Howdy, Razzguys n gals!
I'm stoked to bring you my first-ever piece of fantasy hockey content here at Razzball. If you pay attention to the fantasy baseball side of things, then you'll know me from there. But believe it or not, I know a thing or two about fantasy hockey and hope to share my unparalleled wisdom with you all. Poor Viz has been doing it all by himself, so I figured I'd lend a hand.
I'll be doing an eight-part Team Previews series, with each division getting two parts. Today is Pacific Part 1, tomorrow will be Part 2, then Wednesday and Thursday will be the Central. Next week, we'll do it all again with the Metro and the Atlantic on Monday-Thursday.
Hope you enjoy!
We're moving out from the crease to the blue liners in my rankings. Today, I'll be going through the top 20 defensemen with the Top 40 coming out later in the week. Let's get right to it!
1) Cale Makar - Covered in the Top 20 overall here.
2) Dougie Hamilton - The top defenseman last season by a fairly wide margin, Hamilton moved from Carolina to New Jersey. It's a little worrisome, but I still expect big things from Dougie. I wouldn't be surprised if Hamilton ends up getting more minutes than he did while he was in Carolina.
For my last scheduled post outside of the bracket challenge for the next few months, I'm going to review my bold predictions from before the season. My goal was to get three or more, did that happen? Let's find out! For those that want to read the entire post, click here.
1) Evgeni Malkin leads the league in points. And a massive whiff to start! Malkin was injured a lot (what else is new) and wasn't as good as usual when he played. Even if he was, he was never catching McJesus.
It's time to look back at both of my posts about undervalued and overvalued players from preseason. I did ten players for both, and I'll break down each player and what went right or what went wrong. I have to say that there were quite a lot of correct predictions, especially in the overvalued. Eight of the ten predictions were clearly correct, but oh boy was there one big miss! I will not hide that prediction in shame because that would serve no purpose. If you want to look back at this posts, you can find them here and here, but it won't be necessary. Let's get to it!
As President of the “Mark Stone Fan Club” going back to 2014, it’s great to see him playing at an all-world level. Stone had two assists with two shots on Friday before adding a goal and an assist with three shots on Sunday, both against the Ducks. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Loyal Razzballers will know my fandom of Martin Necas goes back to when he was drafted by Carolina. I was perplexed that he fell to 12th overall, and a couple of the guys in front of him are well on their way to becoming busts. Thankfully, Necas is on his way to breaking out towards stardom. Necas had two goals and two assists with six shots on Saturday leading Carolina to a 4-3 win over the Lightning. That brings Necas up to 28 points in 30 games this season and over two shots per game, a big jump on ever level. The only thing holding him back was playing time and that is certainly not a concern any more. Somehow, Necas is still available in almost 50% of leagues. Therefore, we have a few steps to take. Go to your league's waiver wire, see if he's available, add him immediately if he is, and then come back to see what else happened over the weekend!
The Ducks season has gone very poorly. Not Sabres poorly, but still, the results have been extremely disappointing. The good news is that their young players have shown some flashes of what can be in the future, and on Thursday night, their two cornerstones scored their first career goals. Trevor Zegras scored in his 11th career game while Jamie Drysdale scored in his first. For this season, we shouldn't expect much from either. At the moment, Zegras is a bottom end streamer, while Drysdale should be left on the waiver wire until we see how much he plays, or if he even stays on the Ducks. In dynasties, there's a ton to like for both. Zegras has the chance to be one of the best playmakers in the league who scores plenty of goals for himself. Drysdale doesn't have massive offensive upside, but he should be good enough in all facets of the game, including quarterbacking the power play, that he ends up as a #2 fantasy defenseman while playing top pair minutes for the Ducks. It may be bleak now, but the future is bright in SoCal. Let's take a look at what else happened on Thursday night:
It’s not too often that a goalie gives up more goals than he makes saves, especially playing a full period. Hunter Miska, come on down! The good news for Colorado is they have a ton of firepower and they still managed to win by four goals after allowing four in the first. Please, blog, may I have some more?
The hype surrounding Kirill Kaprizov was building for a few years before he came to the NHL. Even with the lofty expectations on his shoulders, he's played at a level higher than anyone expected. On Friday, Kaprizov scored a hat trick on eight shots with two PIM and a +4 rating. He followed that up with another eight shots on Sunday, adding an assist and two penalty minutes. I wrote about a month ago that I expected Kaprizov's shot rate to take a big jump as the season progressed based on his shooting totals in the KHL. Well, sixteen shots in the past two games brings him over 2.5 per game, an average rate for a forward. Add in being just under a point per game and we can basically call the Calder race now. I'm not convinced that it's going to get better in the future as Kaprizov will be 24 by the time the regular season ends, but either way, he should establish himself around a 30+40 pace in a normal season with slight upside on both of those numbers. Kaprizov is definitely a top 50 dynasty asset, but I don't think he pushes the top 25 long term because the penalty minutes will be low and more importantly, I don't think he gets to be a 3.5-4 shot per game guy because he's too good of a playmaker for that. Either way, if you're lucky enough to have him, enjoy it because there's nothing fluky about his performance. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
As far as feel good stories go, Troy Grosenick is near the top of the list for the season. Grosenick, a 31 year old with only two previous NHL games in 2014, was forced into action for the Kings on Wednesday following Cal Petersen going on the COVID list. To say Grosenick rose to the moment would be an understatement. He saved 33 of 34 shots that he faced in the 5-1 win over the Ducks. You have to love a journeyman coming in and having success. All of a sudden, Grosenick could get some starts in the near term. If you're in a deep league and desperate for starts, you can roll the dice on him. With LA's next six games against Colorado, St. Louis, and Vegas, it's definitely a gamble, but the Kings have been a massive surprise so maybe Grosenick will be the next guy to keep them afloat. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights: