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 eighth stop on the 31 in 31 tour, we’re finishing up the Pacific Division with the Los Angeles Kings. The aging Kings had a 2018-19 to forget. The Kovalchuk experiment was underwhelming, Quick missed a big chunk of the season, and the team struggled for offence all season long. Expect a bit of a rebound for this team and their veteran core, but don’t expect playoffs.
Patrice Bergeron has had an excellent career to this point, one that gives him a chance at making the Hall of Fame one day if he ages well. To this point, we've seen no signs of him slowing down. That continued on Tuesday as Bergeron scored two goals in his 1000th career NHL game. He became the fifth Bruin to reach that mark, and he'll be 3rd all-time early next season behind Bourque and Bucyk. On a per-game basis, this has been the best season of his career. He has 18+28 in 37 games with an elite shot rate. This is his eighth straight season with a Corsi over 56%. Bergeron is arguably the best defensive center in the game who is good enough to dominate the other team's top players on a nightly basis. His prowess is what gives the Bruins a chance to upset someone, presumably Toronto, in the first round of the playoffs. I wouldn't be selling high if I owned him; the first line is so damn good that very few teams have a chance against them. Let Bergeron continue to provide great value to your team. Here's what else happened on a busy Tuesday night:
In my Monday post, I called Frank Vatrano the best streamer of the night. As simple as my rationale was, getting to play with Barkov does wonders for anyone. Vatrano has been playing well lately, but the jump to the first line helps tremendously, and he showed how on Monday. Vatrano scored a goal and dished three assists in the 6-2 win over the Sharks, putting five shots on goal in the process. Normally, I'd say go get Vatrano right now to see what happens. There's definitely upside going forward. The problem is that the Panthers don't play again until next Friday. For those in roto leagues, I would grab Vatrano now and stash him on your bench. In head to head leagues, I would wait until the middle of next week unless a spot opens up on your roster due to someone going on injured reserve. However, I definitely want Vatrano for the back-to-back next weekend, so don't wait until last minute so you avoid somebody else sniping you on him. There's a real chance Vatrano, who was a prolific AHL goal scorer and showed upside before in Boston, could become a hold for the rest of the season. Let's take a look at what else happened this week:
Mark Stone has been a favorite of Razzball Hockey (aka me) for a few years now. One of the most underrated players in hockey, Stone is an above average first liner, no doubt about it. Somebody is going to pay him a ton in the offseason as an unrestricted free agent and he'll be worth every penny. Stone had an incredible game on Tuesday scoring two goals on seven shots while adding in three assists as well. That brings him to 6+12 in 15 games. He's somehow available in 25% of leagues on ESPN, which is crazy. Stone should be owned everywhere, and while I've been clamoring for him to be traded so he's even better, it's become abundantly clear that he'll produce just fine in Ottawa this season. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
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: