It's Christmas in February! I'm going to hit on all of the trades that I haven't discussed to this point and then update this post with every trade that takes place today. These are all my instant thoughts from both a real life and fantasy perspective. Let's get right to it!
During last season, it looked like Eric Staal's career was on a steep decline. While he's still not close to the player he was in his prime, the 39 point season he had in 83 games in 2015-16 looks to be a thing of the past. Staal moved to Minnesota this offseason on a three year deal to center the first line and it's no surprise that Bruce Boudreau has helped revitalize his career. On Thursday night, Staal led the way for the Wild scoring a goal and two assists with six shots on goal being +3 in the Wild's 4-2 road win over the Penguins. That boosts Staal's totals to 5 goals and 6 assists in 12 games with almost 3 shots per game. He's shown an amazing ability to stay healthy throughout his career leading me to believe he has a pretty good chance to reach 60 points again. As the frequent readers know, I'm a big fan of the Wild's chances of success, at least from a regular season standpoint, and Staal is a big factor in that. For now, Staal should be considered a borderline top 100 player who should remain a clear hold for the entire season; I would not try to sell high on him. Let's take a look at what happened around the league the last two nights:
The Boston Bruins are a franchise in limbo. Last offseason, they made a bunch of questionable moves that were focused on the future; I'd argue they made them worse in the future but they certainly made them worse in the short term. On the other hand, their current core, especially the forwards, played at an extraordinary level to keep them in the playoff hunt. Unfortunately for them, they missed the playoffs on tiebreakers leaving the franchise in the worst position to be in; not a true contender but not bad enough to get the necessary talent for a brighter future. Not much has changed; they should fight for the playoffs again but they're far from being a threat in the East. That said, they have a lot of decent fantasy options along with some elite guys so let's take a look at how their roster is shaping up:
After his remarkable first half, it looked like Patrick Kane reaching 100 points was a formality. Then he struggled mightily in the second half, enough to the point where he needed 6 points in the last 5 games to get there. Kane got there with time to spare in style, scoring a goal and an assist with five shots on Friday and followed it up with three goals and an assist with four shots on Sunday. He's the overwhelming favorite for the Hart Trophy now and now has an outside shot of the Richard Trophy. As for where he's ranked for next season, I will probably have Kane ranked #3 or #4 overall. Despite the amazing year, Kane is more of the second half player where he was closer to a point per game than the first half monster. Here's what I saw over the weekend:
It's been quite a while since we've seen a shutout streak like the Blues are on. On Friday, Brian Elliott had one of the easiest shutouts of the season making 15 saves in the 4-0 win over the Canucks. The next day, Jake Allen recorded the fourth consecutive Blues shutout, stopping all 32 Capitals shots in the 4-0 win. Both have been outstanding this season and should be started every game the rest of the way. Get them in your lineup every time they start; the Blues will be highly motivated down the stretch to get home ice throughout the Western Conference Playoffs. Here's what else I saw around the league this weekend:
Today is the NHL trade deadline (more on that later!) but there’s a good chance that the biggest name that moves went yesterday. After being with Carolina since they drafted him in 2003, Eric Staal was traded away from his brother Jordan to join up with his brother Marc for the New York Rangers. Please, blog, may I have some more?
How good is Joe Thornton? The answer is pretty, pretty good <Larry David voice>. The future Hall of Famer is back in the top 10 in the league in scoring after a big night against the Blues on Monday. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Brad Marchand is really good at his job. He looks like a troll, plays like a troll by starting things while teetering on the edge of dirty and now, he’s trolling us all with his offensive prowess. Please, blog, may I have some more?
I've wrote a ton about Nikolaj Ehlers this season. At the beginning of the year, I thought he was must-own until Paul Maurice inexplicably dropped him into the bottom 6. A couple weeks ago, he was bumped into the top 6 and I said grab him again. Yesterday, I wrote about him at length here since I had him as my top streamer. I said that, "The minutes are up and getting a matchup with the Coyotes, who will be on the second of a back to back having just played an overtime game last night, is close to ideal. I think Ehlers should be owned in 12’ers right now but at the least, stream him tonight." And that's me quoting me doing what Grey does! Ehlers was amazing on Tuesday scoring a hat trick on four shots with two penalty minutes. He now has points in 4 straight and 8 points in his last 6 games. As I said before, he should have been owned in 12'ers already but he is still widely available so grab him right now! Here's what else I saw on a busy Tuesday night:
Marv: What a difference a week can make, I’m back! A little too many video games combined with a little too much sleep equals one quick week, but a good one. Video games, movies, hockey & complete laziness aside, with the New Year came an itch to shake things up in my hockey league. I might not have needed the players or the trade, but the act alone and the wheeling a dealing has brought me back to life. To my point, if you’re feeling a bit stretched or a little unmotivated around the halfway mark, throw some trades out there, see who’s biting, just don’t get bit, Ha!
Marv: I initially compiled most the players off this list around a week and a half ago. I’ve updated the information for most the players that required an update. Some might have been snatched up after great new year starts but there is still some value to be had. The only Sell I had I removed only because it broke my heart, Marian Gaborik. After a descent December I thought he was pulling out but has barely registered a blip in January and is now on the fourth line, the mighty have fallen.