It feels like forever ago that Tomas Hertl took the league by storm as a rookie. He's shown signs of promise since, but never really put it together. Until. Hertl had a hat trick on Tuesday to lead the Sharks over the Penguins. That brings him up to 19+22 in 43 games, both numbers rapidly approaching career highs in mid-January. He is providing no penalty minutes and a below average shot rate which caps his long term ceiling, but he looks to be a guy who is a fringe top 100 player for the next few seasons. I would say if I had to say where I rank him next year, my guess is just outside the top 100 just because the downside is much higher for a guy whose sole value is coming from points and not the side categories. Let's take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:
It's hard to find a bigger fan of Blake Wheeler than yours truly. He's been excellent for years, and while he is showing some signs of aging, he's remained incredibly productive. Wheeler scored a goal and dished three assists in the 7-4 win over the Avalanche, adding two penalty minutes. Wheeler now has 7+48 in 42 games, a very strong point total. So where's the concern? Well, seven goals obviously isn't great, and his shot rate is closer to 2.5 now than 3 per game. Add in a career low shooting percentage and you can see why he's on pace for only 14 goals. He's still solid in PIM and has been a quality +/- player for a long time, so he'll still be a top 50 player for a few years. However, it would be a mistake to expect Wheeler to be a top 20 player again going forward. Here's a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Things can change quickly in hockey. Matt Murray led the Pens to two Stanley Cups, then struggled mightily last season and to open this year. Now, Murray has caught fire once again. The netminder had a 33 save shutout on Friday against the Jets. That means in his last 6 games, he's allowed 6 goals total with his worst save percentage being .931. We've seen the upside before, and that's of a top 5 goaltender, if not more. First off, he's somehow available in 15% of leagues, which is absurd. If you're lucky enough to be in one, grab him immediately. Two, if you own Casey DeSmith, you can safely drop him. Lastly, I doubt you'll be able to trade for him given his hot run, but I'd much rather do that than sell high. The upside of Murray is too high to pass on, and with the Pens playing as well as they lately, the floor is fairly high too. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Cory Schneider has been atrocious all season and Keith Kinkaid has had a brutal December. Enter Mackenzie Blackwood into the crease for the Devils, and the former second round pick has immediately caught fire. Please, blog, may I have some more?
It's nothing new when Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler have big games, and both managed to do so twice this weekend. In Friday's 5-2 win over the Avalanche, Wheeler registered a point on all five goals, going 1+4, while Scheifele scored a goal and two assists with three shots. They followed that up with Wheeler getting two more assists and Scheifele posting a 2+1 game. Wheeler already has 20 assists in 16 games to go with 19 PIM and 3 goals, while Scheifele is up to 9+10 with 20 PIM. Wheeler was a borderline first round pick that I had ranked as a high second rounder, while Scheifele was more 2nd/3rd range. With his shot rate at exactly 2.5 per game right now, that solidifies him as a second round value. Remember when ESPN had him ranked in the 60s? Hilarious. These two should continue to put up points no matter the opposition. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
I've long been a fan of Juuse Saros saying that he's the best goaltending prospect in hockey. His time to be a #1 is coming sooner than later, but for the short term, it's his crease in Nashville. Pekka Rinne is on injured reserve meaning he will miss at least the next three games, and that opens the door for Saros. He came in relief for Rinne in a 3-3 game and didn't allow a goal on nine shots, before posting a 31 save shutout in the 3-0 win over the Oilers. He's available in over 80% of leagues and quite frankly, I don't understand it. Goaltending is awful around the league right now, so pretty much every fantasy team could use him as their G3. That said, Saros should be a #1 option when he starts, so go grab him immediately. He's going to get plenty of starts this year even when Rinne is back, so Saros can make a huge difference for you. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Hey everyone! Hopefully your fantasy seasons are still going as we enter the last month of the season. Instead of normal daily notes, I'm going to discuss one situation for every team throughout the league. We'll get back to normal notes on Wednesday morning, but I feel like this was a good chance of pace to highlight some new developments around the NHL. Let's get to it!
Hey, everyone. Working in higher ed admissions means my workload has picked up significantly, but I’m setting time aside to throw some fantasy hockey streaming advice your way! As you might know by now, my managing style and what I discuss in my advice column is maximizing games played and putting more skaters on the ice that your opponent. I use data pulled from my own league as well as the two RCL’s to give this idea some supporting data, so let’s dive right in!!
Here is what I wrote about the Blues in my 31 predictions post: "Carter Hutton starts at least half of the games the rest of the way. There’s no way around it, he’s been much better than Jake Allen. You can tell Mike Yeo knows it lately as Hutton is starting to get more starts. Hutton is still available in over 75% of leagues; I’d go grab him now just because of the potential upside." And that's me quoting me copying what Grey does! Hutton received the start on Tuesday and stopped 30 of 31 shots in the Blues' 3-1 win over Toronto. Hutton has started 17 games and has the best GAA and sv% in the league for qualified goalies. Is he going to stay at this level? Of course not. Could Hutton be a top 15 goalie the rest of the way if he gets 25+ starts? Absolutely. It's worth repeating that you should pick up Hutton right now because he's good enough to potentially be a huge difference maker in fantasy leagues this year. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
I'll be honest, a year ago, I never thought I'd be writing about Alex Stalock again. After a few years of being the backup in San Jose, Stalock was shipped to Toronto, where he was immediately waived to play in the AHL. In the summer of 2016, Stalock signed a two-way deal with the Wild but never played in Minnesota, only in Iowa. After Kuemper's struggles last year and Stalock recording a .926 sv% in the A, the Wild let Kuemper go and decided to sign Stalock to be their backup this year. Sadly, Devan Dubnyk was injured on Tuesday and is week-to-week. We discussed this on yesterday's podcast, but Stalock becomes a clear must-own until Dubnyk returns. He made me look good as he shut out the Maple Leafs on Thursday night stopping 28 shots he's faced. Grab Stalock now before somebody else. The Wild are getting healthy and playing great defensive hockey at the moment so for at least the next week, Stalock should provide great value. Here's what else happened the last two nights: