Sure, it's on the basis of playing two more games than Washington, but the Islanders in first place in late March is a truly remarkable feat. Yes, they did make the Conference Finals last season, but in this division, they were not expected to contend for first place. Goaltending is going a long way for their success, and their future is starting to become more of the present. Ilya Sorokin saved 36 of 37 shots in the 2-1 OT win over the Flyers on Monday night. That brings Sorokin to 8 wins in 11 games with a 1.97/.922 stat line. That's elite right off the bat for the rookie which has led Sorokin to starting four games over the past two weeks. Semyon Varlamov's numbers and Sorokin's are nearly identical and for now, Trotz seems content to split between the two of them. Long term, Sorokin is one of the best goalies for fantasy hockey, granted he's a 25 year old rookie. That said, he's playing enough right now that I would own Sorokin in all formats. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Going into the season, I was high on Aaron Ekblad because the reports out of Florida were that Yandle was going to get scratched to open the season and his future was in doubt. One bout of COVID later, and Yandle was in opening night and scored. For the bad luck I've had on rankings this year
, Yandle has not impacted Ekblad one bit. Ekblad had hit a bit of a rough patch over the last week, but he fixed that in a big way on Thursday. Ekblad scored two goals and added two assists with six shots in the 5-4 win over the Predators. That brings Ekblad to 8+7 in 22 games, an incredible rate of goals for a defenseman. Add in three shots per game and strong PIM, and Ekblad has a chance at finishing as a #2D this season. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Nothing helps getting your season back on track like playing against the Buffalo Sabres. Carter Hart has had a really rough go of it in the opening month of the season, but on Sunday, he looked to turn it around in Buffalo. You'd think that after the Sabres were shutout 3-0 on Saturday that they would come out firing on Sunday. Nope. Hart stopped all 28 shots he faced, most of the routine variety, to beat the Sabres 3-0. Brian Elliott only needed to make 23 saves on Saturday as the Sabres are in complete disarray. As I always say, goalies are voodoo, but I'd be stunned if Hart doesn't make a jump towards being a #1 fantasy goalie again. If you can buy low on Hart, I would try to do so. The fact that the Flyers are 11-4-3 despite Hart's horrible start shows you what kind of upside the team has. Elliott should be streamed every time he starts as his save percentage is over .930 in his eight games. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Nino Niederreiter's first season in Carolina couldn't have gone any better with 14+16 in 36 games. Last season really couldn't have gone worse with 11+18 in 67 games. Well, this year has certainly been closer to 2018-19 and we can be thankful for that in fantasy. Niederreiter scored two goals and an assist with three shots on Friday before dishing an assist on Saturday, adding six shots. That brings Nino to 9+3 in 16 games with over three shots per game, 13 PIM, and a great +11 rating. The second line in Carolina has been incredible, sparked by Niederreiter and Trocheck's revival. He's an easy hold in all formats for the time being. I wish that the minutes were a bit higher, but considering what Nino is doing with what he's getting, there can be some growth with additional minutes, namely in the assist department. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
If you just looked at the boxscore from Wednesday night, you'd see Jesse Puljujarvi scored a goal. Nothing exciting there. However, the big news is that he spent the entire game on the first power play unit. The person in that spot has changed throughout the season. Neal, Chiasson, Yamamoto, and now Puljujarvi have all had the opportunity. It's also notable that with 3 minutes left, the Oilers went on the power play up one. Nurse was out there to be safe having two defensemen out there, but it wasn't Puljujarvi who lost his spot, it was RNH. With Puljujarvi locked into that spot for the time being, he gets bumped up to elite streamer status. With five points in the past six games, things are starting to look up for the former fourth overall pick. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
The first draft pick in the franchise history of the Golden Knights, Cody Glass is starting to come into his own. On Friday, Glass scored a goal on four shots before falling it up with an assist and two shots on Sunday. With Pietrangelo out for the time being, Glass has been on the point of the first power play unit and looked extremely comfortable. He has a point in four of his five games and while I'm not looking to hold him, Glass is up to being a solid streamer. Long term, there's tremendous upside but with how loaded Vegas is right now, Glass' ceiling is a bit capped. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
We're moving to the last part of my rankings before my top 200 list today with the second part of the forward rankings. You can read part one here. I'm going to go about this part of the rankings a bit different than usual. I'm going to do a "best of the rest" section to start off, then I'm going to break down the rest of the forwards into three categories: safe, upside, and specialists. Once you get through the "best of the rest" forwards, we'll be well past the top 100 overall, so at that point in the draft, you need to be targeting what you need. Therefore, following a strict rankings list wouldn't really be the best thing you could do for your team. Obviously ask any questions you have in the comments section, but I suspect that this help quite a bit in the later parts of drafts as a supplement to my top 200 list. Let's get to it!
We're back for part two of the Playoff Manifesto. For those that didn't read Part One, you can read that here. Today, we will cover the Western Conference. To see the template of which I'm working with, check out the details in the Eastern Conference post. For this one, let's get right to it! ST. LOUIS BLUES: 4, 3, 3, 3 This is pretty much the worst streaming schedule possible. There are only three teams that don't have a back-to-back over the last four weeks. We'll get to them later in this post, but at least their games are more bunched together with a 4,3,4 in the first three weeks for both. They're every other night the first two weeks, then have two days off in the middle of the third week, before finishing every other day. Honestly, there's not much to say here. Thirteen games is average so hold the usuals, and don't stream Blues.
Poor Ottawa. The Penguins were coming off six straight losses before Tuesday night and it wasn't hard to imagine them destroying the Senators. They did just that scoring seven goals. So what can we take away from this game? Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are good! Oh, you meant besides the obvious. Well, Bryan Rust had a hat trick after only two goals in the previous thirteen games. This eliminates any doubt about Rust being a hold. Jason Zucker had a goal and two assists with three shots. He has ten points in the last ten games so yeah, he's an easy hold too as expected after his trade to the Steel City. Conor Sheary also had a goal and an assist with two shots and two PIM. I wrote during the Trade Deadline post that I don't believe in Sheary despite the move. Honestly, I still don't, but getting to play with Crosby and Zucker right now just has to put him into the streaming realm. The power play time will be minimal so it's mostly for deep leagues, but Sheary does have some relevance once again. Let's see what else happened over the last two nights:
At the time of his injury, Victor Olofsson was leading rookies in points. That's not to say that he was the Calder favorite because he certainly was not, but he was in the race, albeit in the third spot. Sadly he missed 15 games, but he picked up right where he left off. Olofsson scored two goals on Thursday, including the game winner, in the 4-3 OT win over the Blue Jackets. That gives him 18+19 in 43 games, a great season from my favorite preseason target for my last pick in drafts. Sure, the PIM are non-existent and the shot rate is slightly below average, but Olofsson has lived up to expectations. He's an old rookie at 24, but he should get a bit better going forward. His role as a PP1 sniper and top six winger is locked in going forward and his chemistry with Eichel is outstanding. If he was dropped in your league, grab him immediately. Let's take a look at what else happened on Thursday: