There are probably a dozen different players who I could give this lede to. There were a bunch of people who hit the 3 point challenge, my love affair for the Jetse guys is paying off and there were also some shutouts. I decided to take a look at somebody who generates some talk in the comments, Max Domi. Domi finally broke and in a big way with a goal and two assists and two shots. It was shockingly his first goal of the season but he now has 9 assists in 12 games, including 8 in the last 8 games. The shots have slightly increased, not as much as I hoped, but with almost a penalty minute per game as well, he's easily a top 100 player at this point. Domi's minutes are a bit inconsistent but with how thin the Coyotes roster, I expect them to go up as the season progresses. Let's take a look at what else happened around the league the last two nights.
So I’m in this one league that drafts way too early each year. On top of that, it’s an email draft that typically takes up to 3 weeks to complete. And it’s deep. Very deep. Twenty teams, with 20-man rosters. So why do I torture myself year after year, with this slow-as-molasses-and-way-too-soon draft? Because it preps me for all the others I will take part in leading up to the season. They’re still playing World Cup games, for crying out loud. How is anyone supposed to be ready for this?
It's an unpopular opinion but for my money, Erik Karlsson is the best player in the NHL. He makes a bigger impact on a game to game basis than any other skater in the league; it's scary to think about where the Senators would be without him. Karlsson had another one of his big games on Tuesday night with the game winning goal in overtime on his third shot while adding two assists in regulation. The Swede now has 60 assists (60!) to lead the league and 13 goals in 71 games with over three shots per game. He's even been a bit unlucky; his shooting percentage is its lowest since his rookie season. Karlsson came into this year as somebody to go around the turn in 12'ers but he's a slam dunk first rounder now. Here's what else I saw around the league Tuesday night:
Today is the NHL trade deadline (more on that later!) but there’s a good chance that the biggest name that moves went yesterday. After being with Carolina since they drafted him in 2003, Eric Staal was traded away from his brother Jordan to join up with his brother Marc for the New York Rangers. Please, blog, may I have some more?
The trade deadline looms, leaving some things uncertain, but for the most part we are getting to the part of the season where we know what we know what we know: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Sometimes it’s hard to admit that your top ranked goalie just has not come out of his funk (Pekka Rinne, anyone?); or that the offensive juggernaut your goalie plays for just can’t buy a goal (Hello, Ben Bishop!). There are still surprises to watch out for, especially for those in keeper leagues, so keep an eye on the middle tiers if you’re looking to upgrade your goaltending situation. The top tier are likely untouchable; and for other reasons entirely, so are the bottom tier.
Evander Kane made a huge difference in weekly matchups as he was arguably the player of the week. After his goal and 29 point outburst early in the week, Kane scored twice on five shots and added two PIM on Friday while scoring a goal with three shots and two PIM on Sunday. Please, blog, may I have some more?
On Wednesday, I said the following about Patrick Eaves: "He played on the first line and first power play unit right now so Eaves is a top end streamer while that’s the case. You could even hold him." Well, he showed why that's the case on Thursday night as Eaves had a hat trick in the first period against the Blackhawks. He finished the game with those three goals and six shots on goal. He has to be held now or picked up where available as long as he's on the first line. Here's what else I saw the last two nights around the league:
For most of the season, I've talked about why I wouldn't want to own Semyon Varlamov. Long story short, I don't trust the Avalanche to play defense well enough to prevent Varlamov from having a high goals against average. Well, the counter to that is Varlamov is a very good goaltender who can carry his team to wins. It happened twice this weekend. On Friday, he stopped 33 of 34 shots to beat the Blues 2-1 in a shootout, then he came back Saturday to make 42 saves against the Stars in a 3-1 victory. Even after these games, his goals against average is below league average but his save percentage is strong and he's top 10 in the league in wins. There's still plenty of value in a goalie like Varlamov, you just need to balance it by having an elite goalie to carry you in goals against average. Here's what else I saw around the league this weekend:
For the past two weeks or so, I've been talking about Jason Zucker as someone to pick up in fantasy hockey. The second line on the Wild was dominating possession and it was only a matter of time until they broke out. On Thursday, despite the Wild being dominated by the Hurricanes, they persevered and won 3-2 in OT behind two goals by Zucker, who also contributed five shots. He's up to 13 points so far in 15 games so if it was for debate, it isn't anymore; he's a must add in all leagues.
Here's what else I saw on the big Thursday night slate:
Welcome to Assume the Position, a new weekly feature that will focus on one specific player position each week. On a personal note, I love a good, deep league, the kind in which it's actually helpful to know who the backup goalie is in Buffalo. We'll be wading deep into the player pool on most weeks, so dynasty and deep redraft league owners, take note.
We’ll start things off with a look at the goaltenders, breaking them up into four tiers, with comments on each.
Below, goalies denoted in parentheses are the clear backup, while teammates that are hyphenated play in a more balanced timeshare. Rating goalies by the numbers alone is tricky business. We’ll revisit the chart throughout the season and hopefully give you a leg (pad?) up on the competition that goes beyond the numbers.