Now is the time of the year where we see college players decide to forgo their collegiate career and sign an entry level contract. There have been a bunch of players in recent years who have made an immediate impact, such as Chris Kreider and Brock Boeser. We could have another name to add to the list. Ryan Donato signed an ELC with Boston and had quite the NHL debut, scoring a goal and two assists with six shots playing almost 20 minutes.. With all of the graduates the Bruins have had over the last year, Donato is currently their #1 prospect (at least in my eyes). He was a great goal scorer at Harvard and did very well in the Olympics scoring five goals in five games. His shot is his best attribute but he's also a strong skater. I don't see superstar upside, but Donato can definitely become a top 6'er. He's a streamer for now depending on who he's with and how many minutes he's getting, but he's certainly a solid dynasty target. Donato played on the first power play unit and the second line on Monday, so here's to hoping that's what we get for the rest of the season, at least until Patrice Bergeron returns. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
The Razzball ranking committee of one (yours truly) has long been a fan of Brayden Schenn. Mid 20's in goals, about 30 assists, solid PIM, and elite special teams points made Schenn a main stay around the 100 overall mark in his time in Philadelphia. With the move to St. Louis in the offseason, I wrote the following about Schenn in my preseason rankings: "Schenn’s success will come down to two things: can he improve his even strength play in St. Louis while sustaining his power play prowess?" Well, the power play points are slightly behind the past, but my god is Schenn crushing at even strength. Schenn scored a hat trick on Tuesday night leading the Blues to a 4-3 win over Montreal. That gives Schenn 13+20 in 28 games this season, along with a mind-blowing +22 rating and elite penalty minutes. Schenn's career high in a season is 37 even strength points; he already has 25 this year! Even the biggest of Schenn optimists couldn't have seen this coming as he's pushing for the #1 forward spot in all of fantasy hockey. Kudos to everyone who drafted Schenn in the early to middle rounds and here's to continued success for the top six in St. Louis. Here's what else happened the last two nights around the league:
As far as top heavy teams go, the Colorado Avalanche may be at the top of the pack. They have their three young studs at forward leading the way offensively but then a bunch of question marks behind them. Same goes with the defense where they have a few strong players, some aging guys and more question marks. As I've talked about in this space multiple times, Patrick Roy was clueless behind the bench and he abruptly quit his job in the summer. He's been replaced by Jared Bednar who won the AHL championship with the Lake Erie Monsters (Columbus affiliate) last season. Bednar rose through the ranks and was a winning coach every season in the AHL and ECHL making me think the Avs made a fairly big coaching upgrade. The help of a system can only help the players so let's take a look at the players Bednar are working with:
Say the title five times fast, you won't! Alliteration aside, Ben Bishop brought an end to the Blackhawks 12 game winning streak on Thursday, stopping 17 of 18 shots to extend the Lightning's winning streak to 7. Despite all of their struggles, the Lightning are only one point out of first place in the Atlantic and they have Bishop to thank. He's top 10 in the league in goals against, save percentage and wins, including 2nd in the leagues in goals against average. He hasn't been mentioned as a Vezina candidate but he has earned the right to be in the conversation. Here's what else I saw the last two nights around the league:
As far as journeyman goaltenders go, Chad Johnson is the perfect model for grinding the hockey life waiting for an opportunity. Johnson bounced around organizations and finally got a chance to backup in Boston 2 years ago putting up outstanding numbers in 27 games. He was miserable for the Islanders last season and was traded to the tanking Sabres at the deadline. Well, the Sabres aren't tanking now and Johnson is taking advantage of his chance splitting time. Johnson played incredibly on Thursday night, stopping all 44 shots he faced in the 3-0 win over the Ducks. His numbers on the season are now very solid for someone who's sitting on the waiver wire in the majority of leagues; 2.33 GAA and .918 sv%. It's still unknown when Robin Lehner will return and Linus Ullmark will get his starts but I'd grab Johnson in 12'ers for the time being. Here's what else I saw the last two nights:
I'm back! I hope all of the Americans reading enjoyed their Thanksgiving and that everyone had a good weekend. I have a whole week's worth of games to recap so instead of listing every player individually, I am going to go game by game and highlight the key points in each game. This way, I won't mess up adding up players stats across a bunch of games or miss a player having a big impact in one game. In the latter case, Ryan Getzlaf had arguably the game of the week on Tuesday, dishing five assists in the 5-3 win over Calgary. After his appendectomy, he has 14 points in 12 games (13 assists) so he's getting back to his elite status. The goals should come with 46 shots and only 1 goal on the season. Here's a look at every game at every game from last week:
I hate titling the article like something posted on NHL.com... Everything posted there has to be super corny or a terrible pun. Today, I couldn't help myself. There were some surprising performances around the league the first couple nights of the NHL season and one unbelievable, dare I say, Wild, comeback. Okay, I'll see myself out...And we're back! The Wild were down 4-1 going into the third period only to score 4 goals in 5:07 to take a 5-4 lead. Leading the way in the comeback was Zach Parise, scoring the first hat trick of the young season on 6 shots. The Sharks came out and after giving up a goal in the second minute, dominated the Kings for the last 58 . The Jets took it to the Bruins in Boston with a balanced attack leading Winnipeg to a 6-2 victory. The team many were picking to light the league on fire, the Pens, were shut out by my favorite long shot Cup contender, Dallas, 3-0. The biggest thing to do after one game is not overreact but there were some interesting developments and key notes to be made. Let's take a closer look!
The hockey season is finally upon us! While there are only 4 games tonight, it's great for hockey to start. I will go through a preview of the games tonight and Thursday (11 total games) and will have a recap of all of that action out on Friday morning. Here's a breakdown of what we're looking to see from a fantasy perspective in the first couple games of the season.
Ryan McDonagh has officially broken into the elite ranks of fantasy defenseman this year with 43 points in 77 games all while maintaining his status as one of, if not these best lockdown defenseman in the east, and maybe the league. A lot of good that does his owners now that Alex Burrows leveled McDonagh in the waning seconds of the Rangers’ Tuesday’s 3-1 win over the Canucks. The Rangers brass is playing this one close to the chest and all they’ll say is the injury isn’t serious. That being said, they’re also going to play it safe with their new franchise defenseman and are prepared to hold him out of the lineup for the rest of the regular season to give him a chance to heal and be ready for a cup run. So where does that leave owners who were hoping to get a few more points from the young blue liner? Not up shiz creek like you might think thanks to Alec Martinez (2 A, +1), who keeps finding ways to score and with these two helpers he has a mini-two-game points streak going and five points in his last five. He should be added to any teams still left standing right now. Don’t think so? Take a look at who you have slotted in as your 4th defenseman, is he doing any better over the last month than Martinez? Then add Martinez. I know I did. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey yesterday:
A few goalies changed addresses last night with Devan Dubnyk getting shipped off to Nashville for Matt Hendricks which left a hole in Edmonton, so they added Ben Scrivens for a third round pick. Wait, a third rounder for Scrivens? Talk about over paying! Scrivens is 27 years old and only now has he done anything worth note and that came on the heels of starter Jon Quick getting hurt. Had Quick not gone down this trade would have been missed by almost everyone and dismissed as a nonevent and it still should be. The Oilers' defense is terrible and Scrivens' incredible run was largely driven by that staunch LA defense, not Scrivens' newly discovered skills. Don't get me wrong, Scrivens played well, but not well enough to lose his job to Martin Jones in fairly short order, so it couldn't have been that good. So, if you take that staunch Kings D and replace it with a porous Oilers' D, what do you think will happen with Scrivens' numbers? Right into the toilet, that's what. While he may see a modest uptick in starts if he can earn a 1-B status to Ilya Bryzgalov's 1-A, and that's a big if, this move does little to improve his fantasy value. In the same vein, Devan Dubnyk will likely do the same thing he always has done, under perform and blame it on the D. Not saying that he personally blames his mediocre play on the defense, but he has a handful of apologists north of the border who love to sing that song. Well, it's a lame song, like Kenny G lame, so don't listen! Don't get me wrong, Dubnyk does have an upside and it's true that he hasn't had an opportunity to show what he can do yet, or is it? Wouldn't a better goalie have made more of the situation that Dubnyk did? I think so. Does he get the chance to prove the haters (me) wrong now? Nope! Pekka Rinne should be ready to return within the next few weeks and it seems the Preds are sick of the bleh duo of Carter Hutton and Marek Mazanec, so there you go. Dubnyk is a UFA after this season so you can expect him to walk and try and find a team that will offer him more opportunities than sitting behind Rinne in Nashville, so like the Scrivens deal, this does little to add to his value. In the end it sounds like there was a lot of noise about nothing here. Neither move helps your fantasy team and if you need it to, you're already done with this season of fantasy hockey. Hey, baseball is getting ready to spin back up again, so there's that! Anyway, here's what else I saw in a short night o' fantasy hockey last night: