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:
Monday night was a short slate, but there were a couple great games. Florida and Edmonton decided that defense (and goaltending) was optional leading to a 7-5 barn burner. Vincent Trocheck took over the game late, scoring three goals in the third period on six shots to record his first career hat trick. No matter what format you play, Trocheck has been incredible this season. By the end of the month, there's a great chance that Trocheck has set career highs in goals, assists, PPP (already did that) and SOG. The 24 year old is also a monster in faceoffs, hits, and blocks for a forward as well. For those of us in standard leagues, Trocheck looks like a top 35 player for this season and in the future, if not even better. He's basically Jamie Benn with a better shot rate and a lower floor for penalty minutes (obviously plus-minus can shift year-to-year). The only potential downside going forward is that Trocheck is already averaging 21:33 per game, which has nowhere to go but down. Either way, that's of no concern for me; Trocheck is still underrated in my eyes. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Gretzky, Lemieux, Forsberg, LaFontaine. That's the list of players in the last 30 seasons to have multiple five assist games in one season. Add Mathew Barzal to the list after Friday night. Barzal became the first rookie in 100 years to have three five point games in one season dishing five assists in the 7-6 win over the Red Wings. That puts Barzal over a point per game on the season and makes him the prohibitive favorite for the Calder (sorry Boeser). Our second podcast ever, which took place before last season, saw Reid and I hype up Barzal for dynasties. Regardless, he's blown away my expectations this season. Now, it's not all rosy for fantasy. The penalty minutes are low, but more importantly the shot rate is barely over two per game. On the other hand, he's 20 years old and is over a point per game, so it's hard to complain. There's a top 20 fantasy player in Barzal's future if he can get that shot rate up. Regardless, he'll be a borderline top 50 player next year solely for the points, and it's only going to get better from there. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
What the Vegas Golden Knights are doing in their inaugural season is nothing short of spectacular. The only thing I've ever seen like it is Leicester City fighting off relegation before winning the Premier League title the next season at 5000-1 shots. Sure, Vegas was nowhere near that big of a long shot, but to have the best record in the West is remarkable. On Tuesday, they beat their top competition, the Nashville Predators, 3-0. Marc-Andre Fleury led the way with a 28 save shutout. It's a shame Fleury was injured this season because he's been great in 9 of 10 starts. Fleury has won 8 of his 10 starts with a GAA below 2 and save percentage above .940. It's safe to say it will regress some but I'm well past the point of thinking Vegas is going to regress. This team is real and Fleury looks like he'll be a slam dunk #1 fantasy goalie for the rest of the season and going forward. Just a remarkable story that I can't get enough of. Let's take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:
Hey, everyone. Your extended-play streamer column is here. I hope your fantasy weeks went well, and that you maximized games played and put more skaters on the ice than your opponent. I’m a big believer in accountability, and will be following up on the data I am collecting, and how the previous weeks have panned out. Because I write these over the weekend, matchups are still occurring, so I will use data from the previous completed week, pulled from my most competitive league as well as the two RCL’s. So, in order to give Razzball readers a potential plus-8 or plus-12 skaters in a week, here is my weekly column indicating what teams you should grab free agents from, and some players who might be available in your leagues.
I'll be honest, a year ago, I never thought I'd be writing about Alex Stalock again. After a few years of being the backup in San Jose, Stalock was shipped to Toronto, where he was immediately waived to play in the AHL. In the summer of 2016, Stalock signed a two-way deal with the Wild but never played in Minnesota, only in Iowa. After Kuemper's struggles last year and Stalock recording a .926 sv% in the A, the Wild let Kuemper go and decided to sign Stalock to be their backup this year. Sadly, Devan Dubnyk was injured on Tuesday and is week-to-week. We discussed this on yesterday's podcast, but Stalock becomes a clear must-own until Dubnyk returns. He made me look good as he shut out the Maple Leafs on Thursday night stopping 28 shots he's faced. Grab Stalock now before somebody else. The Wild are getting healthy and playing great defensive hockey at the moment so for at least the next week, Stalock should provide great value. Here's what else happened the last two nights:
There are plenty of great story lines going around the NHL right now. Vegas' incredible start, Kucherov and Stamkos dominating, the Blues top line taking off, the Jets breaking out, etc. Even the Oilers dreadful start is a major talking point but we haven't talked much about their best player. Connor McDavid is still only 20 years old and despite the Oilers being a dumpster fire and these other players being the talk of the town, McJesus is only 3 points from the league lead. In Edmonton's demolition of Columbus Tuesday, McDavid had a goal and three assists with five shots. The shot rate is marginally down from last season but he's well on track to repeat last year's 30+70. No matter what awful set of players Peter Chiarelli fills the roster with, it's good to know McDavid won't be stopped. Look for him to win his second scoring title and potentially go for the Hart Trophy again if he can lead the Oilers back to the playoffs (seemingly a long shot). Let's take a look at what else happened Tuesday night:
We've gone without daily notes for five days due to Razzball crashing for a short period of time. The good news is that the problem is fixed and that we are backed! I'm not going to go through every single game over the past five days because at this point, some of it would be outdated. I'm going to go through each team in the league and write a little bit about each of them. Let's get right to it!
I normally don't give the extended intro to the same player twice in a short period of time but my boy Blake Wheeler gets the honor tonight. Wheeler's excellent play continued on Monday night dishing four assists in the 4-1 win over the Stars, adding four shots and a +3 rating. All of a sudden, Wheeler is quietly creeping up on the Tampa duo sitting third in the league in points. 5+16, +7, 14 PIM, 9 STP, 46 SOG is Wheeler's line through 14 games. I don't know what you guys think of that but it seems like an okay start to the season. Loyal readers know I've long praised Wheeler as the most underrated superstar in the game and there are simply few players who consistently play at the level he does. Let's take a look at what else happened in the 6 game slate on Monday:
The difference between Mark Scheifele being a first round fantasy pick and a middling to late second round pick comes down to his shot rate. He scored 32 goals last season but his 20% shooting percentage was due to regress. While the shots haven't been coming in, they did on Thursday and the goals were flowing. Scheifele scored a hat trick on four shots in the 5-2 win over the Stars. That brings him to 7 goals and 8 assists in 12 games, an excellent start for Scheifele. Still, I have to assume the goals are going to drop since he has only 23 SOG on the season. Scheifele should be a point per game regardless but again, shots are what we need for him to jump into superstar fantasy status. Let's take a look at what else happened around the league on Tuesday night: