Semyon Varlamov missed Saturday’s game because of taking a shot to the jaw in warmups. The good news is that he was back on Monday, and the better news is that he did exactly what he did in the season opener: get a shutout. Please, blog, may I have some more?
With almost the entire league in action on Monday, we were hoping for some entertaining hockey. We got that and then some. We had the Sabres come back from 2-0 down with an ECHL goalie who hasn't played any game in over a year to beat the Islanders. Colorado came back from two down in the third twice to beat the Sharks. Montreal scored in the last minute of the game before winning in OT against the Leafs. The Wild were down 2 with 10 minutes, then tied the game with the goalie pulled and won in regulation against Vegas. Even for teams that didn't finish them off, the Stars came back from two down in the third to get a point. Also, Columbus came back from 3-0 down in the third to tie it and lose in overtime. Nights like Monday are a reminder of why hockey is incredible during the regular season. Let's take a look at what happened in each game on Monday night:
It's not the first time this season, but Jonathan Huberdeau had five points in Tuesday's 7-4 win over the Predators, scoring twice and adding three assists. I know I'm a broken record with Huberdeau, but there's no superstar that gets less recognition than Huberdeau does. Thankfully, the Panthers clinched a playoff berth with the victory so he'll get back on the big stage. He's playing a 95 point pace again and should be around 25th overall going into next season in standard leagues. If your league doesn't include shots, he'll be even higher. It took longer than anticipated, but Huberdeau has proven to be worth the third overall pick from 10 years ago and then some. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Prince Igor Shesterkin had one of the easiest games of his life on Thursday, recording a 16 save shutout in the 4-0 win over the Devils. The debate I have is where he should be ranked in dynasties. Vasilevskiy is clearly #1 still, but could be Igor be #2 overall? With Hart having a brutal season, there aren't many other candidates. Hellebuyck definitely deserves discussion, but it appears that Shesterkin has played his way into being a top 3 dynasty goalie. The Rangers are coming on strong right now, and it should only get better going forward as their young players develop. Amazingly, the Rangers could have another incredible run in net after King Henrik dominated for almost 15 years. Let's take a look at what else happened on Thursday night:
Mika Zibanejad was looking like the biggest bust of this season near the halfway point. Well, it's changing pretty quickly and amazingly, it wasn't the Sabres that turned it around. Last week, Zibanejad had three goals and three assists against the Flyers. It was so fun that he did it again eight days later! On Thursday, Zibanejad doubled down with his second natural hat trick and six point game in rapid succession against Philadelphia in the 8-3 win. That brings him up to 10+16 in 32 games, not exactly lighting the world on fire, but within reason. He's still over three shots per game, so while a repeat top 20 season is out of play, a top 50 season is still within reason. As I said at the time, Zibanejad is prone to huge hot streaks, and I think 17 points in 7 games qualifies. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Playing time has been the only thing that has stopped Alex Tuch from breaking out in the past. It looked like he was going into the top six two seasons ago, but then the Golden Knights acquired Stone keeping Tuch on the third line. Well, this season that has finally changed even though Stone is still on the team, mostly because the Karlsson line plays less minutes. On Saturday, Stone left the game with a minor injury which led Tuch to being double shifted. Even before that, Tuch was on a tear and it'll only get better with his increased workload. Tuch scored two goals on six shots on Saturday after scoring a goal on Friday. That brings Tuch up to 12 goals in 21 games, an excellent mark. Sure, his shooting percentage is unsustainable, but the increase in minutes could counteract that a bit. Tuch is still available in over 40% of leagues, so if you're lucky enough to be in one of them, grab him now. Let's take a look at what else happpened over the weekend:
Nothing helps getting your season back on track like playing against the Buffalo Sabres. Carter Hart has had a really rough go of it in the opening month of the season, but on Sunday, he looked to turn it around in Buffalo. You'd think that after the Sabres were shutout 3-0 on Saturday that they would come out firing on Sunday. Nope. Hart stopped all 28 shots he faced, most of the routine variety, to beat the Sabres 3-0. Brian Elliott only needed to make 23 saves on Saturday as the Sabres are in complete disarray. As I always say, goalies are voodoo, but I'd be stunned if Hart doesn't make a jump towards being a #1 fantasy goalie again. If you can buy low on Hart, I would try to do so. The fact that the Flyers are 11-4-3 despite Hart's horrible start shows you what kind of upside the team has. Elliott should be streamed every time he starts as his save percentage is over .930 in his eight games. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
The first draft pick in the franchise history of the Golden Knights, Cody Glass is starting to come into his own. On Friday, Glass scored a goal on four shots before falling it up with an assist and two shots on Sunday. With Pietrangelo out for the time being, Glass has been on the point of the first power play unit and looked extremely comfortable. He has a point in four of his five games and while I'm not looking to hold him, Glass is up to being a solid streamer. Long term, there's tremendous upside but with how loaded Vegas is right now, Glass' ceiling is a bit capped. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
It's time to get rolling with my fantasy hockey rankings. Instead of starting with my top 10 and going from there, I'm going to be starting with goaltenders today, defensemen Tuesday, and then forwards and my top 200 by the end of the week. I will be ranking the guys in order, but I am putting more focus on tiers than the exact rankings of players. I will be writing in detail about guys that I aggressive with in my rankings, either because I like them a lot or also don't want anything to do with them. Let's get to it!
It's hard to believe that Filip Forsberg recently had a 20 game goalless streak. He had his best game in months on Tuesday scoring two goals and an assist with five shots and two PIM. The thing that excites me most is that Forsberg played 20 minutes in this game. Forsberg is clearly the best forward on the team and it has been infuriating that his minutes have been down, slump or not. The playoff schedule for the Predators is excellent (you can read up on that here) giving Forsberg the opportunity to be a top 20 player down the stretch. I don't expect that, but he has that kind of upside. The Predators are making their playoff push and it's the time for Forsberg to get his season back on track. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights: