I've long been a fan of Juuse Saros saying that he's the best goaltending prospect in hockey. His time to be a #1 is coming sooner than later, but for the short term, it's his crease in Nashville. Pekka Rinne is on injured reserve meaning he will miss at least the next three games, and that opens the door for Saros. He came in relief for Rinne in a 3-3 game and didn't allow a goal on nine shots, before posting a 31 save shutout in the 3-0 win over the Oilers. He's available in over 80% of leagues and quite frankly, I don't understand it. Goaltending is awful around the league right now, so pretty much every fantasy team could use him as their G3. That said, Saros should be a #1 option when he starts, so go grab him immediately. He's going to get plenty of starts this year even when Rinne is back, so Saros can make a huge difference for you. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
It wasn't that long ago that Ben Bishop was the #1 goalie for an entire season of fantasy hockey. It's been two years since, but Bishop showed his upside on Thursday night, posting a 30 save shutout in the 3-0 win over the Coyotes. I'm not going to overreact to one game; I think Bishop is a bottom end #1 fantasy goalie. That said, there's a chance that the Stars make big strides with Montgomery running the show instead of Hitchcock, which would make Bishop the main beneficiary. The Stars' play over the first few weeks of the season is worth monitoring to decide whether Bishop is worth targeting in a trade. Let's take a look at what else happened over the first two nights of the season:
I've been driving the Anthony Mantha hype train for quite some time. Mantha, a two-time 50 goal scorer for Val-d'Or in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, led his team to the President's Cup totaling 24+14 in 24 playoff games. In 2013-14, Mantha scored 81 goals and 77 assists in 81 games. Does that have your attention? How about 127 penalty minutes as well? Sure, those are facts Viz, but why the hell should I care about what Mantha did three years ago in juniors? Why hasn't he established himself as an elite scorer in the NHL yet? Why is he a sleeper for fantasy hockey next season? Well, voice inside my head, I'm about to answer those questions for you.
Kyle Okposo is a player that tends to get overlooked despite becoming an elite scorer in the NHL. In his last 3 seasons with the Islanders, Okposo played well over a 60 point pace per 82 games including 2013-14 when he had 69 points in 71 games. Even now that he's in Buffalo, Okposo is still looked at as a complimentary piece even though he's a bonafide first liner. In Tuesday night's 6-3 win over the Kings, Okposo moved onto Jack Eichel's wing and immediately delivered with three assists and a shot. That gives Okposo 21 points in 27 games with elite power play points and strong shots. Yes, the penalty minutes have dried up for now, but with how well he possesses the puck plus his scoring prowess, Okposo is on his way to another 60+ point season. Even if the penalty minutes don't come back, he's looking at another top 100 overall fantasy season. Pretty, pretty good
. Here's what else happened around the league the last two nights:
Holy smokes, over 5000 words! This is quite the recap of the last 5 days of hockey. I had a introduction all set to go around Milan Lucic but I had to erase it and give the lede to Michael Cammalleri. Cammalleri mysteriously missed six games in a row before returning on Wednesday night. It turns out that his 5 year old daughter Chloe had severe pneumonia which eventually required surgery. On this Thanksgiving weekend, we're thankful that she's going to make a full recovery. Dad returned and had a three game stretch for the ages. He started with a remarkable goal and three assists with 9 SOG in the 5-4 shootout win over Toronto. Cammy followed it up totaling a goal, assist, four shots and two PIM in the 5-4 loss to Detroit before scoring 2 goals on 4 shots in the 4-3 shootout loss to Pittsburgh. Just a measly 8 points in 3 games, no big deal. He's almost back to a point per game (just like last season) with three shots per game and solid penalty minutes. Cammalleri is still available in over 50% of leagues and to be blunt, that's a huge mistake. If you're in one of those leagues, go grab him now. Here's a look at the last five days around the league. I'm going to go through day by day but in the format most people like; just note that a player may be mentioned multiple times.
It hasn't even been two weeks since the regular season started and the hat tricks are already piling up! On Saturday, we had our most recent hat trick in Calgary as new Blue David Perron scored a hat trick on six shots and added an assist in the 6-4 win for St. Louis. Ken Hitchcock shuffled the lines before the game and the biggest beneficiary was Perron getting to play with Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz. Obviously it worked out better than anyone could have imagined. Perron was horrible to start last season in Pittsburgh but took off in Anaheim so there is fantasy potential here. For now, if I had room, I would grab Perron just to be able to stream him on Tuesday to see what happens. The Blues play the Flames again who are a complete dumpster fire defensively at the moment so it's an excellent spot for Perron to produce and there's a chance he turns into a hold. Let's take a look at what else happened around the NHL this weekend:
1989-90. That's the last time the Detroit Red Wings missed the playoffs. The streak was in serious jeopardy last season as Detroit didn't have a point to spare finishing in a tie for 3rd in the Atlantic but getting in on a tiebreaker; no team in the Eastern Conference made the playoffs with less points. Following the departure of Pavel Datsyuk, the Red Wings are faced with their toughest challenge yet to keep the streak alive. From a fantasy point of view, their roster is loaded with players who have great upside but also a low floor. Let's take a look!
I know that Jonathan Drouin couldn't have handled his demotion any worse than he did but it still blows my mind that he was sent down to the AHL in the first place. The former third overall pick was amazing on Tuesday night tallying three assists and four shots in Tampa's 3-2 win over the Red Wings. The biggest issue for Drouin in the past was been his lack of shots and while I know it's a small sample size, every game in the playoffs he's taken at least 3 shots. Did the 21 year old make all of the necessary adjustments to succeed on a regular basis? It sure looks like it. As far as next season goes, the sky is the limit. Drouin's upside is virtually uncapped. He'll certainly be in my top 100 and from there, it depends how much you want to gamble on upside versus safety. Here's what else I saw around the league the last two nights:
It's an unpopular opinion but for my money, Erik Karlsson is the best player in the NHL. He makes a bigger impact on a game to game basis than any other skater in the league; it's scary to think about where the Senators would be without him. Karlsson had another one of his big games on Tuesday night with the game winning goal in overtime on his third shot while adding two assists in regulation. The Swede now has 60 assists (60!) to lead the league and 13 goals in 71 games with over three shots per game. He's even been a bit unlucky; his shooting percentage is its lowest since his rookie season. Karlsson came into this year as somebody to go around the turn in 12'ers but he's a slam dunk first rounder now. Here's what else I saw around the league Tuesday night:
If you've been following along with me all year, or at least the last month, you know how much I like Mark Scheifele. The 22 year old was having an excellent start to the year until an injury sidelined him for 11 games. He came back and started well only to take off when he moved up to the first line in the wake of Bryan Little's injury. Scheifele is in the midst of his best stretch to date. After his two goal performance on Thursday, Scheifele topped it with his first career hat trick on four shots in the 4-2 win over Montreal on Saturday. He then scored a goal on five shots in the 2-1 defeat against the Oilers. Scheifele now has 21 goals and 20 assists in 54 games with an excellent plus-minus, solid PIM and a near-elite shot rate. Scheifele is conservatively a top 50 player for the rest of this season and going forward. As I've said before, I want him on all of my teams next year. Here's what else I saw around the league this weekend: