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:
What better way to become the third player ever to 800 goals than to score a hat trick? Alex Ovechkin did just that on Tuesday, scoring three times and adding an assist against the Chicago Blackhawks. He's only one goal behind Gordie Howe for second all-time, and then the real chase towards Gretzky starts. Ovechkin already has 20 goals this season in 31 games, a mere 53 goal pace for the 37 year old. He's over four shots per game, and while the plus-minus is disappointing, it's starting to turn around a bit. My love for Ovechkin is well known in these parts, so I don't need to belabor the point, but I can't wait for the greatest goal scorer ever to push towards 895. Here's to hoping he keeps battling father time and gives hockey fans a great chase. Let's see what else happened over the last two nights:
As someone who is a big believer in Jason Robertson and had him ranked 32nd overall, a bit ahead of consensus, I did not see this coming. Robertson scored a hat trick on Thursday versus the Ducks, bringing him to 22+17 in 24 games. Is that good? Then you see Robertson is averaging under 18 minutes per game and realize that given a normal superstar workload, it would be even better! He's been absolutely incredible to this point and if the season ended today, he'd be the Hart Trophy winner. Is it going to last like this? Probably not. But he's clearly a top 10 player at this point, which is insane considering that two seasons ago, he was a second round pick rookie. Whatever scout led Dallas to picking Robertson deserves all of the money. Let's see what else happened over the last two nights:
Kevin Fiala's first two games for the Kings left a lot to be desired. He didn't generate much in terms of chances, he took a stupid penalty in their opener against Vegas, and his ice time suffered as a result. His old team, the Wild, were coming off giving up seven goals against the Rangers and were big favorites to get their first win of the season. Instead, the Wild gave up seven goals again, with the Los Angeles top line leading the way. Fiala scored a goal and two assists with six shots in the 7-6 win, while Anze Kopitar dished three assists and Adrian Kempe scored two goals and an assist with three shots and four PIM. My biggest takeaway from this trio in the early going is that I was too low on Kempe this season. While he's not the focal point of the power play anymore, he's still vital to its success, and the addition of Fiala strengthened the top line. All of them are easy holds at the moment and I don't expect that to change. Let's take a look at what else happened on Friday and Saturday:
Today, I'm going to complete my goaltending rankings with tiers 5-8. If you draft one of these guys as your #2 goalie, you're carrying a bit of risk that they could implode. There are guys in tiers 5-7 that have upside, whether it's needing an injury to the other goalie on the team, or being the #1 on a team with a lot of variance. Let's get to it!
The best goal scorer of all-time started off the season on the right foot. Alex Ovechkin scored two goals and added two assists in the Washington 5-1 win over the Rangers. Please, blog, may I have some more?
The season is upon us! Tonight, the Lightning start another title defense while we also get the debut of the Kraken. I’m going to write up some quick notes from around the league to get everybody up to date on what’s happening around the league. Please, blog, may I have some more?
We've reached our final four stops: Montreal, Ottawa, Tampa Bay, and Toronto. Apologies for leaving y'all stranded yesterday, been a little under the weather.
If you'd like to look back over the other team previews, you can find them all below:
Things have changed quite a bit with goaltending in the NHL since I started writing at Razzball. When I started, there were tons of workhorses with very few teams using a platoon. Now, more than half of the teams have a duo where the backup is getting at least 1/3 of the starts, if not a complete split. Among the few workhorses that we have left, there are only six that I completely trust to be a #1 goalie this year. I am breaking down all of the goalies in the NHL into tiers (and ranking them within in each tier), but be sure to understand how your league format can change the value of certain players. For example, if you're in a head to head league, Marc-Andre Fleury is going to be more valuable than in a roto league because the volume should be there. In a roto league where you have a set number of starts, someone like Ilya Sorokin, who, barring injury, should start 35-40 games, gets a boost because the quality of starts matters a lot more than volume. If you have specific questions, ask them in the comments section, but I'll have a quick note on everyone when necessary. Let's get to it!
It's not the first time this season, but Jonathan Huberdeau had five points in Tuesday's 7-4 win over the Predators, scoring twice and adding three assists. I know I'm a broken record with Huberdeau, but there's no superstar that gets less recognition than Huberdeau does. Thankfully, the Panthers clinched a playoff berth with the victory so he'll get back on the big stage. He's playing a 95 point pace again and should be around 25th overall going into next season in standard leagues. If your league doesn't include shots, he'll be even higher. It took longer than anticipated, but Huberdeau has proven to be worth the third overall pick from 10 years ago and then some. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
With only a couple weeks left in the season, it's time to lock down and make that final push. In this post, I'm going to highlight some notable things around the NHL and their fantasy impact, along with looking at the schedule for the week ahead and what we can do with that. Let's get to it!
Alex Nedeljkovic is only three games away from becoming a restricted free agent instead of an unrestricted free agent. It's easier for Carolina to do with Petr Mrazek banged up (he could play if necessary, but Carolina won't push him), so expect Nedeljkovic to start at least three times down the stretch. He's still available in almost 70% of leagues which I do not understand. I would add him immediately if he's available.
We're down to the last few weeks of the season, and whether you play in a roto league or H2H league, it's time to be aggressive with your moves. The 150th best player could easily be better than the 50th over a small sample. so we want to be getting volume from our players. This is especially true in net where variance swamps everything. Carey Price suffered a concussion on Monday and is ruled out for at least a week, if not more. Jake Allen has fallen off a bit lately, but his overall numbers are still quite strong. He's available in over 80% of leagues which doesn't make any sense. If you need any goaltending help, go get him now. With Montreal having a back to back with Calgary on the weekend, the expectation is that Cayden Primeau starts one of the games. He's been solid in Laval this season so if you're in a deep league, I'm fine with streaming Primeau given Calgary's struggles. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights: