Being the stand alone game on Thursday afternoon, I was watching the Jets-Panthers game in Finland closely.  For the first half of the game, Patrik Laine looked awful.  He was so bad that he didn't even get 4 minutes of ice time in the first period.  Well, Laine ended up making the natives who came to watch him happy, as he ended up scoring a hat trick on seven shots.  That matched his total from the first 12 games of the season.  Obviously I wasn't panicking about Laine, but my hopes that his ice time would take a nice jump this season isn't looking promising.  There's still plenty of time, and I wouldn't be surprised if Laine goes on a run where he scored 9 goals in 10 games.  His floor is just a bit lower than I hoped because the Jets are so good that Maurice doesn't have to give him big minutes.  I said he would score 50 in the preseason, and the shot rate has jumped to the point where it's possible if he can get his time on ice back up.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
The scores of some of the games over the last two days may have been surprising, but nothing compares to Mike Smith going into Smashville and shutting out the Predators.  Smith stopped 43 shots he faced in the 3-0 win over the NHL's Stanley Cup favorite.  So what do we make of Smith?  Well, facing 43 shots isn't a recipe for success.  On the other hand, the Flames have a lot of star power, and Bill Peters has a system that generally leads to puck possession (the downfall in Carolina was goaltending, plain and simple).  Smith gave up a bunch of goals to Vancouver last week, so these three games sum him up perfectly.  You never know what you're going to get, and it's going to make for a wild ride in head to head leagues.  At the end of the day in roto leagues, he should be a solid #2, especially given the volume he's likely to get.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the past two nights:
Here is what I wrote about the Blues in my 31 predictions post: "Carter Hutton starts at least half of the games the rest of the way.  There’s no way around it, he’s been much better than Jake Allen.  You can tell Mike Yeo knows it lately as Hutton is starting to get more starts.  Hutton is still available in over 75% of leagues; I’d go grab him now just because of the potential upside."  And that's me quoting me copying what Grey does!  Hutton received the start on Tuesday and stopped 30 of 31 shots in the Blues' 3-1 win over Toronto.  Hutton has started 17 games and has the best GAA and sv% in the league for qualified goalies.  Is he going to stay at this level?  Of course not.  Could Hutton be a top 15 goalie the rest of the way if he gets 25+ starts?  Absolutely.  It's worth repeating that you should pick up Hutton right now because he's good enough to potentially be a huge difference maker in fantasy leagues this year.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Brad Marchand was one of the biggest breakout players in 2015-16 scoring 37 goals drastically increasing his shot rate to 3.5 per game while adding 90 PIM. While all of those numbers are taking a slight step back this season, he's improving the weaknesses in his game to become a well rounded player. Marchand returned to his old ways this weekend with three goals on six shots over two games to give him 12+22 on the season. He's only six assists from a career high and we've just reached the halfway point. Marchand also has nine power play points which is already a career high. Instead of being a three or four category stud (depending on plus-minus), he's become a big plus in five categories with the potential for all six if the plus-minus improves. These totals have him 15th in the player rater among forwards and that shouldn't come as a shock coming off a top ten season. It might not be exactly what you wanted but it's been excellent across the board. Here's what else I saw around the league this weekend: