With almost the entire league in action on Monday, we were hoping for some entertaining hockey. We got that and then some. We had the Sabres come back from 2-0 down with an ECHL goalie who hasn't played any game in over a year to beat the Islanders. Colorado came back from two down in the third twice to beat the Sharks. Montreal scored in the last minute of the game before winning in OT against the Leafs. The Wild were down 2 with 10 minutes, then tied the game with the goalie pulled and won in regulation against Vegas. Even for teams that didn't finish them off, the Stars came back from two down in the third to get a point. Also, Columbus came back from 3-0 down in the third to tie it and lose in overtime. Nights like Monday are a reminder of why hockey is incredible during the regular season. Let's take a look at what happened in each game on Monday night:
With only a couple weeks left in the season, it's time to lock down and make that final push. In this post, I'm going to highlight some notable things around the NHL and their fantasy impact, along with looking at the schedule for the week ahead and what we can do with that. Let's get to it!
Alex Nedeljkovic is only three games away from becoming a restricted free agent instead of an unrestricted free agent. It's easier for Carolina to do with Petr Mrazek banged up (he could play if necessary, but Carolina won't push him), so expect Nedeljkovic to start at least three times down the stretch. He's still available in almost 70% of leagues which I do not understand. I would add him immediately if he's available.
As President of the “Mark Stone Fan Club” going back to 2014, it’s great to see him playing at an all-world level. Stone had two assists with two shots on Friday before adding a goal and an assist with three shots on Sunday, both against the Ducks. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Mika Zibanejad was looking like the biggest bust of this season near the halfway point. Well, it's changing pretty quickly and amazingly, it wasn't the Sabres that turned it around. Last week, Zibanejad had three goals and three assists against the Flyers. It was so fun that he did it again eight days later! On Thursday, Zibanejad doubled down with his second natural hat trick and six point game in rapid succession against Philadelphia in the 8-3 win. That brings him up to 10+16 in 32 games, not exactly lighting the world on fire, but within reason. He's still over three shots per game, so while a repeat top 20 season is out of play, a top 50 season is still within reason. As I said at the time, Zibanejad is prone to huge hot streaks, and I think 17 points in 7 games qualifies. 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:
It’s not too often that a goalie gives up more goals than he makes saves, especially playing a full period. Hunter Miska, come on down! The good news for Colorado is they have a ton of firepower and they still managed to win by four goals after allowing four in the first. Please, blog, may I have some more?
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:
In their last two games, Florida has put a whopping 94 shots on goal. Incredibly, they only scored two goals. Anton Khudobin was robbed off a win on Monday stopping 49 of 51 shots so he decided to one up that performance on Wednesday. Khudobin posted a 43 save shutout to get the Stars back on track. I was high on Khudobin going into the season because of the absence of Bishop. The one problem for Khudobin is with the Stars being delayed for COVID, that's more games later in the schedule when Bishop should be back. Regardless, Khudobin should be the workhorse for at least one more month and should be a #1 goalie in the meantime. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
And now we reached the meat of the rankings. Forwards generally make up half of your roster, if not more, and they dominate the beginning of drafts. For today, I’ll have around 50 guys separated into tiers and will have more on Thursday. Please, blog, may I have some more?
It's hard to believe that Filip Forsberg recently had a 20 game goalless streak. He had his best game in months on Tuesday scoring two goals and an assist with five shots and two PIM. The thing that excites me most is that Forsberg played 20 minutes in this game. Forsberg is clearly the best forward on the team and it has been infuriating that his minutes have been down, slump or not. The playoff schedule for the Predators is excellent (you can read up on that here) giving Forsberg the opportunity to be a top 20 player down the stretch. I don't expect that, but he has that kind of upside. The Predators are making their playoff push and it's the time for Forsberg to get his season back on track. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights: