First off, sorry for the delay in getting a post up following the trade deadline. I'm in Vegas to see the Sabres Friday night and with the snow in Buffalo, traveling issues came up cutting into my time to write. Anyways, this seems like a good point to highlight certain things around the league that are having an impact in fantasy hockey. Next week, I'm going to start with my playoff manifesto so everyone in head to head leagues can plan ahead in regards to streaming and bottom end holds. Let's get to it!
The first big trade deadline move happened two weeks early. Jason Zucker was sent to Pittsburgh in Bill Guerin's first big move as Wild GM, in exchange for Alex Galchenyuk, Calen Addison, and a first round pick. So what does this do for Zucker's fantasy value? It puts it through the roof. Zucker immediately went on Crosby's wing in his first game, registering five shots on goals against the Lightning in 15 minutes. Sure, he's not going to get PP1 time, but the upside is tremendous given this opportunity. I grabbed Zucker in every league that I could just in case that it clicks with Crosby. We've seen Zucker score 30 goals in a season before and generate a ton of chances; now it'll be even easier with Crosby. As for the Wild side of things, it's a really good return. Addison was the Penguins' top prospect, and while their system wasn't loaded, he safely projects as a second pair, potential PP defenseman. I don't see huge upside, but there's value there. As for Galchenyuk, it can't get any worse than it was in Pittsburgh. He only received 12 minutes in his first game, and I'm certainly not rushing to use him, but it's worth monitoring to see if that changes. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last three nights:
Tony DeAngelo grew up in New Jersey and on Thursday, he had the best game of his career against the Devils. DeAngelo scored a hat trick on seven shots while adding two assists to have the best game of the NHL season by a defenseman. In the preseason, I ranked DeAngelo 32nd at defensemen, way above consensus. Here's what I said: "Alright, somebody I really like! Now, that’s not to say there’s concern here with DeAngelo. One, he’s still unsigned and I’m not sure if a deal gets done sooner than later. Two, it’s possible that Fox takes his PP time. I think the two play together on PP2 but we’ll have to wait and see. However, if DeAngelo is playing on opening night getting PP2 time, he could get 40 points and 100 PIM. Yes, the shot rate is slightly below average, but it’s extremely difficult to get that out of anyone on the blue line. You won’t need to take him this early, but I’m targeting DeAngelo because he fits so many team builds." And that's me quoting me copying what Grey does! Well, I may have overshot the PIM, but I was way under on the points. DeAngelo now has 11+25 in 42 games and he worked his shot rate up to over two per game, a solid number for a defenseman. Hopefully you guys checked out my preseason rankings and you own DeAngelo everywhere because I'm not expecting a drop off given the style the Rangers play. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
James Neal opened the season on an absolute tear, a stretch that included a four goal game. He fell off dramatically over the last two months, but he had another massive game on Tuesday. Neal had a hat trick and an assist in the 7-5 win over the Rangers. So should we care? I mean, the Rangers are a disaster defensively. And the answer is... yes and no. What great advice! It all comes down to your team needs. Neal has been excellent on the power play and should continue to do so on Edmonton's first unit. The goals are going to keep coming in. On the other hand, he's -23 and has only eight assists on the season. If you're desperate for goals and power play points, or are in a league with extra categories that include PPG, then there's a case to hold Neal. Otherwise, I would prefer to stream him so he doesn't tank my plus-minus while also giving less assists than any other fantasy relevant player. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last three nights:
Joel Quenneville saw that Sergei Bobrovsky was rounding into form on Saturday after a strong performance against his old team. He rewarded him by starting him on Sunday despite being the second game in as many days. Bob delivered once again. After making 33 saves in the 4-1 win over Columbus, Bobrovsky stopped 30 of 31 shots in the 5-1 win over the Sharks. Yes, the season has been worst case scenario to this point for Bob. However, there's still plenty of time to turn it around and I think we see it. Sure, maybe he won't be the top 5 goalie he's been in the past, I can almost guarantee that. However, he could end up being a #1 again and for that reason alone, he's a great trade target. Over the rest of this month, he plays Tampa twice and Boston, with some decent offenses and poor ones mixed in. However, look at this January schedule: OTT, BUF, PIT, ARZ, VAN, DET, MIN, CHI. Not exactly a murderer's row. In fact, they don't even play Tampa again after this month. If I owned Bob, which I do, I'm being patient because I think it's going to turn around. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Since returning from injury, David Krecji has been on a tear. That continued on Saturday with two goals on five shots in the win against the Wild. That brings him up to 4+11 in 17 games this season. We know the deal with Krejci by now. He is always on the fringe of holding and streaming because of his shot rate. Right now, the shot rate is still poor with 28 SOG in 17 games. However, he's +15 and 15 points in 17 games is too good to ignore. Obviously it can change, but for now, I'm holding Krejci since he has four games in six nights, including a back to back on tuesday and Wednesday this week. It's hard to ask for better opponents to play than Ottawa, the Rangers, and Montreal twice. It's not going to be exciting, but Krejci's on the first power play and that puts him over the edge. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
One of my main focuses as far as team projections go is coaching, especially when it deals with goaltending. I always love the Isles goalies because of Trotz, or Arizona because of Tocchet. Well, I made the mistake of not giving enough credit to Dave Tippett going to Edmonton. Tippett has always had great defensive teams in Arizona, and that's continued in Edmonton. The biggest beneficiaries have been the goalies, and over the weekend, that was Mikko Koskinen. Koskinen had a 29 save shutout on Friday against the Devils before saving 31 of 33 shots in the 6-2 win over the Ducks on Sunday. His numbers are spectacular as are Mike Smith's. Do I love these guys going forward? No, I still prefer the Isles guys, for example. That said, I probably undersold both of these guys. I think both Koskinen and Smith need to be held and could be decent #2's for the rest of the season. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
I wrote in this space two seasons ago that Nathan MacKinnon deserved the Hart Trophy. While he didn't ultimately win, he's been one of the best players in the league for a few years now. Right now, he's making a legitimate case again in the early going. With both of his star linemates injured, MacKinnon has continued to dominate. His best game yet came on Thursday, where he scored a goal on ten shots and added three assists. In his last four games, he has 34 SOG! MacKinnon now has 9+13 in 16 games with over five shots per game. We haven't seen a shot rate like this since prime Ovechkin. Obviously there's a long way to go, but MacKinnon has a great chance to finally get to 100 points this season. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
To say the start of the season for Dallas has been disappointing is an understatement. It looked like it was going to continue being 3-0 late in the second against Minnesota. To quote Lee Corso, "not so far my friend!" The Wild scored six goals over the last 21 minutes of the game to win 6-3, and they were led by Alexander Radulov. Radulov entered the game with only 1+3 in 13 games, and he managed to match those four points in this one. Radulov had three goals and an assist with a whopping 10 shots on goal. This game might have blown the chance to buy low on Dallas players, but I would still attempt to do so given the opportunity. These guys are too talented to not have strong seasons, Radulov included. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
We've made it to the final week of the season! For those of you who just wrapped up their leagues since you don't play the last week of the season, congratulations. For those who still play this week (the majority), I'll be breaking down the schedule for you to maximize your streaming potential. I'll be following the same format as the last three weeks. Let's get to it!