Here is what I wrote about J.T. Miller in Tuesday's post: "J.T. Miller is getting huge minutes in Tampa and has six points in six games for the Bolts. The shot rate is rough, but Miller should be held despite that. Everything else should be a clear plus and nothing is better than playing for Tampa. Miller was on the fringe for the Rangers so this move is enough to move him to a hold." And that's me quoting me! Well, Miller exploded on Tuesday night, scoring his first career hat trick and putting ten shots on goal. He played over 20 minutes, including on the top power play unit. Long story short, if you had any doubt about whether Miller should be held, this game should eliminate that. Pick the man up because he can be a huge difference maker down the stretch. Let's take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:
Yes, I know Ondrej Kase's name is pronounced like case, but let me be punny, will you!? I dug back into the Razzball Hockey archives to find what I first wrote about Kase. And by dug into the archives, I mean I used the simple search bar at the top. The first time I wrote about him was early last season in 2016. "I’ve been impressed with his play and while it’s not enough for now, Kase’s an intriguing dynasty option in deep leagues." And that's me quoting me copying what Grey does! Go check out the baseball side of Razzball and sign up for an RCL. Anyways, a month later, I said Kase has shown enough long-term upside that he should be on the radar moving forward. Well, the seventh round pick is breaking out before our eyes. Kase scored a goal and two assists with three shots in the 3-2 win over the Blackhawks on Thursday, giving him 16 goals and 14 assists on the season, along with a +17 rating in 43 games. It's not all great; the PIM are non-existent and the minutes are quite low at the moment (despite the big game, Kase played only 12:13). Regardless, the 22 year old is already a solid third liner for the Ducks and there could be a bit more here long term. His minutes keep him from being a hold in 12'ers, but I'm definitely streaming him. The hits are awful this season which hurts in deep leagues, but they were fine last season so I think it's a bit of an anomaly. Kase has already exceeded expectations as a 7th round pick, but I think he can turn into a solid 50-60 point player for those of you in dynasties. Let's take a look at what others did around the NHL the last two nights:
What the Vegas Golden Knights are doing in their inaugural season is nothing short of spectacular. The only thing I've ever seen like it is Leicester City fighting off relegation before winning the Premier League title the next season at 5000-1 shots. Sure, Vegas was nowhere near that big of a long shot, but to have the best record in the West is remarkable. On Tuesday, they beat their top competition, the Nashville Predators, 3-0. Marc-Andre Fleury led the way with a 28 save shutout. It's a shame Fleury was injured this season because he's been great in 9 of 10 starts. Fleury has won 8 of his 10 starts with a GAA below 2 and save percentage above .940. It's safe to say it will regress some but I'm well past the point of thinking Vegas is going to regress. This team is real and Fleury looks like he'll be a slam dunk #1 fantasy goalie for the rest of the season and going forward. Just a remarkable story that I can't get enough of. Let's take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:
First off, I hope everyone had a Happy New Year's! As much as I personally don't care for New Year's Eve, this year was different because of the Buffalo Bills making the playoffs. I wish I had video of me celebrating with my dad or an audio recording of my friend, who is in Paris, who heard us yelling on speaker phone and him celebrating in the Paris streets. Couple that with an amazing USA win in the WJC outdoor game against Canada that I was at and things in the sports world couldn't be better. Even the Sabres looked competent today despite the loss! Anyways, let's get to what you're here for...
I've talked about Josh Bailey being the waiver wire pickup of the year on multiple occasions over the last couple weeks because, well, the Isles top line is on fire. That said, William Karlsson is easily #2 in this department. Wild Bill, a Razzball favorite from the past (aka favorite of mine), scored the first hat trick in Vegas history on Sunday, scoring three goals and an assist in the 6-3 win over the Maple Leafs. That brings Karlsson's totals to 20+13 in 33 games with a +15 rating. Sure, it will regress some because he's not going to shoot 26.3% all season, but let's give Karlsson his due. In the first 183 games of his career, Karlsson scored 18 goals. He has that beat for the Golden Knights in 37 games. His emergence is a huge part of Vegas shocking the world as they sit atop the Western Conference. Karlsson will drop off some in the second half, at least in the goals department, but make no mistake about it, it's not a complete fluke. Karlsson should be a hold for the rest of the season. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last three days of the old year:
Growing up, the Avalanche were always my second favorite team. My grandpa was a huge Peter Forsberg fan and it didn't interfere with my Sabres since they were in the Western Conference. I've always kept a close eye on them even though my rooting interests are now firmly with the Sabres and "Team Whoever I Bet In Game X." Anyways, Gabriel Landeskog has been a personal favorite of mine in this new Avalanche era. He became the youngest captain in the league when it wasn't cool to make your young top pick a captain. Landeskog won the Calder and led the Avs on a massive warpath to a shocking #1 seed in 2013-14. When I started at Razzball, things looked on the up for Landeskog at 23 years old. Then, like the rest of the Avalanche organization, Landeskog struggled mightily. Thankfully for all of us fantasy owners, he's back. Landeskog had the best game of his career on Saturday scoring a hat trick and two assists with five shots against the Lightning. Sure, the Avs lost, but it doesn't change his stat line for us! The Kog now has 13+11 in 28 games with a strong plus-minus and solid PIM plus shots. In fact, I'd be surprised if the penalty minutes don't jump soon. It's amazing that Landeskog just turned 25 so he's not even in his prime yet. Look for him to be a top 100 player for the rest of the season and for at least the next few years. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
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:
Nothing like a revenge game against your former team to get your current team back on track. Local Razzball favorite Mike Smith saved all 28 shots against his former team leading the Flames to a 3-0 win over the Coyotes. Smith has been outstanding this point becoming one of the greatest values in fantasy hockey to this point. The save percentage is among the league's best and the wins are more than solid. Since I'm all in on the Flames this year, I don't see why the team in front of him would get worse. To make things better, the Flames don't have a quality backup goalie. Smith is going to be a massive workhorse going forward and should be a borderline #1 fantasy goalie. Not bad for someone drafted in the very late rounds. Let's take a look at what else happened over the previous two nights:
Since it's almost Labor Day, it's time for me to pick up the pace with my rankings. For those who haven't seen them, you can check out my Top 50 here. I'm not going to bore you with an intro, everybody wants to see my top 100 and this is going to be incredibly long as is, so let's get right to it!
51) Ben Bishop - The more research that I do, the more I'm tempted to move Bishop up even higher. Yes, last season was a disaster, but Bishop was the #1 overall player in 2015-16. But Viz, Dallas has been a train wreck defensively for years! This is true, but with Marc Methot coming on board and the growth of their young blueliners, they could take a step forward. More importantly, we've seen some goalies with far less talent than Bishop succeed in Ken Hitchcock's system *cough* Brian Elliott *cough*. It's a little risky but I'm expecting Dallas to push for the Central Division title giving Bishop massive upside across the board.
The Philadelphia Flyers have nothing to play for besides being a spoiler. Their season is effectively over but they basically ended their division rivals on Thursday. The Flyers blitzed the Islanders on Thursday going up 5-0 in the first period and winning 6-3. With the Bruins, Maple Leafs, Lightning and Hurricanes all winning, the Islanders are toast. There were many players who stood out for the Flyers in this game but the one with the biggest fantasy impact is Wayne Simmonds. Simmonds had a Gordie Howe hat trick and then some totaling a goal, two assists, five penalty minutes and four shots. The goal was Simmonds' 30th of the season allowing him to reach the 30 goal plateau for the second straight season. With four straight seasons of 28+ goals and massive penalty minutes, we know who Simmonds is in those departments. The shots are solid and the PPP are elite but there are some concerns. One, he's been a minus player every season in Philly with this year being his worst ever, a -20. The other issue is that he's never topped 31 assists. I thought this season he would set a new career high but he's not coming close. So where does that leave us? I had Simmonds in my top 25 last season which turned out to be too high. I love Simmonds for what he is but it's not worth taking him in the top of the third round when he's only getting 55-60 points. He'll certainly be in my top 50 but since he's on the verge of turning 29, my hopes of Simmonds taking another step seem incredibly unlikely. Here's what else happened around the league the last two nights:
Loyal Razzballers know the love that the writer, editor and chief of Razzball Hockey has for Sebastian Aho long term. He hasn't taken the league by storm but his rookie season has been incredibly impressive for a 19 year old. Aho had his second best game to date on Thursday scoring two goals and an assist with six shots in the win over the Rangers. That gives him 19+19 on the season with over 2.5 shots per game. He's been a great streamer most of the season but right now I would grab him for the rest of the season. Why? If you recall, the Hurricanes have the best schedule over the last four weeks by a country mile (schedule breakdown here). Aho will be a solid contributor at his current pace given the volume but as we've seen, there is plenty of upside as well. He's still available in over 75% of leagues so go pick up that Aho! Here's what else happened around the league the last two nights:
There comes a point in the season where teams are desperate for their superstars to carry them towards the playoffs. That time is now and it's happening in Tampa Bay. Nikita Kucherov has been spectacular all season but he had his best game Monday night scoring a hat trick on seven shots and adding an assist in the 5-1 win over the Senators. Look how remarkably similar all three goals are:
He now has nine points in his last three games and twenty-five shots on goal over the pats four. Kucherov is producing points at the fourth highest rate in the league this season (min 20 GP) and sits as a top ten forward on the season despite missing some time. I had him as a high second round pick going into this season but he's been ever better than that. I expect to have Kucherov ranked as a first rounder going into next season and given that he's still 23 years old, we may not have seen the best from him. Let's take a look at what else has happened in the game around the league the last two nights:
NOTE: There is a separate post going up regarding trades that will be updated throughout the trade deadline. For instant analysis, go here
Remember how poor Max Pacioretty was playing the first six weeks of the season? Despite the incredible start from the Canadiens, Patches was struggling to find the back of the net, mostly due to his shot rate falling off a cliff. While he's not at his normal levels, he's back over three shots per game and on Tuesday, Patches had a huge night. He scored on all three of his shots leading the way in Montreal's destruction of the Sabres. All of a sudden, Pacioretty is tied for second in the league in goals (at the time of this writing) being a plus contributor in all categories. While he's not pushing the top 25 like he was a couple years ago, Patches is firmly in the top 50 going forward. Here's what else I saw around the league on a massive Tuesday slate: