Fantasy Hockey Weekly Newsletter: Week 18 Hello everyone. Welcome to the eighteenth edition of JOT This Down! Keep the questions, comments, and concerns coming. I’ll be here all week to answer any and everything you may have.
Hello everyone. Welcome to the sixteenth edition of JOT This Down! Keep the questions, comments, and concerns coming. I’ll be here all week to answer any and everything you may have.
This year couldn't be going any worse for the Columbus Blue Jackets. A horrible record, terrible injuries to key players, and dreadful goaltending have sunk them from the beginning. Now that they're in the Bedard race, their fans probably aren't even happy that they won on Tuesday night. Their prize free agent signing, Johnny Gaudreau, dominated the game with two goals and three assists, plus six shots on goal. That brings him up to 62 points in 64 games, a far cry from last season, but not a complete disaster. The question isn't about what to expect from Gaudreau for the rest of this season, but going forward. He turns 30 in the summer, but I'm not expecting drop off in the short term. Can he approach 100 points again? I have my doubts, but if Columbus is lucky enough to get Bedard, it can't be ruled out. Bedard would be the perfect compliment, and Fantilli wouldn't be a bad consolation prize. I was lower on Gaudreau than consensus so I don't have any of him this year, but there's always a chance that with his talent, he makes a huge difference over the last month. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Even with Columbus up 4-0 halfway through the game, it never felt remotely close to over. In the span of the first four minutes of the third period, the Penguins turned a 4-1 deficit into a 4-4 battle. A careless overtime penalty set the stage for Sidney Crosby to score the overtime game winner to complete the comeback. Crosby had a goal and two assists with four shots in the win, setting up a game on Thursday with the Islanders for the first wild card spot. While he's not at his peak anymore, Crosby still has a chance for 100 points again. You don't need me to tell you how good Crosby is, but where he'll rank going into next season is an interesting debate. My guess is that it's somewhere around 20th overall, a clear second rounder in drafts, but perhaps it's a few spots above that. Even at 36, he's given us no reason to expect him to slow down. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
We had a game of the year performance on Monday night by Connor Hellebuyck. Hellebuyck saved 50 of 51 shots in the 4-1 win over the Rangers, ending their winning streak. One of my best rankings this season over ADP was banking on Hellebuyck to bounce back after last season's disaster. I even said in my bold prediction that he'd win the Vezina, which Ullmark will probably ruin, but his season has certainly been Vezina worthy. But enough of patting myself on the back. Hellebuyck is sitting with a 2.39/.926, putting him in a battle with Oettinger for the #2 overall goalie to this point (the gap to #4 is massive). He's as good of a bet as any to finish the best goalie for the rest of the season considering the top end volume. Bottom line, Hellebuyck is entering his prime now and since he gets to play in a Bowness system, he should stay in tier one for the indefinite future. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
The Senators have been a disappointment this season despite their big forward acquisitions in the summer. Turns out that you can't get away with completely ignoring the blue line and being forced to give bad players big minutes. Anyways, we don't care about that for fantasy, we care about their scoring, and their top players have largely delivered. Claude Giroux had a great weekend, totaling three goals and two assists with ten shots over two games. Giroux is having his best goal scoring season since his monstrous 34 goal, 102 point season in 2017-18. Unsurprisingly, that season and this season are Giroux's two highest shooting percentages, but it seems a bit more sustainable in this environment in Ottawa. Even with an inconsistent PP1 role, Giroux has still played his way into being a bottom end hold in all formats. The one problem is that after Ottawa's game on Tuesday, they don't play again until February 11th. My biggest point here with bottom end holds over these bye weeks is that you need to know your league format and whether the waiver wire is strong enough that you can drop someone like Giroux to get more games. In head to head leagues, volume is king, so you can make a case after Tuesday that you can let him go for players with a bunch of games after the All-Star break. In roto, I would hold onto Giroux without hesitation. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
While I wasn't expecting a repeat of last season from Filip Forsberg, his drop off was a much higher level than it should have been. Thankfully, he started the turn around in a massive way this weekend. Against Anaheim on Friday, Forsberg had a goal and two assists. He followed it up with an even better game, scoring a hat trick on six shots against the Golden Knights. With those performances, Forsberg is on a 33+41 pace, which isn't amazing, but far more acceptable given Forsberg's shot rate. Here's to hoping that Forsberg can keep building. Nashville is going on a long road trip soon, which could lead to a bit more ice time for Forsberg when Hynes can't protect matchups as easily. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
I hope everyone had a great Holiday Season! Hopefully you weren't stuck in your house like I was in Buffalo with this blizzard. Still haven't left my house since Thursday. Anyways, it's time for an updated hold/stream list since it's been about six weeks. For a refresher course of what I'm doing this year, instead of two separate categories, I’m going to do three now: hold, on the fringe between bottom end hold and elite streamer, and any level of streamer. This is for 12 team leagues. I will only make comments on certain players that I deem noteworthy, otherwise this will be purely a list. Assume that every starting goalie is worth holding unless noted otherwise, mostly by them being in the streaming category. Let’s get to it!
Tage Thompson's nickname, as given to him by Sabres announcer Dan Dunleavy, is TNT. Safe to say that everyone who watched Wednesday's game on TNT learned the nickname. Thompson had the game of the season, scoring five times, five times, five times, five times! He scored four in the first period, becoming the 18th player to ever score four in a period, and the fourth to do it in the first period. He put nine shots on goal in total and added an assist despite playing only 13:56 in the game. Here's the list of players who have multiple 3+ goals, 6+ point games in the last 30 seasons: Thompson, Zibanejad, Lemieux, and Gretzky. And Thompson is only 1/3 of the way through the season! He now has 21+19 in 26 games with over five shots per game. Honestly, it doesn't look like a fluke at all. Sure, his shooting percentage is a little high, but marginally so. If he can maintain his shot rate, that's over 400 shots in a season, making him close to a lock for 50 goals. As far as going forward, Thompson has played his way into the top 10 discussion. His minutes could even end up increasing towards 20 per game from the 18:31 he's at now. Thompson has already turned his contract extension into a massive steal for the Sabres. Let's take a look at what else happened the last two nights:
Dallas locked up the last part of their core on Tuesday, signing Roope Hintz to an eight year contract extension. Even being in the midst of a three game pointless streak, Hintz remains over a point per game and based on game score, he's a top ten forward in the league to this point of the season. I don't expect him to maintain that pace, but his line is right there for the crown of best in the NHL. Fantasy wise, I'd like to see the shot rate uptick 10-20%, but even with where he is, Hintz is a solid piece towards the top end of your roster. If DeBoer played him 20+ minutes like he should instead of 17 per game, the numbers would be even better. Congrats to Hintz for securing the bag! Let's see what happened over the last two nights:
Patrice Bergeron became the eighth active NHL'er to reach 1,000 career points on Monday, assisting on a Marchand goal in the 5-3 win over Tampa. The best defensive forward for the last decade, Bergeron has long since been a lock for the Hall of Fame, but being the 94th player to ever reach 1,000 points puts him in truly elite company. It sounds crazy to say that he's underrated, but I do feel like his career is underrated. He's never been a top five player in the league, but he was close for an extended period, his line was consistently one of the best in the league, and if you could pick any skater to be on the ice with one minute left up one to save the planet, he's the guy. Congrats to this hockey wizard. Let's see what else happened on Monday night:
Remember when the Devils fans were chanting "Fire Lindy" two games into the season? My, how the tides have turned. The Devils have won 13 of 14 since, including 10 in a row. The most recent win was 5-1 against the Canadiens on Tuesday with their star players leading the way. Jack Hughes scored twice on seven shots and added an assist in the victory. Hughes now has multiple points in six of his last ten games, and is pushing 4.5 shots on goal per game. Even with a lack of penalty minutes, that's enough to be the top 20 player that I ranked him as before the season. The future is incredibly bright in New Jersey with two elite defensemen prospects coming to support the excellent foundation in place. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights: