Hey everyone! We are only two days away from the season starting and the preseason is in the books. Today, I'm going to take a quick look at all 30 teams in regards to lines, injuries and surprise players who may make the team. Players officially have to go down by Tuesday so there will be a little guess work on my part for the last couple guys to make the roster but at least for standard leagues, nearly everything is clear at this point. Let's get right to it!
The story of the weekend around the league was the goaltending performances. There were quite a few duds and a bunch of outstanding starts, including 3 shutouts Friday, 4 shutouts Saturday and one more on Sunday. The best of the bunch was a 38 save shutout by Fredrik Andersen in the 4-0 win against the Bruins on Friday. It's rare for the Ducks to be outshot but they buried their chances and were continually bailed out by Andersen. We all know that Andersen is very good at this point so the most telling thing was that in their next game, John Gibson received the start despite Andersen coming off a shutout. Bruce Boudreau is giving both of his goalies plenty of action and seemingly has a set schedule so you have to pay attention every day and start whoever gets the nod. Here's what else I saw around the league this weekend, starting with Friday's games:
Everyone knew that Shayne Gostisbehere wasn't going to get a point in every game like he was when he was first called up. He's an amazing offensive talent but everyone goes through rough patches, especially 22 year olds. Ghost broke his recent slump in a big way scoring twice on three shots to lead the Flyers to a 4-2 win over the Lightning snapping their nine game winning streak. Shockingly, the Flyers are only two points out of the playoffs right now and they can thank Ghost and the first line for carrying them. The shots are great, the power play points are elite and so are the goals. Where will Gostisbehere rank among defensemen for next season? It's a very tough question to answer at this point. More than likely it's in the top 20 which is outstanding for somebody who was in the AHL to start the season. Here's what else I saw on Monday night around the league:
If you've been following along with me all year, or at least the last month, you know how much I like Mark Scheifele. The 22 year old was having an excellent start to the year until an injury sidelined him for 11 games. He came back and started well only to take off when he moved up to the first line in the wake of Bryan Little's injury. Scheifele is in the midst of his best stretch to date. After his two goal performance on Thursday, Scheifele topped it with his first career hat trick on four shots in the 4-2 win over Montreal on Saturday. He then scored a goal on five shots in the 2-1 defeat against the Oilers. Scheifele now has 21 goals and 20 assists in 54 games with an excellent plus-minus, solid PIM and a near-elite shot rate. Scheifele is conservatively a top 50 player for the rest of this season and going forward. As I've said before, I want him on all of my teams next year. Here's what else I saw around the league this weekend:
On Wednesday night here, I recommended Jamie McGinn as a streamer in his first game as a Duck, saying "early indications are that he’s going to play with Rickard Rakell and Corey Perry tonight. I like his chances to get a point if that’s the case." Well McGinn on both Wednesday on Thursday. On Wednesday, McGinn scored a goal on four shots against the Canadiens. He came back on Thursday scoring a goal and an assist with two shots against the Coyotes. This is the best opportunity that McGinn has had in his career so it's nice to see him produce right off the bat. This should help him keep this role putting him right on the fringe of 12'ers with how well the Ducks are playing. At the least, he's a top end streamer from this point moving forward. Here's what else I saw around the league the last two nights: