It’s at the point of the season where I start off posts with guys who aren’t trivial holds and can make a difference down the stretch run. I’ve always been enamored with Nick Bjugstad‘s potential, especially after his 24 goal season three seasons ago. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Hey guys! Over the next month, I will be taking a look at each team’s players to watch out for going into the 2019-20 fantasy hockey season. This analysis features everything from surefire studs, to sleepers, to streamers, deeper league holds, even to rookie-eligible prospects that may make an appearance at some point this season. Please let me know if you guys enjoy this type of material! Reminder that the stat totals are from last season. Last year my previews went alphabetically, but this year we’re going to go division-by-division, starting with the top team. On our fifth stop on the 31 in 31 tour, the Vancouver Canucks! The Canucks have had a busy – and awfully confusing – off-season. Nonetheless, their top-six got much better and their prospects got a year older.
Being the stand alone game on Thursday afternoon, I was watching the Jets-Panthers game in Finland closely. For the first half of the game, Patrik Laine looked awful. He was so bad that he didn't even get 4 minutes of ice time in the first period. Well, Laine ended up making the natives who came to watch him happy, as he ended up scoring a hat trick on seven shots. That matched his total from the first 12 games of the season. Obviously I wasn't panicking about Laine, but my hopes that his ice time would take a nice jump this season isn't looking promising. There's still plenty of time, and I wouldn't be surprised if Laine goes on a run where he scored 9 goals in 10 games. His floor is just a bit lower than I hoped because the Jets are so good that Maurice doesn't have to give him big minutes. I said he would score 50 in the preseason, and the shot rate has jumped to the point where it's possible if he can get his time on ice back up. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It's been years since Jack Campbell was the hot goaltending prospect. Seemingly out of nowhere, Campbell has been thrown into the fire and has come out hotter than a pistol. Campbell had his best game to date on Thursday, recording a 40 save shutout in the 3-0 win over the Canadiens. He now has 117 saves on 121 shots over 3 games. Jonathan Quick is week-to-week, so while it might only be a short term thing, Campbell is worth owning in virtually all leagues until Quick returns. The Kings aren't the powerhouse they used to be, but they're still a strong possession team making their goal automatically worth owning. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
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:
Ryan Getzlaf has been killing it for the Ducks since they were known as The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. He's been bald for that long too! Getzlaf missed extensive time this year due to injury but he's been great when in the lineup. He had his best game of the season on Thursday dishing four assists and adding two shots in the 5-4 OT win over the Islanders. To be honest, he wasn't even the best player on his team for fantasy (more on that guy later), but Getzlaf's fantasy impact is much greater. Getzlaf now has 2+13 in only 12 games so far. He played almost 25 minutes in this game which just goes to show you, everything is in place for Getzlaf to get back to being a top 50 player for the rest of the season. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Hey, everyone. Your extended-play streamer column is here. I hope your fantasy weeks went well, and that you maximized games played and put more skaters on the ice than your opponent. I’m a big believer in accountability, and will be following up on the data I am collecting, and how the previous weeks have panned out. Because I write these over the weekend, matchups are still occurring, so I will use data from the previous completed week, pulled from my most competitive league as well as the two RCL’s.
One more day! One more day! This is my last writing post until the season starts besides including streamers in tomorrow's podcast. Can't wait. Let's put a bow on things by looking at the prospects from the three non-playoff teams in the Pacific Division along with the expansion Golden Knights:
Yikes. That's the first word that comes to mind when I think of the Vancouver Canucks. After years of making the playoffs and being one game away from a Stanley Cup, the Canucks are starting a rebuild. Granted, they still have a very good first line but otherwise the roster is full of young guys and players who aren't fantasy relevant. My early pick to finish last in the NHL, there are no teams in the league with fewer fantasy assets than the Canucks. That said, there are still some guys worthy of being drafted in standard leagues so let's take a look at what they're working with:
Both divisions in the Western Conference are in the midst of a three way battle that will have a major impact throughout the playoffs. The Blackhawks found themselves playing three games in a row against their competitors and lost their third in a row. The Blackhawks were thoroughly dominated on Monday night by the Kings, losing 5-0 at home. Jonathan Quick posted the shutout for L.A. stopping all 32 shots he faced. Quick is currently the number 4 fantasy goaltender on the season with better numbers across the board than last season. The Kings remained in first in the Pacific while the Blackhawks remained in third. They have overcome being on the road before but it still makes things quite difficult for Chicago. On the other hand, the Kings getting home ice, a situation they're rarely in, would be a nice bonus against the Ducks or Sharks. Expect Quick to get the majority of the starts down the stretch to be one of the biggest difference makers in the fantasy playoffs. Here's what I saw around the league Monday night: