It was quite the weekend for last season's Calder Trophy winner. Mathew Barzal entered Friday's game against the Senators with five goals on the season, and he matched that in two games. Barzal scored two goals and an assist against the Senators before scoring a hat trick against the Maple Leafs on Saturday. That brings Barzal up to 10+25 in 37 games with solid PIM and an improved shot rate. He's still only 21 years old so clearly the best is to come. For the rest of this season, I think he's just inside the top 50 now that his shot rate isn't far from average. If he can eventually get that up towards three a game, it's game over. Barzal has top 20 player upside down the line; hopefully the Isles get some more talent around him. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
There were seven early games on Tuesday night, all of which hit the under. That didn't stop a few superstars from having a big night. Among that select group was Vladimir Tarasenko, who scored a goal and two assists with seven shots in the 3-1 win over the Devils. He came into the game with an upper body injury making him unclear for the game last night but that didn't stop him from keeping up his excellent play. Tarasenko has been a five category monster in the early going, scoring 8 goals and 11 assists through 16 games with a whopping +14 rating and over four shots per game. He's done actually what you hoped for using a late first round pick on him, or a second round pick if you were lucky enough that Tarasenko fell to you. Let's take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:
Hey everyone! Last year's trade deadline post was a hit so I'm back updating all of the latest trades and providing instant analysis. Reid will also be giving his thoughts as well that I will add into this post with mine. An hour or so after the deadline, we will record a podcast that will go up Thursday morning recapping everything in more detail. Anyways, I'll recap everything that happened before 1 AM EST now and starting around 10-11 AM later today, I will start updating this post as trades happen. As always, post any questions or comments in the section below or we will answer them. Let's get to it!
Kyle Okposo is a player that tends to get overlooked despite becoming an elite scorer in the NHL. In his last 3 seasons with the Islanders, Okposo played well over a 60 point pace per 82 games including 2013-14 when he had 69 points in 71 games. Even now that he's in Buffalo, Okposo is still looked at as a complimentary piece even though he's a bonafide first liner. In Tuesday night's 6-3 win over the Kings, Okposo moved onto Jack Eichel's wing and immediately delivered with three assists and a shot. That gives Okposo 21 points in 27 games with elite power play points and strong shots. Yes, the penalty minutes have dried up for now, but with how well he possesses the puck plus his scoring prowess, Okposo is on his way to another 60+ point season. Even if the penalty minutes don't come back, he's looking at another top 100 overall fantasy season. Pretty, pretty good
. Here's what else happened around the league the last two nights:
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:
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:
It’s Thursday in the final week of the regular season and that means you not only have to keep an eye on how many games each team has left over the next 72 hours, but you also have to track who is riding the pine and the opportunities that may create for streaming success. Oh yes, the brutal reality of those of us in leagues that use the final week of the season as the championship round comes back to bite us once again as many star players will be getting rested as the playoff picture is nearly complete. Frankly, I’m against this policy in Head-to-Head leagues for this very reason. Do you really decide who is the better team when half your guys are benched? I suppose in H2H it’s more about being attentive and making sure your lineup is always fresh and stacked as opposed to the roto mentality that rewards the manager who puts the best team on the ice over the full course of the season rather than last week. At any rate, lets get into the games remaining business and I’ll et into who is sitting and who is starting after the jump because baby, there’s almost no hockey left and you don’t want to lose your league because you started Rick Nash and found out too late that he’s a healthy scratch. By the bye, he’s a healthy scratch tonight. Anyway, here’s the list o’ games remaining by team: Games Remaining for Week 25 Apr 6-Apr 11: 2 Games – Phoenix Coyotes, Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning, Vancouver Canucks, Winnipeg Jets 1 Game – Anaheim Ducks, Dallas Stars, Toronto Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals That’s a lot of teams with two games left, but bear in mind that there are only four teams playing two games after today; the Sabres, Jackets, Isles and Pens. The other twenty-some teams play a game today and one more for the rest of the week. If you’re trying to stack your lineup for this weekend those are the teams to target for streamers. Every team plays on the final day, so it won’t be hard to stack for Sunday. Good luck, y’all! Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey recently:
Early in the season a lack of patience is one of the biggest mistakes new fantasy owners make. They are quick to drop established stars starting slow, quick to add and overvalue upstart rookies and old vets that are hot out of the gate and predictably, this is a recipe for disaster. As such, I preach patience as a virtue early on pretty heavily and try and reinforce the idea whenever I can. It’s important to troll the wire constantly throughout the season for streaking players, but now that we’re in the second half of the season you don’t have the luxury of time that you had in the first half and waiting for players like Matt Duchene (1 A, 2 SOG, -1) or Jordan Eberle, RW (1 G, 3 SOG, +1) to get going may cost you a playoff berth.
Mikael Granlund (2 A, 2 SOG, +1) is a rookie I haven’t mentioned yet and shame on me for that. A natural playmaker with incredibly soft hands, he was largely disappointing in his North American debut last season with the Wild, so he flew under my, and many other 'perts radar. Still, that's no excuse for overlooking a guy who before coming to North America dominated the Finnish leagues with 20 goals, 31 assists, plus-20 and 18 PIM in 45 games for HIFK Helsinki in Finland's SM-Liiga. His subpar debut with the Wild was fueled in part by a bum ankle and a log jam that kept him to third line minutes. Well, that log jam is gone and his TOI has spiked and would you look at that? So has his production! He has all the tools needed to be an All-Star in the NHL and he’s showing it this season posting 32 points in 49 games so far. He has four points (1 G, 3 A) in his last three games he’s going to give you more assists than goals, but he’s going to get his regardless, so why should you be left out? He’s only owned in 10% of Yahoo leagues and ~53% of ESPN Leagues, so grab him if you need some help at center. Then there's his brother Markus Granlund (1 A, 1 SOG, +1) who didn’t want to be left out, so I tailored this post just to include him. Not really, I actually think Mikael is a great sleeper for next season and a solid add for the stretch run this season, I just think it's cool when brothers get to play in the NHL together. Sadly Markus isn't worth owning this season or next, but hey, he tallied a helper last night and it was just his third game on the big stage, so congrats to the Granlunds for their night o' family hockey fun. Anyway, here's what else I saw in the world o' fantasy hockey last night:
Well, that was quick.
Florida Panthers’ goaltender Tim Thomas was a last-minute signing to shore up a crappy goaltending unit that was near the bottom of the league for most of last season. Please, blog, may I have some more?