Hi, folks

I apologize for missing my streamer column this week. I’m a college admissions counselor and my weekends have been taken up with reading applications and watching the Olympics. I stumbled into some free time and need to solve a pressing problem on one of my own fantasy hockey teams, so join me as I explore the world of goalies before the fantasy playoffs.

As some of you know I only use one goalie, and stream when necessary. This strategy gets me an additional skater to play for 3-4 games a week, and prevents me from fretting about ratios and wins- I can focus on getting offensive categories and can roll the dice on my ratios (sv% and GAA). I drafted Braden Holtby for this role, but his last few starts have been absolutely terrible: 5, 4, 6, and 4 goals allowed in his last four starts. His GAA on the season is 2.95, nearly a full goal greater than last year and a full half goal above his career average.

Because the playoffs are coming, I need to figure out why this is happening. I’ve been content to let Holtby’s performance slip and slide, but now the heat is on to get decent performances- a championship is on the line. So, I’ve built a goalie-stats spreadsheet to try and figure out where I can gain an advantage and if need be, work a trade before the end of the weekend, or decide to ride out the storm.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

You don’t need me to tell you how good Evgeni Malkin is at hockey.  I’m still flabbergasted that he wasn’t one of the players in the NHL 100 because he’s clearly one of the best 100 players ever.  Certainly better than Toews or Keith.  I also wanted to use the word flabbergasted in a sentence.  Oh, yeah, so about that Malkin fella.  He scored his 12th career hat trick on Tuesday night as the Penguins kept rolling against the Sharks.  Malkin is well over a point per game, gives great penalty minutes, and the shot rate remains over three points per game.  As I always say about Malkin, just stay healthy!  As noted here, the playoff schedule is rough for the Pens, but Malkin should definitely help you get to that point.  Let’s take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ryan Getzlaf has been killing it for the Ducks since they were known as The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.  He’s been bald for that long too!  Getzlaf missed extensive time this year due to injury but he’s been great when in the lineup.  He had his best game of the season on Thursday dishing four assists and adding two shots in the 5-4 OT win over the Islanders.  To be honest, he wasn’t even the best player on his team for fantasy (more on that guy later), but Getzlaf’s fantasy impact is much greater.  Getzlaf now has 2+13 in only 12 games so far.  He played almost 25 minutes in this game which just goes to show you, everything is in place for Getzlaf to get back to being a top 50 player for the rest of the season.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Reid and I talked about Tristan Jarry extensively on last week’s podcast.  We said that he should be picked up immediately with Matt Murray out for at least a few weeks, mostly because the Penguins had a back-to-back against the hapless Sabres.  Well, Jarry delivered and then some in both games.  He started off with a 34 save shutout in Buffalo before allowing 1 goal on 33 shots in Pittsburgh on Saturday.  The schedule isn’t great this week with the Rangers, Islanders, and Maple Leafs on deck, but they’re all at home.  At the least, Jarry is a nice spec add to see how things go against better competition.  He’s still available in over 70% of leagues so go grab him now.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We’ve gone without daily notes for five days due to Razzball crashing for a short period of time.  The good news is that the problem is fixed and that we are backed!  I’m not going to go through every single game over the past five days because at this point, some of it would be outdated.  I’m going to go through each team in the league and write a little bit about each of them.  Let’s get right to it!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There were seven early games on Tuesday night, all of which hit the under.  That didn’t stop a few superstars from having a big night.  Among that select group was Vladimir Tarasenko, who scored a goal and two assists with seven shots in the 3-1 win over the Devils.  He came into the game with an upper body injury making him unclear for the game last night but that didn’t stop him from keeping up his excellent play.  Tarasenko has been a five category monster in the early going, scoring 8 goals and 11 assists through 16 games with a whopping +14 rating and over four shots per game.  He’s done actually what you hoped for using a late first round pick on him, or a second round pick if you were lucky enough that Tarasenko fell to you.  Let’s take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In an opening month where tons of goalies are struggling, Corey Crawford certainly is not.  Crawford continued his excellent play on Wednesday making 35 saves for a shutout against the Flyers.  Crawford sits with a sub 2.00 GAA and > .940 save percentage.  To quote Larry David, “pretty, pretty, pretty good.”  He’s going a long way in masking some of the problems that the Blackhawks have.  Regardless, we all knew Crawford was a #1 fantasy goalie but perhaps he plays his way into the upper tier?  To be honest, the Blackhawks probably need it.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:

Please, blog, may I have some more?