Things have taken a dramatic turn for the fourth playoff spot in the West division. With the Blues crumbling, Arizona has played its way into the fourth spot. They opened up a three point lead on Sunday night, almost exclusively because of Jakob Chychrun. Chychrun had the first hat trick of his career, tying the game late in the third before scoring the winner in overtime. That gives him twelve goals on the season pushing towards three shots per game and with elite penalty minutes. He's a solid #2 for this season, but what's the long term ceiling? Chychrun just turned 23 years old and this jump in shot rate does a lot for his long term value. In terms of dynasties, Chychrun has shown me enough this year to warrant a spot in the bottom of the top ten for defensemen, making him a #1D. He's a stud, plain and simple. Arizona has been a surprise offensively, and a lot of it has to do with their kingpin defenseman. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Sure, it's on the basis of playing two more games than Washington, but the Islanders in first place in late March is a truly remarkable feat. Yes, they did make the Conference Finals last season, but in this division, they were not expected to contend for first place. Goaltending is going a long way for their success, and their future is starting to become more of the present. Ilya Sorokin saved 36 of 37 shots in the 2-1 OT win over the Flyers on Monday night. That brings Sorokin to 8 wins in 11 games with a 1.97/.922 stat line. That's elite right off the bat for the rookie which has led Sorokin to starting four games over the past two weeks. Semyon Varlamov's numbers and Sorokin's are nearly identical and for now, Trotz seems content to split between the two of them. Long term, Sorokin is one of the best goalies for fantasy hockey, granted he's a 25 year old rookie. That said, he's playing enough right now that I would own Sorokin in all formats. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It's no surprise that the Sharks gave up five goals on Saturday. They've continually allowed a lot of goals and are arguably the best matchup you can hope your players are facing at the moment. It was the top line's turn for the Blues as they combined for eleven points. Ryan O'Reilly and David Perron each had a goal and three assists while Jordan Kyrou scored two goals and added an assist. Perron is now above a point per game and RoR is exactly at it. Kyrou cooled off after a hot start, but he's cemented himself as the third member of this line. The schedule gets pretty tough going forward for the Blues, but I still think I would hold Kyrou in all formats. The upside is through the roof and with the Blues in more of a battle for a playoff spot than they would have anticipated going into the season, I expect the top line to continue getting big minutes. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
The hype surrounding Kirill Kaprizov was building for a few years before he came to the NHL. Even with the lofty expectations on his shoulders, he's played at a level higher than anyone expected. On Friday, Kaprizov scored a hat trick on eight shots with two PIM and a +4 rating. He followed that up with another eight shots on Sunday, adding an assist and two penalty minutes. I wrote about a month ago that I expected Kaprizov's shot rate to take a big jump as the season progressed based on his shooting totals in the KHL. Well, sixteen shots in the past two games brings him over 2.5 per game, an average rate for a forward. Add in being just under a point per game and we can basically call the Calder race now. I'm not convinced that it's going to get better in the future as Kaprizov will be 24 by the time the regular season ends, but either way, he should establish himself around a 30+40 pace in a normal season with slight upside on both of those numbers. Kaprizov is definitely a top 50 dynasty asset, but I don't think he pushes the top 25 long term because the penalty minutes will be low and more importantly, I don't think he gets to be a 3.5-4 shot per game guy because he's too good of a playmaker for that. Either way, if you're lucky enough to have him, enjoy it because there's nothing fluky about his performance. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
We had a blockbuster happen on Saturday morning. Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic are headed to Columbus in exchange for Pierre-Luc Dubois and a third round pick. Three disgruntled players all get fresh starts and all should have a fantasy impact, albeit to differing degrees. Let's start with Dubois. He's going to start centering the second line, presumably with Ehlers and Stastny moving to the wing. I presume his minutes will come in around the 18 he was at last season which should be quite productive. The big question is whether or not he's on the first power play or if Stastny keeps that spot. We'll have to wait two weeks to find out as Dubois will have to quarantine for that long given Canadian rules right now, but there's a potential top 50 player in here. I really like the combination of Dubois with Ehlers.
There was very little hype about Jack Hughes going into the season despite being the first overall pick only one year ago. We're only three games into the season, but he's off to a tremendous start. Hughes had two goals and an assist in the 4-3 win over the Rangers on Tuesday. That gives Hughes six points in three games in the early going. I wrote after his first game that he should be owned everywhere. He's had the biggest chance in ownership since the beginning of the season, but he's still available in over 1/3 of leagues. If you've been asleep at the wheel and you're lucky enough that he's still available, go do so immediately, and then read the rest of the notes below! Let's take a look at what happened over the last two nights:
It's time to get rolling with my fantasy hockey rankings. Instead of starting with my top 10 and going from there, I'm going to be starting with goaltenders today, defensemen Tuesday, and then forwards and my top 200 by the end of the week. I will be ranking the guys in order, but I am putting more focus on tiers than the exact rankings of players. I will be writing in detail about guys that I aggressive with in my rankings, either because I like them a lot or also don't want anything to do with them. Let's get to it!
Another trade domino fell on Sunday as Blake Coleman was traded to Tampa Bay for a first round pick (Vancouver's conditional first from the Miller trade) and Nolan Foote. Coleman is in the midst of a breakout season with 21+10, 40 PIM and over three shots per game. So how much will this move help him? On one hand, going to Tampa Bay is good for any player. On the other hand, his ice time is surely going to decrease. While he won't play Monday, I'd still hold Coleman to see what develops. He's signed for only 1.85m for next season which I assume is a big factor in the price. This is a great return for New Jersey, as Foote should end up as a second line winger who is a goal scorer. He has an elite shot and knows how to use his big frame. For now, I assume Jesper Bratt moves onto the first line, but he's still only a middling streamer. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
James Neal opened the season on an absolute tear, a stretch that included a four goal game. He fell off dramatically over the last two months, but he had another massive game on Tuesday. Neal had a hat trick and an assist in the 7-5 win over the Rangers. So should we care? I mean, the Rangers are a disaster defensively. And the answer is... yes and no. What great advice! It all comes down to your team needs. Neal has been excellent on the power play and should continue to do so on Edmonton's first unit. The goals are going to keep coming in. On the other hand, he's -23 and has only eight assists on the season. If you're desperate for goals and power play points, or are in a league with extra categories that include PPG, then there's a case to hold Neal. Otherwise, I would prefer to stream him so he doesn't tank my plus-minus while also giving less assists than any other fantasy relevant player. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last three nights:
We're back with part two of this two part series. In today's post, I am going to talk about the rest of the league that I didn't talk about on Monday and hit on one or two things that are interesting for fantasy hockey. After today, I will be back to normal daily notes on Wednesday. Let's get to it! MONTREAL CANADIENS Montreal is falling apart at the moment having lost their last eight games. Carey Price has been a disaster with his season numbers below .900 sv% and his GAA above 3. It's to the point where I wouldn't be playing him every night. With the Islanders on the second of a back-to-back, I don't mind playing him tonight, but I definitely wouldn't play him against Colorado later in the week.