As someone who is a big believer in Jason Robertson and had him ranked 32nd overall, a bit ahead of consensus, I did not see this coming. Robertson scored a hat trick on Thursday versus the Ducks, bringing him to 22+17 in 24 games. Is that good? Then you see Robertson is averaging under 18 minutes per game and realize that given a normal superstar workload, it would be even better! He's been absolutely incredible to this point and if the season ended today, he'd be the Hart Trophy winner. Is it going to last like this? Probably not. But he's clearly a top 10 player at this point, which is insane considering that two seasons ago, he was a second round pick rookie. Whatever scout led Dallas to picking Robertson deserves all of the money. Let's see 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:
Remember when the Devils fans were chanting "Fire Lindy" two games into the season? My, how the tides have turned. The Devils have won 13 of 14 since, including 10 in a row. The most recent win was 5-1 against the Canadiens on Tuesday with their star players leading the way. Jack Hughes scored twice on seven shots and added an assist in the victory. Hughes now has multiple points in six of his last ten games, and is pushing 4.5 shots on goal per game. Even with a lack of penalty minutes, that's enough to be the top 20 player that I ranked him as before the season. The future is incredibly bright in New Jersey with two elite defensemen prospects coming to support the excellent foundation in place. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
With Tyler Bertuzzi injured and Jakub Vrana in the league's assistance program (best wishes to him), the Red Wings needed somebody to step up on left winger. Dominik Kubalik, come on down! Kubalik wasn't given a qualifying offer by the Blackhawks after last season, leaving him to sign in Detroit as a free agent. The first two weeks couldn't have gone better, especially the last weekend. Kubalik had a goal and an assist with 4 shots against the Blackhawks on Friday, before having a goal and two assists with six shots against the Ducks on Sunday. With eight points in his last four games, Kubalik is in must-own territory right now. There's no guarantee it lasts, but he's shown he can thrive next to Larkin and Kubalik has been a 30 goal scorer before, so we know he has the upside. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
A lot of the big names that were expected to move at the trade deadline happened over the weekend. That means that I'm going to cover all of them in this post, while I'll cover the rest in a post for Tuesday morning. I'll mention every trade that happened over the last few days, however big or small, and comment on its fantasy impact. Let's get to it!
Last season couldn't have been more of a disaster for Patrik Laine. Is he as good as people expected when he .came out of the draft in regards to being an overall player? Probably not. As an offensive player? He's still incredible. Laine had two goals and an assist with five shots on Tuesday, and that doesn't even count his empty net attempt in the last five seconds that somehow hit both posts and went out. Laine now has 12+12 in 25 games this season. Does 40+40 seem good to you because it does to me? Laine is an incredibly gifted offensive player who has the upside to determine fantasy leagues. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
The new goalie for the Bruins is the one that's been in for the last decade. Tuukka Rask made his season debut on Thursday, saving 25 of 27 shots in the 3-2 win over the Flyers. Somehow Rask is available in over 65% of leagues still, so if you're in one of them, grab him immediately. He didn't receive a ton of volume even in his prime, but I'd expect him to get 50-60% of the starts going forward which is definitely worth holding. Linus Ullmark should receive the rest of the starts. That's still enough for me to hold him as they should be quality starts now that Boston has turned the corner. Jeremy Swayman was sent to the AHL since he doesn't have to clear waivers, so he can be cut in all formats. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Toronto being up 5-1 on Ottawa with a minute to go in the second period wasn't exactly surprising. The final result? Well, I hope you didn't turn the game off. The Senators, arguably the worst team in the league, stormed back to win 6-5 in OT. Evgenii Dadonov tied the game with 2 minutes left before scoring the overtime winner. That gives Dadonov five goals in his last five games after a sluggish start in Ottawa. Is it going to be as good as it was in Florida? Certainly not. However, Dadonov is starting to build value again to the point where he's a solid streamer. I wouldn't be surprised to see the minutes go up even higher to the point where he's an elite streamer. Let's take a look at what else happened on Monday:
First off, sorry for the delay in getting a post up following the trade deadline. I'm in Vegas to see the Sabres Friday night and with the snow in Buffalo, traveling issues came up cutting into my time to write. Anyways, this seems like a good point to highlight certain things around the league that are having an impact in fantasy hockey. Next week, I'm going to start with my playoff manifesto so everyone in head to head leagues can plan ahead in regards to streaming and bottom end holds. Let's get to it!
James Neal opened the season on an absolute tear, a stretch that included a four goal game. He fell off dramatically over the last two months, but he had another massive game on Tuesday. Neal had a hat trick and an assist in the 7-5 win over the Rangers. So should we care? I mean, the Rangers are a disaster defensively. And the answer is... yes and no. What great advice! It all comes down to your team needs. Neal has been excellent on the power play and should continue to do so on Edmonton's first unit. The goals are going to keep coming in. On the other hand, he's -23 and has only eight assists on the season. If you're desperate for goals and power play points, or are in a league with extra categories that include PPG, then there's a case to hold Neal. Otherwise, I would prefer to stream him so he doesn't tank my plus-minus while also giving less assists than any other fantasy relevant player. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last three nights:
Apparently all the free agents got together and decided that today was the day to sign a deal. Also, everyone had to sign with a central division team. Or demand a trade to a central division team. If I'm a fan of the Wings, Blue Jackets or any other team lucky enough to have escaped the west, I'm counting my lucky starts tonight because baby, the central is loaded. Normally I’m used to hearing news about a big contract here, a big name move there, but since the draft there have been tons of moves that sent ripples through the fantasy hockey world like so many pebbles being tossed into a still pond. Zen! Anyway, it goes without saying then (though I’ll say it) that y’all need to know who went where and for what and why. When? Yesterday! Today? Who’s on first?! The biggest non-contract move so far has to be Jason Spezza and Ludwig Karlsson going to Dallas for Alex Chaisson, Nick Paul, Alex Guptill, a 2015 second round pick and a bag o’ pucks. Couple that with Ales Hemsky inking a 3-year, $12M deal with the Stars today and they might have found a recipe for success in the west! When I initially found out about this deal I saw it as “Spezza/Karlsson traded to Dallas” and my damn jaw dropped. Come to find out its some guy named Ludwig. Really? People are actually named Ludwig? That’s too bad. Anyway, these moves should make the Stars an offensive powerhouse and I’d say Spezza (if he can stay healthy) and Hemsky (if he can stay healthy) get a decent boost in value for next season. Kari Lehtonen (if he can stay healthy) might be a goalie to target in 2015 now, too. I’m sensing a theme here. Huh, anyway, here are the rest of the big moves that matter so far this offseason…