It’s at the point of the season where I start off posts with guys who aren’t trivial holds and can make a difference down the stretch run. I’ve always been enamored with Nick Bjugstad‘s potential, especially after his 24 goal season three seasons ago. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Another trade domino fell on Sunday as Blake Coleman was traded to Tampa Bay for a first round pick (Vancouver's conditional first from the Miller trade) and Nolan Foote. Coleman is in the midst of a breakout season with 21+10, 40 PIM and over three shots per game. So how much will this move help him? On one hand, going to Tampa Bay is good for any player. On the other hand, his ice time is surely going to decrease. While he won't play Monday, I'd still hold Coleman to see what develops. He's signed for only 1.85m for next season which I assume is a big factor in the price. This is a great return for New Jersey, as Foote should end up as a second line winger who is a goal scorer. He has an elite shot and knows how to use his big frame. For now, I assume Jesper Bratt moves onto the first line, but he's still only a middling streamer. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Loyal Razzballers know that I've been a big fan of Juuse Saros for a while. He's had a tough start to this season, but I still believe in the player long term. Saros was less than two minutes from a shutout on Tuesday, making 24 saves on 25 shots in the 2-1 win over the Sharks. His overall numbers are still poor, but the Predators have started to tighten up defensively. Saros is still only 24 years old and is one of the best long term goaltending prospects. Saros is starting to see even more action starting five of the last eight games. There's real upside here so if you need goaltending help, I'd grab him now. Additionally, I would try to get him in a dynasty league before he boosts his value back up. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Joel Quenneville saw that Sergei Bobrovsky was rounding into form on Saturday after a strong performance against his old team. He rewarded him by starting him on Sunday despite being the second game in as many days. Bob delivered once again. After making 33 saves in the 4-1 win over Columbus, Bobrovsky stopped 30 of 31 shots in the 5-1 win over the Sharks. Yes, the season has been worst case scenario to this point for Bob. However, there's still plenty of time to turn it around and I think we see it. Sure, maybe he won't be the top 5 goalie he's been in the past, I can almost guarantee that. However, he could end up being a #1 again and for that reason alone, he's a great trade target. Over the rest of this month, he plays Tampa twice and Boston, with some decent offenses and poor ones mixed in. However, look at this January schedule: OTT, BUF, PIT, ARZ, VAN, DET, MIN, CHI. Not exactly a murderer's row. In fact, they don't even play Tampa again after this month. If I owned Bob, which I do, I'm being patient because I think it's going to turn around. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
There were plenty of positives and negatives for the Buffalo Sabres last season. Injuries were a big reason why they stayed at the bottom of the Atlantic Division. Their defense was as bad as anyone's in the league. Sam Reinhart failed to take a step forward. On the other hand, they had the best power play in the league, Jack Eichel was outstanding and their goaltending, notably Robin Lehner, was excellent. Out went Dan Bylsma and Tim Murray, in comes Phil Housley and Jason Botterill. It's time for a return to the playoffs for the Sabres and they have the talent to make it back. How the team improves tactically under Housley and how much the defense improves will be the major factors. Let's see what my hometown team are working with:
In the afternoon Monday, there was talk that recent Penguins callup Jake Guentzel was going to play on the second line with Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel in his NHL debut. Needless to say that it was a damn good debut, at least from an individual perspective. Guentzel scored a goal one minute into the game and added another one later on in the first period to go up 2-0. He finished the game with two goals on five shots playing over 15 minutes. Yeah, the Rangers came back to win 5-2 but that doesn't take away from Guentzel's debut. So I did some digging on Guentzel. The former third round pick was a stud in college at Nebraska-Omaha (a damn good college hockey school, believe it or not) including putting up 46 points in 35 games his junior year before going pro. He finished off 2015 with Scranton and had 6 points in 11 games before posting 5 goals and 9 assists in 10 playoff games. Guentzel was over a point per game in Scranton this season before getting called up. Basically, this kid can score and getting to play with Malkin and Kessel should do him wonders. In deep leagues, definitely add him where you can. In standard 12'ers, I'll probably look to stream him again on Wednesday to see if this role is legitimate. I don't want to overreact to one game but Guentzel has potential to be a waiver wire darling if he sticks. Here's what else happened around the league on Monday night:
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.
After two years of being in the basement of the NHL, the Buffalo Sabres made a large improvement in 2015-16. They finished one game below the NHL's version of .500, finishing with 81 points. This coming season, the Sabres should be ready to make a push for a playoff spot, especially considering that they are in arguably the weakest division in the NHL at the moment. At least that's what I'm hoping for being a Sabres fan! Let's take an in-depth look at the Sabres current roster and a few of their top prospects for those of you in dynasty leagues:
The end of the NHL regular season, and therefore the normal fantasy season, is upon us. Insert all of the sad face emojis here. Once the regular season is finished, I will set up a bracket challenge for all of us Razzballers on nhl.com so be sure to be on the lookout for that next Monday. But for now, more important things, winning your championship! I'm going to put some basic guidelines for what I'd be looking to do with your team the last few days to position yourself as best as possible. Let's get right to it!
After his remarkable first half, it looked like Patrick Kane reaching 100 points was a formality. Then he struggled mightily in the second half, enough to the point where he needed 6 points in the last 5 games to get there. Kane got there with time to spare in style, scoring a goal and an assist with five shots on Friday and followed it up with three goals and an assist with four shots on Sunday. He's the overwhelming favorite for the Hart Trophy now and now has an outside shot of the Richard Trophy. As for where he's ranked for next season, I will probably have Kane ranked #3 or #4 overall. Despite the amazing year, Kane is more of the second half player where he was closer to a point per game than the first half monster. Here's what I saw over the weekend: