Hey guys! Sven back with 31 in 31 and my analysis of the Tampa Bay Lightning! 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.
There have been a few big games by individuals this season but Patrice Bergeron's on Saturday is the new leader for the best of the year. Bergeron scored four goals and added an assist with seven shots in the 7-1 win over the Hurricanes. Bergeron was the second player this year to score four goals after Alex Ovechkin. Per usual, Bergeron is crushing all of the categories. He's playing around a 40+35 pace while already having a +19 rating, solid PIM and pushing four shots per game. Bergeron is a slam dunk top 50 player for the rest of the season who should push towards the top 25. Again, the top line in Boston is as good as it gets and Bergeron is at the forefront of their success. That line just gave up their first goal against at even strength all season! Remarkable stuff. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
I have to admit, I've always had a soft spot for Thomas Vanek. I saw him win the NCAA Championship as Minnesota's best player as a freshman and fell in love with his offensive abilities before the Sabres drafted him 5th overall. Vanek was excellent for many years in Buffalo and while his game isn't where it once was, he can still put up points at a fairly high level. Vancouver switched their lines recently with Vanek playing with Brock Boeser and Sam Gagner. They exploded against Chicago on Thursday with Vanek leading the way. In the 5-2 win over the Blackhawks, Vanek scored two goals and three assists with five shots and two PIM finishing +5. Vanek now has 10 points in his past 4 games giving him 12+16 in 38 games this year. The shot rate has been up over the past ten games (3 per) so I'd grab Vanek while he's on fire, at least as a streamer. I'm sure his name will be discussed as a trade target again at this year's deadline and unlike last year in Florida, I think Vanek will make a difference. Injuries really hurt Florida and Vanek was mostly relegated to 12 minutes on third line duty. We've seen in Detroit last season and Vancouver this year that Vanek is still capable of putting up points. Let's take a look at what else happened Thursday night around the league:
Aleksander Barkov is in a dead heat with McJesus for the most time on ice per game as a forward in the NHL. Barkov has been making those minutes count in October and he continued to do so on Monday. Barkov finished the month with a bang scoring a goal and three assists with two shots against the Lightning. The bad news for Barkov is that his team was still electrocuted by the Lightning losing 8-5. The good news for us fantasy owners is that it doesn't affect us. Barkov has been outstanding and if these minutes last, a top 50 season is a near lock. Let's take a look at what else happened around the league on Monday night:
Hello Razzballers, Reid here. While Viz is off doing things in Vegas that will inherently stay in Vegas, I'm going to bring you the daily writeup from the Monday and Tuesday games (doing a separate post for just one game on Monday makes absolutely no sense). Nikita Kucherov is against hot hot hot as he has a goal in each of the first 6 games for Tampa Bay. I'm only going to highlight the notables from these games that you should be focusing on.
All everyone talked about in the preseason was wondering how bad Vegas was going to be in their expansion year. Sure, it's only two games, but boy did they have some excitement. On Friday, Dallas was dominating Vegas in their franchise opener but was only up 1-0 in the third. Down goes Ben Bishop which opened up the door for James Neal to give the people of Las Vegas some relief in an awful time. Neal scored two goals in the third period to propel the Golden Knights to victory. To top off the weekend, Neal scored another goal, this time the game winner in overtime, to give Vegas two wins to start the season. Neal is still available in over 40% of leagues and if you are in one of them, grab him. The shot rate is going to be elite along with solid penalty minutes and goals. At least for now, I'm not overly concerned about the top guys on Vegas having bad plus-minuses either. Let's take a look at what else happened in the first (long) weekend of the NHL season:
We've reached the halfway point in my rankings and it's time to approach the finish line. I will keep updating this with info for players as Friday progresses but I wanted to get the top 150 out as soon as possible. Also, sorry for the delay, but the RCL's will launch this coming Monday in the afternoon. I've had a few technical difficulties setting it up but that should be taken care of by then. Without further adieu, here is my top 150:
The Tampa Bay Lightning head into the 2017-18 season looking to get back into the playoffs following an extremely disappointing 2016-17. After two deep runs in the playoffs, the Lightning couldn't overcome a plethora of injuries, causing them to miss the playoffs by a single point. Picking them to make the Stanley Cup Finals in the presesason didn't work out so well for me. Anyways, a healthy team should have no problem making the playoffs again but some puzzling offseason moves leave me a bit concerned of their overall upside. From a fantasy perspective, Tampa has their usual set of elite options with some new supplemental pieces. Additionally, we finally have a clear goaltending situation with Andrei Vasilevskiy, one of my favorite targets, getting full time duties. Let's take a look at what Tampa Bay is working with:
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:
The Philadelphia Flyers have nothing to play for besides being a spoiler. Their season is effectively over but they basically ended their division rivals on Thursday. The Flyers blitzed the Islanders on Thursday going up 5-0 in the first period and winning 6-3. With the Bruins, Maple Leafs, Lightning and Hurricanes all winning, the Islanders are toast. There were many players who stood out for the Flyers in this game but the one with the biggest fantasy impact is Wayne Simmonds. Simmonds had a Gordie Howe hat trick and then some totaling a goal, two assists, five penalty minutes and four shots. The goal was Simmonds' 30th of the season allowing him to reach the 30 goal plateau for the second straight season. With four straight seasons of 28+ goals and massive penalty minutes, we know who Simmonds is in those departments. The shots are solid and the PPP are elite but there are some concerns. One, he's been a minus player every season in Philly with this year being his worst ever, a -20. The other issue is that he's never topped 31 assists. I thought this season he would set a new career high but he's not coming close. So where does that leave us? I had Simmonds in my top 25 last season which turned out to be too high. I love Simmonds for what he is but it's not worth taking him in the top of the third round when he's only getting 55-60 points. He'll certainly be in my top 50 but since he's on the verge of turning 29, my hopes of Simmonds taking another step seem incredibly unlikely. Here's what else happened around the league the last two nights: