The Penguins have been on quite a tear lately, and it's not just their All-Stars. Over the weekend, Jake Guentzel destroyed the Ducks and Kings. In the Penguins comeback against the Ducks, Guentzel had a hat trick on seven shots with two penalty minutes, before scoring two more goals on six shots against the Kings. That brings Guentzel to 23 goals, which is already a career high. The shot rate has taken a big jump as well, although we can't expect him to shoot 19% all season. Regardless, Guentzel has settled into being a top 100 player who is a clear hold in all formats. As long as he continues to play with Crosby, things will be just fine. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
It was quite the weekend for last season's Calder Trophy winner. Mathew Barzal entered Friday's game against the Senators with five goals on the season, and he matched that in two games. Barzal scored two goals and an assist against the Senators before scoring a hat trick against the Maple Leafs on Saturday. That brings Barzal up to 10+25 in 37 games with solid PIM and an improved shot rate. He's still only 21 years old so clearly the best is to come. For the rest of this season, I think he's just inside the top 50 now that his shot rate isn't far from average. If he can eventually get that up towards three a game, it's game over. Barzal has top 20 player upside down the line; hopefully the Isles get some more talent around him. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
It wasn't that long ago that people were talking about a Stanley Cup hangover for the Capitals. Now, the defending champs have won 10 out of 12 on the backs of their captain, Alex Ovechkin. Ovechkin recorded the 21st hat trick of his career on Tuesday extending his league lead in goals. He now has 25 goals and 14 assists in only 30 games this season to go along with 116 shots. That means he's below four shots per game, a rarity for The Great Eight, but still an elite rate. Sure, his shooting percentage is going to drop a bit, but there's no reason at all to expect a regression. I've seen a few articles on other sites that say you should sell high on Ovechkin, and I'd have to disagree. He gets drafted in the first round for his incredibly high floor, and nothing has changed to reduce that floor. Let the good times roll and enjoy what should be his eighth 50 goal season of his career. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It's nothing new when Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler have big games, and both managed to do so twice this weekend. In Friday's 5-2 win over the Avalanche, Wheeler registered a point on all five goals, going 1+4, while Scheifele scored a goal and two assists with three shots. They followed that up with Wheeler getting two more assists and Scheifele posting a 2+1 game. Wheeler already has 20 assists in 16 games to go with 19 PIM and 3 goals, while Scheifele is up to 9+10 with 20 PIM. Wheeler was a borderline first round pick that I had ranked as a high second rounder, while Scheifele was more 2nd/3rd range. With his shot rate at exactly 2.5 per game right now, that solidifies him as a second round value. Remember when ESPN had him ranked in the 60s? Hilarious. These two should continue to put up points no matter the opposition. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
We're finally shifting gears after going through 100 forwards for this upcoming season. The focus now moves to the blue line, where we will start with the top 20 defensemen. There's been a big improvement over the last few years giving us additional quality options to fill our roster. Let's get right to it!
Hi, everyone! Lackeydrinksonme here. This is my second 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 can't avoid using 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.
Here is what I wrote about J.T. Miller in Tuesday's post: "J.T. Miller is getting huge minutes in Tampa and has six points in six games for the Bolts. The shot rate is rough, but Miller should be held despite that. Everything else should be a clear plus and nothing is better than playing for Tampa. Miller was on the fringe for the Rangers so this move is enough to move him to a hold." And that's me quoting me! Well, Miller exploded on Tuesday night, scoring his first career hat trick and putting ten shots on goal. He played over 20 minutes, including on the top power play unit. Long story short, if you had any doubt about whether Miller should be held, this game should eliminate that. Pick the man up because he can be a huge difference maker down the stretch. Let's take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:
Yes, I know Ondrej Kase's name is pronounced like case, but let me be punny, will you!? I dug back into the Razzball Hockey archives to find what I first wrote about Kase. And by dug into the archives, I mean I used the simple search bar at the top. The first time I wrote about him was early last season in 2016. "I’ve been impressed with his play and while it’s not enough for now, Kase’s an intriguing dynasty option in deep leagues." And that's me quoting me copying what Grey does! Go check out the baseball side of Razzball and sign up for an RCL. Anyways, a month later, I said Kase has shown enough long-term upside that he should be on the radar moving forward. Well, the seventh round pick is breaking out before our eyes. Kase scored a goal and two assists with three shots in the 3-2 win over the Blackhawks on Thursday, giving him 16 goals and 14 assists on the season, along with a +17 rating in 43 games. It's not all great; the PIM are non-existent and the minutes are quite low at the moment (despite the big game, Kase played only 12:13). Regardless, the 22 year old is already a solid third liner for the Ducks and there could be a bit more here long term. His minutes keep him from being a hold in 12'ers, but I'm definitely streaming him. The hits are awful this season which hurts in deep leagues, but they were fine last season so I think it's a bit of an anomaly. Kase has already exceeded expectations as a 7th round pick, but I think he can turn into a solid 50-60 point player for those of you in dynasties. Let's take a look at what others did around the NHL the last two nights:
The way young players have stormed the league in recent seasons, people just assume Sam Reinhart won't get much better and be a bust. If Reinhart wasn't the second overall pick, he'd be impressing everyone with his improvement. While I don't think he'll ever be a true superstar, I'm still a big fan of Reinhart going forward. Reinhart was on the ice for all four Sabres goals on Thursday, scoring a goal and two assists with two shots in the win over the Islanders. That puts Reinhart at 15 points in his past 16 games making him an elite streamer at the moment. For those in dynasties, Reinhart should develop into a top 100 player eventually but towards the bottom end. He'll be a beast in real life, but the lack of PIM will keep his value down. For those in redrafts, use him while he's hot. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
After a massive breakout in which he scored 72 points in 77 games and Tampa Bay made the Cup Finals in 2014-15, everyone expected Tyler Johnson to push his way into superstardom. Then he struggled massively in 2015-16 scoring 38 points in 69 not-so-nice games. "It's okay, he'll bounce back!" Kind of, but 45 points in 66 games wasn't necessarily what people hoped. "Write him off, that was a fluke!" Nope, Johnson is back on track. Johnson scored a hat trick on Tuesday putting six shots on goal in the 5-4 win over Carolina. He now has 16 goals and 18 assists in 42 games with a +11 rating. The shot rate on the whole doesn't look great, but Johnson has 33 shots on goal in his past 9 games, in which he has 8 goals. The player that was tied for the team lead in points during the regular season and led a Cup finalist in points in the playoffs looks to be back. If he is, Tampa is going to be even more unstoppable. Johnson is available in around 25% of leagues and if you're lucky enough to be in, grab him immediately. If you own him, props for grabbing him and don't look to sell high because we know the upside. Let's take a look at what else happened the last two nights: