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?
I have to admit, I’ve always had a soft spot for Thomas Vanek. I saw him win the NCAA Championship as Minnesota’s best player as a freshman and fell in love with his offensive abilities before the Sabres drafted him 5th overall. Vanek was excellent for many years in Buffalo and while his game isn’t where it once was, he can still put up points at a fairly high level. Vancouver switched their lines recently with Vanek playing with Brock Boeser and Sam Gagner. They exploded against Chicago on Thursday with Vanek leading the way. In the 5-2 win over the Blackhawks, Vanek scored two goals and three assists with five shots and two PIM finishing +5. Vanek now has 10 points in his past 4 games giving him 12+16 in 38 games this year. The shot rate has been up over the past ten games (3 per) so I’d grab Vanek while he’s on fire, at least as a streamer. I’m sure his name will be discussed as a trade target again at this year’s deadline and unlike last year in Florida, I think Vanek will make a difference. Injuries really hurt Florida and Vanek was mostly relegated to 12 minutes on third line duty. We’ve seen in Detroit last season and Vancouver this year that Vanek is still capable of putting up points. Let’s take a look at what else happened Thursday night around the league:Please, blog, may I have some more?
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:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Reid and I talked about Tristan Jarry extensively on last week’s podcast. We said that he should be picked up immediately with Matt Murray out for at least a few weeks, mostly because the Penguins had a back-to-back against the hapless Sabres. Well, Jarry delivered and then some in both games. He started off with a 34 save shutout in Buffalo before allowing 1 goal on 33 shots in Pittsburgh on Saturday. The schedule isn’t great this week with the Rangers, Islanders, and Maple Leafs on deck, but they’re all at home. At the least, Jarry is a nice spec add to see how things go against better competition. He’s still available in over 70% of leagues so go grab him now. Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:Please, blog, may I have some more?
It seems like forever and a day since Matt Duchene requested a trade from the Colorado Avalanche. His wish finally came true on Sunday in a massive three-way trade between the Avs, Senators, and Predators. The Sens acquired Duchene, the Predators received Reid’s favorite Kyle Turris and the Avs get a ton of future assets. For the Senators, I’m not a big fan. Is Duchene better than Turris? I would say so and Duchene had one more year on his contract than Turris. However, adding a ton here, including a first round pick and Shane Bowers, their first round pick from the 2017 draft, is a lot to add. For Smashville, adding Turris without losing anyone from the current roster besides Samuel Girard is a nice move for a team positioned to go for it. It may be more futures heavy than Colorado originally wanted but boy, did they get a ton in this move. They effectively received 2 1sts, 3 2nds, a third and Andrew Hammond for goaltender depth in the organization. I love this move for Colorado long term, like the aggressiveness of Nashville using futures to push (and like signing Turris immediately to a 6/36 deal), and question Ottawa’s decision here.
For fantasy, Duchene probably gets a small boost because he should slide onto a line with Hoffman and Stone right away. Assuming Turris plays with Forsberg, I think this move could help him as well (at the least it’s neutral). I’m very interested to see if Girard plays for the Avs right away. He looked great in his brief stint for Nashville and the former second round pick could becomes fantasy relevant immediately if he’s in Denver. I’ll be sure to talk more about this trade with Reid on Tuesday’s podcast. Let’s take a look at what else happened this weekend around the league:Please, blog, may I have some more?
In an opening month where tons of goalies are struggling, Corey Crawford certainly is not. Crawford continued his excellent play on Wednesday making 35 saves for a shutout against the Flyers. Crawford sits with a sub 2.00 GAA and > .940 save percentage. To quote Larry David, “pretty, pretty, pretty good.” He’s going a long way in masking some of the problems that the Blackhawks have. Regardless, we all knew Crawford was a #1 fantasy goalie but perhaps he plays his way into the upper tier? To be honest, the Blackhawks probably need it. Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:Please, blog, may I have some more?
I was all in on the Tampa Bay Lightning again this year picking them to make the Stanley Cup Finals. Obviously they don’t crown champions 3 weeks into the season but Tampa has started off incredibly well. They’ve had some depth players step up but at the end of the day, their studs have been incredible. The top two players in points in the NHL by a wide margin are both Lightning players with Steven Stamkos. Tampa Bay blitzed Pittsburgh 7-1 on Saturday and Stamkos led the way with a goal, three assists and four shots on goal. That gives Stamkos a whopping 17 points (3+14) in 9 games. Stamkos was a player who consistently dropped in my drafts into the third round and while it’s too early to celebrate given Stamkos’ injury, it’s been the dream start. Fingers crossed that he stays healthy because Stammer could be a top 10, maybe even top 5 player. Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:Please, blog, may I have some more?
The first home game for the Vegas Golden Knights couldn’t have started any better. After an amazing pre-game ceremony, Vegas stormed out to four goals in the first period en route to winning 5-2 against the Coyotes. Here we are with Vegas sitting at 3-0. So do we have to change our expectations for the team? I’ll talk about it extensively with Reid tomorrow but I still believe they’ll be at the bottom of the league come April. That said, what an amazing start for a team in the wake of tragedy. For fantasy, I think there’s three guys I would own right now in standard 12’ers: Marc-Andre Fleury, James Neal and Nate Schmidt. There is still some downside for all of them but in the moment, just enjoy the ride. I can’t wait to be there next week to see a game in Vegas. Let’s take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:Please, blog, may I have some more?
All everyone talked about in the preseason was wondering how bad Vegas was going to be in their expansion year. Sure, it’s only two games, but boy did they have some excitement. On Friday, Dallas was dominating Vegas in their franchise opener but was only up 1-0 in the third. Down goes Ben Bishop which opened up the door for James Neal to give the people of Las Vegas some relief in an awful time. Neal scored two goals in the third period to propel the Golden Knights to victory. To top off the weekend, Neal scored another goal, this time the game winner in overtime, to give Vegas two wins to start the season. Neal is still available in over 40% of leagues and if you are in one of them, grab him. The shot rate is going to be elite along with solid penalty minutes and goals. At least for now, I’m not overly concerned about the top guys on Vegas having bad plus-minuses either. Let’s take a look at what else happened in the first (long) weekend of the NHL season:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Viktor Arvidsson has been among the best waiver wire pickups of the season, especially at the forward positions. He’s thriving in Nashville seemingly out of nowhere. A late bloomer, which caused him to be drafted at 21 years old in the 4th round by Nashville, Arvidsson first made his name in the league by scoring an overtime goal in Game 6 against the Sharks last season, his rookie campaign. Now, in his sophomore season, we’re seeing upside that I quite frankly didn’t know what there. On Saturday, Arvidsson scored his first career hat trick on eight shots, albeit in a 7-4 loss against Florida. He came right back on Sunday to record an assist with six shots. That brings his totals to 18+21 in 54 games with well over 3 shots per game and a +16 rating. Arvidsson moved back onto the first line Saturday which helped sparked this surge. He’s a clear as day hold at the moment and should be even if he eventually drops down a line. Regardless, Arvidsson is available in over 50% of leagues so do your part to fix that and pick him up. Here’s what else I saw around the league this weekend:Please, blog, may I have some more?