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:
When Johnny Gaudreau underwent surgery for his finger injury, the expectation was that he was going to miss six weeks. Flames fans and fantasy owners had to be thrilled when he came back on Sunday in less than three weeks. The team did surprisingly well in the 10 games Gaudreau missed, mostly due to Chad Johnson between the pipes, but they didn't score than 3 goals in any game during that stretch. That changed in a big way Sunday night against a strong Ducks team. The Flames scored a whopping 8 goals beating the Ducks 8-3 with Gaudreau scoring the opener and adding an assist later on. He was finally playing well before his injury so hopefully this is a sign of things to come. We know that he's a top end player but the impact of his return will be felt throughout the lineup. More on those guys later in the Sunday section, let's get to the games!
It certainly hasn't been consistent on a game to game basis but T.J. Oshie's overall production can't be denied. He had his best game of the season on Wednesday with two goals and two assists (one shorthanded, two power play points) with three shots in Washington's 7-1 beatdown of the Penguins. That brings Oshie's totals on the season to 8 goals, 2 assists, 10 PIM, +10, 6 STP (4 PPP, 2 SHP) and 37 shots in 16 games. The big games have been there; 10 of Oshie's points are in his 4 multi-point games while he was 2 in the other 12. If he starts to put some games together, which I expect with the Capitals power play due for a hot streak, Oshie owners will get a guy who easily settles in the top 75 with the potential to push the top 50 if the plus-minus keeps progressing. Here's what else I saw around the league the last two nights:
EVERYBODY PANIC! Just kidding, you can relax. Reid and I are back discussing a variety of topics. We start off by running down all of the latest injuries around the league before looking at the latest news throughout the NHL, mostly from Tuesday's games. Around the 30 minute mark, we get to the panic meter. We look at around 20 marquee players at various positions and give a rating from 1 to Cedric Daniels' eyes when Prezbo punched out Valchek on how worried we are about the lack of production through the first 20% of the season. It's actually from 1-1o but any excuse to show that picture! As always, we close things out with The Three Point Challenge. Be sure to get your picks in via the comment section below. All of that and more in the latest edition of the Razzball Hockey Podcast!
The first few weeks of the season, Connor Hellebuyck was a polarizing figure in the fantasy hockey world. He made the Jets roster and was clearly the best goalie but Hellboy was struggling and splitting starts. Plenty of people were asking me if he was worth rostering and justifiably so. Well, things no longer look to be a mixed bag after the last week of games. Hellebuyck has won 4 straight starts allowing no more than 2 goals in a game. His best performance came last night recording a 27 save shutout at home against the Blackhawks. Hellebuyck is getting massive offensive support right now and the defense is gradually improving in front of him. At the end of the year, I believe he will finish as a top end #2 goaltender with the expectation that he will be a #1 in 2017-18 and beyond. Here's what else I saw around the league in a very busy Tuesday night slate.
First off, I'd just like to apologize to everyone for not having daily notes on Monday morning. I wasn't feeling too well Sunday night; one minute I'm watching the beginning of the Seahawks game and the next thing I know it's 10 AM! Thankfully there was only one game on Monday night so it wasn't the end of the world. Anyways, Sebastian Aho scored his first two NHL goals on Saturday and added an assist in Carolina's 5-1 win over the Capitals. That brings Aho's totals to 2+7 in 14 games which is great for the 19 year old. Unfortunately, that's accompanied by exactly 2 shots per game and only 2 PIM on the season. Add in the fact that the minutes are low (12:13 in this one) and I don't think you can hold onto Aho in standard 12'ers. That said, he's going to remain a great streamer for assists and is a Razzball favorite for dynasties. Let's take a look at what happened over the weekend plus the one Monday night game.
It's no secret that coming into the season, I loved the best players on the Jets. While the team itself is of to a mediocre start, the forward in my top 50 that I was highest on compared to consensus was Mark Scheifele. After a monstrous second half last season, I wrote repeatedly how much I liked him for 2016-17 and dynasties going forward. It was evident looking at Fantasy Pros where I was 16 spots higher than anyone else and 19 spots above consensus, quite a margin for a player who I had ranked 32nd overall. Well, it's been a terrific start to the season for Scheifele and it continued over the weekend. On Friday, Scheifele had a goal, two assists and two shots while being +3 in the 5-3 win over Detroit. He followed that up with a goal and an assist with two shots and +1 on Sunday despite the Jets losing 5-2 to the red hot Rangers. That gives Scheifele a total of 7 goals and 7 assists in 13 games with a +5 rating, 10 PIM and almost 3 shots per game. It puts him easily in the top 20 skaters on the season in the player rater and is making me look smart! I salute you, Mr. Scheifele. With the workload that he's receiving, I have little doubt that he will produce going forward at an elite rate. Let's take a look at what else went on around the league over the weekend.
On the most recent podcast, I talked about how the Stars were going to start riding Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn for big minutes with their depleted depth. I stated that it was only a matter of time until they broke out and despite the tough matchup against St. Louis, they were elite options in the Three Point Challenge. Well, I wish I went with my first thought because Seguin got there and then some while Benn reached it with an empty net point. Seguin finished with 4 assists, 4 SOG and +3 while Benn had 3 assists, 6 PIM, +4 and a shot. Obviously this doesn't come as a shock, both were top 10 players with ease the last two seasons and should continue to say so barring health issues. Look for them to carry the Stars in the next week or so as they have 6 games in 9 nights starting Saturday. Next week, they get Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. As someone who has both of those guys in multiple leagues, I'm licking my lips thinking about what they can do. Let's take a look at what else happened the last two nights around the league.
For the first time since 2007-08, the Chicago Blackhawks were quite mediocre. Yes, they finished with 103 points but they had a negative goal differential at even strength. That's simply not going to get it done and at this point, the Blackhawks are out of the first tier of teams in the NHL. It sounds crazy to say with the stars they have but man, the roster is incredibly thin after the top few guys. For fantasy, there's not much in terms of value plays but if you're willing to spend a high pick, you'll have your choice of some studs. Let's take a look at what Chicago is working with:
The Winnipeg Jets looked to be turning a corner in 2014-15 when they made the playoffs for the first time since moving from Atlanta. However, their goaltending fell apart and injuries piled up last season causing the Jets to struggle mightily, consequently trade their captain and bottom out. Luckily for them, they moved up in the lottery to the second pick to give them an absolutely loaded top 6. The Central Division will be a bloodbath but I expect the Jets to bounce back and fight to return to the playoffs. They have a handful of players I'm extremely high on so let's take a look at what they're working with: