Antti Raanta has been very good when called upon this season for the Rangers. After recent developments, he's going to have a massive impact in the fantasy playoffs. Henrik Lundqvist is out for the next 2-3 weeks due to a hip injury allowing Raanta to be the guy for the Rangers. His strong play continued on Sunday stopping 23 of 24 shots in the 4-1 win over the Red Wings. Even after the recent rush of people going to grab Raanta, he's still available in two-thirds of leagues. If you're fortunate enough to be in your fantasy playoffs, stop reading right now, add Raanta and then come back and see what else happened over the weekend:
Brad Marchand was one of the biggest breakout players in 2015-16 scoring 37 goals drastically increasing his shot rate to 3.5 per game while adding 90 PIM. While all of those numbers are taking a slight step back this season, he's improving the weaknesses in his game to become a well rounded player. Marchand returned to his old ways this weekend with three goals on six shots over two games to give him 12+22 on the season. He's only six assists from a career high and we've just reached the halfway point. Marchand also has nine power play points which is already a career high. Instead of being a three or four category stud (depending on plus-minus), he's become a big plus in five categories with the potential for all six if the plus-minus improves. These totals have him 15th in the player rater among forwards and that shouldn't come as a shock coming off a top ten season. It might not be exactly what you wanted but it's been excellent across the board. Here's what else I saw around the league this weekend:
Holy smokes, over 5000 words! This is quite the recap of the last 5 days of hockey. I had a introduction all set to go around Milan Lucic but I had to erase it and give the lede to Michael Cammalleri. Cammalleri mysteriously missed six games in a row before returning on Wednesday night. It turns out that his 5 year old daughter Chloe had severe pneumonia which eventually required surgery. On this Thanksgiving weekend, we're thankful that she's going to make a full recovery. Dad returned and had a three game stretch for the ages. He started with a remarkable goal and three assists with 9 SOG in the 5-4 shootout win over Toronto. Cammy followed it up totaling a goal, assist, four shots and two PIM in the 5-4 loss to Detroit before scoring 2 goals on 4 shots in the 4-3 shootout loss to Pittsburgh. Just a measly 8 points in 3 games, no big deal. He's almost back to a point per game (just like last season) with three shots per game and solid penalty minutes. Cammalleri is still available in over 50% of leagues and to be blunt, that's a huge mistake. If you're in one of those leagues, go grab him now. Here's a look at the last five days around the league. I'm going to go through day by day but in the format most people like; just note that a player may be mentioned multiple times.
We should have saw this coming. After years of failing to meet expectations, the public wasn't expecting much from the Sharks in 2015-16 after missing the playoffs in 2014-15 and naturally made the Stanley Cup Finals. They are one of my favorite teams to watch for the absolutely loaded top 6 that they have while Brent Burns is making wild offensive rushes all game. There's a ton of fantasy assets on this roster so let's take a look at what they're working with:
Michael Del Zotto was finally traded away from Broadway to Nashville in a straight up deal for defenseman Kevin Klein. No, not the actor, though given that Klein has only put up three points all season he might as well be the freakin’ actor for all the good he’s doing fantasy owners (there are none). The Rangers need offense and Del Zotto sure wasn’t providing that, but Klein is a big step down offensively regardless of how poorly Del Zotto's performing, so this move boils down to money and roster considerations for both teams. How does it affect their fantasy values? Well, If you haven’t gathered already Klein has no value at all so lets move on to who really matters, eh? Del Zotto should find himself on the top pairing with Shea Weber sooner than later and that could do wonders for his production and your chances of winning. Right now the Preds have second year upstart Roman Josi playing opposite of Weber and that seems to be working quite well, but put Del Zotto on Weber’s left side and you could see sparks fly. This is a low-risk move for the Preds because Del Zotto is an RFA at season’s end and if he signs an offer sheet with another team the Preds get some draft picks and if not they re-sign him at a discount. Win-win! For Del Zotto it's a chance to get his act together and earn himself a decent contract next season. He’s shown the ability to put up monster numbers in the past with 41 points (10 G, 31 A) back in 2011-12, but hasn’t reached that point total again with his production from the last two seasons combined. Granted one of those is the lockout-shortened season but still, that’s horrible! At any rate, keep an eye on Del Zotto moving forward and if he even hints at a good streak and you need scoring help on your blue line? Add him without a moment’s hesitation. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey last night:
Pittsburgh was the best team in the Eastern Conference during the regular season. It didn’t translate to a cake walk to the Stanley Cup Finals as Boston shut them down in stunning fashion. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Pittsburgh’s Matt Niskanen scored with 8:02 left in the third period to break a 1-1 tie and lead the Penguins to a 10th straight win, 2-1 over Washington. Paul Martin had the other goal for Pittsburgh while Alex Ovechkin lit the lamp for Washington. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Jakub Voracek had a hat trick and Wayne Simmonds added two goals as the Flyers held Pittsburgh at bay in a 6-5 win. Voracek scored the game-winner with 91 seconds left in regulation for Philadelphia. Please, blog, may I have some more?