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:
Hey everyone! I wanted to do a post focusing on things going on during the preseason. Injuries, players that are standing out both positively and negatively, interesting line changes, etc. Let's get right to it!
He hasn't been talked about much but as far as disappointments go, Ryan Johansen is near the top of the list. It wasn't that long ago that he was a 22 year old scoring 33 goals and 30 assists, followed up by 26+45. Johansen had 4 straight 60+ point seasons before this year and to be blunt, he's been awful compared to his high standards. Johansen had his best game in quite some time Thursday, dishing three assists and putting three shots on goal in the 5-0 win over the Kings. The main reason I'm encouraged by this? Filip Forsberg. The Swedish star returned from injury on Thursday and immediately went onto Johansen's wing. Still, five goals and under 1.5 shots per game on the season isn't going to get it done for Johansen owners. In the last three games, Johansen has at least three shots on goal, so I think he's going to keep building. I don't think we see Columbus Johansen again, but I don't see why last season's Johansen can be back for the rest of the season. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
In my second half predictions post, I said that Jack Eichel would be in the top 5 in scoring for the rest of the season. He's certainly started on the right track. Eichel scored the OT winner on his seventh shot against the Flames on Monday before exploding against the Oilers with a goal and three assists with five shots on Tuesday. The Sabres power play looks like last season's unit again, the unit that was #1 in the entire NHL. Eichel is leading the way there but has also been dominant in all phases. He's currently in the midst of a 7 game point streak totaling a whopping 14 points in those 7 games while averaging almost 5 shots per game. This game put Eichel above a point per game for the season and I expect him to finish there. Sure, the plus-minus is poor, but everything else is outstanding. He's a first round pick for me next season, no doubt about it. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Jake Guentzel started awfully slow this season after an outstanding playoff run for the Penguins last season. He's started to pick things up and had his best game to date on Monday, scoring two goals and an assist with six shots in the 5-4 OT win over the Flyers. That gives Guentzel six goals in his last six games, more than he had in his first 20 games combined. He's actually benefited quite a bit from Evgeni Malkin's injury as Guentzel took his spot on the first power play unit. That said, I'm hoping Malkin slides between Guentzel and Kessel on the second line when he returns which should really help Guentzel at even strength. Obviously he's a must own but here's to hoping Guentzel keeps building on this and pushes towards being the top 50-75 player that was expected from him after leading the Stanley Cup Playoffs in goals. Let's take a look at what else happened on Monday night:
Early in his career, Jason Pominville was one of the most underrated forwards in the league. You could lock him in for 60+ points in his prime and he even reached 80 in a season. In recent years, there's been a fairly big drop off but for the last month, it's been a blast from the past. Pominville had a massive game on Tuesday night scoring two goals and two assists with three shots in the 4-2 win over the Jets. Going back exactly one month, Pominville has 5 goals and 12 assists in 14 games. Pretty, pretty, pretty good. There's only one game tonight and the Wild are in it. If he's still available in your league, pick him up to stream. Since they play Friday and Sunday as well, I'm definitely holding Pominville for the rest of the week and then reevaluating on Sunday night. Here's what else I saw around the league the last two nights:
I have a question for everyone reading this. Is two 4 point games in a week good? That's what Nikita Kucherov has done after Tampa's blowout of the Islanders on Tuesday. Kucherov stuffed the stat sheet with two goals, two assists, five shots and two penalty minutes in the 6-1 win. That now puts him in a tie for the league lead in points with 12 in 9 games. Yeah, this kid is really good and at 23 years old, it's only going to get better. That's why he was 18th overall for me in the preseason and is a borderline top 10 player in dynasties. With his time on ice and the power of the Lightning offense, it's going to be a great year for Kucherov owners. Let's take a look at what happened around the league on Tuesday night before we close things out with Wednesday streamers.
I said on Friday that I don't like leading off with the same person back to back, let alone the same month. Well, Devan Dubnyk deserves to be the lede again with his third consecutive shutout on Saturday stopping all 29 shots against the Stars. For those of you who own Dubnyk in weekly head to head leagues, congrats on winning the goaltending categories this week! Three starts, three shutouts for my most frequently owned goaltender, go me! In the big picture, this doesn't really change things for me; Dubnyk is a #1 goalie and will continue to be so. While it matters less in fantasy hockey (it still has an impact for streaming and matchups), this shows me that the Wild are for real this season. I harped on it in the preseason and on the podcasts (mostly the over-under) but Bruce Boudreau does amazing things for hockey teams. I'm sure we'll be talking about it on Tuesday's podcast. Anyways, let's take a look at everything that happened around the league this weekend.
In my preseason rankings, this is what I wrote about Mitch Marner and his teammate William Nylander. "Putting them back to back because I’m unsure which one will be on the second and third line. Either way, I think there is value there in redrafts but the one in the top six could end up a hold." Well, it turns out Marner was that guy but both are clear holds at this point. Nylander has been getting the attention with Auston Matthews but Marner has equally impressed me. In my season preview for the Leafs, I said the following: "Marner, the fourth overall pick in 2015, is an incredible offensive talent. He had over two points per game this season in the OHL with 39+77 in 57 games along with 68 PIM. In standard redrafts, I like drafting Marner late. He won’t have the hype that the other young guys do but could be just as good as a rookie, if not better." And that's me quoting me again! In the 3-2 Leafs win on Thursday, Marner dished three assists and added two shots and two penalty minutes. This brings his totals up to 6 points in 7 games with above average shots and great PIM in the early going. Clearly he needs to be held right now and is elite in all dynasty formats. Also, shoutout to frequent commenter Shitwolf for being the first person to ever get a player correct for the Three Point Challenge! Nothing like somebody getting it on the first night we do it. Shitwolf and Mitch Marner go down in Razzball history! Here's what else happened the last two nights in the NHL:
We are only a few days away from the trade deadline and the first big trade piece is off the market. The Jets moved their captain Andrew Ladd and sent him to the team they acquired him from in 2010, Chicago. The Blackhawks paid a massive price for the rental sending a first round pick, a conditional third, and Marko Dano. If you remember in the preseason, Dano was my favorite sleeper after he came on strong at the end of last season in Columbus. With Bryan Little out for the season, I expect Dano to be in Winnipeg right away. If that's the case, he's immediately worth consideration in 12'ers because his upside is through the roof. Ladd will go on the first line in Chicago on Jonathan Toews' wing which is also a big boost to his value. This is another trade, like the Columbus and Nashville blockbuster, that is a win for all players from a fantasy perspective. Here's what I saw on the ice the last two nights around the league: