This year couldn't be going any worse for the Columbus Blue Jackets. A horrible record, terrible injuries to key players, and dreadful goaltending have sunk them from the beginning. Now that they're in the Bedard race, their fans probably aren't even happy that they won on Tuesday night. Their prize free agent signing, Johnny Gaudreau, dominated the game with two goals and three assists, plus six shots on goal. That brings him up to 62 points in 64 games, a far cry from last season, but not a complete disaster. The question isn't about what to expect from Gaudreau for the rest of this season, but going forward. He turns 30 in the summer, but I'm not expecting drop off in the short term. Can he approach 100 points again? I have my doubts, but if Columbus is lucky enough to get Bedard, it can't be ruled out. Bedard would be the perfect compliment, and Fantilli wouldn't be a bad consolation prize. I was lower on Gaudreau than consensus so I don't have any of him this year, but there's always a chance that with his talent, he makes a huge difference over the last month. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Ottawa had much higher hopes this season than sitting barely above .500. They are playing better hockey lately, going 7-3 in their last ten, following two straight wins to open the week. Ottawa had a massive comeback on Monday, scoring twice in the last 2:14 before winning in overtime against Calgary, 4-3. They found a great performance from a goalie making his NHL to earn a 3-2 SO win over the Islanders on Tuesday. Offensively, they were carried by Tim Stutzle. Stutzle had a goal and three assists with three shots and two PIM on Monday and then a goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM, plus the shootout winner, against the Islanders. The minutes are massive right and he's rewarding D.J. Smith by playing at a 40-50 pace. Amazing stuff from someone who just turned 21 years old. The shot rate has been trending in the right direction for months so while he's a clear top 50 guy now, the debate is how high he should be ranked in dynasties? He's not in that top tier, but he's probably in the tier right behind it. Stutzle's offensive upside has true superstar value. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
While the NFL steals the spotlight during Championship Week, the Rangers started the weekend blowing out two top teams in Seattle and Carolina. They scored six goals in both games to bring their winning streak up to five. While it was a group effort on Friday, Artemi Panarin stole the show on Saturday. The Breadman scored four goals and an assist with five shots and two PIM against Carolina, after dishing an assist against the Kraken. Gallant shuffled the lines after Tarasenko's arrival, with Vincent Trocheck and Jimmy Vesey playing with Panarin again, setting up two of his goals. It was Panarin's third three-point game in his last eight, as he starts to heat up. While he hasn't approached his point production of his first three seasons in New York, Panarin is still on pace for 90+ points. That shows what kind of floor he has and why he's worthy of an early draft pick every year. Despite lower shots and PIM/hits, even his below average year (by his standards) is a top 50 player. Who knows, Panarin could finish the season on a massive heater and finally get to 100 points. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
It's remarkable that Boston started off the season 19-0-3 at home, securing a point in all 22 games. That streak ended on Thursday with the red hot Kraken in town. Earning their 7th straight win, Seattle won 3-0, with Martin Jones posting a 27 save shutout. The numbers for Jones aren't great, a 2.68 GAA that is decent and a .898 sv% which is quite the negative. However, in spite of those numbers, Jones has won 20 games, having started 27. When only Ullmark and Hellebuyck have more wins than you, that's quite the value boost. That is an incredible win rate, and why he has to be held everywhere. It's probably only #3 worthy, although you can make a case he's a #2 and certainly has #2 upside. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Prior to Monday, there has only been four times in the last 25 years that a player scored five goals in a game. Add Timo Meier to the list. Meier single-handedly won the game for San Jose, scoring five times on six shots in the 6-2 win over the Kings. We haven't seen a player ascent from solid top six player to bonafide superstar in quite some time. Meier now has 20+25 in 35 games to go with over four shots per game. He looked to be on this path three seasons ago when he had 30+36 as a 22-year-old, but he was a major letdown the last two seasons. So what should we be looking for from Meier going forward? Well, his shooting percentage isn't that outlandish to expect major regression. It appears to be the real deal, which would make Meier a top 20 player going forward. At 25 years old, Meier's prime should only be beginning. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
For players that aren't superstars, Cam Atkinson is among the best for having games that he completely dominates. He did that on Tuesday night, scoring a hat trick on seven shots and adding an assist in the 6-1 Flyers win over the Devils. Atkinson is pushing three shots per game with 12+7 in 27 games. He has eight points in the last seven games and is receiving more ice time since Yeo took over as the coach. That's enough to make him a hold in all formats. Let's take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:
The hits keep coming for Tampa Bay. Brayden Point is now out indefinitely after an ugly crash into the boards on Saturday. The Tampa lineup is starting to get pretty thin. Stammer has been forced to go back to center, with Alex Barre-Boulet getting time on the top line. Barre-Boulet scored in Sunday's game against the Wild. He's a decent streamer now. The more interesting player is Anthony Cirelli, who scored two goals on five shots with two PIM on Sunday playing over 24 minutes. It's pretty clear that Cirelli is going to be the top minute getter for Tampa for the time being. I think he becomes a must hold in all formats. Let's take a look at what else happened around the league this weekend:
We've reached our final four stops: Montreal, Ottawa, Tampa Bay, and Toronto. Apologies for leaving y'all stranded yesterday, been a little under the weather.
If you'd like to look back over the other team previews, you can find them all below:
Going into the season, I was high on Aaron Ekblad because the reports out of Florida were that Yandle was going to get scratched to open the season and his future was in doubt. One bout of COVID later, and Yandle was in opening night and scored. For the bad luck I've had on rankings this year , Yandle has not impacted Ekblad one bit. Ekblad had hit a bit of a rough patch over the last week, but he fixed that in a big way on Thursday. Ekblad scored two goals and added two assists with six shots in the 5-4 win over the Predators. That brings Ekblad to 8+7 in 22 games, an incredible rate of goals for a defenseman. Add in three shots per game and strong PIM, and Ekblad has a chance at finishing as a #2D this season. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Injuries and COVID absences didn't stop Carolina from shutting down the Lightning on Tuesday night. It started with Petr Mrazek in net who stopped all 32 shots that he faced to earn the win. That's two shutouts already in three starts already for Mrazek. It's to the point where I feel comfortable playing him in every start where going into the season, I didn't want to use him against the other top teams in the Central. We've seen the upside before in Detroit and even though that was a while ago, the system in place in Carolina should make Mrazek's burden relatively easy. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
With only one game on the slate on Monday, I'll be completing my hold/stream list today. For the Central and West divisions, you can find that here. I'll be back on Wednesday doing daily notes once again. Let's get to the list!
Hold: Gaudreau, Lindholm, Monahan, Tkachuk, Andersson, Giordano
Stream: Backlund, Dube
There’s been plenty of young players that have been hyped as breakout candidates, and one that has been generally overlooked is Joel Farabee. The former first round pick is getting a big opportunity on Philadelphia this season and he took full advantage of it on Wednesday. Please, blog, may I have some more?