Evander Kane is a player that I aggressively rank every season. The shot rate is always elite, the penalty minutes are great, and the goals should come along with those shots. Thankfully for his owners this year, Kane has managed to stay healthy. Kane had the best game of his career on Friday, scoring four goals on seven shots and adding two penalty minutes. He followed that up with eight shots on goal and two PIM on Saturday. That brings Kane’s totals to 25+25 with 65 PIM and almost 4 shots per game. Obviously he’s must own, but what is his ceiling going forward? I don’t think his point totals are going to change much depending on where he signs in the offseason. What can change is his plus-minus. Sure, plus-minus is generally hard to predict, but there are some situations that you can feel better about. Obviously Buffalo was almost worst case for that, and Kane is +5 in San Jose to this point. Yes, it’s a small sample, but we’ve seen around the league this year that a lot of teams are loaded with big plus-minus totals. Kane has never been much of a power play guy either, but maybe he goes somewhere that he plays on the top unit and improves. I feel like he’ll be in the bottom of my top 50, but obviously things can change between now and then. For those who have him for this year, enjoy him down the stretch. With his shot volume, Kane can be a massive difference maker if he has some good fortune. Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:Please, blog, may I have some more?
To say James van Riemsdyk had a decent two games would be an understatement. The Charlie Conway look-alike scored five goals over the last two nights, scoring a hat trick against the Stars on eight shots before scoring two goals and an assist against the Sabres. That brings JVR to 31 goals and 16 assists on the season with just under three shots per game. Obviously he’s owned in virtually all leagues at this point, but I wanted to start off with him because he doesn’t get the credit he deserves. He’s played at a 27+ goal pace for six straight seasons now and the two goals last night gave him a new career high. I’m not sure Toronto will be to keep the impending UFA past this season, but one thing is for certain: JVR is about to get paid handsomely. Look for him to maintain his value no matter where he ends up, meaning someone who is a top 75-100 player. Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights: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?
Quick, who is second in the NHL in points? The question would be harder to answer if you guys couldn’t see the title of this post. Phil Kessel has been absolutely incredible all season and he’s certainly not getting the credit he deserves.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Am I shocked at how well the Jets are doing? No. Reid and I talked about the Jets’ ceiling on the Central Division podcast and we said that second place is certainly within the realm of possibility (I guess we sold them a little short, first is in play). Long term readers know how much I love Connor Hellebuyck. The only reason I was scared off a bit for redrafts is that Kevin Cheveldayoff said that Steve Mason would be their starter to open the season. Well, Mason was lit up in his first game as a Jet and the rest is history. Hellebuyck continued his outstanding breakout season over the weekend, saving 30 of 31 shots in the 2-1 SO win over the Flames on Saturday, then a 29 save shutout in the 1-0 win against the Canucks on Sunday. Hellebuyck is currently the #2 goalie on the season, and while there’s a chance he falls off a little bit (I’m certain he’ll finish as a #1G), I think he’s solidified himself as the #2 goalie in dynasty leagues. The Jets are going to be really good for a long time and Hellebuyck will be a big reason and also a beneficiary of the talent around him. Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend: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?
I’ll be honest, a year ago, I never thought I’d be writing about Alex Stalock again. After a few years of being the backup in San Jose, Stalock was shipped to Toronto, where he was immediately waived to play in the AHL. In the summer of 2016, Stalock signed a two-way deal with the Wild but never played in Minnesota, only in Iowa. After Kuemper’s struggles last year and Stalock recording a .926 sv% in the A, the Wild let Kuemper go and decided to sign Stalock to be their backup this year. Sadly, Devan Dubnyk was injured on Tuesday and is week-to-week. We discussed this on yesterday’s podcast, but Stalock becomes a clear must-own until Dubnyk returns. He made me look good as he shut out the Maple Leafs on Thursday night stopping 28 shots he’s faced. Grab Stalock now before somebody else. The Wild are getting healthy and playing great defensive hockey at the moment so for at least the next week, Stalock should provide great value. Here’s what else happened the last two nights:Please, blog, may I have some more?
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?
Has Sam Reinhart lived up to being the second overall pick in his draft? Definitely not. Is the book closed on him becoming a great player? I don’t think so. Reinhart has shown flashes this season but his quality of linemate has been quite poor. Last game, Reinhart moved to the first line with Jack Eichel and Evander Kane. This move paid dividends on Tuesday night where Reinhart scored a goal and two assists with four shots playing 18:36 in the 5-4 OT loss to the Penguins. What does this mean going forward? Well, Reinhart becomes an elite streamer and potential hold as long as he’s playing with Eichel and Kane. Subjectively, I think Reinhart has been much stronger on the puck this year and if not for Eichel missing a glorious chance and another point blank save, Reinhart could have easily reached 4-5 points in this game. Obviously we can’t expect that on a nightly basis but there’s no reason Reinhart can’t play around a 25+35 pace going forward. Here’s to hoping Phil Housley does what’s right and keeps him there. Let’s take a look at what else happened around the league the past two nights:Please, blog, may I have some more?
I normally don’t give the extended intro to the same player twice in a short period of time but my boy Blake Wheeler gets the honor tonight. Wheeler’s excellent play continued on Monday night dishing four assists in the 4-1 win over the Stars, adding four shots and a +3 rating. All of a sudden, Wheeler is quietly creeping up on the Tampa duo sitting third in the league in points. 5+16, +7, 14 PIM, 9 STP, 46 SOG is Wheeler’s line through 14 games. I don’t know what you guys think of that but it seems like an okay start to the season. Loyal readers know I’ve long praised Wheeler as the most underrated superstar in the game and there are simply few players who consistently play at the level he does. Let’s take a look at what else happened in the 6 game slate on Monday:Please, blog, may I have some more?