It's not exactly breaking news that John Tavares moves the needle for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He showed why he was worth the mammoth contract on Sunday, scoring a hat trick on seven shots with two PIM in the 7-6 win over the Blackhawks. The main thing that I want to talk about here is Toronto in general. This offense is incredible, but they also remain a sieve defensively. I have a hard time treating them among the truly elite teams in the league until that is tightened up, at least somewhat. That's why I picked them to finish third in the division again. But for us in fantasy, stream everyone you can for the Leafs, and against them for that matter. I'd have a hard time playing any goalie against them right now; it better be someone that's damn good. They're a fantasy gold mine on both sides. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Hey guys, Sven here with 31 in 31, and a look at the LA Kings! Over the next month, I will be taking a look at each team’s players to watch out for going into the 2018-19 fantasy hockey season: The 31 in 31 daily segment. This analysis features everything from surefire studs, to sleepers, to 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.
Lackeydrinksonme back again, helping out big John at the bar. This is my fourth and final in a series of fantasy hockey skater rankings. As I mentioned, I use 17-18 stats including points per game, points/TOI, Wins Above Replacement, Expected Goals and Actual Goals, and Offensive Point Shares, among others. I also use the eye test, and I try to consider what team a player is on, their expected linemates, and where they are in their careers. I also try to include my rationale, and for most players will offer a prediction on year end points. Like Viz indicated, once you get past the first few names there can be very little separation between certain players, and this obviously isn’t meant to be a comprehensive or be-all end-all ranking. Rather, it’s to give you another perspective on where players are being valued, and might reinforce an idea you have about a skater or surprise you with some analysis. I’ll gladly take questions in the comment section.
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:
First off, I hope everyone had a Happy New Year's! As much as I personally don't care for New Year's Eve, this year was different because of the Buffalo Bills making the playoffs. I wish I had video of me celebrating with my dad or an audio recording of my friend, who is in Paris, who heard us yelling on speaker phone and him celebrating in the Paris streets. Couple that with an amazing USA win in the WJC outdoor game against Canada that I was at and things in the sports world couldn't be better. Even the Sabres looked competent today despite the loss! Anyways, let's get to what you're here for... I've talked about Josh Bailey being the waiver wire pickup of the year on multiple occasions over the last couple weeks because, well, the Isles top line is on fire. That said, William Karlsson is easily #2 in this department. Wild Bill, a Razzball favorite from the past (aka favorite of mine), scored the first hat trick in Vegas history on Sunday, scoring three goals and an assist in the 6-3 win over the Maple Leafs. That brings Karlsson's totals to 20+13 in 33 games with a +15 rating. Sure, it will regress some because he's not going to shoot 26.3% all season, but let's give Karlsson his due. In the first 183 games of his career, Karlsson scored 18 goals. He has that beat for the Golden Knights in 37 games. His emergence is a huge part of Vegas shocking the world as they sit atop the Western Conference. Karlsson will drop off some in the second half, at least in the goals department, but make no mistake about it, it's not a complete fluke. Karlsson should be a hold for the rest of the season. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last three days of the old year:
Growing up, the Avalanche were always my second favorite team. My grandpa was a huge Peter Forsberg fan and it didn't interfere with my Sabres since they were in the Western Conference. I've always kept a close eye on them even though my rooting interests are now firmly with the Sabres and "Team Whoever I Bet In Game X." Anyways, Gabriel Landeskog has been a personal favorite of mine in this new Avalanche era. He became the youngest captain in the league when it wasn't cool to make your young top pick a captain. Landeskog won the Calder and led the Avs on a massive warpath to a shocking #1 seed in 2013-14. When I started at Razzball, things looked on the up for Landeskog at 23 years old. Then, like the rest of the Avalanche organization, Landeskog struggled mightily. Thankfully for all of us fantasy owners, he's back. Landeskog had the best game of his career on Saturday scoring a hat trick and two assists with five shots against the Lightning. Sure, the Avs lost, but it doesn't change his stat line for us! The Kog now has 13+11 in 28 games with a strong plus-minus and solid PIM plus shots. In fact, I'd be surprised if the penalty minutes don't jump soon. It's amazing that Landeskog just turned 25 so he's not even in his prime yet. Look for him to be a top 100 player for the rest of the season and for at least the next few years. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Reid and I talked about Tristan Jarry extensively on last week's podcast. We said that he should be picked up immediately with Matt Murray out for at least a few weeks, mostly because the Penguins had a back-to-back against the hapless Sabres. Well, Jarry delivered and then some in both games. He started off with a 34 save shutout in Buffalo before allowing 1 goal on 33 shots in Pittsburgh on Saturday. The schedule isn't great this week with the Rangers, Islanders, and Maple Leafs on deck, but they're all at home. At the least, Jarry is a nice spec add to see how things go against better competition. He's still available in over 70% of leagues so go grab him now. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
The difference between Mark Scheifele being a first round fantasy pick and a middling to late second round pick comes down to his shot rate. He scored 32 goals last season but his 20% shooting percentage was due to regress. While the shots haven't been coming in, they did on Thursday and the goals were flowing. Scheifele scored a hat trick on four shots in the 5-2 win over the Stars. That brings him to 7 goals and 8 assists in 12 games, an excellent start for Scheifele. Still, I have to assume the goals are going to drop since he has only 23 SOG on the season. Scheifele should be a point per game regardless but again, shots are what we need for him to jump into superstar fantasy status. Let's take a look at what else happened around the league on Tuesday night:
Hat tricks have been in vogue lately so Blake Wheeler decided to take it to another level. Wheeler scored a hat trick in the first period on Sunday and later added an assist in the 7-1 win over the Penguins. Wheeler has been the fantasy stalwart we've become accustomed to in the early going with 4+8, +3, 12 PIM, 35 SOG and 4 STP in 10 games. I don't know how many more years Wheeler will keep up this level of play but for now, he's a top 20 player with relative ease. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
As far as stunning results go, the Senators going into Calgary and winning 6-0 against Calgary is up there. They then matched it on Saturday night beating the Oilers 6-1. Not bad for back to back games against two elite teams on the road without their best player. Leading the way for the Senators was Kyle Turris. Over the two games, Turris scored two goals on five shots with four assists and two PIM. Reid's man crush has the ability to be a top 100 player in fantasy. Will this be the year he gets there? Maybe, but even if it's not, Turris should be owned in all leagues. Let's take a look at what happened over the weekend: