We're keeping things moving in the preseason with goaltending rankings coming today. All that I factor into rankings goaltenders are wins, GAA, and SV%. A big factor into determining wins is potential workload, so I give more value to workhorses than players in time shares. As I always preach in these parts, in head to head leagues, volume is king. In you're in a roto league where starts are capped, then you can give more value to the Gustavsson's of the hockey world. Let's get to it!
I don't know how many people have watched Eastbound and Down, but every time there's a game with huge implications, I just want to yell " a f***ing showdown!" Monday had Kings vs. Flames, a crucial battle, and the Flames had their door blown off. The Kings went up 4-0 in the first, and ended up smoking the Flames 8-2. Despite the blowout, there wasn't a lot of headliners for the Kings, but the one was Adrian Kempe. Kempe had two goals and an assist to bring him up to 34 goals and 21 assists, ready to set a career high in both. Their schedule isn't ideal, but Kempe has played himself into a level where he's worth holding regardless. Let's take a look at the last two nights:
Even with Columbus up 4-0 halfway through the game, it never felt remotely close to over. In the span of the first four minutes of the third period, the Penguins turned a 4-1 deficit into a 4-4 battle. A careless overtime penalty set the stage for Sidney Crosby to score the overtime game winner to complete the comeback. Crosby had a goal and two assists with four shots in the win, setting up a game on Thursday with the Islanders for the first wild card spot. While he's not at his peak anymore, Crosby still has a chance for 100 points again. You don't need me to tell you how good Crosby is, but where he'll rank going into next season is an interesting debate. My guess is that it's somewhere around 20th overall, a clear second rounder in drafts, but perhaps it's a few spots above that. Even at 36, he's given us no reason to expect him to slow down. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Surprisingly, we're having the most action ahead of the trade deadline that I can ever remember. There were a lot of trades over thee last two days that I'll be sure to cover below, but I have to start off with a four goal game. Anze Kopitar scored four goals in the 6-5 OT win over the Jets. I'm shocked that this was actually Kopitar's second four goal game of his career. Kopitar has a good chance for 30 goals now for the first time in six years. Kopitar has played his way into being a hold in all formats as he's closing in on a point per game. With the Kings in the thick of a playoff race, he should continue to get 20+ minutes a night. Kopitar has shown very few signs of slowing down in his age 35 season. He's one of the best players of his generation and doesn't get all of the credit that he deserves. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
We had a game of the year performance on Monday night by Connor Hellebuyck. Hellebuyck saved 50 of 51 shots in the 4-1 win over the Rangers, ending their winning streak. One of my best rankings this season over ADP was banking on Hellebuyck to bounce back after last season's disaster. I even said in my bold prediction that he'd win the Vezina, which Ullmark will probably ruin, but his season has certainly been Vezina worthy. But enough of patting myself on the back. Hellebuyck is sitting with a 2.39/.926, putting him in a battle with Oettinger for the #2 overall goalie to this point (the gap to #4 is massive). He's as good of a bet as any to finish the best goalie for the rest of the season considering the top end volume. Bottom line, Hellebuyck is entering his prime now and since he gets to play in a Bowness system, he should stay in tier one for the indefinite future. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Another star player has made his way to the Eastern Conference well ahead of the trade deadline. We already had Horvat and Tarasenko move, and now we have a former Conn Smythe winner. Ryan O'Reilly was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs, along with Noel Acciari, for a bevy of draft picks. The Wild also acquired a pick for retaining salary, and there were prospects involved, but none of them are particularly relevant. For fantasy, we care about RoR and Acciari. Let's start with Acciari because it's easier. Acciari moved right onto Toronto's fourth line. He scored a goal against the Blackhawks on Sunday, and is piling up hits. He'll be a deep league value for his hits and decent goal rate. O'Reilly is an interesting debate. He's easily having the worst offensive season in the last decade. On the other hand, RoR has been playing much better lately, and he went right onto the second line with Tavares and Marner. He dished an assist in his debut on Saturday playing just over 16 minutes in the 5-1 blowout against Montreal. He also won 12 of 14 draws, which is notable that he bumped Tavares from the faceoff circle most of the time. I'm not rushing to pick up RoR, mostly because we know that he's not cracking Toronto's first power play unit. That said, there's upside in Toronto that he couldn't touch in St. Louis again. If you want to stream him on Tuesday against the Sabres and see where it goes, I can get behind that.
Ottawa had much higher hopes this season than sitting barely above .500. They are playing better hockey lately, going 7-3 in their last ten, following two straight wins to open the week. Ottawa had a massive comeback on Monday, scoring twice in the last 2:14 before winning in overtime against Calgary, 4-3. They found a great performance from a goalie making his NHL to earn a 3-2 SO win over the Islanders on Tuesday. Offensively, they were carried by Tim Stutzle. Stutzle had a goal and three assists with three shots and two PIM on Monday and then a goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM, plus the shootout winner, against the Islanders. The minutes are massive right and he's rewarding D.J. Smith by playing at a 40-50 pace. Amazing stuff from someone who just turned 21 years old. The shot rate has been trending in the right direction for months so while he's a clear top 50 guy now, the debate is how high he should be ranked in dynasties? He's not in that top tier, but he's probably in the tier right behind it. Stutzle's offensive upside has true superstar value. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It's remarkable that Boston started off the season 19-0-3 at home, securing a point in all 22 games. That streak ended on Thursday with the red hot Kraken in town. Earning their 7th straight win, Seattle won 3-0, with Martin Jones posting a 27 save shutout. The numbers for Jones aren't great, a 2.68 GAA that is decent and a .898 sv% which is quite the negative. However, in spite of those numbers, Jones has won 20 games, having started 27. When only Ullmark and Hellebuyck have more wins than you, that's quite the value boost. That is an incredible win rate, and why he has to be held everywhere. It's probably only #3 worthy, although you can make a case he's a #2 and certainly has #2 upside. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
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:
It feels like it's been forever since I've written daily notes. I guess being stuck inside due to a blizzard will do that. It was great to be able to watch the NHL on Tuesday night with a massive slate of games. He didn't have the biggest game of the day, but Erik Gustafsson can be a huge difference maker that impacts the vast majority of fantasy leagues. Gustafsson scored a goal and added a power play assist in the 4-0 win over the Rangers. This is notable because John Carlson is out "long term" after taking a puck to the face last Friday against Winnipeg. It seems like an eternity ago, but Gustafsson did have 60 points with Chicago four years ago with 18 coming on the PP. It's his top unit to run now, and the minutes have been decent even before Carlson's injury. The blocks are okay and the hits are below average, so in those formats he's still on the fringe, but without them, I think he's a no brainer hold. He's available in over 90% of leagues right now, so open another tab, put a claim in for Gustafsson, and then come back and see what else happened on Tuesday night!
Despite the Stars coming up short, Jake Oettinger had arguably the best goaltending performance in a playoff series ever last season against the Flames. Oettinger was at that level again on Thursday, stopping 45 of 46 Washington shots in the 2-1 win. While the wins are a little lower than you'd expect given Dallas' record, Oettinger has established himself as a clear #1 in fantasy. It's not quite in the top tier in redrafts, but it's not far off. Oettinger, who turns 24 on Sunday, is right near the top in dynasties. Dallas has their entire core locked up, including Oettinger, and they're thriving under DeBoer. Let's take a look at what else happened the last two nights:
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: