He won’t win the Hart, but Anze Kopitar’s season should not go unnoticed. He had his best game of the season scoring four goals on seven shots in the 7-1 win over the Avalanche. That brings Kopitar to 33 goals and 53 assists in 75 games. That’s a new career high in assists and points, and goals may not be too far behind. Not so bad for a guy people were worried about after last season’s 52 points. He’ll never be in the top tier of fantasy players because of the lack of PIM and average shot rate, but Kopitar has reestablished himself as a fringe top 25 guy. Here’s to hoping he keeps it rolling over the last two weeks. Let’s take a look at what else happened on Thursday night:Please, blog, may I have some more?
To say James van Riemsdyk had a decent two games would be an understatement. The Charlie Conway look-alike scored five goals over the last two nights, scoring a hat trick against the Stars on eight shots before scoring two goals and an assist against the Sabres. That brings JVR to 31 goals and 16 assists on the season with just under three shots per game. Obviously he’s owned in virtually all leagues at this point, but I wanted to start off with him because he doesn’t get the credit he deserves. He’s played at a 27+ goal pace for six straight seasons now and the two goals last night gave him a new career high. I’m not sure Toronto will be to keep the impending UFA past this season, but one thing is for certain: JVR is about to get paid handsomely. Look for him to maintain his value no matter where he ends up, meaning someone who is a top 75-100 player. Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:Please, blog, may I have some more?
As far as disappointments for this season go, Cam Atkinson is near the top of the list. After his breakout last season with 35+27, Atkinson has struggled mightily on the ice and with an injury. We’re finally seeing signs of Atkinson getting back to last season’s level. Atkinson scored a shorthanded goal and added two power play assists with five shots on goal in the Columbus win on Monday. That gives Atkinson 4+4 in his last 9 games with at least three shots on goal in each game during that span. The minutes are strong so that hasn’t been a problem. The issue has been that Columbus’ power play has been so bad that Atkinson had only 3 STP before this game (which he doubled in this one). Columbus has been better on the man advantage lately, and the arrival of Thomas Vanek should help them even more. Atkinson is still available in over 40% of leagues and in a 12’er, I’d grab him right now while he’s finding his groove again. Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Rick Nash, the vice president of The Round Face Hockey Club, was traded to the Bruins as they look to make a deep run this postseason. I’m going to have a live trade deadline post again this year updating all of the trades throughout tomorrow. I’m also going to be recording a podcast with Reid right around 3 pm tomorrow to give our thoughts on everything that happens. I have the feeling it’s going to be crazy. For Nash, I think he’s a solid speculative add if you need the shots. He played on Sunday against Buffalo on the second line, recording five shots on goal in 17:27. He’s over three shots per game on the season, the plus-minus should improve on Boston, and everyone can use goals on their team. I don’t think he’ll be a world beater, but with only 20 games left, it’s certainly possible that Nash gets hot with his shot volume. Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend: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?
I have to admit, I’ve always had a soft spot for Thomas Vanek. I saw him win the NCAA Championship as Minnesota’s best player as a freshman and fell in love with his offensive abilities before the Sabres drafted him 5th overall. Vanek was excellent for many years in Buffalo and while his game isn’t where it once was, he can still put up points at a fairly high level. Vancouver switched their lines recently with Vanek playing with Brock Boeser and Sam Gagner. They exploded against Chicago on Thursday with Vanek leading the way. In the 5-2 win over the Blackhawks, Vanek scored two goals and three assists with five shots and two PIM finishing +5. Vanek now has 10 points in his past 4 games giving him 12+16 in 38 games this year. The shot rate has been up over the past ten games (3 per) so I’d grab Vanek while he’s on fire, at least as a streamer. I’m sure his name will be discussed as a trade target again at this year’s deadline and unlike last year in Florida, I think Vanek will make a difference. Injuries really hurt Florida and Vanek was mostly relegated to 12 minutes on third line duty. We’ve seen in Detroit last season and Vancouver this year that Vanek is still capable of putting up points. Let’s take a look at what else happened Thursday night around the league: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?
Jake DeBrusk was the second of three consecutive first round picks by the Bruins in the 2015 draft. The other two players are still in the AHL developing but DeBrusk is starting to make his mark with the big squad. In the 7-2 beatdown of the Blue Jackets, DeBrusk scored a goal and two assists with four shots and two penalty minutes. He followed that up by scoring the only non-empty net goal against the Sabres on Tuesday. As you can see below, snipe city:
That brings DeBrusk up to 8 goals and 10 assists in 28 games with solid penalty minutes and a decent shot rate. The crazy thing is that he’s producing despite getting poor minutes (he’s averaging 14 per game on the season). DeBrusk has shown me plenty this season to improve his stock in dynasties. He looks like a lock to be a top six player going forward while having plenty of upside from there. In redrafts, I wouldn’t hold him right now, solely because of the lack of minutes. That said, DeBrusk is still a great streamer while he’s producing. Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights in the NHL:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Add another goalie to the list of guys who struggled in the opening month only to turn it around. Braden Holtby, the consensus #1 goaltender going into the season, showed us why this weekend with two big performances. Holtby saved 27 shots in Friday’s 4-1 win over the Penguins and followed it up with 29 saves in the 2-1 SO win over the Oilers. Just like that, his save percentage is back to its normal level. Sure, the goals against average is still a little high, but goals are up around the league and it’s not out of the realm of possibility it goes back down. With the massive win total as well, expect Holtby to get back to the #1 goalie by season’s end. Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:Please, blog, may I have some more?