Quick, who is second in the NHL in points? The question would be harder to answer if you guys couldn’t see the title of this post. Phil Kessel has been absolutely incredible all season and he’s certainly not getting the credit he deserves. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Hey guys! Sven here with our stop in San Jose for 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.
Lackeydrinksonme here, buying the big Texan some more drinks. This is my third in a series of fantasy hockey skater rankings. As I mentioned, I use 17-18 stats including points per game, points/TOI, Wins Above Replacement, Expected Goals and Actual Goals, and Offensive Point Shares, among others. I also use the eye test, and I try to consider what team a player is on, their expected linemates, and where they are in their careers. I also try to include my rationale, and for most players will offer a prediction on year end points. Like Viz indicated, once you get past the first few names there can be very little separation between certain players, and this obviously isn’t meant to be a comprehensive or be-all end-all ranking. Rather, it’s to give you another perspective on where players are being valued, and might reinforce an idea you have about a skater or surprise you with some analysis. I’ll gladly take questions in the comment section.
We are reaching the forwards that either make the bottom of the top 100 or are just on the outside looking in. If you want to look back at my top 60 forwards, you can go through this link here. Let's get right to it!
Evander Kane is a player that I aggressively rank every season. The shot rate is always elite, the penalty minutes are great, and the goals should come along with those shots. Thankfully for his owners this year, Kane has managed to stay healthy. Kane had the best game of his career on Friday, scoring four goals on seven shots and adding two penalty minutes. He followed that up with eight shots on goal and two PIM on Saturday. That brings Kane's totals to 25+25 with 65 PIM and almost 4 shots per game. Obviously he's must own, but what is his ceiling going forward? I don't think his point totals are going to change much depending on where he signs in the offseason. What can change is his plus-minus. Sure, plus-minus is generally hard to predict, but there are some situations that you can feel better about. Obviously Buffalo was almost worst case for that, and Kane is +5 in San Jose to this point. Yes, it's a small sample, but we've seen around the league this year that a lot of teams are loaded with big plus-minus totals. Kane has never been much of a power play guy either, but maybe he goes somewhere that he plays on the top unit and improves. I feel like he'll be in the bottom of my top 50, but obviously things can change between now and then. For those who have him for this year, enjoy him down the stretch. With his shot volume, Kane can be a massive difference maker if he has some good fortune. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
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:
It took a few injuries, but we finally had some goaltender movement. Petr Mrazek, who appeared to be Detroit's franchise goalie less than two years ago, is now a member of the Flyers. In return, Detroit received two conditional draft picks. Best case scenario, they'll get a 2nd and 3rd round picks. Worst case, they only get a 4th. So what is the fantasy impact? I've been writing for a few weeks that Mrazek should be owned everywhere because he was finally playing well. That's clear as day now going to a much better situation in Philly, so grab him if he's still available. As for in Detroit, it should be Jimmy Howard's show. He has a .910 save percentage this season, which is closer to his career norm than last season's .927 in 26 games. I don't see him as being much more than a desperation play going forward outside of the best matchups. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Gretzky, Lemieux, Forsberg, LaFontaine. That's the list of players in the last 30 seasons to have multiple five assist games in one season. Add Mathew Barzal to the list after Friday night. Barzal became the first rookie in 100 years to have three five point games in one season dishing five assists in the 7-6 win over the Red Wings. That puts Barzal over a point per game on the season and makes him the prohibitive favorite for the Calder (sorry Boeser). Our second podcast ever, which took place before last season, saw Reid and I hype up Barzal for dynasties. Regardless, he's blown away my expectations this season. Now, it's not all rosy for fantasy. The penalty minutes are low, but more importantly the shot rate is barely over two per game. On the other hand, he's 20 years old and is over a point per game, so it's hard to complain. There's a top 20 fantasy player in Barzal's future if he can get that shot rate up. Regardless, he'll be a borderline top 50 player next year solely for the points, and it's only going to get better from there. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
The Chicago Blackhawks are in last place in their division for the first time in what seems like an eternity. They are lacking in the scoring department in a big way. There's one easily move that Joel Quenneville can make to help their cause: play Alex DeBrincat more. The 20 year old scored his second hat trick of the season on Thursday while adding an assist. He's now tied for third on the team in points and second in goals. However, on a per-minute basis, he scores more goals than anyone on the team by a country mile and he's incredibly close to Kane in points per minute. DeBrincat is averaging under 15 minutes per game on the season and to be blunt, that makes no sense to me. The Blackhawks aren't completely dead in the water, especially if Corey Crawford eventually returns (it's been reported that he could return to the ice "soon"). Either way though, getting DeBrincat more ice time helps the team now and helps his development. He's playing at a 28 goal pace with bottom six ice time! DeBrincat is an elite streamer in 12'ers right now but if his minutes increase as they should, I would bet he becomes a hold down the stretch. Let's take a look at what happened in the NHL over the last two nights:
Hey everyone! While there are still a bunch of teams that have their bye this week, it's nowhere near as many as last week. The lack of games made it the lightest week of the season and leaving little to talk about fantasy wise. Therefore, I'm going to use this post to make one fantasy hockey prediction for each team for the rest of the season. We'll be back to the usual daily notes on Wednesday and Friday this week. Let's get going!