Hey guys. Thanks for all the well wishes; I'm starting to get over this sickness. For those of you who are still battling for the last four days of the regular season, I'm going to do a preview of tonight along with some streamers. It's a massive 13 game slate so you might not have the need to stream unless you own a bunch of Sabres, Blue Jackets, Wild or Oilers but with some injury piling up around the league, it's good to have some options. I'm going to give you my top 5 options for tonight next, then add in a quick preview of all of the games since you'll more than likely have to bench some of your players. Here we go!
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:
Let’s just cut to the chase, shall we? You somehow made the fantasy playoffs, even though your goaltending is suspect. For this playoff edition of the Goalie Report, I’m going to do away with the regular format and go right ahead and list who’s worth an add, who to avoid, and a few desperation plays – if that’s how you roll. These guys might be available in 12-team leagues, but anything deeper and who are we kidding? You’re likely stuck with what you’ve got, and if you’re lucky, one or more of the desperation plays will work out for you.
After a hat trick over the weekend, Michael Frolik came back with another monster game on Wednesday night scoring a goal and adding two assists in the 4-1 win over the Jets. Despite this recent hot streak, I'm still leaving Frolik on the waiver wire. His numbers on the season are still pedestrian and the consistency is lacking. That said, I can guarantee you Frolik will be one of my Friday streamers (spoiler alert!) because you might as well ride the hot streak in your playoff run. Here's what else I saw around the league on Wednesday night:
Semyon Varlamov is the epitome of a goaltender who is the ultimate wild card. Insert Forrest Gump quote here, etc. One day he can give up 2 goals on 2 shots and get pulled like he did against Buffalo a few weeks ago and then you can get a 37 save shutout like he had against the red hot Ducks on Wednesday night. It was the first regulation loss for the Ducks in over a month. Patrick Roy has shown the willingness to go to Calvin Pickard if necessary but that's two monster games in a row for Varlamov so expect him to ride the Russian for the near term. Here's what else I saw on Wednesday night:
If you've been following along with me all year, or at least the last month, you know how much I like Mark Scheifele. The 22 year old was having an excellent start to the year until an injury sidelined him for 11 games. He came back and started well only to take off when he moved up to the first line in the wake of Bryan Little's injury. Scheifele is in the midst of his best stretch to date. After his two goal performance on Thursday, Scheifele topped it with his first career hat trick on four shots in the 4-2 win over Montreal on Saturday. He then scored a goal on five shots in the 2-1 defeat against the Oilers. Scheifele now has 21 goals and 20 assists in 54 games with an excellent plus-minus, solid PIM and a near-elite shot rate. Scheifele is conservatively a top 50 player for the rest of this season and going forward. As I've said before, I want him on all of my teams next year. Here's what else I saw around the league this weekend:
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:
February was already the best month of the season to date for Filip Forsberg. He was behind last season's pace by a decent margin through January but now, Forsberg is going to easily set a career high in goals and come close in points. The 21 year old Swedish stud scored his second career hat trick, first in the regular season, on Tuesday night against the hopeless Leafs. This puts him up to 23 goals and with the 7 shots on goal, he's back over 3 shots per game. With 9 goals in February already, Forsberg has salvaged his season and can reach his preseason draft value. He's obviously an elite option in dynasties and with his current form, Forsberg should be a difference maker for the rest of the season. Here's what else I saw around the league on Tuesday night:
The trade deadline looms, leaving some things uncertain, but for the most part we are getting to the part of the season where we know what we know what we know: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Sometimes it’s hard to admit that your top ranked goalie just has not come out of his funk (Pekka Rinne, anyone?); or that the offensive juggernaut your goalie plays for just can’t buy a goal (Hello, Ben Bishop!). There are still surprises to watch out for, especially for those in keeper leagues, so keep an eye on the middle tiers if you’re looking to upgrade your goaltending situation. The top tier are likely untouchable; and for other reasons entirely, so are the bottom tier.
Welcome to Assume the Position, a new weekly feature that will focus on one specific player position each week. On a personal note, I love a good, deep league, the kind in which it's actually helpful to know who the backup goalie is in Buffalo. We'll be wading deep into the player pool on most weeks, so dynasty and deep redraft league owners, take note. We’ll start things off with a look at the goaltenders, breaking them up into four tiers, with comments on each. Below, goalies denoted in parentheses are the clear backup, while teammates that are hyphenated play in a more balanced timeshare. Rating goalies by the numbers alone is tricky business. We’ll revisit the chart throughout the season and hopefully give you a leg (pad?) up on the competition that goes beyond the numbers.