It was less than a week ago that James van Riemsdyk was placed on the fourth line for the Flyers and Scott Gordon had a private meeting with him.  Since then, JVR has taken off, with a monster game coming on Monday.  He scored a hat trick to give him 5+2 in his last 3 games.  Look, we know how good of a player JVR can be; he's been a top 100 player the past few seasons.  However, he only has two games the rest of the week, and then he doesn't have a game for all of next week with the Flyers on a bye week.  Therefore, I wouldn't be holding him right now.  I'd be willing to stream him on Wednesday and Saturday, but I'd cut bait then.  However, with a very heavy schedule starting 1/28, including a lot of bad teams, I would look to grab JVR at the All-Star break to get three games in four nights after that break.  Then, we see how he does in those three games, and proceed from there.  Here's a look at what else happened on Monday night:
Being the stand alone game on Thursday afternoon, I was watching the Jets-Panthers game in Finland closely.  For the first half of the game, Patrik Laine looked awful.  He was so bad that he didn't even get 4 minutes of ice time in the first period.  Well, Laine ended up making the natives who came to watch him happy, as he ended up scoring a hat trick on seven shots.  That matched his total from the first 12 games of the season.  Obviously I wasn't panicking about Laine, but my hopes that his ice time would take a nice jump this season isn't looking promising.  There's still plenty of time, and I wouldn't be surprised if Laine goes on a run where he scored 9 goals in 10 games.  His floor is just a bit lower than I hoped because the Jets are so good that Maurice doesn't have to give him big minutes.  I said he would score 50 in the preseason, and the shot rate has jumped to the point where it's possible if he can get his time on ice back up.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It looks like we could be seeing the Timo Meier breakout right before our eyes.  The former top ten pick is really coming into his own this season as DeBoer has given him a top six role.  Meier scored a goal on Friday because totaling two goals and an assist with four shots on Sunday.  That brings Meier to eight goals and four assists in 11 games with over three shots per game.  It's pretty clear at this point: Meier is a must-own in all formats right now.  He's still available in over one third of leagues, so if you're fortunate enough to be in one of those, go grab him now.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Phil Housley's shakeup of the lines last Saturday has worked extremely well.  The Sabres have won three straight and carried the play in all three of those games.  One of those moves was putting Jason Pominville on the first line and he's delivered and then some.  Pominville scored two goals on five shots on Thursday, giving him 3+3 in his last three games.  Now, I'm not saying he's going to be a hold all year, it's 2018, not 2008.  However, he's a hot schmotato right now, and first line plus first power play time is nothing to be ignored.  If you need a streamer on Saturday, Pominville is a great option, and if the heater continues, use him next week.  The Sabres schedule is pretty soft over the next two weeks.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Yes, I know Ondrej Kase's name is pronounced like case, but let me be punny, will you!?  I dug back into the Razzball Hockey archives to find what I first wrote about Kase.  And by dug into the archives, I mean I used the simple search bar at the top.  The first time I wrote about him was early last season in 2016.  "I’ve been impressed with his play and while it’s not enough for now, Kase’s an intriguing dynasty option in deep leagues."  And that's me quoting me copying what Grey does!  Go check out the baseball side of Razzball and sign up for an RCL.  Anyways, a month later, I said Kase has shown enough long-term upside that he should be on the radar moving forward.  Well, the seventh round pick is breaking out before our eyes.  Kase scored a goal and two assists with three shots in the 3-2 win over the Blackhawks on Thursday, giving him 16 goals and 14 assists on the season, along with a +17 rating in 43 games.  It's not all great; the PIM are non-existent and the minutes are quite low at the moment (despite the big game, Kase played only 12:13).  Regardless, the 22 year old is already a solid third liner for the Ducks and there could be a bit more here long term.  His minutes keep him from being a hold in 12'ers, but I'm definitely streaming him.  The hits are awful this season which hurts in deep leagues, but they were fine last season so I think it's a bit of an anomaly.  Kase has already exceeded expectations as a 7th round pick, but I think he can turn into a solid 50-60 point player for those of you in dynasties.  Let's take a look at what others did around the NHL the last two nights:
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:
I have to admit, I've always had a soft spot for Thomas Vanek.  I saw him win the NCAA Championship as Minnesota's best player as a freshman and fell in love with his offensive abilities before the Sabres drafted him 5th overall.  Vanek was excellent for many years in Buffalo and while his game isn't where it once was, he can still put up points at a fairly high level.  Vancouver switched their lines recently with Vanek playing with Brock Boeser and Sam Gagner.  They exploded against Chicago on Thursday with Vanek leading the way.  In the 5-2 win over the Blackhawks, Vanek scored two goals and three assists with five shots and two PIM finishing +5.  Vanek now has 10 points in his past 4 games giving him 12+16 in 38 games this year.  The shot rate has been up over the past ten games (3 per) so I'd grab Vanek while he's on fire, at least as a streamer.  I'm sure his name will be discussed as a trade target again at this year's deadline and unlike last year in Florida, I think Vanek will make a difference.  Injuries really hurt Florida and Vanek was mostly relegated to 12 minutes on third line duty.  We've seen in Detroit last season and Vancouver this year that Vanek is still capable of putting up points.  Let's take a look at what else happened Thursday night around the league:
Reid and I are back from a snowy Buffalo and we're bringing the freezing temperatures to the podcast. After our usual injury rundown, we take an extensive look at ten players that are in the midst of a cold streak. Among the notables are Auston Matthews, Matt Duchene and Oliver Ekman-Larsson. For all of these players, we look at the impact in regards to the last month of the season and for dynasty leagues going forward. As always, we wrap things up with The Three Point Challenge. Be sure to make your picks in the comments section below. All of that and more in the latest edition of the Razzball Hockey Podcast brought to you by Harry's Razors, SeatGeek and Draft!
Antti Raanta has been very good when called upon this season for the Rangers. After recent developments, he's going to have a massive impact in the fantasy playoffs. Henrik Lundqvist is out for the next 2-3 weeks due to a hip injury allowing Raanta to be the guy for the Rangers. His strong play continued on Sunday stopping 23 of 24 shots in the 4-1 win over the Red Wings. Even after the recent rush of people going to grab Raanta, he's still available in two-thirds of leagues. If you're fortunate enough to be in your fantasy playoffs, stop reading right now, add Raanta and then come back and see what else happened over the weekend: