The first few weeks of the season, Connor Hellebuyck was a polarizing figure in the fantasy hockey world. He made the Jets roster and was clearly the best goalie but Hellboy was struggling and splitting starts. Plenty of people were asking me if he was worth rostering and justifiably so. Well, things no longer look to be a mixed bag after the last week of games. Hellebuyck has won 4 straight starts allowing no more than 2 goals in a game. His best performance came last night recording a 27 save shutout at home against the Blackhawks. Hellebuyck is getting massive offensive support right now and the defense is gradually improving in front of him. At the end of the year, I believe he will finish as a top end #2 goaltender with the expectation that he will be a #1 in 2017-18 and beyond. Here's what else I saw around the league in a very busy Tuesday night slate.
It hasn't even been two weeks since the regular season started and the hat tricks are already piling up! On Saturday, we had our most recent hat trick in Calgary as new Blue David Perron scored a hat trick on six shots and added an assist in the 6-4 win for St. Louis. Ken Hitchcock shuffled the lines before the game and the biggest beneficiary was Perron getting to play with Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz. Obviously it worked out better than anyone could have imagined. Perron was horrible to start last season in Pittsburgh but took off in Anaheim so there is fantasy potential here. For now, if I had room, I would grab Perron just to be able to stream him on Tuesday to see what happens. The Blues play the Flames again who are a complete dumpster fire defensively at the moment so it's an excellent spot for Perron to produce and there's a chance he turns into a hold. Let's take a look at what else happened around the NHL this weekend:
Wednesday night saw the first showdown between the first two picks of the 2016 NHL draft, Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine. It looked like Matthews was going to have the best of it when the Leafs were up 4-0 in the second period but then the Jets, led by Laine, turned things around to win 5-4 in overtime. Laine stole the show with his first career hat trick on five shots, including the tying goal with 55 seconds left and the overtime winner. He was moved up to the first line a couple games ago solidifying his minutes and has delivered ever since. I picked him as the better rookie for fantasy over Matthews (assist, seven shots) and still feel strongly about that. Laine is easily a top 100 player for this season and by next year, he's going to be a top 50 player and eventually a top 20 player. Every time he's on the ice, you can see the potential as an Ovechkin-lite. Let's take a look at everything that happened in the Wednesday and Thursday night games:
Well, that was quick.
Florida Panthers’ goaltender Tim Thomas was a last-minute signing to shore up a crappy goaltending unit that was near the bottom of the league for most of last season. Please, blog, may I have some more?
The Ottawa Senators were plagued by injuries. Jason Spezza went down early in the season with back surgery. Star defenseman Erik Karlsson had his Achilles’ tendon rupture that cost him a majority of the season. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Johnathan Toews and Marian Hossa each scored twice as the Chicago Blackhawks nuked the Dallas Stars 8-1. Nuked is an understatement. Chicago led 3-0 after the first and 6-0 after the second. Please, blog, may I have some more?
The Montreal Canadiens became the first Eastern Conference team to hit the 40-point mark with a 4-3 shootout win over the slumping Ottawa Senators. PK Subban, Lars Eller and Brendan Gallagher scored for Montreal. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Patrick Kane’s goal with 2:02 left in regulation tied the game and his shootout goal won it for Chicago as they downed Detroit 2-1 and move to an eye-popping 19-0-3 this season. Please, blog, may I have some more?