And now we reached the meat of the rankings. Forwards generally make up half of your roster, if not more, and they dominate the beginning of drafts. For today, I’ll have around 50 guys separated into tiers and will have more on Thursday. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Look, to be honest with you, there wasn't a ton of eventful things that happened in the NHL on Thursday night. We're leading off with Sam Gagner for a couple reasons. One, he had a trick on four shots in the 5-2 win for the Red Wings. Sure, one was an empty netter, but a hat trick is a hat trick and that deserves recognition. Never mind that Gagner came into the game with zero goals on the season and the three points in this game were more than he had all season. The other reason I started off with Gagner is to give him some appreciation. He had a solid career for over a decade now, constantly as an elite streamer while having a few years where he was a bottom end hold. With all of the big games McJesus is having lately, you can try to stump your friends with a trivia question in terms of who the last player was that had seven points or more in a game? As you could guess, it was Gagner, but did you know he actually had 8!? He's one of only eleven players in history to have eight points in a game and for that, I thank Gagner for the memory of that wild night in Chicago. Let's take a look at what else happened on Thursday:
Nino Niederreiter's first season in Carolina couldn't have gone any better with 14+16 in 36 games. Last season really couldn't have gone worse with 11+18 in 67 games. Well, this year has certainly been closer to 2018-19 and we can be thankful for that in fantasy. Niederreiter scored two goals and an assist with three shots on Friday before dishing an assist on Saturday, adding six shots. That brings Nino to 9+3 in 16 games with over three shots per game, 13 PIM, and a great +11 rating. The second line in Carolina has been incredible, sparked by Niederreiter and Trocheck's revival. He's an easy hold in all formats for the time being. I wish that the minutes were a bit higher, but considering what Nino is doing with what he's getting, there can be some growth with additional minutes, namely in the assist department. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
One of my bold predictions from the season that already looks awful is that Chicago would be the worst team in the league. Their season has turned around on the back of somebody who was expected to be a tertiary option. Kevin Lankinen was third fiddle going into the season behind Delia and Subban, but that has changed quickly. Lankinen stopped 34 of 35 shots that he faced on Tuesday in the 2-1 OT win over the Stars. That brings Lankinen's save percentage to above .930 and a GAA approaching two. I didn't imagine a Chicago goalie would even be worth streaming this season outside of playing against Detroit, but Lankinen has played his way into being an easy hold. Will it last? It's impossible to say with goalies. Either way, he should he held until he cools off, assuming that eventually happens. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Your early leader in goals two weeks through the season is Max Pacioretty. Patches had a hat trick on Tuesday putting eight shots on goal in the process while adding two penalty minutes. That gives Patches six goals in seven games, along with a whopping 32 shots in 7 games. His linemate, Mark Stone, has arguably been the best player in the league to this point, so the opportunities are going to be there for Patches to have a monster season. After a disappointing first year in Vegas, Patches has really found his game again. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
We had a blockbuster happen on Saturday morning. Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic are headed to Columbus in exchange for Pierre-Luc Dubois and a third round pick. Three disgruntled players all get fresh starts and all should have a fantasy impact, albeit to differing degrees. Let's start with Dubois. He's going to start centering the second line, presumably with Ehlers and Stastny moving to the wing. I presume his minutes will come in around the 18 he was at last season which should be quite productive. The big question is whether or not he's on the first power play or if Stastny keeps that spot. We'll have to wait two weeks to find out as Dubois will have to quarantine for that long given Canadian rules right now, but there's a potential top 50 player in here. I really like the combination of Dubois with Ehlers.
Last season, Leon Draisaitl had a massive breakout with 50+55. It seemed naive to expect better, but he's going to blow 105 points out of the water. Draisaitl scored two goals on six shots on Friday before dishing four assists with three shots on Saturday. That brings him to 29+54 in 52 games. That's over an assist per game! Sure, the penalty minutes have dried up and he's -7, but who cares!? He has four points more than his teammate for the most in the NHL and is now over three shots per game. It's not a lock that the Oilers make the playoffs, but they're a clear favorite to make it now, mostly on the backs of Draisaitl and McDavid. Even with the poor plus-minus and PIM, Leon is still the fourth best skater for the season. At this point, his floor is a top ten forward which puts him in a class of the world's truly elite. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
I'm a big fan of the revenge game and Semyon Varlamov had one on Monday night against his old team in Colorado. Varlamov had a 32 save shutout to earn the 1-0 victory. I have a few points on Varly. One, he's proving to be the #1 goalie we hoped he would be when he went to the Islanders. Barry Trotz has the best defensive system in the league. Two, how the hell wasn't he an All-Star? He's clearly had the best season for goalies in his division. I get having Korpisalo because the Jackets need a representative, but Holtby? Come on, Varly has been much better. Anyways, keep rolling the Isles goalies. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Hey guys! Sven back with the Buy, Sell, Hold segment for the second year. It’s pretty straight forward, players who are buys: you should pick up. Players who are sells, you should think about dropping. Players who are holds, you may be thinking about dropping but don’t just yet! Just for clarification, the % I am going to put next to the players’ stat line is their %own on ESPN. For Buys, I usually focus on guys with a %own less than 50%. Let’s get started! This is a quick one today as I have been very busy, but I will try to start pumping these out every week again.
We've seen this story before. Last year, upper management called out Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin for poor play. This year, it was Jim Montgomery. Benn had one goal through 20 games, but he now has three over the last two games. Benn scored two goals and an assist with five shots and two PIM in the 6-1 win over the Canucks. This came after a goal and an assist on four shots against the Oilers. He wasn't going to shoot 2% forever, but Benn did not look good over the first six weeks of the season. That said, we've seen a big hot streak from him before so there is hope he can do it again. The schedule looks fairly good over the short term so I'm expecting Benn to turn this nice stretch into a hot streak. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights: