Today is the NHL trade deadline (more on that later!) but there’s a good chance that the biggest name that moves went yesterday. After being with Carolina since they drafted him in 2003, Eric Staal was traded away from his brother Jordan to join up with his brother Marc for the New York Rangers. Please, blog, may I have some more?
For the majority of his professional career, Connor Hellebuyck has gone up and down more than an elevator. He's bounced around the NHL and AHL along with starting and being the backup in Winnipeg despite the fact that he's clearly their best option between the pipes. That's not to say Hellboy has been a great goalie throughout. In fact, he's had plenty of times where he looks rough. That's simply the nature of the beast in the NHL being a young goalie. Hellboy was at the bottom last week allowing five goals in consecutive starts. Naturally, he turns things around this weekend with a 29 save shutout against the Blues and saving 22 of 23 shots in the 6-1 win over the Avalanche. The numbers are poor on the whole but he has won half of his games. Should he be owned right now? I think you have to gamble on the upside in 12'ers. The main point is that this season has done nothing to dissuade me from loving Hellebuyck in dynasties. We all know that the Jets are loaded with offensive talent that is only going to get better and Hellebuyck will be a beneficiary. The prospect cupboard remains full despite all of their recent graduates and most importantly, there are a bunch on the blue line. What do I expect him next season? Probably a #2 goalie with upside to be a #1 who should be owned in all leagues. Long term? He should eventually develop into a guy who is a middling to bottom end #1 year in and year out. Bottom line, I'm still driving the Hellboy bandwagon! Here's what else happened around the league last weekend:
There have been a lot of bad trades over the last five years in the NHL. It's no surprise that Nino Niederreiter has turned into an excellent player in Minnesota after being traded by the Islanders, the team who drafted him fifth overall. Who knew trading a player who just went in the top five in the draft at 20 years old was a bad idea? Anyways, Nino has been solid for a few years now but he's starting to peak in his age 24 season. Niederreiter scored two goals and an assist with four shots in the 4-3 win over the Coyotes on Thursday. This brought Nino to 30 points (14+16) on the season while being +18. The PIM are below average and the shots are barely above two per game but with his developing power play prowess to supplement his even strength play, Niederreiter is looking like a clear hold at the moment. Hopefully everyone in dynasties held onto him because the best is yet to come. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Hopefully everyone's holidays went extremely well. The only thing my weekend was missing was hockey so I'm glad that things will be back tonight. I haven't updated how things went on Friday's games so here goes nothing. In my preseason rankings, I wrote the following about Charlie Coyle: "Coyle had a big second half to get over 20 goals and 20 assists for the season. Now, he’s going to be on the first line which should dominate the possession game. The shots need a slight boost but he’s a good bet for 25+25 or possibly slightly better." First line, check. Possession game, not quite dominant but still above average so still a check. Slight boost in shots, check. Good bet for 25+25 or slightly better, check. Coyle had a monster game on Friday scoring a goal and three assists with four shots in the 7-4 win over the Rangers. That puts Coyle at 12+15 in 33 games with just over 2 shots per game, 22 PIM and +13. Instead of 25+25, we're potentially looking at 30+35. Coyle is currently the 30th ranked forward and while I had him in my top 150, his consensus ranking ended up over 40 spots later. Hopefully he ended up being one of your last couple picks like he was for me in a bunch of leagues because he's been terrific and I don't see it slowing down. Here's what else happened on Friday night before the break:
We are through 149 players in my rankings; I can't believe there's still 101 players to go! Thanks to a commenter, I realized that I had Tyler Toffoli ranked twice. I'm only human! Anyways, things are already getting thin at this point in drafts. There will be some guys who are here for their safety but I'm deferring to players with upside at this point in the draft. Locking in 45-50 points is fine and dandy but I'd rather shoot the moon and work the waiver wire during the season. Let's take a look at the best players who make up the second half of standard drafts:
After finished second last in the NHL in 2014-15 and getting jumped in the Connor McDavid - Jack Eichel sweepstakes by the Oilers, the Arizona Coyotes surprisingly stayed in the playoff race for the majority of last season. While they ended up dropping off quite a bit at the end of the season, there are plenty of bright spots for the organization going forward. On top of the young talent that was already on the roster, there are some new Desert Dogs ready to make their NHL debut. While I don't see them contending for the playoffs this time around, the future is incredibly bright with plenty of fantasy assets. Let's take a look at what they're working with:
As a Sabres fan, I thoroughly enjoy the dysfunction of the Ottawa Senators. When I look at them from a neutral point of view, they're incredibly frustrating. The Senators have arguably the best player in the NHL in Erik Karlsson in his prime and have done a horrible job filling out the rest of their roster. They have made brief playoff appearances in recent years but last year's 85 point season is about what they can expect again. The Sens will struggle to remain in the playoff race barring a revival between the pipes or a surprise breakout or two. That said, they have some quality fantasy pieces that are worth discussing so let's get to it!
After his remarkable first half, it looked like Patrick Kane reaching 100 points was a formality. Then he struggled mightily in the second half, enough to the point where he needed 6 points in the last 5 games to get there. Kane got there with time to spare in style, scoring a goal and an assist with five shots on Friday and followed it up with three goals and an assist with four shots on Sunday. He's the overwhelming favorite for the Hart Trophy now and now has an outside shot of the Richard Trophy. As for where he's ranked for next season, I will probably have Kane ranked #3 or #4 overall. Despite the amazing year, Kane is more of the second half player where he was closer to a point per game than the first half monster. Here's what I saw over the weekend:
He's always piled up the assists but Jason Spezza has never been known as a goal scorer. This year, it's a different story because if he wasn't injured, he'd have set a career high in goals. On Friday, Spezza scored a goal and an assist on four shots against the Blackhawks before Spezza scored for the fifth consecutive game Saturday, burying two goals on seven shots against the Blues. Spezza now has 28 goals and 25 assists in 64 games; his career high is 34 goals. Spezza is now a top 50 skater on the year and with the talent the Stars have, he should be around there next year. Here's what else I saw around the league this weekend:
We are only a few days away from the trade deadline and the first big trade piece is off the market. The Jets moved their captain Andrew Ladd and sent him to the team they acquired him from in 2010, Chicago. The Blackhawks paid a massive price for the rental sending a first round pick, a conditional third, and Marko Dano. If you remember in the preseason, Dano was my favorite sleeper after he came on strong at the end of last season in Columbus. With Bryan Little out for the season, I expect Dano to be in Winnipeg right away. If that's the case, he's immediately worth consideration in 12'ers because his upside is through the roof. Ladd will go on the first line in Chicago on Jonathan Toews' wing which is also a big boost to his value. This is another trade, like the Columbus and Nashville blockbuster, that is a win for all players from a fantasy perspective. Here's what I saw on the ice the last two nights around the league: