As a chance of pace, instead of doing a big weekend recap, I'm going to highlight some injuries, trades, and line shuffling that could have some impact on teams and players for fantasy hockey. I'll be back to my usual set of daily notes on Wednesday morning. Let's get to it!
Being the stand alone game on Thursday afternoon, I was watching the Jets-Panthers game in Finland closely. For the first half of the game, Patrik Laine looked awful. He was so bad that he didn't even get 4 minutes of ice time in the first period. Well, Laine ended up making the natives who came to watch him happy, as he ended up scoring a hat trick on seven shots. That matched his total from the first 12 games of the season. Obviously I wasn't panicking about Laine, but my hopes that his ice time would take a nice jump this season isn't looking promising. There's still plenty of time, and I wouldn't be surprised if Laine goes on a run where he scored 9 goals in 10 games. His floor is just a bit lower than I hoped because the Jets are so good that Maurice doesn't have to give him big minutes. I said he would score 50 in the preseason, and the shot rate has jumped to the point where it's possible if he can get his time on ice back up. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Phil Housley's shakeup of the lines last Saturday has worked extremely well. The Sabres have won three straight and carried the play in all three of those games. One of those moves was putting Jason Pominville on the first line and he's delivered and then some. Pominville scored two goals on five shots on Thursday, giving him 3+3 in his last three games. Now, I'm not saying he's going to be a hold all year, it's 2018, not 2008. However, he's a hot schmotato right now, and first line plus first power play time is nothing to be ignored. If you need a streamer on Saturday, Pominville is a great option, and if the heater continues, use him next week. The Sabres schedule is pretty soft over the next two weeks. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
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 guys! Sven here with the Smashville themed edition of 31 in 31! Over the next month, I will be taking a look at each team’s players to watch out for going into the 2018-19 fantasy hockey season: The 31 in 31 daily segment. This analysis features everything from surefire studs, to sleepers, to prospects that may make an appearance at some point this season. Please let me know if you guys enjoy this type of material! Reminder that the stat totals are from last season.
To say James van Riemsdyk had a decent two games would be an understatement. The Charlie Conway look-alike scored five goals over the last two nights, scoring a hat trick against the Stars on eight shots before scoring two goals and an assist against the Sabres. That brings JVR to 31 goals and 16 assists on the season with just under three shots per game. Obviously he's owned in virtually all leagues at this point, but I wanted to start off with him because he doesn't get the credit he deserves. He's played at a 27+ goal pace for six straight seasons now and the two goals last night gave him a new career high. I'm not sure Toronto will be to keep the impending UFA past this season, but one thing is for certain: JVR is about to get paid handsomely. Look for him to maintain his value no matter where he ends up, meaning someone who is a top 75-100 player. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
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:
Hey everyone! Per usual, we start off by examining the latest injuries around the league and their impact to their teams and fantasy owners. From there, we talk about the situation the Ottawa Senators are in regarding Erik Karlsson's contract, Kyle Turris' interview about his end in Ottawa, and where the organization is going. After that, we examine the playoff picture in both conferences and determine who are the locks to make it in and pick the teams that we think will be in the Stanley Cup Playoffs come April. At the end, we wrap things up with Three Point Challenge picks. Be sure to make your pick below. All of that and more in the latest edition of the Razzball Hockey Podcast!
The Razzball ranking committee of one (yours truly) has long been a fan of Brayden Schenn. Mid 20's in goals, about 30 assists, solid PIM, and elite special teams points made Schenn a main stay around the 100 overall mark in his time in Philadelphia. With the move to St. Louis in the offseason, I wrote the following about Schenn in my preseason rankings: "Schenn’s success will come down to two things: can he improve his even strength play in St. Louis while sustaining his power play prowess?" Well, the power play points are slightly behind the past, but my god is Schenn crushing at even strength. Schenn scored a hat trick on Tuesday night leading the Blues to a 4-3 win over Montreal. That gives Schenn 13+20 in 28 games this season, along with a mind-blowing +22 rating and elite penalty minutes. Schenn's career high in a season is 37 even strength points; he already has 25 this year! Even the biggest of Schenn optimists couldn't have seen this coming as he's pushing for the #1 forward spot in all of fantasy hockey. Kudos to everyone who drafted Schenn in the early to middle rounds and here's to continued success for the top six in St. Louis. Here's what else happened the last two nights around the league: