It’s at the point of the season where I start off posts with guys who aren’t trivial holds and can make a difference down the stretch run. I’ve always been enamored with Nick Bjugstad‘s potential, especially after his 24 goal season three seasons ago.Please, blog, may I have some more?
As far as disappointments for this season go, Cam Atkinson is near the top of the list. After his breakout last season with 35+27, Atkinson has struggled mightily on the ice and with an injury. We’re finally seeing signs of Atkinson getting back to last season’s level. Atkinson scored a shorthanded goal and added two power play assists with five shots on goal in the Columbus win on Monday. That gives Atkinson 4+4 in his last 9 games with at least three shots on goal in each game during that span. The minutes are strong so that hasn’t been a problem. The issue has been that Columbus’ power play has been so bad that Atkinson had only 3 STP before this game (which he doubled in this one). Columbus has been better on the man advantage lately, and the arrival of Thomas Vanek should help them even more. Atkinson is still available in over 40% of leagues and in a 12’er, I’d grab him right now while he’s finding his groove again. Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Rick Nash, the vice president of The Round Face Hockey Club, was traded to the Bruins as they look to make a deep run this postseason. I’m going to have a live trade deadline post again this year updating all of the trades throughout tomorrow. I’m also going to be recording a podcast with Reid right around 3 pm tomorrow to give our thoughts on everything that happens. I have the feeling it’s going to be crazy. For Nash, I think he’s a solid speculative add if you need the shots. He played on Sunday against Buffalo on the second line, recording five shots on goal in 17:27. He’s over three shots per game on the season, the plus-minus should improve on Boston, and everyone can use goals on their team. I don’t think he’ll be a world beater, but with only 20 games left, it’s certainly possible that Nash gets hot with his shot volume. Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:Please, blog, may I have some more?
It took a few injuries, but we finally had some goaltender movement. Petr Mrazek, who appeared to be Detroit’s franchise goalie less than two years ago, is now a member of the Flyers. In return, Detroit received two conditional draft picks. Best case scenario, they’ll get a 2nd and 3rd round picks. Worst case, they only get a 4th. So what is the fantasy impact? I’ve been writing for a few weeks that Mrazek should be owned everywhere because he was finally playing well. That’s clear as day now going to a much better situation in Philly, so grab him if he’s still available. As for in Detroit, it should be Jimmy Howard’s show. He has a .910 save percentage this season, which is closer to his career norm than last season’s .927 in 26 games. I don’t see him as being much more than a desperation play going forward outside of the best matchups. Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Monday night was a short slate, but there were a couple great games. Florida and Edmonton decided that defense (and goaltending) was optional leading to a 7-5 barn burner. Vincent Trocheck took over the game late, scoring three goals in the third period on six shots to record his first career hat trick. No matter what format you play, Trocheck has been incredible this season. By the end of the month, there’s a great chance that Trocheck has set career highs in goals, assists, PPP (already did that) and SOG. The 24 year old is also a monster in faceoffs, hits, and blocks for a forward as well. For those of us in standard leagues, Trocheck looks like a top 35 player for this season and in the future, if not even better. He’s basically Jamie Benn with a better shot rate and a lower floor for penalty minutes (obviously plus-minus can shift year-to-year). The only potential downside going forward is that Trocheck is already averaging 21:33 per game, which has nowhere to go but down. Either way, that’s of no concern for me; Trocheck is still underrated in my eyes. Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:Please, blog, may I have some more?
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?
The way young players have stormed the league in recent seasons, people just assume Sam Reinhart won’t get much better and be a bust. If Reinhart wasn’t the second overall pick, he’d be impressing everyone with his improvement. While I don’t think he’ll ever be a true superstar, I’m still a big fan of Reinhart going forward. Reinhart was on the ice for all four Sabres goals on Thursday, scoring a goal and two assists with two shots in the win over the Islanders. That puts Reinhart at 15 points in his past 16 games making him an elite streamer at the moment. For those in dynasties, Reinhart should develop into a top 100 player eventually but towards the bottom end. He’ll be a beast in real life, but the lack of PIM will keep his value down. For those in redrafts, use him while he’s hot. Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:Please, blog, may I have some more?
In my second half predictions post, I said that Jack Eichel would be in the top 5 in scoring for the rest of the season. He’s certainly started on the right track. Eichel scored the OT winner on his seventh shot against the Flames on Monday before exploding against the Oilers with a goal and three assists with five shots on Tuesday. The Sabres power play looks like last season’s unit again, the unit that was #1 in the entire NHL. Eichel is leading the way there but has also been dominant in all phases. He’s currently in the midst of a 7 game point streak totaling a whopping 14 points in those 7 games while averaging almost 5 shots per game. This game put Eichel above a point per game for the season and I expect him to finish there. Sure, the plus-minus is poor, but everything else is outstanding. He’s a first round pick for me next season, no doubt about it. Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:Please, blog, may I have some more?
The best line in hockey from last season is at it again. Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron each had five points in the two Boston wins over the last two nights. Marchand started off with a goal and an assist with three shots in the 4-1 win over Montreal, then bettered that with a goal and two assists with three shots against the Islanders. Bergeron dished two assists on Wednesday before getting his second hat trick in the last two weeks on Thursday. Bergeron is now one point short of being at a point per game while Marchand is well over that, sitting at 1.28 ppg, third in the league. Marchand has provided slam dunk first down value, just exactly what you hoped for when you selected him this year. Bergeron has managed to surpass expectations on a per-game basis. If he didn’t miss time, he’d be a top ten forward on the season. These guys are the main reason why the Bruins are one of the best teams in the league and a major Stanley Cup threat if they can manage to upset the Lightning. For our purposes, keep rolling them in seasonal formats, and if you’re someone who fires multiple DFS lineups every night, I would make sure to have a Bruins stack on at least one team every night. The upside is simply too high to ignore. Let’s take a look at what else happened over 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?