers. It was so fun that he did it again eight days later! On Thursday, Zibanejad doubled down with his second natural hat trick and six point game in rapid succession against Philadelphia in the 8-3 win. That brings him up to 10+16 in 32 games, not exactly lighting the world on fire, but within reason. He's still over three shots per game, so while a repeat top 20 season is out of play, a top 50 season is still within reason. As I said at the time, Zibanejad is prone to huge hot streaks, and I think 17 points in 7 games qualifies. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It’s not too often that a goalie gives up more goals than he makes saves, especially playing a full period. Hunter Miska, come on down! The good news for Colorado is they have a ton of firepower and they still managed to win by four goals after allowing four in the first. Please, blog, may I have some more?
With how disappointing Kevin Shattenkirk has been overall in Anaheim, I wasn’t expecting any Ducks skaters to be a hold for the rest of the season. Lo and behold, a player who looked primed to be a 30 goal scorer on an annual basis looks to have finally founded his mojo again. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Nothing helps getting your season back on track like playing against the Buffalo Sabres. Carter Hart has had a really rough go of it in the opening month of the season, but on Sunday, he looked to turn it around in Buffalo. You'd think that after the Sabres were shutout 3-0 on Saturday that they would come out firing on Sunday. Nope. Hart stopped all 28 shots he faced, most of the routine variety, to beat the Sabres 3-0. Brian Elliott only needed to make 23 saves on Saturday as the Sabres are in complete disarray. As I always say, goalies are voodoo, but I'd be stunned if Hart doesn't make a jump towards being a #1 fantasy goalie again. If you can buy low on Hart, I would try to do so. The fact that the Flyers are 11-4-3 despite Hart's horrible start shows you what kind of upside the team has. Elliott should be streamed every time he starts as his save percentage is over .930 in his eight games. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Nino Niederreiter's first season in Carolina couldn't have gone any better with 14+16 in 36 games. Last season really couldn't have gone worse with 11+18 in 67 games. Well, this year has certainly been closer to 2018-19 and we can be thankful for that in fantasy. Niederreiter scored two goals and an assist with three shots on Friday before dishing an assist on Saturday, adding six shots. That brings Nino to 9+3 in 16 games with over three shots per game, 13 PIM, and a great +11 rating. The second line in Carolina has been incredible, sparked by Niederreiter and Trocheck's revival. He's an easy hold in all formats for the time being. I wish that the minutes were a bit higher, but considering what Nino is doing with what he's getting, there can be some growth with additional minutes, namely in the assist department. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Out of the three players moved in the big Columbus-Winnipeg blockbuster, the extra player is the one who has been the best on his new team and it's not even close. Jack Roslovic has been outstanding since moving to his home town team. He scored two goals on four shots in the 6-5 win over Chicago. That brings him to 4+5 in 9 games with the Blue Jackets. The shot rate is poor to this point, but he also has nine shots in the past three games so it's looking up. I really liked Roslovic as a prospect, but it never clicked in Winnipeg for whatever reason. Now, he's playing center, which appears to be his better position, and Torts is utilizing him as a #1 center. Roslovic is widely available and should be added in all leagues. There's no guarantee it lasts, but he's hot right now and there's real upside to be had. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Injuries and COVID absences didn't stop Carolina from shutting down the Lightning on Tuesday night. It started with Petr Mrazek in net who stopped all 32 shots that he faced to earn the win. That's two shutouts already in three starts already for Mrazek. It's to the point where I feel comfortable playing him in every start where going into the season, I didn't want to use him against the other top teams in the Central. We've seen the upside before in Detroit and even though that was a while ago, the system in place in Carolina should make Mrazek's burden relatively easy. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
We had a blockbuster happen on Saturday morning. Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic are headed to Columbus in exchange for Pierre-Luc Dubois and a third round pick. Three disgruntled players all get fresh starts and all should have a fantasy impact, albeit to differing degrees. Let's start with Dubois. He's going to start centering the second line, presumably with Ehlers and Stastny moving to the wing. I presume his minutes will come in around the 18 he was at last season which should be quite productive. The big question is whether or not he's on the first power play or if Stastny keeps that spot. We'll have to wait two weeks to find out as Dubois will have to quarantine for that long given Canadian rules right now, but there's a potential top 50 player in here. I really like the combination of Dubois with Ehlers.
We're back for part two of the Playoff Manifesto. For those that didn't read Part One, you can read that here. Today, we will cover the Western Conference. To see the template of which I'm working with, check out the details in the Eastern Conference post. For this one, let's get right to it!
ST. LOUIS BLUES: 4, 3, 3, 3
This is pretty much the worst streaming schedule possible. There are only three teams that don't have a back-to-back over the last four weeks. We'll get to them later in this post, but at least their games are more bunched together with a 4,3,4 in the first three weeks for both. They're every other night the first two weeks, then have two days off in the middle of the third week, before finishing every other day. Honestly, there's not much to say here. Thirteen games is average so hold the usuals, and don't stream Blues.
Joel Quenneville saw that Sergei Bobrovsky was rounding into form on Saturday after a strong performance against his old team. He rewarded him by starting him on Sunday despite being the second game in as many days. Bob delivered once again. After making 33 saves in the 4-1 win over Columbus, Bobrovsky stopped 30 of 31 shots in the 5-1 win over the Sharks. Yes, the season has been worst case scenario to this point for Bob. However, there's still plenty of time to turn it around and I think we see it. Sure, maybe he won't be the top 5 goalie he's been in the past, I can almost guarantee that. However, he could end up being a #1 again and for that reason alone, he's a great trade target. Over the rest of this month, he plays Tampa twice and Boston, with some decent offenses and poor ones mixed in. However, look at this January schedule: OTT, BUF, PIT, ARZ, VAN, DET, MIN, CHI. Not exactly a murderer's row. In fact, they don't even play Tampa again after this month. If I owned Bob, which I do, I'm being patient because I think it's going to turn around. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend: