Hi, folks

I apologize for missing my streamer column this week. I’m a college admissions counselor and my weekends have been taken up with reading applications and watching the Olympics. I stumbled into some free time and need to solve a pressing problem on one of my own fantasy hockey teams, so join me as I explore the world of goalies before the fantasy playoffs.

As some of you know I only use one goalie, and stream when necessary. This strategy gets me an additional skater to play for 3-4 games a week, and prevents me from fretting about ratios and wins- I can focus on getting offensive categories and can roll the dice on my ratios (sv% and GAA). I drafted Braden Holtby for this role, but his last few starts have been absolutely terrible: 5, 4, 6, and 4 goals allowed in his last four starts. His GAA on the season is 2.95, nearly a full goal greater than last year and a full half goal above his career average.

Because the playoffs are coming, I need to figure out why this is happening. I’ve been content to let Holtby’s performance slip and slide, but now the heat is on to get decent performances- a championship is on the line. So, I’ve built a goalie-stats spreadsheet to try and figure out where I can gain an advantage and if need be, work a trade before the end of the weekend, or decide to ride out the storm.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Gretzky, Lemieux, Forsberg, LaFontaine.  That’s the list of players in the last 30 seasons to have multiple five assist games in one season.  Add Mathew Barzal to the list after Friday night.  Barzal became the first rookie in 100 years to have three five point games in one season dishing five assists in the 7-6 win over the Red Wings.  That puts Barzal over a point per game on the season and makes him the prohibitive favorite for the Calder (sorry Boeser).  Our second podcast ever, which took place before last season, saw Reid and I hype up Barzal for dynasties.  Regardless, he’s blown away my expectations this season.  Now, it’s not all rosy for fantasy.  The penalty minutes are low, but more importantly the shot rate is barely over two per game.  On the other hand, he’s 20 years old and is over a point per game, so it’s hard to complain.  There’s a top 20 fantasy player in Barzal’s future if he can get that shot rate up.  Regardless, he’ll be a borderline top 50 player next year solely for the points, and it’s only going to get better from there.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The way young players have stormed the league in recent seasons, people just assume Sam Reinhart won’t get much better and be a bust.  If Reinhart wasn’t the second overall pick, he’d be impressing everyone with his improvement.  While I don’t think he’ll ever be a true superstar, I’m still a big fan of Reinhart going forward.  Reinhart was on the ice for all four Sabres goals on Thursday, scoring a goal and two assists with two shots in the win over the Islanders.  That puts Reinhart at 15 points in his past 16 games making him an elite streamer at the moment.  For those in dynasties, Reinhart should develop into a top 100 player eventually but towards the bottom end.  He’ll be a beast in real life, but the lack of PIM will keep his value down.  For those in redrafts, use him while he’s hot.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There have been a few big games by individuals this season but Patrice Bergeron’s on Saturday is the new leader for the best of the year.  Bergeron scored four goals and added an assist with seven shots in the 7-1 win over the Hurricanes.  Bergeron was the second player this year to score four goals after Alex Ovechkin.  Per usual, Bergeron is crushing all of the categories.  He’s playing around a 40+35 pace while already having a +19 rating, solid PIM and pushing four shots per game.  Bergeron is a slam dunk top 50 player for the rest of the season who should push towards the top 25.  Again, the top line in Boston is as good as it gets and Bergeron is at the forefront of their success.  That line just gave up their first goal against at even strength all season!  Remarkable stuff.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

First off, I hope everyone had a Happy New Year’s!  As much as I personally don’t care for New Year’s Eve, this year was different because of the Buffalo Bills making the playoffs.  I wish I had video of me celebrating with my dad or an audio recording of my friend, who is in Paris, who heard us yelling on speaker phone and him celebrating in the Paris streets. Couple that with an amazing USA win in the WJC outdoor game against Canada that I was at and things in the sports world couldn’t be better.  Even the Sabres looked competent today despite the loss!  Anyways, let’s get to what you’re here for…

I’ve talked about Josh Bailey being the waiver wire pickup of the year on multiple occasions over the last couple weeks because, well, the Isles top line is on fire.  That said, William Karlsson is easily #2 in this department.  Wild Bill, a Razzball favorite from the past (aka favorite of mine), scored the first hat trick in Vegas history on Sunday, scoring three goals and an assist in the 6-3 win over the Maple Leafs.  That brings Karlsson’s totals to 20+13 in 33 games with a +15 rating.  Sure, it will regress some because he’s not going to shoot 26.3% all season, but let’s give Karlsson his due.  In the first 183 games of his career, Karlsson scored 18 goals.  He has that beat for the Golden Knights in 37 games.  His emergence is a huge part of Vegas shocking the world as they sit atop the Western Conference.  Karlsson will drop off some in the second half, at least in the goals department, but make no mistake about it, it’s not a complete fluke.  Karlsson should be a hold for the rest of the season.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last three days of the old year:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Jake DeBrusk was the second of three consecutive first round picks by the Bruins in the 2015 draft.  The other two players are still in the AHL developing but DeBrusk is starting to make his mark with the big squad.  In the 7-2 beatdown of the Blue Jackets, DeBrusk scored a goal and two assists with four shots and two penalty minutes.  He followed that up by scoring the only non-empty net goal against the Sabres on Tuesday.  As you can see below, snipe city:

That brings DeBrusk up to 8 goals and 10 assists in 28 games with solid penalty minutes and a decent shot rate.  The crazy thing is that he’s producing despite getting poor minutes (he’s averaging 14 per game on the season).  DeBrusk has shown me plenty this season to improve his stock in dynasties.  He looks like a lock to be a top six player going forward while having plenty of upside from there.  In redrafts, I wouldn’t hold him right now, solely because of the lack of minutes.  That said, DeBrusk is still a great streamer while he’s producing.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights in the NHL:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Growing up, the Avalanche were always my second favorite team.  My grandpa was a huge Peter Forsberg fan and it didn’t interfere with my Sabres since they were in the Western Conference.  I’ve always kept a close eye on them even though my rooting interests are now firmly with the Sabres and “Team Whoever I Bet In Game X.”  Anyways, Gabriel Landeskog has been a personal favorite of mine in this new Avalanche era.  He became the youngest captain in the league when it wasn’t cool to make your young top pick a captain.  Landeskog won the Calder and led the Avs on a massive warpath to a shocking #1 seed in 2013-14.  When I started at Razzball, things looked on the up for Landeskog at 23 years old.  Then, like the rest of the Avalanche organization, Landeskog struggled mightily.  Thankfully for all of us fantasy owners, he’s back.  Landeskog had the best game of his career on Saturday scoring a hat trick and two assists with five shots against the Lightning.  Sure, the Avs lost, but it doesn’t change his stat line for us!  The Kog now has 13+11 in 28 games with a strong plus-minus and solid PIM plus shots.  In fact, I’d be surprised if the penalty minutes don’t jump soon.  It’s amazing that Landeskog just turned 25 so he’s not even in his prime yet.  Look for him to be a top 100 player for the rest of the season and for at least the next few years.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  Well, everyone who celebrated last Thursday, you Canadians had theirs last month!  In this post, I’m going to focus on the top 50 players from the last week along with some players who returned from injury.  The biggest story is Jonathan Marchessault.  The best bargain in the NHL (salary of $750k this season), Marchessault has a goal and two assists in each of the last three games.  Just like that, he’s a top 50 player on the season despite missing a few games!  Marchessault now has an absurd stat line of 8/13/+5/16/66/5 in 19 games (for those unfamiliar with my normal format, that’s G/A/+/- / PIM / SOG / STP.  And somehow he’s still available in over 60% of leagues!  If you’re lucky enough to be in one of those, grab him immediately.  Let’s take a look at the other players on fire lately:

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We’ve gone without daily notes for five days due to Razzball crashing for a short period of time.  The good news is that the problem is fixed and that we are backed!  I’m not going to go through every single game over the past five days because at this point, some of it would be outdated.  I’m going to go through each team in the league and write a little bit about each of them.  Let’s get right to it!

Please, blog, may I have some more?