The way young players have stormed the league in recent seasons, people just assume Sam Reinhart won't get much better and be a bust. If Reinhart wasn't the second overall pick, he'd be impressing everyone with his improvement. While I don't think he'll ever be a true superstar, I'm still a big fan of Reinhart going forward. Reinhart was on the ice for all four Sabres goals on Thursday, scoring a goal and two assists with two shots in the win over the Islanders. That puts Reinhart at 15 points in his past 16 games making him an elite streamer at the moment. For those in dynasties, Reinhart should develop into a top 100 player eventually but towards the bottom end. He'll be a beast in real life, but the lack of PIM will keep his value down. For those in redrafts, use him while he's hot. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Reid and I talked about Tristan Jarry extensively on last week's podcast. We said that he should be picked up immediately with Matt Murray out for at least a few weeks, mostly because the Penguins had a back-to-back against the hapless Sabres. Well, Jarry delivered and then some in both games. He started off with a 34 save shutout in Buffalo before allowing 1 goal on 33 shots in Pittsburgh on Saturday. The schedule isn't great this week with the Rangers, Islanders, and Maple Leafs on deck, but they're all at home. At the least, Jarry is a nice spec add to see how things go against better competition. He's still available in over 70% of leagues so go grab him now. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
After finished second last in the NHL in 2014-15 and getting jumped in the Connor McDavid - Jack Eichel sweepstakes by the Oilers, the Arizona Coyotes surprisingly stayed in the playoff race for the majority of last season. While they ended up dropping off quite a bit at the end of the season, there are plenty of bright spots for the organization going forward. On top of the young talent that was already on the roster, there are some new Desert Dogs ready to make their NHL debut. While I don't see them contending for the playoffs this time around, the future is incredibly bright with plenty of fantasy assets. Let's take a look at what they're working with:
Whether you’re in or you’re out of your league playoffs at this point, here are some d-men that can help you in the final weeks, and another few that, if you snap them up in your keeper league now, will make you the envy of everyone next year!
My first piece of advice at this stage of the playoffs is to keep an eye on the transactions in your league on a daily basis. Fantasy owners are all kinds of desperate and you’d be surprised at who they’ll drop in order to gain an edge with streamers during the week. These drops can become your pickups, and if you do advance to the next week, your team will be even stronger for it.
If you’re in a keeper league, you are either picking up as many young guns as possible right now, or you’re heading into the finals with great roster already. Some are better for NOW, while some are for LATER and will make great additions to your dynasty team.
He's always piled up the assists but Jason Spezza has never been known as a goal scorer. This year, it's a different story because if he wasn't injured, he'd have set a career high in goals. On Friday, Spezza scored a goal and an assist on four shots against the Blackhawks before Spezza scored for the fifth consecutive game Saturday, burying two goals on seven shots against the Blues. Spezza now has 28 goals and 25 assists in 64 games; his career high is 34 goals. Spezza is now a top 50 skater on the year and with the talent the Stars have, he should be around there next year. Here's what else I saw around the league this weekend:
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:
Will using The Force actually make your team better than picking up Justin Schultz would? Well, no. Not exactly. But it will stop you from making blind spec pickups and dropping guys who might actually be helping you already in some way. In either case, I’m going with “D”, which by the way is the subject of this week’s column. Here’s all the “D” you can handle – if you want to improve your team NOW instead of waiting for the fallout of all the deadline deals – all neatly sorted into three categories: Scoring help, Keepers only, and Peripheral Vision (which help in those “other” stats).
How good is Joe Thornton? The answer is pretty, pretty good <Larry David voice>. The future Hall of Famer is back in the top 10 in the league in scoring after a big night against the Blues on Monday. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Brad Marchand is really good at his job. He looks like a troll, plays like a troll by starting things while teetering on the edge of dirty and now, he’s trolling us all with his offensive prowess. Please, blog, may I have some more?
For most of the season, I've talked about why I wouldn't want to own Semyon Varlamov. Long story short, I don't trust the Avalanche to play defense well enough to prevent Varlamov from having a high goals against average. Well, the counter to that is Varlamov is a very good goaltender who can carry his team to wins. It happened twice this weekend. On Friday, he stopped 33 of 34 shots to beat the Blues 2-1 in a shootout, then he came back Saturday to make 42 saves against the Stars in a 3-1 victory. Even after these games, his goals against average is below league average but his save percentage is strong and he's top 10 in the league in wins. There's still plenty of value in a goalie like Varlamov, you just need to balance it by having an elite goalie to carry you in goals against average. Here's what else I saw around the league this weekend: