James Neal opened the season on an absolute tear, a stretch that included a four goal game. He fell off dramatically over the last two months, but he had another massive game on Tuesday. Neal had a hat trick and an assist in the 7-5 win over the Rangers. So should we care? I mean, the Rangers are a disaster defensively. And the answer is... yes and no. What great advice! It all comes down to your team needs. Neal has been excellent on the power play and should continue to do so on Edmonton's first unit. The goals are going to keep coming in. On the other hand, he's -23 and has only eight assists on the season. If you're desperate for goals and power play points, or are in a league with extra categories that include PPG, then there's a case to hold Neal. Otherwise, I would prefer to stream him so he doesn't tank my plus-minus while also giving less assists than any other fantasy relevant player. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last three nights:
Joel Quenneville saw that Sergei Bobrovsky was rounding into form on Saturday after a strong performance against his old team. He rewarded him by starting him on Sunday despite being the second game in as many days. Bob delivered once again. After making 33 saves in the 4-1 win over Columbus, Bobrovsky stopped 30 of 31 shots in the 5-1 win over the Sharks. Yes, the season has been worst case scenario to this point for Bob. However, there's still plenty of time to turn it around and I think we see it. Sure, maybe he won't be the top 5 goalie he's been in the past, I can almost guarantee that. However, he could end up being a #1 again and for that reason alone, he's a great trade target. Over the rest of this month, he plays Tampa twice and Boston, with some decent offenses and poor ones mixed in. However, look at this January schedule: OTT, BUF, PIT, ARZ, VAN, DET, MIN, CHI. Not exactly a murderer's row. In fact, they don't even play Tampa again after this month. If I owned Bob, which I do, I'm being patient because I think it's going to turn around. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
The best line in hockey remains in Boston, but the second best at the moment resides in Vancouver. On Wednesday, they were led by Brock Boeser, who had a hat trick and an assist with seven shots and two PIM in the 5-3 win over the Kings. Boeser is now up to 7+7 in 12 games with over three shots per game, +6, and six penalty minutes. He's doing a little bit of everything, and with how well the Canucks are playing, there's no reason he can't finish with 35+40 or better. I'd bet on Boeser being a top 50 player at this point and it should only get better in the years to come. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
We're one week away from the season starting! I have all of the excites. This post is going to be shorter since I covered a bunch of the recent developments around the league on Tuesday, but I'm going to hit on a few other things of interest in this post. Let's get to it! Immediately after signing a three year deal, the Lightning announced that Brayden Point will be out for most, if not all of October. Point still should be going around 50th overall despite the missing time. The interesting thing to note is that Patrick Maroon is taking his spot on the first power play unit for the time being. We've seen Maroon contribute offensively when given quality opportunities in the past, so I'm expecting him to get off to a hot start. Taking Maroon as your last pick in drafts as a streamer of sorts seems like a great idea.
Hey guys! Over the next month, I will be taking a look at each team’s players to watch out for going into the 2019-20 fantasy hockey season. This analysis features everything from surefire studs, to sleepers, to streamers, deeper league holds, even to rookie-eligible prospects that may make an appearance at some point this season. Please let me know if you guys enjoy this type of material! Reminder that the stat totals are from last season. Last year my previews went alphabetically, but this year we’re going to go division-by-division, starting with the top team. On our 16th stop on the 31 in 31 tour, we crack open the Atlantic Division with the President’s Trophy-winning Tampa Bay Lightning! It is no secret this team has a chip on its shoulder heading into this season, looking to take care of some unfinished business. With a few nice low-risk deals made this off-season, the Lightning look ready to dominate again.
I have been pumping up Roope Hintz for the past couple weeks as one of the best streamers around. He finally had a big game on Tuesday, scoring both goals in the 2-0 win over the Sabres. Please, blog, may I have some more?
It's hard to find a bigger fan of Blake Wheeler than yours truly. He's been excellent for years, and while he is showing some signs of aging, he's remained incredibly productive. Wheeler scored a goal and dished three assists in the 7-4 win over the Avalanche, adding two penalty minutes. Wheeler now has 7+48 in 42 games, a very strong point total. So where's the concern? Well, seven goals obviously isn't great, and his shot rate is closer to 2.5 now than 3 per game. Add in a career low shooting percentage and you can see why he's on pace for only 14 goals. He's still solid in PIM and has been a quality +/- player for a long time, so he'll still be a top 50 player for a few years. However, it would be a mistake to expect Wheeler to be a top 20 player again going forward. Here's a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
In the game of the night, a stealth Hart Trophy candidate led his team to glory. Johnny Gaudreau scored a hat trick on four shots in the 4-1 win in Winnipeg. Just like that, he's 5th in the NHL in scoring with by far the best shot rate of his career. Couple that with a career high shooting percentage and Johnny Hockey is well on his way to a career high in goals. I've generally been lower on Gaudreau than most, but this year he has proven me wrong. That line is among the best in hockey and Gaudreau is at the forefront. I don't expect him to slow down much in the second half making Gaudreau is a good bet to finish as a top 20 player in fantasy. Let's take a look at what else happened on Thursday night:
The St. Louis Blues have been one of the most disappointing teams in the league through the first two months, and that continued on Sunday. The Canucks destroyed them 6-1 and they were led by their two young stars. Brock Boeser scored a hat trick on four shots to go along with a +5 rating. Boeser has had some massive games this season to along with a lot of blanks, which makes him a prime GPP target most nights. With 9+8 in 19 games with over three shots per game, Boeser is an elite option in all formats. The Canucks future looks very bright, especially with the California teams all on a downward trajectory, and Boeser is at the forefront with Pettersson (more on him later). Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Quick, who is the only team without a loss? Shockingly, it's the New Jersey Devils. They've had all home games, but they have been strong in all facets of the game, winning by a total of 17-4 in those games. Outside of the Sharks game, they've made life easy on Keith Kinkaid and he's taken care of business. Kinkaid shut out the powerful Stars on Tuesday stopping 24 shots faced. Do I expect the Devils to be a powerhouse? No. Should Kinkaid be owned everywhere? Absolutely. Goaltending is a mess right now after the top 20ish guys, so there's no reason Kinkaid should be on the waiver wire, even if he's just a hot schmotato. He's available in over 2/3rds of leagues right now, so grab him while he's hot. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights: