The Devils have built arguably the best young core in the league. There's a lot of talk about Hughes and Hischier leading the way now, with Nemec and L. Hughes on the way. There's Meier and Bratt also playing a huge role. However, there's another former first round pick making a huge charge in his sophomore season. Dawson Mercer scored a hat trick on Tuesday in the 5-1 win over the Penguins. I had to do a double check because I did not realize this, but Mercer now has 27 goals on the season. I knew he was having a good year, but man, that's a huge jump for the 21 year old. Mercer is a natural center, but with the two former #1 picks in the fold, there's no reason to put Mercer on the third line right now. He's thriving on Hischier's wing, and is definitely worth a middle to late round pick in drafts next season. I'm not sure how much better it will get other than a potential increase in ice time because his skating is below NHL average, but his playmaking in traffic is so good and his compete level is so high that incremental increases help a lot to get into the 70 point range. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
In a Pacific Division battle on Thursday, Stuart Skinner stole the show. Against the Kings, Skinner saved all 43 shots he faced in the 2-0 win. We all know about the firepower the Oilers possess, but they made the conference finals last season in large part because of Mike Smith getting hot as he was known to do. The Oilers replaced him with Campbell, but that has been an epic disaster. Skinner has established himself as the clear #1 and will be going into the playoffs. His numbers are that of a #2 in fantasy, and while I do like the 24 year old long term, I don't really see upside past that unless the Oilers completely revamp their defense. That said, for the Oilers to get on a run, they'll need solid goaltending, and Skinner has shown that he's capable of that. He's the goalie of the future and more importantly, the present. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Apologies to all of you DFS faithful for the absence last week! Mrs. MarmosDad had an unfortunate mishap at work and ended up at the hospital, so your fearless “penner of puckmovers” ended up much busier than expected. But, fret not! I’m back again today to get us all set up to cash in some Classic NHL lineups on a much fuller main slate than we’ve had for a few weeks. (And if you're worried, I'm glad to report that the Mrs. still has 9 1/2 fingers in tact).
With a shout out to the Beastie Boys and their best album (although this is like picking the best chocolate bar, they're all pretty awesome), Check Your Head, we’re going with Vitek Vanecek, G (DK: $8,400) on the road as our lede today. Vanecek heads to Montreal with the Devils for this one and brings a 27-7-3 record with him. The 2.55 GAA and .907 SV% are pretty impressive on the surface, but some might be quick to point out that Vanecek is just 4-2 in his last 6 games, with one of those losses at home against these same Habs. He’s put up a 3.67 GAA over that last half a dozen, but with the Devils reinforcements at the deadline and the Habs mired in a 5 game losing skid, I think it’s a safe bet to play him on the road tonight.
I've never seen an organization do more to sabotage their own team and coach as the Canucks have over the last six weeks. They've been openly interviewing coaches for two months while Boudreau was still employed. It was already reported that Rick Tocchet was going to take over the Canucks before the Canucks played on Saturday night. It was highly emotional for the fans, players, and coaches, as Zach Hyman had a goal and three assists with five shots to lead Edmonton to a 4-2 win over the Canucks in Boudreau's last game. He was 50-40-13 in his Vancouver, a 90 point pace per 82 games, much better than it should be with their roster. Boudreau is one of the best coaches of the last 20 years, and I hope he gets another chance. Fantasy wise, Tocchet steps in and well, he was really bad when he coached the Lightning and Coyotes. His only playoff appearance was in the bubble because of an expanded playoffs. The schedule does lighten up quite a bit for the Canucks in the short term, which obviously helps. The distraction of the entire situation being gone also helps, but at the same time, they're going to trade Horvat sooner than later, and this could end up a slight negative for the value of their players. If anything, I lean neutral to their values, but I really don't like the way things are trending in Vancouver. Shame on Aquilini and Rutherford for handling this situation as poorly as possible. As for the Oilers, they're on fire finally starting to solidify their playoff positioning being carried by their superstars. The big thing I would say is never panic about their lines, Hyman and RNH will score plenty regardless, and will end up taking extra shifts with McDavid and Draisaitl anyways. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
This Nashville Predators team plays nothing like the style we've come to expect from them over the years. They're hemorrhaging chances left and right, especially against top competition. So needless to say, it was always going to be difficult for them to get a result in Carolina. Luckily for them, they have Juuse Saros. Saros had the second most saves in a non-OT game in NHL history on Thursday saving 64(!) shots in the 5-3 win over the Hurricanes. I bet over 30.5 saves for Saros, can I get paid double for him going over twice? Ha! It's going to be hard for Saros to improve in GAA considering the team in front of him, but he's been playing much better lately to the point where the save percentage should be an elite asset once again. Saros is still a #1 fantasy goalie, both for this season and in dynasties. Amazingly, despite making his debut seven seasons ago, he's still only 27 years old. Let's take a look at what else happened the last two nights:
One of the goaltending performances of the season came in the marquee showdown on Tuesday. Toronto sure didn't make it easy on Matt Murray, taking seven penalties, but Murray stood up to the challenge and then some. Murray had a 44 save shutout, leading Toronto to a 4-0 victory. I thought the Toronto goaltending would be rough this season, but Murray has been very good when on the ice. Same goes with Ilya Samsonov. It could fall apart just like it did for Campbell last season, but the reason I liked these guys as #2 goalies is their floor is so high because of wins. When Toronto gets this level of goaltending, it's extremely hard to beat them. Here's to hoping Murray can stay healthy because he could be a big difference maker in fantasy. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
The Jets have been excellent to open the season, but that hasn't stopped them from tweaking things to get better. On Friday, we saw Bowness go back to last season's duo of Pierre-Luc Dubois and Kyle Connor together, something I've been clamoring for. They notched one goal on Friday by Connor from Dubois, but they went off against Chicago on Sunday. Dubois had two goals on eight shots, while Connor had a goal and two assists with two shots. I've been saying it was a matter of time for Connor to get going, and I think that time is now. He's too talented to not pile up goals. Dubois has been quite good across the board so far this season, but career highs are now in play. The shot rate is fantastic, the PIM are strong, and he's playing at a 40 goal pace. It sucks that they're missing Ehlers indefinitely so they don't have a great second winger, but even still, look for these guys to improve their even strength performance while remaining great on the power play. Let's see what else happened over the weekend:
I had a Nashville Predator lede all set to go for you today, but apparently Bridgestone Arena is under more liquid than the pile of mashed potatoes you assaulted with that steaming gravy boat at your Thanksgiving dinner table. Never fear, MarmosDad is here with a quick pivot to another winger for you today. After looking through our names, I noticed a bit of a pattern. There were quite a few guys with the name "...son", so I give you the "-Sons" Of Thanksgiving Anarchy.
Remember when the Devils fans were chanting "Fire Lindy" two games into the season? My, how the tides have turned. The Devils have won 13 of 14 since, including 10 in a row. The most recent win was 5-1 against the Canadiens on Tuesday with their star players leading the way. Jack Hughes scored twice on seven shots and added an assist in the victory. Hughes now has multiple points in six of his last ten games, and is pushing 4.5 shots on goal per game. Even with a lack of penalty minutes, that's enough to be the top 20 player that I ranked him as before the season. The future is incredibly bright in New Jersey with two elite defensemen prospects coming to support the excellent foundation in place. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
This is one that the Bruins fans have been waiting a long time for. The Return of the Mack may not be a favorite tune for many of you, but the return of Charlie McAvoy, (DK: $5,200) should be an exciting time for anyone that’s been for a stroll through the pahk on a Satahday aftahnoon! With a game winner in his first game back on Thursday night, he’s a great bet to put up some FPTS in Buffalo tonight.
As far as the format for today goes, I’ve been thinking about this one for a few weeks and decided to give it a go. At the risk of showing my age, I used to play NHL ‘95 on the Sega Genesis pretty religiously when I was younger and was thinking about how the ratings and skill levels of certain players would match up to today’s version of the game…a solid 25+ years later. Maybe it was because we didn’t have the internet back then, but I remember thinking how cool it was that the 1995 version of the game had a complete roster page that included every player on every team in the league.
In terms of expected goals and puck possession, the Devils have been the best team in October, bar none. They've been absolutely dominant and earned every single bit of their 6-3 record. Their most impressive win came on Friday beating the Avalanche 1-0, and they followed that up with a complete demolition of Columbus, 7-1. The common denominator? Vitek Vanecek started both of these games. Vanecek saved all 24 shots from Colorado before saving 20 of 21 shots from the Blue Jackets. We're looking at a time share in New Jersey, but Vanecek appears to have grabbed the upper hand for now. Before the season, I had little interest in either of their goalies. Now, with how well they're playing, both could be owned in 12'ers, but Vanecek definitely has to be. Ride the hot hand while you can. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Today, I'm going to complete my goaltending rankings with tiers 5-8. If you draft one of these guys as your #2 goalie, you're carrying a bit of risk that they could implode. There are guys in tiers 5-7 that have upside, whether it's needing an injury to the other goalie on the team, or being the #1 on a team with a lot of variance. Let's get to it!