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:Please, blog, may I have some more?
After a massive breakout in which he scored 72 points in 77 games and Tampa Bay made the Cup Finals in 2014-15, everyone expected Tyler Johnson to push his way into superstardom. Then he struggled massively in 2015-16 scoring 38 points in 69 not-so-nice games. “It’s okay, he’ll bounce back!” Kind of, but 45 points in 66 games wasn’t necessarily what people hoped. “Write him off, that was a fluke!” Nope, Johnson is back on track. Johnson scored a hat trick on Tuesday putting six shots on goal in the 5-4 win over Carolina. He now has 16 goals and 18 assists in 42 games with a +11 rating. The shot rate on the whole doesn’t look great, but Johnson has 33 shots on goal in his past 9 games, in which he has 8 goals. The player that was tied for the team lead in points during the regular season and led a Cup finalist in points in the playoffs looks to be back. If he is, Tampa is going to be even more unstoppable. Johnson is available in around 25% of leagues and if you’re lucky enough to be in, grab him immediately. If you own him, props for grabbing him and don’t look to sell high because we know the upside. Let’s take a look at what else happened the last two nights:Please, blog, may I have some more?
There have been a few big games by individuals this season but Patrice Bergeron’s on Saturday is the new leader for the best of the year. Bergeron scored four goals and added an assist with seven shots in the 7-1 win over the Hurricanes. Bergeron was the second player this year to score four goals after Alex Ovechkin. Per usual, Bergeron is crushing all of the categories. He’s playing around a 40+35 pace while already having a +19 rating, solid PIM and pushing four shots per game. Bergeron is a slam dunk top 50 player for the rest of the season who should push towards the top 25. Again, the top line in Boston is as good as it gets and Bergeron is at the forefront of their success. That line just gave up their first goal against at even strength all season! Remarkable stuff. Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Ryan Getzlaf has been killing it for the Ducks since they were known as The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. He’s been bald for that long too! Getzlaf missed extensive time this year due to injury but he’s been great when in the lineup. He had his best game of the season on Thursday dishing four assists and adding two shots in the 5-4 OT win over the Islanders. To be honest, he wasn’t even the best player on his team for fantasy (more on that guy later), but Getzlaf’s fantasy impact is much greater. Getzlaf now has 2+13 in only 12 games so far. He played almost 25 minutes in this game which just goes to show you, everything is in place for Getzlaf to get back to being a top 50 player for the rest of the season. Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:Please, blog, may I have some more?
It seems like forever and a day since Matt Duchene requested a trade from the Colorado Avalanche. His wish finally came true on Sunday in a massive three-way trade between the Avs, Senators, and Predators. The Sens acquired Duchene, the Predators received Reid’s favorite Kyle Turris and the Avs get a ton of future assets. For the Senators, I’m not a big fan. Is Duchene better than Turris? I would say so and Duchene had one more year on his contract than Turris. However, adding a ton here, including a first round pick and Shane Bowers, their first round pick from the 2017 draft, is a lot to add. For Smashville, adding Turris without losing anyone from the current roster besides Samuel Girard is a nice move for a team positioned to go for it. It may be more futures heavy than Colorado originally wanted but boy, did they get a ton in this move. They effectively received 2 1sts, 3 2nds, a third and Andrew Hammond for goaltender depth in the organization. I love this move for Colorado long term, like the aggressiveness of Nashville using futures to push (and like signing Turris immediately to a 6/36 deal), and question Ottawa’s decision here.
For fantasy, Duchene probably gets a small boost because he should slide onto a line with Hoffman and Stone right away. Assuming Turris plays with Forsberg, I think this move could help him as well (at the least it’s neutral). I’m very interested to see if Girard plays for the Avs right away. He looked great in his brief stint for Nashville and the former second round pick could becomes fantasy relevant immediately if he’s in Denver. I’ll be sure to talk more about this trade with Reid on Tuesday’s podcast. Let’s take a look at what else happened this weekend around the league:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Goals were plentiful around the NHL on Thursday night, none more than in Florida where the Panthers went eight ball, corner pocket on the Ducks. The Panthers won 8-3 with Radim Vrbata leading the way. Vrbata netted his seventh career hat trick and his first three goals as a Panther on six shots. That brings him to 9 points in 10 games with elite shots and solid PIM. I wouldn’t expect the PIM to last but the points and shots should be plenty to make him a hold. He’s available in over 50% of leagues right now so grab Vrbata while you can. He’s a clear must own in 12’ers and probably should be owned in 10’ers as well. Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:Please, blog, may I have some more?
As far as stunning results go, the Senators going into Calgary and winning 6-0 against Calgary is up there. They then matched it on Saturday night beating the Oilers 6-1. Not bad for back to back games against two elite teams on the road without their best player. Leading the way for the Senators was Kyle Turris. Over the two games, Turris scored two goals on five shots with four assists and two PIM. Reid’s man crush has the ability to be a top 100 player in fantasy. Will this be the year he gets there? Maybe, but even if it’s not, Turris should be owned in all leagues. Let’s take a look at what happened over the weekend:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Once you get outside of the top 200 overall, you’re looking at the last 2-3 picks in a standard 12 man league. There are a few different ways you can go about making your last few picks. You can shoot for upside, get a couple safe players if you already have plenty of upside, fill out your last couple defensemen, grab a goalie out of desperation. I’m going to list a bunch of players in different categories that fall outside of my top 200 that you can target depending on what you’re looking for. I’m not going to go into detail on these guys but I will put them in my order of preference. Here is my list:Please, blog, may I have some more?
After the season from hell in 2015-16, the Columbus Blue Jackets took the NHL by storm to begin last season and never looked back. Their goalie won the Vezina Trophy, their rookie defenseman was a Calder finalist and a bunch of their forwards broke through in a big way. Now, they have some more young forwards on the way and made another blockbuster trade bringing in Artemi Panarin for Brandon Saad. Let’s take a look at what Torts is working with:Please, blog, may I have some more?
When talking about the Carolina Hurricanes schedule in my Playoff Breakdown piece, I said the following: “The Godfather of playoff schedules, the Hurricanes are going to be great on volume alone. They don’t have three games in three nights like Detroit but there’s a pile of back to backs here. There has to be with 17(!!!) games in 28 nights to close the season. That’s two more games than anyone else in the league. Jeff Skinner and Victor Rask should be monsters in the playoffs while Sebastian Aho and Elias Lindholm will be among the best streamers in the league.” And that’s me quoting me! All of this had held true except for Rask being mediocre. Not bad. Skinner has been the best of the bunch and that continued on Tuesday night. Skinner had two goals and an assist with five shots in the 5-3 loss to the Wild. He’s been hotter than a pistol bringing his totals to 35 goals and 26 assists on the season. With the elite shot rate, Skinner is pushing towards a top 50 player going forward. The team around him is getting much better and Skinner is nearing his prime as he turns 25 in May. I don’t think we’ve seen his best yet. Here’s what else happened around the league the last two nights:Please, blog, may I have some more?