Hey guys. I'll be recording with Reid later today and I already have talked to Matt as well so look for a podcast to drop Wednesday morning. For now, I'm going to walk through, pick by pick, my thought process during my first RCL. I was "lucky" enough to pick 1st, which will makes things easier for this exercise since I can talk about two picks at once. To make it easier to follow along, the draft recap can be found here. Also, there's still over one week under the season starts so please create or join a league here. Let's get 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!
Last season, the Nashville Predators won a playoff series for the first time since 2012 beating the division champion Ducks before losing to the Sharks in 7 games. The first blockbuster trade for Ryan Johansen gave the Preds a bonafide #1 center while still maintaining a strong defensive core. Then in the offseason, David Piole pulled off one of the most lopsided trades ever acquiring P.K. Subban for Shea Weber. Now, the Predators are absolutely loaded and if Pekka Rinne has one of his good years, they're among the favorites to win the Cup. Let's take a look at what Peter Laviolette has to work with:
At this point, it's about time we recognize that Artemi Panarin isn't just riding Patrick Kane's coattails. On Wednesday, the rookie vaulted himself into a tie for 5th in the league in points, scoring a hat trick to lead the Blackhawks to a 5-3 victory against the Rangers. It was a 3-3 game with 3 minutes left until Panarin scored to take the lead and then he sealed it with an empty netter. He now has 22 goals and 35 assists with solid numbers in the other categories. As long as voters don't punish him for being 24 years old, Panarin should run away with the Calder. He's gone from a late round flier this year to a slam dunk top 50 asset going forward that's probably closer to the top 25 than 50. Here's what else I saw around the league the last two nights:
Before Tuesday night, in the past 25 Coyotes games, Max Domi had scored in exactly one game, a meeting with the Sabres on December 4th where he scored twice. I had a question in the comments in my Monday article about whether Domi was still worth holding in 12'ers and justifiably so. Well, Domi showed his upside and why he should be held in fantasy leagues scoring a hat trick on five shots in the 4-3 overtime win against the Oilers. With this one game, he's back on a 60 point pace ( ~25+35) and should be owned everywhere. In dynasty leagues, he's going to pay massive dividends going forward as the Coyotes are loaded with young talent and have a lot more coming led by Dylan Strome. Here's what else I saw the last two nights around the league:
Going into Monday's game, Braden Holtby was 14-0-1 with a 1.85 GAA and .940 sv% in his last 16 starts. Naturally, he found a way to even improve on those on Monday as he stopped all 31 shots he faced in the 2-0 win over the Sabres, including an incredible point blank stop on Evander Kane to maintain the shutout in the final minute. At this point, he's running away with the Vezina Trophy and the only thing that will stop him from winning it is injury or himself. He's the clear cut #1 fantasy goalie and will have a shot at finishing as the #1 player in the player rater based on RCL categories. Here's what else I saw in last night's games:
Jack Eichel's return to Boston couldn't have gone any better. The 19 year old wunderkind scored two goals and two assists with three shots in the 6-3 win over the Bruins Saturday night. While he's done well by rookie standards, the expectations were so high that 20 points (11+9) is disappointing at this stage. However, the return of Tyler Ennis (assist and two shots) has brought some life back into Eichel's game. Expect Eichel to start picking up the pace push a 30+25 season come the end of the year. Here's what else I saw the last two nights around the league:
Last year, Filip Forsberg was one of the biggest breakouts of the NHL season. I had him ranked in the top 50 preseason and was a disappointment so far this year. Signs of a return to last year's dominance have been seen in the last few games and it finally happened Tuesday night, scoring two goals on eight shots and adding an assist in the 5-2 win over Arizona. He's up to 24 shots in the last 5 games which is a good sign that the goals are coming. It may be too late after Tuesday but with 5 goals in 24 games, perhaps his owner is fed up with him and you can try to add him in a trade. Here's what else I saw on a busy Tuesday night: