We've reached the finals in almost all formats making this the best time of the year in fantasy hockey. That's if you're still in, of course. I will continue the weekly previews that I've been doing over the last few weeks to provide some strategy and planning ahead in regards to streaming. Again, this is meant to be a compliment to the Playoff Manifesto, not a replacement, so be sure to check that out as well here. Let's get to it!
It's been a bit since I posted a list of players that I would hold and stream from each NHL team, so this seems like the perfect time to do it. There were only ten games all week to this point, and now the action starts to get picked up. I'll go team by team giving some analysis on my list where necessary. Let's get to it! Anaheim Ducks Hold: Getzlaf, Rakell, Montour, Gibson Streamers: Lindholm, Silfverberg, Henrique, Sprong
I didn't expect to be writing about Adin Hill this year, but here we are. The Coyotes netminder stopped 25 of 26 shots in the 2-1 win over the Kings on Tuesday night. that means Hill has allowed 2 goals in his past 4 games. Antti Raanta is close to returning, but the 22 year old is showing some upside for dynasty leagues. If you're desperate for goaltending, I wouldn't mind streaming Hill if he starts Thursday against the Caps. The Coyotes are playing well lately and Hill looks to be a prime hot schmotato. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Am I shocked at how well the Jets are doing? No. Reid and I talked about the Jets' ceiling on the Central Division podcast and we said that second place is certainly within the realm of possibility (I guess we sold them a little short, first is in play). Long term readers know how much I love Connor Hellebuyck. The only reason I was scared off a bit for redrafts is that Kevin Cheveldayoff said that Steve Mason would be their starter to open the season. Well, Mason was lit up in his first game as a Jet and the rest is history. Hellebuyck continued his outstanding breakout season over the weekend, saving 30 of 31 shots in the 2-1 SO win over the Flames on Saturday, then a 29 save shutout in the 1-0 win against the Canucks on Sunday. Hellebuyck is currently the #2 goalie on the season, and while there's a chance he falls off a little bit (I'm certain he'll finish as a #1G), I think he's solidified himself as the #2 goalie in dynasty leagues. The Jets are going to be really good for a long time and Hellebuyck will be a big reason and also a beneficiary of the talent around him. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
There have been a few big games by individuals this season but Patrice Bergeron's on Saturday is the new leader for the best of the year. Bergeron scored four goals and added an assist with seven shots in the 7-1 win over the Hurricanes. Bergeron was the second player this year to score four goals after Alex Ovechkin. Per usual, Bergeron is crushing all of the categories. He's playing around a 40+35 pace while already having a +19 rating, solid PIM and pushing four shots per game. Bergeron is a slam dunk top 50 player for the rest of the season who should push towards the top 25. Again, the top line in Boston is as good as it gets and Bergeron is at the forefront of their success. That line just gave up their first goal against at even strength all season! Remarkable stuff. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
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:
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:
We have actual hockey to talk about! After Reid gets me to voice my displeasure with the USMNT for a couple minutes, we get to some teams who have had hot starts, notably the Vegas Golden Knights. After running down the list of surprises and disappointments, we zoom in and look at individual players who have stood out, positively or negatively, in the early going and how that's impacting our fantasy decisions going forward. We wrap things up with a preview of Thursday's games and bring back The Three Point Challenge! Be sure to make your picks in the comments section below. All of that and more on the latest edition of the Razzball Hockey Podcast!
The first home game for the Vegas Golden Knights couldn't have started any better. After an amazing pre-game ceremony, Vegas stormed out to four goals in the first period en route to winning 5-2 against the Coyotes. Here we are with Vegas sitting at 3-0. So do we have to change our expectations for the team? I'll talk about it extensively with Reid tomorrow but I still believe they'll be at the bottom of the league come April. That said, what an amazing start for a team in the wake of tragedy. For fantasy, I think there's three guys I would own right now in standard 12'ers: Marc-Andre Fleury, James Neal and Nate Schmidt. There is still some downside for all of them but in the moment, just enjoy the ride. I can't wait to be there next week to see a game in Vegas. Let's take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:
Giving up five goals to St. Louis in the opener wasn't extremely concerning for the Penguins. But ten goals to Chicago in game two? I believe that qualifies as a mess. Obviously I'm not going to panic in regards to the Pittsburgh season outlook; I'd actually try to trade for Matt Murray if their owner is panicking. We'll have to wait a few weeks to develop a bigger sample size, especially because this spot was perfect for the Blackhawks, but maybe they're better than I gave them credit for. Let's take a look at the eight games from Thursday night and see what developed: