As a chance of pace, instead of doing a big weekend recap, I'm going to highlight some injuries, trades, and line shuffling that could have some impact on teams and players for fantasy hockey. I'll be back to my usual set of daily notes on Wednesday morning. Let's get to it!
Hi, everyone, it’s LackeyDrinksOnMe! It’s been a crazy application season with a ton of great kids deciding to apply early decision. Unfortunately this means I’ve been busy even on weekends, but things are finally slowing down a little bit and I can get back to a weekly long-run streamer column. These pickups are meant for filling more than just a single spot start, looking at days that have fewer games being played so you can gain an additional three or four starts a week from a single skater. Not a lot of truly slow games this week, but Monday, Wednesday, and Friday all have only ten games, so there’s a few teams we can take advantage of.
Hey guys! Sven here and we're headed to Leafs Country 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.
Howdy, it's me, LackeyDrinksOnMe!! As much as we love hockey and fantasy hockey, we don’t always have time to catch all the games we want. Viz is a champion at giving an impression of the player situation league-wide, but my plan is to narrow in on a game or two a week to cover two teams from top to bottom. I’m going to watch a game or two each week and will take a deep dive on each team, moving period by period Twitter-update style with a wrap-up and then following that stream of thought with a few league-wide notes. This works better with my schedule and will be something I’ll be able to continue into the spring when things start getting crazy at work. Hopefully doing this gives my fellow Razzball readers a good impression of what some games are like, even if you have no interest in viewing them yourself, and depending on the depth of your league I hope this can provide some useful insights. I’m watching the opening NHL game tonight, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens. I’m looking specifically for how Auston Matthews and John Tavares are used, how the defense in front of Frederik Anderson stacks up, how Montreal handles any power-play opportunities they are given, and how Carey Price looks in goal after a shaky campaign last year.
To say James van Riemsdyk had a decent two games would be an understatement. The Charlie Conway look-alike scored five goals over the last two nights, scoring a hat trick against the Stars on eight shots before scoring two goals and an assist against the Sabres. That brings JVR to 31 goals and 16 assists on the season with just under three shots per game. Obviously he's owned in virtually all leagues at this point, but I wanted to start off with him because he doesn't get the credit he deserves. He's played at a 27+ goal pace for six straight seasons now and the two goals last night gave him a new career high. I'm not sure Toronto will be to keep the impending UFA past this season, but one thing is for certain: JVR is about to get paid handsomely. Look for him to maintain his value no matter where he ends up, meaning someone who is a top 75-100 player. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Yes, I know Ondrej Kase's name is pronounced like case, but let me be punny, will you!? I dug back into the Razzball Hockey archives to find what I first wrote about Kase. And by dug into the archives, I mean I used the simple search bar at the top. The first time I wrote about him was early last season in 2016. "I’ve been impressed with his play and while it’s not enough for now, Kase’s an intriguing dynasty option in deep leagues." And that's me quoting me copying what Grey does! Go check out the baseball side of Razzball and sign up for an RCL. Anyways, a month later, I said Kase has shown enough long-term upside that he should be on the radar moving forward. Well, the seventh round pick is breaking out before our eyes. Kase scored a goal and two assists with three shots in the 3-2 win over the Blackhawks on Thursday, giving him 16 goals and 14 assists on the season, along with a +17 rating in 43 games. It's not all great; the PIM are non-existent and the minutes are quite low at the moment (despite the big game, Kase played only 12:13). Regardless, the 22 year old is already a solid third liner for the Ducks and there could be a bit more here long term. His minutes keep him from being a hold in 12'ers, but I'm definitely streaming him. The hits are awful this season which hurts in deep leagues, but they were fine last season so I think it's a bit of an anomaly. Kase has already exceeded expectations as a 7th round pick, but I think he can turn into a solid 50-60 point player for those of you in dynasties. Let's take a look at what others did around the NHL 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:
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:
In an opening month where tons of goalies are struggling, Corey Crawford certainly is not. Crawford continued his excellent play on Wednesday making 35 saves for a shutout against the Flyers. Crawford sits with a sub 2.00 GAA and > .940 save percentage. To quote Larry David, "pretty, pretty, pretty good." He's going a long way in masking some of the problems that the Blackhawks have. Regardless, we all knew Crawford was a #1 fantasy goalie but perhaps he plays his way into the upper tier? To be honest, the Blackhawks probably need it. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
While the Razzball Hockey committee of one didn't love the Patrick Marleau contract, we did like Marleau for this season in fantasy. Like the majority of his teammates, his season debut went extremely well. Marleau scored twice in his first game as a Maple Leaf registering five shots on goal. His linemates were inconsistent but whether he's with Matthews or Kadri, it doesn't really matter. Marleau scored 27 goals last season and I don't see why he can't get back to that number. Despite ranking him as a top 150 player, he's still available in over 50% of ESPN leagues, so grab him now. Here's what else happened around the NHL on opening night: