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 rich keep getting richer. The Boston Bruins acquired Dmitry Orlov and Garnet Hathaway from the Capitals on Thursday, sending draft picks and Craig Smith to Washington, and a pick to the Wild for retaining salary. I think this trade is far more interesting from the Washington perspective. They couldn't agree to a contract with Orlov, with the dispute being over the term of his next deal. Until a few days ago, it seemed farfetched that they would weaken their team for this season, but I actually think it's a smart move. Even if they snuck into the playoffs, they weren't going anywhere. They gained some additional ammo that they can flip in the offseason to make a push again next season. They have a lot of additional pending UFA's that could be on the way out, so it's hard to figure out who will be there in a week to benefit from this move. My guess is Trevor van Riemsdyk takes Orlov's spot on PP2, but he's also a UFA making 950k so he's a logical target for a lot of teams at that price, so he could be on the move too. Smith should crack the lineup, but I'm not expecting much at all. He's off the radar until we see him play. As for Boston, Orlov won't be getting PP time there with Lindholm holding down PP2, so he takes a slight hit to his value. The Bruins are so good that Orlov should stumble into enough points to be valuable in deeper leagues, but we're talking 14+ teams. Hathaway should do what he usually does, and that is pile up a bunch of hits and PIM with an okay goal rate for a fourth liner. All in all, this trade impacts real life more than fantasy. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
While the NFL steals the spotlight during Championship Week, the Rangers started the weekend blowing out two top teams in Seattle and Carolina. They scored six goals in both games to bring their winning streak up to five. While it was a group effort on Friday, Artemi Panarin stole the show on Saturday. The Breadman scored four goals and an assist with five shots and two PIM against Carolina, after dishing an assist against the Kraken. Gallant shuffled the lines after Tarasenko's arrival, with Vincent Trocheck and Jimmy Vesey playing with Panarin again, setting up two of his goals. It was Panarin's third three-point game in his last eight, as he starts to heat up. While he hasn't approached his point production of his first three seasons in New York, Panarin is still on pace for 90+ points. That shows what kind of floor he has and why he's worthy of an early draft pick every year. Despite lower shots and PIM/hits, even his below average year (by his standards) is a top 50 player. Who knows, Panarin could finish the season on a massive heater and finally get to 100 points. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
While I wasn't expecting a repeat of last season from Filip Forsberg, his drop off was a much higher level than it should have been. Thankfully, he started the turn around in a massive way this weekend. Against Anaheim on Friday, Forsberg had a goal and two assists. He followed it up with an even better game, scoring a hat trick on six shots against the Golden Knights. With those performances, Forsberg is on a 33+41 pace, which isn't amazing, but far more acceptable given Forsberg's shot rate. Here's to hoping that Forsberg can keep building. Nashville is going on a long road trip soon, which could lead to a bit more ice time for Forsberg when Hynes can't protect matchups as easily. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
There were a few choices for the lede today, but I’m going to go all in on Stackin’ The Kraken despite them lining up against a tough opponent in the Florida Panthers. Seattle is riding a 7 game winning streak and is 8-1-1 in its last 10 games. They don’t have a flashy superstar to write up but they’ve got a pretty cohesive group of players that are definitely getting results.
One of the leaders of said skater group is center Matty Beniers, (DK: $4,800). I had Beniers slotted in as one of our mid-value picks for today as early as Thursday afternoon, and he did not disappoint in that night’s matchup. The Kraken gave up 2 first period goals to the Caps Thursday night, but stormed back to tie it in the 3rd and won it on a Beniers goal just 7 seconds into OT. Taking a peek at some other picks today, you’ll see just how hot the west coast’s newest NHL addition has been.
Dallas locked up the last part of their core on Tuesday, signing Roope Hintz to an eight year contract extension. Even being in the midst of a three game pointless streak, Hintz remains over a point per game and based on game score, he's a top ten forward in the league to this point of the season. I don't expect him to maintain that pace, but his line is right there for the crown of best in the NHL. Fantasy wise, I'd like to see the shot rate uptick 10-20%, but even with where he is, Hintz is a solid piece towards the top end of your roster. If DeBoer played him 20+ minutes like he should instead of 17 per game, the numbers would be even better. Congrats to Hintz for securing the bag! Let's see what happened over the last two nights:
Mikhail Sergachev had the game of the weekend, scoring two goals and two assists on three shots in the 6-3 win over the Capitals. However, I was starting this post with Sergachev after watching the first ten minutes of the game. Sergachev moved to the first power play unit and immediately delivered, with one goal and one primary assist coming there. That is a massive boon to his value. Whether it lasts, who is to say? I would bet against it staying that way for the whole season, which is why I wouldn't panic if I owned Victor Hedman. However, in the short term, this is enough to make Sergachev a #2 defenseman in a 12 man league, with upside to be a #1. Getting to feed Stamkos and Kucherov for shots over and over again is a godsend to fantasy value. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
This is one that the Bruins fans have been waiting a long time for. The Return of the Mack may not be a favorite tune for many of you, but the return of Charlie McAvoy, (DK: $5,200) should be an exciting time for anyone that’s been for a stroll through the pahk on a Satahday aftahnoon! With a game winner in his first game back on Thursday night, he’s a great bet to put up some FPTS in Buffalo tonight.
As far as the format for today goes, I’ve been thinking about this one for a few weeks and decided to give it a go. At the risk of showing my age, I used to play NHL ‘95 on the Sega Genesis pretty religiously when I was younger and was thinking about how the ratings and skill levels of certain players would match up to today’s version of the game…a solid 25+ years later. Maybe it was because we didn’t have the internet back then, but I remember thinking how cool it was that the 1995 version of the game had a complete roster page that included every player on every team in the league.
To say the injuries are piling up on Washington is an understatement. They have six players on IR plus Orlov missed Monday's game. The salaries of these players combines to over $40 million. Washington pulled off the upset over the Oilers on Monday on the back of their power play. Four of the five Capital goals came on the power play, with Evgeny Kuznetsov leading the charge with two goals, two assists, four shots and two PIM playing over 20 minutes. It hasn't been the best start to the season for Kuz, but this will certainly help. It's also encouraging that he has 3+ shots in five of his last seven games. If I owned Kuz in fantasy, I would be patient. With the lack of depth Washington is dealing with, the minutes should get back up towards the 20:17 he averaged last season. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Fifty-six goals. That's how many Auston Matthews has on the season after another two goal performance on Thursday. Not only does he have the most goals in a season in Maple Leafs history, he now holds the record for most goals in a season by an US-born player. Matthews has 49 goals on 49 games, a run that hasn't happened in this millennium. He's locking up the Hart Trophy with this run, and the fantasy question is where he goes in drafts next season. I still couldn't bring myself to take Matthews over McDavid because the floor for McDavid is the highest we've seen in the fantasy hockey era, but I think Matthews has played himself into tier one being worthy of the second pick overall. Can't wait to see how Toronto performs in the playoffs this year. Let's take a look at what happened over the last two nights:
Pittsburgh is absolutely rolling right now, winning their ninth and tenth straight over the past two nights. The total line has dominated on both nights, being sparked by the return of Bryan Rust. In both games, Rust scored two goals and an assist, bringing his total to 11 points in 3 games since returning from injury. Bonkers. Jake Guentzel had two assists with four shots while Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist with two shots and two PIM. All three of these guys are top 50 players rest of season, with Guentzel being a top 20 guy and the other two probably just outside of it. They're a viable DFS stack every time they play. I wouldn't be surprised to see an uptick in minutes in the short term with the team heading to the West Coast. If you have any of these guys on your team, you have to be thrilled. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
As a Sabres fan, I've tortured myself for the better part of a decade watching this team. In the last few years in particular, they would play a ton of games that were over halfway through the game because of how poor their goaltending was (besides Ullmark, who was constantly hurt). Ukka-Pekka Luukkonen was considered the goalie of the future for the past few years, but in the eyes of most, he was passed this year by Portillo and Levi in college. Well, UPL was called up out of desperation ten days ago, and opinions are quickly changing. Luukkonen saved 30 of 32 shots in the 3-2 SO win over the Wild on Thursday. Since being recalled, UPL has started five games and allowed exactly two goals in all of them, making over 30 saves in the past four games. Even with the acquisition of Subban, UPL is going to stay up and should get most of the starts. Granato has made it clear that they need to reward guys who play well and Luukkonen is keeping them in games. I'm not rushing to grab him in redrafts, but he's certainly worth considering in his next start, presumably against Columbus on Monday. In dynasties, I'm still a big fan. Who knows what happens with the other goalies, but both are 2-3 years away, and the time for UPL is now. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights: