What's the worst spot for a goaltender to start right now? Probably against Toronto on the road. Well, Matt Murray had that exact spot on Thursday, and did the exact opposite of what most expected. In a game where Toronto's expected goal total was pushing 4, Murray stopped all 38 shots he faced, shutting out the powerhouse Maple Leafs 3-0. Murray's upside is undeniable; it's just a matter of keeping him on the ice and the defense in front of him not being a total mess. For now, expect the Pens to give him the vast majority of the starts, meaning you can safely cut Casey DeSmith. The Penguins schedule is fairly soft over the next couple of weeks, so feel safe rolling Murray. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
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:
Hey everyone! Reid is back this time around running down the recent developments around the league. We start off with the Michael Stone trade and discuss if there's a comparable to what the Kings did with DeMarcus Cousins. From there, we rundown injuries, discuss Claude Julien going to Montreal, Florida's amazing road trip and the unlikelihood of Antoine Roussel's hat trick with Michael Haley's two point game. Afterwards, Reid and I help you out through this week by highlighting the teams with bye weeks and running down each team's holds and cuts. As always, we wrap things up with the Three Point Challenge. Be sure to make your picks below. All of that and more in the latest edition of the Razzball Hockey Podcast brought to you by SeatGeek, Draft and FanPicks!
Devan Dubnyk was a big focus of discussion for me in the preseason. I was the highest on him on FantasyPros by 20+ spots over everybody and 80 spots higher than ESPN's staff rankings. That's just insane for a player that I have ranked 41st to ESPN's 122. Anyways, I argued that he was a no-brainer bottom end #1 goalie with the upside for more. Dubs showed what he can do on Tuesday night with a 27 save shutout on the road in Boston. It's only been 5 starts for Dubnyk so far but after that game, he has a 2.01 GAA, .929 sv% and 3 wins. The Wild are playing excellent hockey in front of him right now and considering that he's a workhorse, I wouldn't be shocked if he pushes the top 5 for goaltending at the end of the season. I certainly hope so since I have him on literally every one of my teams! Here's a look at what else happened on Monday and Tuesday night around the NHL:
Hey everyone! We are only two days away from the season starting and the preseason is in the books. Today, I'm going to take a quick look at all 30 teams in regards to lines, injuries and surprise players who may make the team. Players officially have to go down by Tuesday so there will be a little guess work on my part for the last couple guys to make the roster but at least for standard leagues, nearly everything is clear at this point. Let's get right to it!
It's the final countdown! We've finally made it to the end of the top 250. We are to the point where you are taking guys with your last few picks so I'm going to limit the details here. Target categories that you need some reassurance in but be prepared to cut these guys if necessary. If you want to handcuff your goalie, this is also the time to do it. Let's finish this bad boy up!
After finished second last in the NHL in 2014-15 and getting jumped in the Connor McDavid - Jack Eichel sweepstakes by the Oilers, the Arizona Coyotes surprisingly stayed in the playoff race for the majority of last season. While they ended up dropping off quite a bit at the end of the season, there are plenty of bright spots for the organization going forward. On top of the young talent that was already on the roster, there are some new Desert Dogs ready to make their NHL debut. While I don't see them contending for the playoffs this time around, the future is incredibly bright with plenty of fantasy assets. Let's take a look at what they're working with:
Nobody has Benn better across the board this season than Stars captain Jamie Benn. See what I did there? Hilarious! I'll see myself out... Benn had another monster game on Thursday scoring two goals and an assist with six shots in the 4-3 win over the Lightning. That's his third multi-point game in the last four and gives him 36+44 in 72 games with 56 PIM and 229 shots. He's the number 3 skater on the season behind Patrick Kane and Alex Ovechkin but as of now, I would have Benn as my #2 player on the board going into next season behind Ovechkin. It's been an incredible year for Kane but I can't see him repeating it and Benn's extra PIM make up enough difference for me. Here's what else I saw around the league Thursday night:
He's always piled up the assists but Jason Spezza has never been known as a goal scorer. This year, it's a different story because if he wasn't injured, he'd have set a career high in goals. On Friday, Spezza scored a goal and an assist on four shots against the Blackhawks before Spezza scored for the fifth consecutive game Saturday, burying two goals on seven shots against the Blues. Spezza now has 28 goals and 25 assists in 64 games; his career high is 34 goals. Spezza is now a top 50 skater on the year and with the talent the Stars have, he should be around there next year. Here's what else I saw around the league this weekend:
Will using The Force actually make your team better than picking up Justin Schultz would? Well, no. Not exactly. But it will stop you from making blind spec pickups and dropping guys who might actually be helping you already in some way. In either case, I’m going with “D”, which by the way is the subject of this week’s column. Here’s all the “D” you can handle – if you want to improve your team NOW instead of waiting for the fallout of all the deadline deals – all neatly sorted into three categories: Scoring help, Keepers only, and Peripheral Vision (which help in those “other” stats).