We've reached the home stretch with three weeks left in the season. Today, I'm going to hit on some notable things that'll help you for your fantasy playoffs and other things just to watch for future gain. Let's get to it! Owen Power signed with the Sabres and should make his NHL debut on Tuesday against the Maple Leafs. It's not the best matchup obviously, but if you need defensemen help, I'm good with adding him. The Sabres finish the week with a back-to-back against the Flyers which is pretty advantageous.
As a Sabres fan, the last decade has been bleak, to say the least. There's starting to be some light at the end of the tunnel, and the newest example came on Monday night. The Sabres did something they hadn't in 33 years: win a game after being down by four goals. The Sabres came back from 4-0 to tie the game at 4, then went down 5-4 before Alex Tuch tied the game with 2:14 left, then Tage Thompson won it with 11 seconds left. The team is 6-1-2 in the last nine games with plenty of encouraging signs. We should see Owen Power sooner than later as well. From a fantasy perspective, the biggest story has to be Thompson. He's up to 28 goals on the season and over three shots per game. The jump he's made this season while moving to center is remarkable. Thompson is still available in over 50% of leagues and quite frankly, I don't understand it at all. He's a clear hold. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It’s that time again. Friday/Sunday stream targets to finish out the week. Get those claims in today so you don’t miss out! Unless you’re in one of them fancy same-day adds leagues. Eleven teams this week! Oh my gravy. Hard to believe both Friday and Sunday are technically still off nights with that kind of action. Note: For the sake of uniformity and convenience on my part, only players rostered in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues will be included. Also, a “***” denotes a priority stream, in my humble opinion.
Jake DeBrusk looked on the path to being a quality top six player for a long time in 2018-19, scoring 27 goals in his sophomore season. It's been a rough three years since, with a trade request being made. He looked like a prime candidate to benefit from a trade, but it turned out that all he needed was another chance in the top six in Boston. DeBrusk has been playing on the first line recently, and the points have started to come in. His best game was on Monday, where he had a hat trick and an assist with six shots in the 7-0 win over the Kings. It's a small sample, but DeBrusk has been fantastic over the past six games. It's hard not to succeed with Bergeron and Bergeron (
Craig Smith ) so at the least, DeBrusk is an elite streamer again. Right now, I'd probably hold him and ride him while he's hot. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Before this season, Tage Thompson was part of the punch line about how bad the Sabres were fleeced in the RoR trade. Amazingly, Thompson has come out of nowhere to play better than RoR has this season (although I'm sure the Blues are just fine with it, banners fly forever). Thompson was fantastic over the weekend, scoring a hat trick against the Avalanche before scoring a goal on four shots against the Blue Jackets on Sunday. That brings Thompson up to 20 goals and 18 assists in 47 games and over three shots per game. Thompson is right on the fringe although I lean towards grabbing him for now. Buffalo's next opponent? Montreal. Let me get some of that. Either way, Thompson's development is massive for the Sabres going forward. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Over the past few seasons, Patrik Laine has caught plenty of his slack for his game. The goals have been on the decline and his defense has remained terrible. The good news is that Laine has completely righted the ship this season. Laine had a hat trick on Thursday, bringing him up to 16+15 in 29 games. That's the best goal and assist rate of his career. The confidence in his game seems to fully be back which is great to see. He's one of the premier offensive players in the game, and it's crazy to think that Laine is still only 23 years old. It will be very interesting to see what happens with Laine in the offseason as he's one year away from free agency, but I have to say, I love the fit in Columbus right now given their style of play. There's a great chance that Laine is back to being the 35+ goal scorer that he was shaping up to be, with 50 goal upside. The shots aren't elite which keeps his value down a bit, but I'm back to being a big believer in dynasties again. Props to Fungazi for picking him in the Three Point Challenge. If you need streamer help for the weekend, go check out JKJ's piece from yesterday here! Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
One of the most popular names discussed in the trade market lately has been J.T. Miller. A big reason is because whoever trades for him would have him signed for next season as well. The main reason is because he's a damn good hockey player and he showed that on Thursday. Miller had a hat trick and an assist with five shots in the 5-1 win over the Jets. Miller is on pace for the best season of his career, which says a lot because he was over a point per game two seasons ago. There's no guarantee Vancouver moves him, but if he does, I'm hesitant to think it would help his trade value. If anything, I would expect it to hurt. He gets massive minutes that he might not get on his new team, including top power play time. I wouldn't necessarily sell high on him, especially two months from the deadline, but it's something to think about. Here's to hoping we don't have to worry about that. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
We don't know what's going to happen come playoff time, but the Florida Panthers have established themselves as a regular season juggernaut. After destroying the Stars 7-1 on Friday, they came back to score nine goals on Saturday, beating Columbus 9-2. Among the highlights between the two games were Sam Bennett scoring a hat trick on Friday and totaling six points between the two games, Jonathan Huberdeau having six points, and MacKenzie Weegar having a rare four point game from a defenseman on Saturday. They're clicking on all cylinders right now and that means great things in fantasy. They have ten skaters that I consider locks to be held, and another four that are quality streamers depending on team needs. Side note, I'm going to do another hold/stream list soon. Could we see the Panthers win their first playoff series since 1996? As long as their goaltending is passable, it's firmly in play despite being in a division with three elite teams. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Outside of more COVID cases and postponements, there wasn't a lot that went on over the weekend in the NHL, at least with a fantasy impact. The big story was Marc-Andre Fleury returning to Vegas, the first face of the franchise. Fleury was excellent, stopping 30 of 31 shots to win the game 2-1 for the Blackhawks. MAF's overall numbers are more of a top end #3 goalie, but the volume is really good. I'm indifferent towards holding him or not, but I'd lean that way since it's been better after the brutal first month. There's also some additional upside if he moves somewhere at the trade deadline as a rental. I assume Chicago will ask him what he wants at this point in his career but they're well out of the playoffs so for a couple months, I could see him going to a team for a few months before retirement. The schedule for Chicago over the next 10 days is quite appealing before it gets ugly at the end of the month, which is more reason to hold Fleury for now.
The Winnipeg first line did all of the scoring for the Jets over the weekend, totaling six goals between Friday and Sunday. Nikolaj Ehlers contributed to all six goals, dishing two assists on Friday while scoring a goal and three assists on Sunday. With nine shots between the two games, Ehlers is over four shots per game and inching closer to a point per game again. Not bad considering he has the worst shooting percentage he's had since his rookie season. Loyal Razzballers know how much I like Ehlers. There could be additional upside with Maurice gone because for whatever reason, he refused to use Ehlers on the first power play unit. Hopefully that changes because he clearly deserves to be there and we could see new career highs as an effect. Obviously Ehlers should be owned in all formats. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend, a light slate of games due to all of the postponements. As noted on Friday, I won't be listing every player that goes on the COVID list or every postponement because it's changing rapidly, but I'll note where it's making an impact on lines, PP units, etc.
One of the best coaches of the past two decades finally received another chance. Bruce Boudreau was hired by the Canucks and promptly won his first game 4-0. Thatcher Demko had a 31 save shutout and looks to be the biggest beneficiary of the coaching change. Boudreau has always had a great defensive system that inflated the numbers of his goaltenders. Dubnyk was never that good of a goalie, but he was great in fantasy. Same goes with the Washington guys earlier, or the other Wild goaltenders. Demko has the chance to be a bottom end #1 now. I'd also expect the stars on the Canucks to start turning things around. I still think the roster is incredibly flawed, but this is a huge win for the Canucks in real life and for us in fantasy. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It's no surprise that an ex-Sabre destroyed the Sabres in their first game against their former team. I've seen it for the better part of the decade. The surprise was that the Sabres stormed out to a 3-0 and 4-1 lead, only to blow the game. Sam Reinhart had a goal and three assists with two shots in the comeback, but that's not what makes me excited. Four points doesn't make me excited? Well, it does, but what really excites me is that Reinhart moved onto the first line once the game was 4-1. The line change sparked the Florida comeback, and I'd have to think they keep Reinhart there to start next game. I've already been holding Reinhart, but he is available in a fairly large number of leagues. I'd grab him now because if he stays on the top line, we could see him push towards a point per game.