The race for the Calder trophy has been razor thin from the start of the season. Early on it looked like the Sharks’ Tomas Hertl was well on his way, but then he blew out a knee and that opened the door for the Rangers’ Chris Kreider, but he has since cooled, though he’s still getting good minutes with Rick Nash and Derek Stepan and remains valuable in deeper leagues. Ondrej Palat jumps into the mix with his recent surge of 15 points in his last 16 games giving him 31 points, which actually puts him ahead of Kreider’s 30. Regardless, it’s Nathan MacKinnon’s (1 A, 5 SOG, +1) turn to be the front runner and this time the edge might not be so razor thin. MacKinnon has eight points in his last five games with goals in three straight until last night, but he figured he’d keep the trend going and chipped in a helper. With less than 30 games to play MacKinnon leads all rookies in goals (20), assists (21) and points (41) putting him on pace to finish with a Bobby Ryan-esque 30 goals and 31 assists in 82 games. It’s not every day that you get a rookie that can score 30 goals, it’s even more rare to find a kid who will match his goal scoring with assists and a decent plus/minus to boot!  You’d think given his recent streak and general good play all year he’d be owned in 100% of leagues everywhere, but alas, Yahoo fails us once again and his ownership sits a platry 68% as we approach the stretch run to the playoffs with Palat coming in at just 16%. ESPN sits at 100% for MacKinnon but just 81% for Palat. These are the guys that give you the edge moving forward, so if you’re in a league where either is available, do yourself a favor and pick them up yesterday. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey last night:
If you were asked “Which is the best line in hockey right now?” what would you say? The Kessel/Bozak/JVR line in Toronto? How about the Perry/Getzlaf/Penner line in Anaheim? You might even venture a really far out guess throwing the surging Nash/Kreider/Stepan line out there for the Rangers. Well, none of the above is the answer here folks, because the TVO line on Long Island has been dominating the league for the past month. John Tavares (3 A, 4 SOG, +1, 2 PIM) leads the league in scoring since December 17th and decided that his lead wasn’t quite big enough, so he added three helpers after scoring goals in back-to-back games prior to last night. That gives him 25 points in his last 17 games. Kyle Okposo (2 A, 3 SOG, +1, 2 PIM) now has 22 points in his last 17 games and is now tied for second in the league in scoring since Dec. 17th with Thomas Vanek (1 G, 1 A, 5 SOG, even) who clearly loves playing with Okie and Tavares, and who wouldn’t? He has 23 points in his last 17 games and holy hell is this line good or what? I know I have a history of bashing the Isles for not giving Tavares enough talent to work with, but he sure has it now. Unfortunately that hasn’t changed the fact that the Isles have a horrible defense and suspect goaltending, so despite the fact that the TVO line is scoring in buckets, it hasn’t been enough. Obviously all three of these guys are taken in your league and if they’re not, you’re in a really horrible league. The only player since Dec. 17th in the top 4 in scoring that isn’t an Islander is Flyers’ Wayne Simmonds with his own 22 points over that span, and there’s a guy worth adding and is likely still available, so add him where you can. Did I just start a feature about three guys and end up recommending you add someone completely different? You betcha! Just trying to keep you readers on your toes. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey last night: