It's Christmas in February! I'm going to hit on all of the trades that I haven't discussed to this point and then update this post with every trade that takes place today. These are all my instant thoughts from both a real life and fantasy perspective. Let's get right to it!
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:
Jake Guentzel was on an absolute tear before he suffered a concussion after a hit from Rasmus Ristolainen. He was owned by most of Razzball Nation as we got on top of it before Guentzel broke out. Thankfully, Guentzel recovered quickly and returned on Friday night. He scored a goal on three shots in his return and then repeated that performance on Sunday. The Penguins have a decent schedule this week with four games, including a back to back on Saturday and Sunday to close the regular season. You can wait a day since the Pens don't play tonight but I'd look to grab Guentzel again if you cut him when he went down. The minutes and role are right back to where they were pre-concussion so I'm looking for Guentzel to finish the season strong before he contributes to a potential playoff run for Pittsburgh. Here's what else happened on the penultimate weekend of the season:
Through November, Justin Williams had 4 points in 23 games. For years, he has been a bottom end hold in standard 12 man leagues but that time came to a screeching halt. Until it started again. Williams had himself a day on Tuesday night totaling a goal, two assists, two shots and two PIM. That brings Williams to 15 points in 16 games since the beginning of December. With eight points in his previous five games, Williams must be picked up and held throughout this hot streak, especially since he contributes in penalty minutes and shots on goal in a fairly big way. Nothing like a big resurgence from a 35 year old. Let's take a look at what else happened around the league the last two nights:
In NHL history, two teams with a 12+ game winning streak have never played each other. That will change on Saturday as the Blue Jackets, winners of 14 straight, go to Minnesota to take on the Wild and their 12 game win streak. Both teams extended their streaks on Thursday in a different manner than usual. Their goalies have been the top 2 goalies to this point and it's not even close but last night, they scored 5 and 6 goals respectively. Their captains led the way with Nick Foligno scoring a goal and two assists with five shots while Mikko Koivu had two assists with a shot finishing +3. Foligno has been a top 10 forward this season bouncing back from a dreadful 2015-16 while Koivu has a solid 23 points and is +18. They're in different tiers at the moment but regardless they both need to be in your lineups night in and night out. I can't wait to watch these teams battle it out on Saturday. Here's what else happened around the league the last two nights:
Evander Kane has been a polarizing player for years. The talent is noticeable on a regular basis but inconsistency and off-ice issues have plagued him during his career. Kane started off the season slowly but right now, he's on quite the hot streak. In Tuesday's game against the Red Wings, Kane scored two goals on four shots and added a fight for good measure. That gives Kane 7 goals and an assist in the last 9 games with elite shots and strong PIM. Given that he's an elite option in PIM and SOG with the potential for strong goals, I ranked Kane in my top 100 going into the season because the player raters always love him for his contributions across all categories. We're starting to see why yet Kane is still available in 59% of leagues. He's carrying the third line for the Sabres right now and the change in role has been a good thing for him. It allows him to have the puck on his stick more often and his linemates do a great job cycling the puck. I'd definitely own him in all 12'ers and I have been rolling him in some 10 man leagues as well. Here's what else happened around the league on Tuesday night:
The first few weeks of the season, Connor Hellebuyck was a polarizing figure in the fantasy hockey world. He made the Jets roster and was clearly the best goalie but Hellboy was struggling and splitting starts. Plenty of people were asking me if he was worth rostering and justifiably so. Well, things no longer look to be a mixed bag after the last week of games. Hellebuyck has won 4 straight starts allowing no more than 2 goals in a game. His best performance came last night recording a 27 save shutout at home against the Blackhawks. Hellebuyck is getting massive offensive support right now and the defense is gradually improving in front of him. At the end of the year, I believe he will finish as a top end #2 goaltender with the expectation that he will be a #1 in 2017-18 and beyond. Here's what else I saw around the league in a very busy Tuesday night slate.
On the most recent podcast, I talked about how the Stars were going to start riding Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn for big minutes with their depleted depth. I stated that it was only a matter of time until they broke out and despite the tough matchup against St. Louis, they were elite options in the Three Point Challenge. Well, I wish I went with my first thought because Seguin got there and then some while Benn reached it with an empty net point. Seguin finished with 4 assists, 4 SOG and +3 while Benn had 3 assists, 6 PIM, +4 and a shot. Obviously this doesn't come as a shock, both were top 10 players with ease the last two seasons and should continue to say so barring health issues. Look for them to carry the Stars in the next week or so as they have 6 games in 9 nights starting Saturday. Next week, they get Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. As someone who has both of those guys in multiple leagues, I'm licking my lips thinking about what they can do. Let's take a look at what else happened the last two nights around the league.
Hey guys! My top 50 rankings have taken a little longer than expected, it's getting pretty lengthy, so I will finish them up today and post them first thing on Tuesday morning. For now, I'll do the next team in my season preview series, the New York Rangers. This works out well because they won the Jimmy Vesey sweepstakes over the weekend. More on what that entails later. The Rangers are in a tough position after years of being a viable contender. They were absolutely demolished by the Penguins in the first round of the playoffs. Jeff Gorton made one trade to switch the core and with the addition of Vesey, they have a plethora of forwards with fantasy value. Defensemen, not so much, but the King stay the King. Here's a look at the Rangers roster and top 5 prospects:
Oh no. Your D-men are going down left and right and you need replacements! Or your keeper league team is going down and it’s time to target the stars of the future! Your proven veteran has stopped scoring! Who you gonna call? On the week of his call-up back in November, I mentioned that Shayne Gostisbehere might be a nice addition to your squad. That was back when Philly was terrible and there was no light at the end of the tunnel. Now that they are planted firmly in mediocre territory, he and a few others are easily worth considering from a fantasy perspective. What’s rare about Gostisbehere - aside from the tricky name and the fact that I hear Unchained Melody in my head whenever I see his name - is that here we have a smallish, young defenseman who is basically expected to be a power play specialist, but he’s a +5 overall while scoring half of his points with the man advantage. (For the uninitiated, you don’t get a plus for being on the ice for a PP goal). He’s not exactly unheard of, but ownership is surprisingly still under 50% in Yahoo leagues. Run, don’t walk, for the offensive defenseman who can actually play decently in his own end.