We're very close to the All-Star break with most teams starting their extended break on Sunday. If you look at defensemen production, specifically in goals, you see notable names at the top. Dahlin leads defensemen in goals, and then there's a four way tie behind him with notables like Makar and Hughes. None of that is a surprise. Weegar is one of those tied with Makar and Hughes, which is very surprising, but he went into the season locked into a big role, so let's assume he had some good fortune. But Thomas Harley? He's a player I really liked in dynasties, but to be one goal off the league lead for defensemen? Not even close to my radar. Harley scored two goals on Saturday, including the overtime winner for a second straight game, in the 5-4 win over the Capitals. That gives Harley a whopping 12 goals in 46 games. "Even with Heiskanen back, Harley was a factor. I’m still holding Harley even though I wasn’t expecting to when Heiskanen came back. He’s been that good for the Stars." And that's me quoting me from three days ago copying what Grey does! Somehow, Harley is still available in almost two-thirds of fantasy leagues. With the pool of defensemen dropping off hard at the bottom, Harley should be owned in all formats. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
There's nothing else that T.J. Oshie has to prove on the ice. He's won the Stanley Cup and was one of the best players on his team. He became an Olympic hero for his performance in 2014. Oshie is about to play in his 1000th NHL game. This season has been a struggle for Oshie, but he's really turned it around lately, culminating in his best game of the season. Against his old team, Oshie scored a hat trick on five shots. This isn't just a little blip on the radar either. Oshie has a point in six of his last seven games, and the very encouraging thing is his shot rate has been excellent. Even at his peak, he was never a plus in shot rate, but in his last nine games, Oshie has 30 SOG. It's an even better rate if we go to a shorter sample. He's found chemistry with Patches and Strome, and the Capitals surprisingly continue to hang around the playoff picture. While he's playing this well, Oshie is in elite streamer territory. The schedule is about to get very difficult, but they do get another game with St. Louis before that happens. Let's take a look at what else happened the last two nights:
Before we start, I just wanted to highlight two posts that came out on Monday much later than scheduled because of technical difficulties with the website. Jules' weekly streaming post can be read here, while I also updated my hold/stream list. Now back to the scheduled daily notes... It looks worse because of their record, but in reality, Carolina is playing very close to the same level as last season. The difference is that their goaltending has been dreadful for the better part of three months, and that's from all three goalies. Thankfully, when they needed it most as Andersen was out with blood clots and Raanta completely lost his game, Pyotr Kochetkov has rounded back into form. On Tuesday, Kochetkov saved 28 of 29 shots in the Carolina 6-1 win over the Rangers. Going back to Kochetkov's last ten starts, he's allowed only one goal five times, and has only one game allowing more than three. Kochetkov has a 2.00 GAA in that stretch so it's no surprise to see Carolina back in second place in the division. There's a very reasonable chance they finish atop the division again. Kochetkov is still owned in less than 50% of leagues, and that doesn't make any sense to me. He's a top five goalie for the last month and should be owned in all leagues. Let's take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:
It wouldn't be this Buffalo Sabres season if they didn't blow out an elite team after getting buried by a bottom feeder. The Sabres beat Toronto 9-3 on Thursday, becoming the first team in 40 years to score 9 goals in a game after conceding 9 in their previous game. Does this change my opinion on anyone on the Sabres? No, not really, they're just going to be an up and down team. The one notable thing is that Jack Quinn scored a goal on three shots with four PIM in his second game of the season. Quinn had a solid rookie season but suffered an Achilles injury in the offseason, setting back his sophomore season. It's encouraging that even with a fully healthy lineup, Quinn's line was getting plenty of usage. He's a middling streamer for now, but there's upside to an elite streamer this season, while Quinn has clear potential to be a permanent hold for years in dynasties. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Hello everyone. Welcome to the sixth edition of JOT This Down! Thank you to everyone who provided feedback in volume five. I appreciate it. Keep the questions, comments, and concerns coming. I’ll be here all week to answer any and everything you may have.
Even for Nikita Kucherov, the start to this season is on another level. Kucherov scored two goals and two assists with five shots and two PIM against the Maple Leafs, and then followed it up with a goal and an assist with six shots against the Canadiens. That brings Kucherov to 10+12 in 13 games, including 11 in the last three games. He also has 5+ shots in the last five games, and seven of the last nine. This game pushes him past Pettersson for the league lead in points. The top guys on Tampa look so much better, and I can't help but think that being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs helped them for this season. So many long playoff runs for the Lightning that a real offseason had to do them wonders. We can't expect this level, but Kucherov looks poised to give his 128 points from his Hart Trophy season a run for his money. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Hello everyone. Welcome to the fourth edition of JOT This Down! Thank you to everyone who provided feedback in volume three. I appreciate it. Keep the questions, comments, and concerns coming. I’ll be here all week to answer any and everything you may have.
It was quite the low scoring day on Thursday, with eight of the eleven games going under their betting total, two of which needed overtime to do so, plus there was a miracle in Boston (more on that later). There were four shutouts on the night, all of which were quite surprising. I'll go in chronological order. The Avalanche were undefeated on the season, so naturally Tristan Jarry shut them out, making 31 saves. Jarry now has two shutouts, two dreadful starts, and one mediocre start. He's one of the highest variance goalies around. I'm lower on him than most, but I acknowledge that he could be a bottom end #1. Next, Jonas Johansson had his second consecutive shutout, making 23 saves against the Sharks. He's clearly must own for now, although like Jarry, the downside is undeniable. Joel Hofer shutout the Flames, making 27 saves. I was high on him because I don't believe in Binnington. Both have been off to a hot start, but I'm skeptical of the Blues being good defensively. I'm bullish in Hofer for dynasties, but in redrafts, he's a selective streamer with upside. Lastly, Jonathan Quick shut out the Oilers, making 29 saves. He made a couple spectacular saves, but color me skeptical. I think this says more about the Oilers without McJesus than anything. Quick is a reasonable streamer in plus matchups for now, but know that it could blow up in your face. Let's see what else happened on Wednesday and Thursday night:
You guys know I like to start my posts about players who could be available in a large percentage of leagues that you can target on the waiver wire. After all, being aggressive at the bottom of your roster is a huge factor in fantasy hockey. However, sometimes a player has a weekend so good that you have to give him his due. This time, that player is Auston Matthews. Matthews scored three goals on Saturday, recording his second hat trick in as many games. Look, everybody knows the upside. We're talking about a guy who scored 60 goals two seasons ago on his way to the Hart trophy. He's obviously in that tier right behind McDavid, and the only reason I had him towards the bottom of the tier is that he tends to miss 10-15 games a season. If Matthews can play 75+ games, a repeat of 60 goals is well within reason. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
We’re keeping it moving with my fantasy hockey rankings today with my defensemen rankings. My plan is to do two posts of tiers, with another post at the end of guys I like as lottery tickets for your last couple picks. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Even with Columbus up 4-0 halfway through the game, it never felt remotely close to over. In the span of the first four minutes of the third period, the Penguins turned a 4-1 deficit into a 4-4 battle. A careless overtime penalty set the stage for Sidney Crosby to score the overtime game winner to complete the comeback. Crosby had a goal and two assists with four shots in the win, setting up a game on Thursday with the Islanders for the first wild card spot. While he's not at his peak anymore, Crosby still has a chance for 100 points again. You don't need me to tell you how good Crosby is, but where he'll rank going into next season is an interesting debate. My guess is that it's somewhere around 20th overall, a clear second rounder in drafts, but perhaps it's a few spots above that. Even at 36, he's given us no reason to expect him to slow down. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
The rich keep getting richer. The Boston Bruins acquired Dmitry Orlov and Garnet Hathaway from the Capitals on Thursday, sending draft picks and Craig Smith to Washington, and a pick to the Wild for retaining salary. I think this trade is far more interesting from the Washington perspective. They couldn't agree to a contract with Orlov, with the dispute being over the term of his next deal. Until a few days ago, it seemed farfetched that they would weaken their team for this season, but I actually think it's a smart move. Even if they snuck into the playoffs, they weren't going anywhere. They gained some additional ammo that they can flip in the offseason to make a push again next season. They have a lot of additional pending UFA's that could be on the way out, so it's hard to figure out who will be there in a week to benefit from this move. My guess is Trevor van Riemsdyk takes Orlov's spot on PP2, but he's also a UFA making 950k so he's a logical target for a lot of teams at that price, so he could be on the move too. Smith should crack the lineup, but I'm not expecting much at all. He's off the radar until we see him play. As for Boston, Orlov won't be getting PP time there with Lindholm holding down PP2, so he takes a slight hit to his value. The Bruins are so good that Orlov should stumble into enough points to be valuable in deeper leagues, but we're talking 14+ teams. Hathaway should do what he usually does, and that is pile up a bunch of hits and PIM with an okay goal rate for a fourth liner. All in all, this trade impacts real life more than fantasy. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights: