Hat tricks have been in vogue lately so Blake Wheeler decided to take it to another level. Wheeler scored a hat trick in the first period on Sunday and later added an assist in the 7-1 win over the Penguins. Wheeler has been the fantasy stalwart we've become accustomed to in the early going with 4+8, +3, 12 PIM, 35 SOG and 4 STP in 10 games. I don't know how many more years Wheeler will keep up this level of play but for now, he's a top 20 player with relative ease. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
The Boston Bruins are a franchise in limbo. Last offseason, they made a bunch of questionable moves that were focused on the future; I'd argue they made them worse in the future but they certainly made them worse in the short term. On the other hand, their current core, especially the forwards, played at an extraordinary level to keep them in the playoff hunt. Unfortunately for them, they missed the playoffs on tiebreakers leaving the franchise in the worst position to be in; not a true contender but not bad enough to get the necessary talent for a brighter future. Not much has changed; they should fight for the playoffs again but they're far from being a threat in the East. That said, they have a lot of decent fantasy options along with some elite guys so let's take a look at how their roster is shaping up:
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:
Marv: What a difference a week can make, I’m back! A little too many video games combined with a little too much sleep equals one quick week, but a good one. Video games, movies, hockey & complete laziness aside, with the New Year came an itch to shake things up in my hockey league. I might not have needed the players or the trade, but the act alone and the wheeling a dealing has brought me back to life. To my point, if you’re feeling a bit stretched or a little unmotivated around the halfway mark, throw some trades out there, see who’s biting, just don’t get bit, Ha! Marv: I initially compiled most the players off this list around a week and a half ago. I’ve updated the information for most the players that required an update. Some might have been snatched up after great new year starts but there is still some value to be had. The only Sell I had I removed only because it broke my heart, Marian Gaborik. After a descent December I thought he was pulling out but has barely registered a blip in January and is now on the fourth line, the mighty have fallen.
Before Tuesday night, in the past 25 Coyotes games, Max Domi had scored in exactly one game, a meeting with the Sabres on December 4th where he scored twice. I had a question in the comments in my Monday article about whether Domi was still worth holding in 12'ers and justifiably so. Well, Domi showed his upside and why he should be held in fantasy leagues scoring a hat trick on five shots in the 4-3 overtime win against the Oilers. With this one game, he's back on a 60 point pace ( ~25+35) and should be owned everywhere. In dynasty leagues, he's going to pay massive dividends going forward as the Coyotes are loaded with young talent and have a lot more coming led by Dylan Strome. Here's what else I saw the last two nights around the league:
At the end of last season, we started to see flashes of Aleksander Barkov's potential. This season, he started to string games together until he went down with an injury. Since he's been back, he's been on a torrid pace culminating with two goals and an assist with four shots in the 3-1 win over the Canadiens Tuesday. The win extended the Panthers win streak to seven and put the Panthers in first place in the Atlantic Sasha now has four goals in the last two games and ten points in the last seven games putting him close to a point per game on the season. Not bad for somebody who can't drink in the U.S. for eight months. He's doing so much already that he's solidly in my top 20 in dynasty rankings and pushing the top 50 for the rest of the season despite the lack of penalty minutes. Here's what else I saw on a busy Tuesday night:
As far as journeyman goaltenders go, Chad Johnson is the perfect model for grinding the hockey life waiting for an opportunity. Johnson bounced around organizations and finally got a chance to backup in Boston 2 years ago putting up outstanding numbers in 27 games. He was miserable for the Islanders last season and was traded to the tanking Sabres at the deadline. Well, the Sabres aren't tanking now and Johnson is taking advantage of his chance splitting time. Johnson played incredibly on Thursday night, stopping all 44 shots he faced in the 3-0 win over the Ducks. His numbers on the season are now very solid for someone who's sitting on the waiver wire in the majority of leagues; 2.33 GAA and .918 sv%. It's still unknown when Robin Lehner will return and Linus Ullmark will get his starts but I'd grab Johnson in 12'ers for the time being. Here's what else I saw the last two nights:
Finally Tuukka Rask owners have something to be happy about. Rask shutout the Coyotes, saving all 24 shots on goal in the Bruins 6-0 victory. Would I be happy as a Rask owner with this development. Of course, but mostly because this could give you a chance to sell Rask at a higher value. Arizona is going to be a horrible team and they are regressing quickly from their hot start. They are the type of team that the Bruins will dominate because their top-six is going to control the game and not allow their defense to be exposed. Bottom line, I don't see this as the start of a bounceback for Rask; I see it as an opportunity to get away from him while getting good value in return. Here's what else I saw Tuesday night:
Not many teams have played on both Wednesday and Thursday this week but again, the Desert Dogs have garnered my attention. In an impressive performance against on Wednesday against the Ducks and the Wild on Thursday, Anthony Duclair buried a hat trick on Wednesday and scored another on Thursday. He's an excellent prospect who was the main piece the Rangers sent to Arizona in the Keith Yandle trade so he's well respected around the league. You obviously can't expect four goals in two games and the Coyotes are due to regress but in all dynasty leagues, I'd own Duclair and in 12 man leagues or deeper, I think he's must own. Here's what else I've seen the last two nights:
I’ve been weaving a theme through most of my posts over the last week or so and today isn’t the day to try something new because baby, my words of wisdom are still hella applicable in a big way. What's that maxim everyone? It doesn’t matter what’s happened to this point in the season, it only matter what’s happening right now. What's happening right now is two guys who haven't done a ton on offense this season are blowing up, and who helps you win your league title? Those guys, that's who. So who are those guys? Brandon Pirri, C (1 G, 10 SOG) and Justin Abdelkader, RW (2 PIM, 2 SOG, +1) are those guys and they're both putting the biscuit in the basket at a high rate lately, didn't you know? Well, now you do. You might go to the wire to add either, see their overall offensive numbers for the season and shy away, but you’d do yourself and your chances of winning a serious disservice if you do.