Today, I’m going to look at all of the impactful offseason moves in the Western Conference. If you didn’t catch my post on the Eastern Conference, you can do that here. Please, blog, may I have some more?
In a game that was overshadowed by Provorov's refusal to wear the Pride jersey in warmups, Kevin Hayes continued his All-Star season with a hat trick against the Ducks. With his six shots, Hayes is approaching three shots per game, and playing at a 75 point pace, easily the best of his career. The Flyers have been much better over the last month, with Hayes being one of the focal points. He's erased his horrible plus-minus which is enough to make him a bottom end hold in all format. Let's take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:
It was great to see Aleksander Barkov back in the lineup on Thursday, and if you didn't get him back into your lineup off injured reserve, well, that one is going to hurt for a while. Barkov scored a hat trick in the first period against the Canadiens and added two assists in the 7-2 win over the Canadiens. It hasn't been Barkov's best season to this point, but I'm buying Barkov going forward to get back to being well over a point per game. Florida has dug itself quite a hole in the playoff race and I expect Maurice to really ride their top six even more. Barkov's shooting percentage is also much lower than his career sh% (10.3 vs 14.0) so look for some positive regression in the New Year for the Panthers captain. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Patrice Bergeron became the eighth active NHL'er to reach 1,000 career points on Monday, assisting on a Marchand goal in the 5-3 win over Tampa. The best defensive forward for the last decade, Bergeron has long since been a lock for the Hall of Fame, but being the 94th player to ever reach 1,000 points puts him in truly elite company. It sounds crazy to say that he's underrated, but I do feel like his career is underrated. He's never been a top five player in the league, but he was close for an extended period, his line was consistently one of the best in the league, and if you could pick any skater to be on the ice with one minute left up one to save the planet, he's the guy. Congrats to this hockey wizard. Let's see what else happened on Monday night:
We've reached the final week of the season with every team having 2-3 games left. Hopefully you're all still in contention in your leagues so these games matter to you. In this post, I'm going to take a look at each day to see how you can plan accordingly to maximize starts and stream the best players possible. Let's get to it!
Before this season, Tage Thompson was part of the punch line about how bad the Sabres were fleeced in the RoR trade. Amazingly, Thompson has come out of nowhere to play better than RoR has this season (although I'm sure the Blues are just fine with it, banners fly forever). Thompson was fantastic over the weekend, scoring a hat trick against the Avalanche before scoring a goal on four shots against the Blue Jackets on Sunday. That brings Thompson up to 20 goals and 18 assists in 47 games and over three shots per game. Thompson is right on the fringe although I lean towards grabbing him for now. Buffalo's next opponent? Montreal. Let me get some of that. Either way, Thompson's development is massive for the Sabres going forward. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Injuries are a part of the game, but always terrible to see. Unfortunately, a Razzball favorite went down on Monday night. Brendan Gallagher broke his thumb and is out multiple weeks. If you have an IR spot, definitely stash him, but if you don't, you can sadly let him go. So who gets the boost in Montreal? Jesperi Kotkaniemi moved to the wing and took Gallagher's spot which boosts him up to a solid streamer from a middling one. Eric Staal scored the overtime winner in his Canadiens debut and is now centering Toffoli and Drouin. He looked completely shot in Buffalo, but maybe the trade plus the easier division rejuvenate him. Let's see how he looks over the next couple games before we use him. I also really like what I've seen from Josh Anderson lately who is playing more minutes. The assists are brutal, but the goals and shots should be quite good. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
The gap between Brad Marchand and the rest of the league right now for fantasy hockey is incredible. Marchand scored five points on Monday, tallying two goals and three assists and a +4 rating. It's nothing new, but the first line in Boston has managed to find a way to get even better. Marchand is crushing every category with 10+18 in 15 games with a +13 rating, 28 PIM and 41 SOG. He's as good of a bet as any to finish as the #1 player in fantasy this season. Honestly, he'd be my pick as long as he avoids a lengthy suspension. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
On Monday, I wrote the following about James Neal: "As long as he’s on the first power play unit, Neal has a real chance to bounce back. I wouldn’t hold him yet, but he’s a solid streaming option." And that's me quoting me copying what Grey does! Well, I hope that you streamed him on Tuesday. Neal stayed on the first power play unit, and the time to hold him is now. Neal scored four goals on eight shots on Tuesday, playing almost 21 minutes, in the 5-2 win over the Islanders. Two of those goals came on the power play where it's clear Edmonton is using him as one of their primary shooters. Am I saying Neal is going to score 40 goals again? Definitely not. However, the upside is too high to leave him on the waiver wire. He's always had a quality shot rate and there's a chance of good penalty minutes on top of the goals. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
For those of you doing well in your head to head leagues, this is the most important post of the year. This is my annual playoff manifesto where I break down every team's schedule for the last four weeks of the season. I tell you who are the best teams and players to stream from, who you should look to trade for or away if your deadline hasn't passed, and it allows you to plan ahead with ease. For those who haven't read it in the past, the numbers in the parentheses are how many games the team plays in each of those weeks, with the last number being the last week in the season and preceding accordingly. This is going to be a massive post so let's get right to the 2019 Playoff Manifesto!
The trade deadline is rapidly approaching and we saw our first big move happen over the weekend. Nick Bjugstad and Jared McCann were traded to Pittsburgh for Derick Brassard, Riley Sheahan, and three draft picks. So what does this do to their values? Well, let's start with the easy ones. Sheahan is fantasy irrelevant as a fourth line center. McCann is currently playing as the third line center for Pittsburgh with Malkin down, having Pearson and Hornqvist on his wings. With no power play time, he's a bottom end streamer, but there is some upside here. Bjugstad is centering the second line, but even when Malkin comes back, the plan is for Kessel to be on his wing. I'd say this gives him a small boost to his value, but I wouldn't rush to own him. Bjugstad's situation in Florida was pretty good from a fantasy perspective. Brassard gets the biggest boost here, but to what level? Obviously he was a disaster in Pittsburgh since they acquired him. Florida is starting him on the wing with Trocheck and Hoffman. This is a huge upgrade for Brassard who becomes an elite streamer. However, this might only last for a while as I expect Florida to flip Brassard closer to the deadline. That means big minutes for now which is obviously great, but who knows where he gets moved. Maybe it's somewhere that would be good for his value (e.g. Winnipeg, who tried to get him last year before Pitt did), but it could also be somewhere like Colorado or Boston which wouldn't be great. In a deep league, I would grab Brassard immediately. In standard leagues, I'd use him tonight against the Blues and go from here. Here's some other observations I've made over the last few days:
One of my best calls in my four years of writing at Razzball was the breakout for Vincent Trocheck. His ability to hit all of the categories at a very strong rate was underrated by many. Sadly, it looks like he could be done for the season after a gruesome injury Monday night against the Senators. Best case scenario, it's going to be a few months. We don't have an update yet, but either way, you either have to put Trocheck on IR if you have the room or cut him. It's a tough loss for the Panthers who really ride their top six. It's unclear who is going to play 2C now. Perhaps Nick Bjugstad slides there or Jared McCann moves up. I think Bjugstad and Jonathan Huberdeau take a slight hit to their value without Trocheck, while the guys on the first line get a small boost. It wouldn't shock me to see those guys pushing 23 minutes a night on a regular basis. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights: