We're keeping things moving in the preseason with goaltending rankings coming today. All that I factor into rankings goaltenders are wins, GAA, and SV%. A big factor into determining wins is potential workload, so I give more value to workhorses than players in time shares. As I always preach in these parts, in head to head leagues, volume is king. In you're in a roto league where starts are capped, then you can give more value to the Gustavsson's of the hockey world. Let's get to it!
Two teams that have had massive up and downs clinched a playoff berth on Tuesday. The Jets did it by themselves, beating the Wild 3-1 on the back of Connor Hellebuyck. The Panthers clinched because the Penguins had the worst loss of my time at Razzball, losing to the tanking Chicago Blackhawks. Petr Mrazek made 38 saves in a game that made the fans of both teams furious, and a bunch of other fans happy. Now, the Penguins need the Islanders to lose to Montreal tomorrow to make the playoffs. It would be crazy for Washington and Pittsburgh's playoff streaks to end in the same year. Here's a quick rundown of what happened over the last two nights:
The Devils have built arguably the best young core in the league. There's a lot of talk about Hughes and Hischier leading the way now, with Nemec and L. Hughes on the way. There's Meier and Bratt also playing a huge role. However, there's another former first round pick making a huge charge in his sophomore season. Dawson Mercer scored a hat trick on Tuesday in the 5-1 win over the Penguins. I had to do a double check because I did not realize this, but Mercer now has 27 goals on the season. I knew he was having a good year, but man, that's a huge jump for the 21 year old. Mercer is a natural center, but with the two former #1 picks in the fold, there's no reason to put Mercer on the third line right now. He's thriving on Hischier's wing, and is definitely worth a middle to late round pick in drafts next season. I'm not sure how much better it will get other than a potential increase in ice time because his skating is below NHL average, but his playmaking in traffic is so good and his compete level is so high that incremental increases help a lot to get into the 70 point range. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
In a Pacific Division battle on Thursday, Stuart Skinner stole the show. Against the Kings, Skinner saved all 43 shots he faced in the 2-0 win. We all know about the firepower the Oilers possess, but they made the conference finals last season in large part because of Mike Smith getting hot as he was known to do. The Oilers replaced him with Campbell, but that has been an epic disaster. Skinner has established himself as the clear #1 and will be going into the playoffs. His numbers are that of a #2 in fantasy, and while I do like the 24 year old long term, I don't really see upside past that unless the Oilers completely revamp their defense. That said, for the Oilers to get on a run, they'll need solid goaltending, and Skinner has shown that he's capable of that. He's the goalie of the future and more importantly, the present. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
We found a new level of ridiculousness on Thursday night. The Canadiens were in Florida and they managed to tie the record for the most goals in a first period in modern NHL history, and they did it in barely over 13 minutes! Both Montreal goalies allowed 3+ goals in the first 13 minutes, and Sergei Bobrovsky allowed goals on the first three shots he faced. My god. The Panthers ended up winning 9-5 to keep pace in the Eastern playoff race. The only player who made more than two points was Matthew Tkachuk, who had a goal and three assists to keep up his torrid pace. Thanks Aleksander Barkov for not getting three points when I pick him in the three point challenge! Anyways, Florida is battling hard for a Wild Card spot, so expect their studs to get all of the minutes they can handle. For playing all games against Eastern teams the rest of the way, Florida's schedule is fairly soft, so expect it to come down to the wire. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Another big domino fell in the trade market on Thursday with Vladimir Tarasenko joining the Russian contingent in Manhattan. The Rangers also received Niko Mikkola, while giving up Sammy Blais, Hunter Skinner, a first round pick in 2023, and a conditional fourth round pick in 2024 that will almost certainly turn into a third (the Rangers need to make the playoffs for that to happen). The first round pick that the Blues get will be the lesser of the New York and Dallas first round picks. I'm a big fan of this move for the Rangers. A late round first for a quality rental is a solid price, they get to dump Blais in the deal, Skinner isn't much of a prospect, and they get some blueline depth with Mikkola. Tarasenko gets a boost in this trade, and potentially a big one. He'll almost certainly go on the opposite wing of Panarin, and if Zibanejad stays at center with Panarin, that's a great spot to be in. The big question is whether Tarasenko goes on the vaunted first power play unit in Trocheck's place. It's a different position than he's used to playing on the power play, but Trocheck isn't exactly lighting the world on fire. Trocheck would be a big loser if Tarasenko does take that spot. We should get an answer on that tonight. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It feels like it's been forever since I've written daily notes. I guess being stuck inside due to a blizzard will do that. It was great to be able to watch the NHL on Tuesday night with a massive slate of games. He didn't have the biggest game of the day, but Erik Gustafsson can be a huge difference maker that impacts the vast majority of fantasy leagues. Gustafsson scored a goal and added a power play assist in the 4-0 win over the Rangers. This is notable because John Carlson is out "long term" after taking a puck to the face last Friday against Winnipeg. It seems like an eternity ago, but Gustafsson did have 60 points with Chicago four years ago with 18 coming on the PP. It's his top unit to run now, and the minutes have been decent even before Carlson's injury. The blocks are okay and the hits are below average, so in those formats he's still on the fringe, but without them, I think he's a no brainer hold. He's available in over 90% of leagues right now, so open another tab, put a claim in for Gustafsson, and then come back and see what else happened on Tuesday night!
Colorado has been decimated by injuries at a level we've never seen before. The return of Valeri Nichushkin makes him their second healthy top six forward. Luckily for them, Mikko Rantanen put the team on his back on Sunday. After scoring Colorado's only goal against the Rangers on Friday, Rantanen scored all three goals for Colorado on Sunday, tying the game with 7.1 seconds left before winning the game in overtime. Quietly, Rantanen is up to 19 goals on the season, playing at a higher point pace than his monster 2021-22. The shot rate is down a bit so his goal rate is a bit unsustainable, but hopefully the shots tick back up without MacKinnon. Regardless, Rantanen has cemented himself as a top 10 fantasy hockey player. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Today, I’m going to look at all of the impactful offseason moves in the Western Conference. If you didn’t catch my post on the Eastern Conference, you can do that here. Please, blog, may I have some more?
We have our first big named moved prior to the trade deadline. It appears that teams want to get their business done early this season, especially Montreal, and they did on Monday sending Tyler Toffoli to Calgary for a prospect and picks, including a first. In Toffoli's first game, he scored a goal on four shots in 12:18 of ice time. The game was lopsided so it's hard to make a lot of judgments yet. Toffoli started the game on the third line, but his goal was assisted by Lindholm and Gaudreau as Sutter was trying out different looks. Given how well the first line has played, I can't imagine Toffoli stays there, but it's worth noting. If he's on the third line and second PP, he's capable of being a hold like Mangiapane has been in that role in the past, but it also caps his ceiling quite a bit. I'm not rushing to hold him, but his underlying numbers are still quite good this season despite Montreal being a dumpster fire. I wouldn't be surprised if he does turn into a hold at some point again, so if you want to make the spec add, I'm completely fine with it. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights: