The Senators have been a disappointment this season despite their big forward acquisitions in the summer. Turns out that you can't get away with completely ignoring the blue line and being forced to give bad players big minutes. Anyways, we don't care about that for fantasy, we care about their scoring, and their top players have largely delivered. Claude Giroux had a great weekend, totaling three goals and two assists with ten shots over two games. Giroux is having his best goal scoring season since his monstrous 34 goal, 102 point season in 2017-18. Unsurprisingly, that season and this season are Giroux's two highest shooting percentages, but it seems a bit more sustainable in this environment in Ottawa. Even with an inconsistent PP1 role, Giroux has still played his way into being a bottom end hold in all formats. The one problem is that after Ottawa's game on Tuesday, they don't play again until February 11th. My biggest point here with bottom end holds over these bye weeks is that you need to know your league format and whether the waiver wire is strong enough that you can drop someone like Giroux to get more games. In head to head leagues, volume is king, so you can make a case after Tuesday that you can let him go for players with a bunch of games after the All-Star break. In roto, I would hold onto Giroux without hesitation. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
This Nashville Predators team plays nothing like the style we've come to expect from them over the years. They're hemorrhaging chances left and right, especially against top competition. So needless to say, it was always going to be difficult for them to get a result in Carolina. Luckily for them, they have Juuse Saros. Saros had the second most saves in a non-OT game in NHL history on Thursday saving 64(!) shots in the 5-3 win over the Hurricanes. I bet over 30.5 saves for Saros, can I get paid double for him going over twice? Ha! It's going to be hard for Saros to improve in GAA considering the team in front of him, but he's been playing much better lately to the point where the save percentage should be an elite asset once again. Saros is still a #1 fantasy goalie, both for this season and in dynasties. Amazingly, despite making his debut seven seasons ago, he's still only 27 years old. Let's take a look at what else happened the last two nights:
During the longest playoff drought in NHL history, there have been plenty of hot starts from the Sabres. While I still expect that drought to extend for another season, Thursday's game against the Flames felt different. Coming off a win that they stole in Edmonton, the Sabres came in with house money. They got a 4-1 lead before giving a goal with 1.6 seconds left in the second that the linesman inexplicably kicked into the middle of the ice. Then, the Flames scored a minute into the third. Old Sabres teams would have collapsed, but this one took over the rest of the game, winning 6-3 and being the better team against an elite Calgary team. Leading the way was Alex Tuch, scoring a hat trick to give him five goals in the past three games. Tuch has at least three shots on goal in all four games this season. Buffalo's schedule for the rest of the month? Vancouver, Seattle, Montreal, Chicago and Detroit. Yeah, Tuch definitely needs to be held for the time being. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
With all of the Boston injuries to start the season, there was no easing David Krejci back into the NHL after a year in Czechia. In the season opener, Krejci delivered and then some. He scored a goal and two assists, one of which came on the power play, in the 5-2 win over the Capitals. Krejci went right onto the first power play unit and was excellent on the second line with David Pastrnak (goal, three assists, six shots) so as long as you're okay with below average shots, you can hold Krejci. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Those of you that have been patient holding Evander Kane for almost four months were rewarded on Saturday night. Kane played his first game of the season with the Oilers and went right on McDavid's wing. Kane scored in the first period and finished with three shots in the 7-2 win over the Canadiens. He's still available in 50% of ESPN leagues and very close to that on other sites. Kane is a must own immediately, and if you use FAAB, you should bid a large amount of your budget. Yes, he could do something stupid and be banished, but the upside is too high for him to be on waivers. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Columbus was in an absolutely miserable spot on Tuesday. They were missing their #1 goalie, their best defenseman, arguably their second best defenseman, and one of their hottest forwards. Their backup goalie was playing his first game in three weeks, and they were facing the healthiest version of Tampa that we've seen in months. Needless to say, it did not go well. Tampa was in control from the very beginning and won 7-2, led by Ondrej Palat and Brayden Point. Palat scored two goals and an assist with four shots, while Point had a goal and two assists with two shots. These two haven't spent too much time together this season as Palat has been with Stamkos for the vast majority. They didn't miss a step from playing together in the past. Point is a fringe top 20 player while Palat is solidified himself as a hold again. If he's available, grab him now, because I have no doubt that Palat will be a no brainer hold once Nikita Kucherov comes back, which should be in a couple weeks. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It wasn't hard to figure out who to feature in the opening paragraph tonight. Andre Burakovsky started off the weekend with two goals on six shots against the Red Wings and finished it off with a hat trick on six shots against the Panthers. That brings Burakovsky to 12+8 in 24 games on the season, quite the respectable total. He's still available in 40% of leagues and that needs to change immediately. With Gabriel Landeskog out for two weeks, Burakovsky is playing on the top line and top power play unit. That's enough to make him must own in all formats, and he showed why on Sunday, getting a hat trick in a tough matchup. It should be an excellent December for Burakovsky and hopefully it continues into the New Year. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Jeff Skinner scored 40 goals in 2018-19 playing on the first line with the Sabres. Then, for no reason at all, Ralph Krueger decided that Skinner shouldn't play on the first line anymore. Last season, Krueger thought that Skinner, on a team devoid of talent, should play on the fourth line, or even be scratched. Needless to say, Krueger was one of the worst coaches in the league and quickly lost his job. Since Don Granato took over, Skinner has been back in the role he should be, and he's been thriving in the early part of this season. Skinner scored two goals and added an assist on Saturday against the Maple Leafs. He has 5+4 in 14 games so far with a whopping 47 shots on goal. The shot volume will go a long way towards Skinner finding his goal scoring touch again. I don't think he's a slam dunk hold in 12'ers just yet, but he's an elite streamer with clear upside in his role. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
The best goal scorer of all-time started off the season on the right foot. Alex Ovechkin scored two goals and added two assists in the Washington 5-1 win over the Rangers. Please, blog, may I have some more?
With the season less than a week away, it's time to give some bold predictions. I have 5 from JKJ that I'll start with and comment on then italics before I do 10 predictions of my own. Let me know your thoughts in the comments section on any of these!
JKJ's Five Bold Predictions:
1) Philipp Grubauer finishes outside fantasy's Top 10 goalies (standard formats). Riding the Colorado coattails last season and playing for an expansion team this season will catch up to him.
Howdy, Razzguys n gals!
I'm stoked to bring you my first-ever piece of fantasy hockey content here at Razzball. If you pay attention to the fantasy baseball side of things, then you'll know me from there. But believe it or not, I know a thing or two about fantasy hockey and hope to share my unparalleled wisdom with you all. Poor Viz has been doing it all by himself, so I figured I'd lend a hand.
I'll be doing an eight-part Team Previews series, with each division getting two parts. Today is Pacific Part 1, tomorrow will be Part 2, then Wednesday and Thursday will be the Central. Next week, we'll do it all again with the Metro and the Atlantic on Monday-Thursday.
Hope you enjoy!
Things have changed quite a bit with goaltending in the NHL since I started writing at Razzball. When I started, there were tons of workhorses with very few teams using a platoon. Now, more than half of the teams have a duo where the backup is getting at least 1/3 of the starts, if not a complete split. Among the few workhorses that we have left, there are only six that I completely trust to be a #1 goalie this year. I am breaking down all of the goalies in the NHL into tiers (and ranking them within in each tier), but be sure to understand how your league format can change the value of certain players. For example, if you're in a head to head league, Marc-Andre Fleury is going to be more valuable than in a roto league because the volume should be there. In a roto league where you have a set number of starts, someone like Ilya Sorokin, who, barring injury, should start 35-40 games, gets a boost because the quality of starts matters a lot more than volume. If you have specific questions, ask them in the comments section, but I'll have a quick note on everyone when necessary. Let's get to it!