There was a lot of craziness around the NHL on President's Day, but nothing topped the game in Minnesota. At one point late in the second period, the Canucks looked in complete control up 5-2. Two minutes and seventeen seconds of game time later, Minnesota was up 6-5. And if that wasn't enough, there were still six more goals! The Wild beat the Canucks 10-7, and to wash it down, they played a paltry 6-3 game on Tuesday, a loss to the Jets. Nothing like 13-13 aggregate over two nights. On Monday, it was all of the stars for the Wild, as those four goals in a 2:17 span were all on the power play, three of which were 5 on 3. Joel Eriksson Ek and Kirill Kaprizov had three goals and three assists... each! Mats Zuccarello and Matt Boldy had a goal and three assists... each! On Tuesday, Kaprizov had a goal and an assist, while Marco Rossi had two goals on five shots. Both goalies were shelled, and right now, it's hard to trust either of them. For the moment, the Wild look like a four star team, Faber is a clear hold, and Brodin is on the fringe. Rossi is a solid streamer, and gamble if you'd like on their goalies. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It's been a long road to recovery for Artturi Lehkonen. With Big Val in the player assistance program, it couldn't have happened at a better time. After being eased back into the lineup, Lehkonen moved onto the top line the game before Tuesday night. While he went to the second line to open the game, Lehkonen blew up against the Capitals, scoring two goals and adding two assists putting five shots on goal in the 6-3 win. There's a few encouraging things here. One, Lehkonen was on the first power play unit. That alone is massive for his value. Additionally, it was Lehkonen, not Drouin, closing the game for the Avs, as Lehkonen scored an empty netter with a minute left from MacKinnon and Rantanen. Even in this role, Lehkonen received 18 minutes, which is plenty to succeed. This puts him right back on the fringe. Gun to head, I lean towards holding, but his schedule in the near term is heavy on busy days, so I see the case for leaving him as an elite streamer. Let's take a look at what else happened the last two nights:
My bullishness of Wyatt Johnston as a hockey player is well known in these parts. The 20 year old has the makings of a future stud in both regular hockey and for fantasy. Right now, he's been given the best opportunity early in his career, and he's taking full advantage of it. Johnston was bumped onto the first line with Dallas' two best forwards, Robertson and Hintz, and Johnston has been excellent since the change. Robertson totaled three assists, four shots and two PIM in the 5-4 win over the Red Wings on Tuesday. Johnston has seven points in his last five games while averaging over three shots per game. The new change is enough to put Johnston on the fringe, and with Dallas closing the week with Anaheim and Washington, I would definitely be targeting Johnston for the bottom of my roster. Let's take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:
It's hard to imagine the first half of the season going any worse for the Devils. In terms of points percentage, they're in the second wild card spot in a season that many expected them to push for the Metro Division title and to be one of the Cup favorites. They've been brutalized by injuries, but their main offseason acquisition rescued them on Monday. After giving up four straight goals turning a 3-1 lead into a 5-3 deficit, Tyler Toffoli scored with 16 seconds left in the second period, and eventually completed a hat trick in overtime to beat the Golden Knights 6-5. That brings Toffoli to 20 goals on the season, ahead of last season's 34 goal pace. The loss of Hamilton for the regular season has been massive, and J. Hughes being out is too much for them to stomach. The good news for the Devils is they only have two more games before they have 10 days off. There's a chance that Hughes will be back at that point. As for Toffoli, he's a bit behind the pace that I hoped for, but overall, it's hard to complain when he's on pace for 37 goals. Here's to hoping he keeps the shot rate up, as getting back to last season's rate would give him a good chance of maintaining his current level of play. It's the difference between being a potential top 50 player and a bottom end hold. Let's take a look at what else happened the last couple of nights:
It's been a disastrous season for the Wild, and it's hard to imagine them digging out of this hole. Monday was a lone bright spot, both for the team and their oldest player. The Wild beat the Islanders 5-0, with Marc-Andre Fleury posting a 21 save shutout. The win gave Fleury the second most wins in NHL history, passing Patrick Roy. It's been a very up and down career for Fleury. He was incredible in the 2008 playoffs getting Pittsburgh to the finals. His most iconic moment clinched the Cup the year after. There were a handful of years right after that where his poor play was the reason the Penguins were eliminated early in the playoffs. They won a Stanley Cup with him as the backup. He also saved them the next year when Murray struggled early in the playoffs to lead Pittsburgh to back-to-back cups. He carried Vegas to the Cup finals in their inaugural season. That's how I'm going to remember MAF. There were too many down years for him to be in that inner circle of all-time goalies, and his best generally wasn't among the current elite, as evidenced by him being a Vezina finalist once in 20 seasons. However, when he was at his best, it was incredible to watch, and that will put him in the Hockey Hall of Fame sooner than later. For this season, Gustavsson is back, so I expect them to split the games fairly evenly. He's a streamer in good matchups for now, but like most goalies, MAF can turn into a hold sooner than later, or be complete unusable. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Hello everyone. Welcome to the tenth edition of JOT This Down! Keep the questions, comments, and concerns coming. I’ll be here all week to answer any and everything you may have.
Even for Nikita Kucherov, the start to this season is on another level. Kucherov scored two goals and two assists with five shots and two PIM against the Maple Leafs, and then followed it up with a goal and an assist with six shots against the Canadiens. That brings Kucherov to 10+12 in 13 games, including 11 in the last three games. He also has 5+ shots in the last five games, and seven of the last nine. This game pushes him past Pettersson for the league lead in points. The top guys on Tampa look so much better, and I can't help but think that being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs helped them for this season. So many long playoff runs for the Lightning that a real offseason had to do them wonders. We can't expect this level, but Kucherov looks poised to give his 128 points from his Hart Trophy season a run for his money. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
I was extremely bullish on Tyler Toffoli's fit with the Devils, even though he wasn't a lock to be on PP1. "Before last season, Toffoli had never topped 31 goals or 29 assists, so expecting a repeat for a guy entering his 11th season in the league seems farfetched. That said, it’s hard to pick a better spot to be in than New Jersey right now for even strength play. People were worried about Toffoli’s power play role to open, but it looks like the Devils are starting with the two balanced unit approach. Personally, I hate it, but it’s a big boost to the value of the guy who normally would be on PP2, which Toffoli looked to be. I’m all the way in." And that's me quoting me in my bold predictions saying Toffoli averages at least a point per game. He was off to a solid start, but he had his first big game on Tuesday. Toffoli scored a hat trick on six shots in a revenge game against the Canadiens. That brings Toffoli to 4+2 in five games with 4.5 shots per game. There's a real chance that he ends up as a top 50 player. Let's take a look at what else happened in the Monday game and the Frozen Frenzy.
Steve Yzerman can't ask for a better start from his big offseason swing. After his first game without a point as a Red Wing, Alex DeBrincat followed it up with a hat trick and an assist with five shots in Sunday's win over the Flames. That brings DeBrincat to a whopping eight goals and four assists in his first six games with Detroit. He's clicked with Dylan Larkin (two goals and three assists over two games) to give Detroit an elite first line. We've seen DeBrincat score 41 goals twice before playing with Kane, so it's not like this is completely out of nowhere. While this shooting percentage won't last, given how much Detroit is rolling the first line, I'm expecting career highs across the board for DeBrincat. There's a real chance Detroit plays its way into the playoff picture this season if the first line can win its matchups on a regular basis. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
On its face, Evan Rodrigues having an assist with four shots and two PIM in the 4-3 win over the Devils doesn't stand out as anything special. However, it was another data point that the Panthers are going to heavily depend on Rodrigues. He's remained on the first line and first power play unit which alone puts you on the fringe. While I think he's a poor offensive finisher, Rodrigues loves to take horrible shots which is a big value in fantasy. Rodrigues is available in over 80% of leagues, but I've seen enough for him to be a hold in all formats. It could dry up when Bennett returns, but based on where Rodrigues is playing on the PP, I don't see Bennett taking that spot. There's a chance Rodrigues is the best fantasy player who went undrafted in most leagues, so get him now. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
We found a new level of ridiculousness on Thursday night. The Canadiens were in Florida and they managed to tie the record for the most goals in a first period in modern NHL history, and they did it in barely over 13 minutes! Both Montreal goalies allowed 3+ goals in the first 13 minutes, and Sergei Bobrovsky allowed goals on the first three shots he faced. My god. The Panthers ended up winning 9-5 to keep pace in the Eastern playoff race. The only player who made more than two points was Matthew Tkachuk, who had a goal and three assists to keep up his torrid pace. Thanks Aleksander Barkov for not getting three points when I pick him in the three point challenge! Anyways, Florida is battling hard for a Wild Card spot, so expect their studs to get all of the minutes they can handle. For playing all games against Eastern teams the rest of the way, Florida's schedule is fairly soft, so expect it to come down to the wire. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It has been a terrible year for Kris Letang on and off the ice, but mostly off. He suffered a stroke and his father passed away shortly after. After almost a month away from the team, Letang returned on Tuesday and carried the Penguins to victory. Letang had a vintage performance, scoring two goals and two assists with six shots, four hits, and two blocks in the 7-6 OT win over the Panthers. I'm not going to say Letang will have a monster second half based on one game in his age 35 season. The good news is that there's a lot of games left for him to make an impact, and we know how big the upside is. If I said Letang was a top five defenseman the rest of the way, would you be shocked? I wouldn't. Now, the floor is much lower in the past, even assuming he can stay healthy. However, Pitt is starting to round into form, offensively at least, and the opportunity is there for a big finish. If your team is in position where you need to take a gamble, I would float some offers to the Letang owner. If I had him and was patient through the first three months, fingers crossed that he can salvage the season. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights: