The Penguins have been on quite a tear lately, and it's not just their All-Stars. Over the weekend, Jake Guentzel destroyed the Ducks and Kings. In the Penguins comeback against the Ducks, Guentzel had a hat trick on seven shots with two penalty minutes, before scoring two more goals on six shots against the Kings. That brings Guentzel to 23 goals, which is already a career high. The shot rate has taken a big jump as well, although we can't expect him to shoot 19% all season. Regardless, Guentzel has settled into being a top 100 player who is a clear hold in all formats. As long as he continues to play with Crosby, things will be just fine. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
In the game of the night, a stealth Hart Trophy candidate led his team to glory. Johnny Gaudreau scored a hat trick on four shots in the 4-1 win in Winnipeg. Just like that, he's 5th in the NHL in scoring with by far the best shot rate of his career. Couple that with a career high shooting percentage and Johnny Hockey is well on his way to a career high in goals. I've generally been lower on Gaudreau than most, but this year he has proven me wrong. That line is among the best in hockey and Gaudreau is at the forefront. I don't expect him to slow down much in the second half making Gaudreau is a good bet to finish as a top 20 player in fantasy. Let's take a look at what else happened on Thursday night:
There wasn't a ton of goal scoring over the last two nights, but the most notable performance came from the reigning MVP. Taylor Hall won the game against the Penguins virtually by himself, scoring two goals and two assists with six shots in the 4-2 win. That brings Hall up to 5+14 in 16 games with over 3.5 shots per game. Can we expect a repeat of last season? That would be a stretch. Hall shot 14% last season while for the majority of the rest of his career, he's been in the 8-11% range. This year he's at 8.6, a little low but not an outlier. I would say 25-30 goals seems likely, but a new career high in assists (54) is certainly within range. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Mark Stone has been a favorite of Razzball Hockey (aka me) for a few years now. One of the most underrated players in hockey, Stone is an above average first liner, no doubt about it. Somebody is going to pay him a ton in the offseason as an unrestricted free agent and he'll be worth every penny. Stone had an incredible game on Tuesday scoring two goals on seven shots while adding in three assists as well. That brings him to 6+12 in 15 games. He's somehow available in 25% of leagues on ESPN, which is crazy. Stone should be owned everywhere, and while I've been clamoring for him to be traded so he's even better, it's become abundantly clear that he'll produce just fine in Ottawa this season. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Being the stand alone game on Thursday afternoon, I was watching the Jets-Panthers game in Finland closely. For the first half of the game, Patrik Laine looked awful. He was so bad that he didn't even get 4 minutes of ice time in the first period. Well, Laine ended up making the natives who came to watch him happy, as he ended up scoring a hat trick on seven shots. That matched his total from the first 12 games of the season. Obviously I wasn't panicking about Laine, but my hopes that his ice time would take a nice jump this season isn't looking promising. There's still plenty of time, and I wouldn't be surprised if Laine goes on a run where he scored 9 goals in 10 games. His floor is just a bit lower than I hoped because the Jets are so good that Maurice doesn't have to give him big minutes. I said he would score 50 in the preseason, and the shot rate has jumped to the point where it's possible if he can get his time on ice back up. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It looks like we could be seeing the Timo Meier breakout right before our eyes. The former top ten pick is really coming into his own this season as DeBoer has given him a top six role. Meier scored a goal on Friday because totaling two goals and an assist with four shots on Sunday. That brings Meier to eight goals and four assists in 11 games with over three shots per game. It's pretty clear at this point: Meier is a must-own in all formats right now. He's still available in over one third of leagues, so if you're fortunate enough to be in one of those, go grab him now. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Phil Housley's shakeup of the lines last Saturday has worked extremely well. The Sabres have won three straight and carried the play in all three of those games. One of those moves was putting Jason Pominville on the first line and he's delivered and then some. Pominville scored two goals on five shots on Thursday, giving him 3+3 in his last three games. Now, I'm not saying he's going to be a hold all year, it's 2018, not 2008. However, he's a hot schmotato right now, and first line plus first power play time is nothing to be ignored. If you need a streamer on Saturday, Pominville is a great option, and if the heater continues, use him next week. The Sabres schedule is pretty soft over the next two weeks. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
What's the worst spot for a goaltender to start right now? Probably against Toronto on the road. Well, Matt Murray had that exact spot on Thursday, and did the exact opposite of what most expected. In a game where Toronto's expected goal total was pushing 4, Murray stopped all 38 shots he faced, shutting out the powerhouse Maple Leafs 3-0. Murray's upside is undeniable; it's just a matter of keeping him on the ice and the defense in front of him not being a total mess. For now, expect the Pens to give him the vast majority of the starts, meaning you can safely cut Casey DeSmith. The Penguins schedule is fairly soft over the next couple of weeks, so feel safe rolling Murray. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Hey guys! Sven here with our stop in New Jersey for 31 in 31. Over the next month, I will be taking a look at each team’s players to watch out for going into the 2018-19 fantasy hockey season: The 31 in 31 daily segment. This analysis features everything from surefire studs, to sleepers, to prospects that may make an appearance at some point this season. Please let me know if you guys enjoy this type of material! Reminder that the stat totals are from last season.
Lackeydrinksonme here, buying the big Texan some more drinks. This is my third in a series of fantasy hockey skater rankings. As I mentioned, I use 17-18 stats including points per game, points/TOI, Wins Above Replacement, Expected Goals and Actual Goals, and Offensive Point Shares, among others. I also use the eye test, and I try to consider what team a player is on, their expected linemates, and where they are in their careers. I also try to include my rationale, and for most players will offer a prediction on year end points. Like Viz indicated, once you get past the first few names there can be very little separation between certain players, and this obviously isn’t meant to be a comprehensive or be-all end-all ranking. Rather, it’s to give you another perspective on where players are being valued, and might reinforce an idea you have about a skater or surprise you with some analysis. I’ll gladly take questions in the comment section.