We've reached what the NHL planned on being the last week of the regular season. Due to COVID, the season goes into next week, but depending on your league format, this could be the end of your season. I assume for most of you in head to head leagues, your season ends on Saturday, while those of you in roto leagues it goes through the new end of the season next week, but either way, it's time to make your final move. At this point, most of the hard work is done, but everything around the margins matter. I won't be talking about what guys are holds or not at this point because everything is about your current situation. If you have to cut a star player because he's going to miss a game, do it, because volume is what counts. In this post, I'm going to break down the schedule for this week and what we're looking to do as far as streamers go. If you have specific questions, please ask them in the comments section so I can help you out. Let's get to it!
While he's not getting the attention that he received in Vegas' inaugural season, Jonathan Marchessault has quietly had a terrific campaign. His best game came on Wednesday, where Marchessault had two goals, two assists, and five shots leading Vegas to a 5-2 victory over the Sharks. This let Vegas become the first team to clinch the playoffs this season, something that has been a formality for months already. Marchessault now had 13 goals and 22 assists in 46 games, along with a +12 rating, 37 PIM, and 147 shots. In other words, he's a plus across the board with elite PIM and a strong shot rate. At 30 years old, Marchessault has shown no signs of slowing down. He's getting easier matchups now which is helping him thrive on the second line. He looks every bit of a top 100 player going forward, with the upside of being top 50 if he has some shooting luck in a season like he did in his one season in Florida. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Playing time has been the only thing that has stopped Alex Tuch from breaking out in the past. It looked like he was going into the top six two seasons ago, but then the Golden Knights acquired Stone keeping Tuch on the third line. Well, this season that has finally changed even though Stone is still on the team, mostly because the Karlsson line plays less minutes. On Saturday, Stone left the game with a minor injury which led Tuch to being double shifted. Even before that, Tuch was on a tear and it'll only get better with his increased workload. Tuch scored two goals on six shots on Saturday after scoring a goal on Friday. That brings Tuch up to 12 goals in 21 games, an excellent mark. Sure, his shooting percentage is unsustainable, but the increase in minutes could counteract that a bit. Tuch is still available in over 40% of leagues, so if you're lucky enough to be in one of them, grab him now. Let's take a look at what else happpened over the weekend:
It was looking good for the Wild on Monday night. After letting Vegas tie the game 2-2, Minnesota scored two goals in 19 seconds near the end of the second period to go up 4-2. Move to the last minute up 4-3 with the goalie pulled, and Mark Stone makes a fabulous pass to Tuch to tie up the game. In overtime, the Wild were controlling the puck until Stone won it back, and hit Patches for the game winner. In a 5-4 victory, Stone had five assists, and not just five assists, five primary assists. He was in a bit of a slump before this game with one point in his previous five games, but safe to say that's in the rear view mirror now. Stone now has 22 points in 18 games, averaging an assist a game. The big concern is that his shot rate has plummeted down to under two per game. That puts a big dent into his overall value, but if he's going to put up an assist a game dominating at five on five, it's hard to complain. That said, be a little more selfish and don't let Patches take every shot! The first captain in Vegas history has been excellent this season and even though I'm American, I can't wait to see him in the Olympics on say, McDavid or MacKinnon's wing. Or maybe the three of them are a line, who knows with how stacked their team is. Let's see what else happened over the last two nights:
In their last two games, Florida has put a whopping 94 shots on goal. Incredibly, they only scored two goals. Anton Khudobin was robbed off a win on Monday stopping 49 of 51 shots so he decided to one up that performance on Wednesday. Khudobin posted a 43 save shutout to get the Stars back on track. I was high on Khudobin going into the season because of the absence of Bishop. The one problem for Khudobin is with the Stars being delayed for COVID, that's more games later in the schedule when Bishop should be back. Regardless, Khudobin should be the workhorse for at least one more month and should be a #1 goalie in the meantime. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
With no exhibition games this season, it's going to be harder to predict what lines and pairing teams are going to use. Thankfully, there are some coaches, such as Ralph Krueger in Buffalo, who made it clear from Day 1 of practices who would be playing together. In this post, I'm going to hit on some notable decisions around the league and how they impact fantasy hockey. Let's get to it!
I'm a big fan of the revenge game and Semyon Varlamov had one on Monday night against his old team in Colorado. Varlamov had a 32 save shutout to earn the 1-0 victory. I have a few points on Varly. One, he's proving to be the #1 goalie we hoped he would be when he went to the Islanders. Barry Trotz has the best defensive system in the league. Two, how the hell wasn't he an All-Star? He's clearly had the best season for goalies in his division. I get having Korpisalo because the Jackets need a representative, but Holtby? Come on, Varly has been much better. Anyways, keep rolling the Isles goalies. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
For years, Patric Hornqvist has been an easy hold in fantasy, but last season brought some doubt if the 32 year old would get back to that level. Injuries have set back Honrqvist this season, but his first three games back have been strong, namely the last two. On Thursday, Hornqvist scored two goals on eight shots in the 3-2 loss to the Sharks. So why am I excited for Hornqvist? One is the shots. He's pushing three per game which brings plenty of value. Two is the top power play time on a strong unit. Three, and this is the main one, is that Sidney Crosby should be returning within a week or so, and given the injuries Pittsburgh has suffered, it seems likely that Hornqvist ends up playing on his wing. This would do wonders for his value and give him the chance to be a solid hold again. Hornqvist is available in almost two-thirds of leagues right now which makes him an incredible speculation add in all formats. If he can stay healthy and plays with Crosby, we could get borderline top 100 value the rest of the way from Hornqvist. Let's take a look at what else happened on Thursday night:
For two periods, the Red Wings were locking the Canucks down defensively. They went into the third period up 2-0 but that lead didn't last long. In fact, the Canucks ended up scoring five goals in the third to win with ease. They were lead by their captain, Bo Horvat, who had his first career hat trick in the victory. Loyal Razzballers know how much I like Dr. Bo as a player. It's been a slow start, but here's why I'm buying Horvat (and another Canuck I'll talk about later). One, Horvat is shooting the puck at an excellent rate. He's over three shots per game on the season. Two, and the main reason, is that Horvat is back on the first power play unit. In fact, two of his goals came on that unit. There's a ton of potential in that group and Horvat should be a beneficiary. He's an easy hold and should push the top 100 going forward. Let's take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:
Hat tricks aren't that uncommon in the NHL. First period hat tricks are. Evander Kane became the first player in Sharks history to do so, scoring three goals and adding an assist with five shots in the 5-2 win over the Hurricanes on Wednesday. Kane has long been a player that I rate higher than consensus because of his shot rate and penalty minutes. Kane has four goals and two assists in four games since returning from suspension to go along with four PIM and 13 shots. Pretty, pretty good. I don't think it's a coincidence that the Sharks went 0-3 without Kane and are 3-1 since. With their current depth issues, Kane should be leaned on heavily giving him a great chance at a top 50 fantasy season. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights: