Howdy, it's me, LackeyDrinksOnMe!! As much as we love hockey and fantasy hockey, we don’t always have time to catch all the games we want. Viz is a champion at giving an impression of the player situation league-wide, but my plan is to narrow in on a game or two a week to cover two teams from top to bottom. I’m going to watch a game or two each week and will take a deep dive on each team, moving period by period Twitter-update style with a wrap-up and then following that stream of thought with a few league-wide notes. This works better with my schedule and will be something I’ll be able to continue into the spring when things start getting crazy at work. Hopefully doing this gives my fellow Razzball readers a good impression of what some games are like, even if you have no interest in viewing them yourself, and depending on the depth of your league I hope this can provide some useful insights. I’m watching the opening NHL game tonight, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens. I’m looking specifically for how Auston Matthews and John Tavares are used, how the defense in front of Frederik Anderson stacks up, how Montreal handles any power-play opportunities they are given, and how Carey Price looks in goal after a shaky campaign last year.
Hey, everyone. It’s been a busy couple weeks for me, with work at its most intense and a recent bout of the flu. I hope you are all securing playoff positions and building potent lineups for a championship push- for many, these next few weeks are critical. Advice comes in many shapes and forms, but here’s my extended-streamer column for the week of 2/12.
This is year three of me writing daily notes for Razzball, and at this point, I don't think it provides a ton of value for me to write the intro paragraph on superstars. That said, four goal games are a different animal. Connor McDavid crushed the best team in the NHL on Monday, scoring a whopping four goals on nine shots and adding an assist in the 6-2 win over the Lightning. We know McDavid is as good as it gets and he's the best player in fantasy for the foreseeable future. This is just a reminder about how good he is (let's not take him for granted) and how bad of a job Peter Chiarelli has done as a GM that McDavid isn't going to be in the playoffs this season. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Am I shocked at how well the Jets are doing? No. Reid and I talked about the Jets' ceiling on the Central Division podcast and we said that second place is certainly within the realm of possibility (I guess we sold them a little short, first is in play). Long term readers know how much I love Connor Hellebuyck. The only reason I was scared off a bit for redrafts is that Kevin Cheveldayoff said that Steve Mason would be their starter to open the season. Well, Mason was lit up in his first game as a Jet and the rest is history. Hellebuyck continued his outstanding breakout season over the weekend, saving 30 of 31 shots in the 2-1 SO win over the Flames on Saturday, then a 29 save shutout in the 1-0 win against the Canucks on Sunday. Hellebuyck is currently the #2 goalie on the season, and while there's a chance he falls off a little bit (I'm certain he'll finish as a #1G), I think he's solidified himself as the #2 goalie in dynasty leagues. The Jets are going to be really good for a long time and Hellebuyck will be a big reason and also a beneficiary of the talent around him. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Hey, everyone. This is being written before my Buffalo Bills face the Jacksonville Jaguars in the playoffs. I’m predicting 17-14 Bills. As you might know by now, my managing style and what I discuss in my advice column is maximizing games played and putting more skaters on the ice that your opponent. I use data pulled from my own league as well as the two RCL’s to give this idea some supporting data, so let’s hop to it. Using the Active Stats tabs from my most competitive league as well as the two RCL’s, I’ve compiled a table of every matchup we’ve played this year (I finally added weeks 11-13 to my master sheet!) Out of 580 data points, managers who have played ten or more skaters (as of the end of week 13) than their opponents are 65-5-6. 65 wins, 5 losses, 6 ties. Even 5 more players on-ice than your opponent moves your meter considerably closer to the Wins column (from a coin-flip to winning 62% of the time). Yes, some teams might have better players, or might put up more points (G+A), but nothing correlates more accurately to a Win than the difference of games played between teams. Points, goalie starts, you name it… the bottom line is, you want to put more decent skaters on the ice per week than your opponent, and wins will follow.
After another recording issue when we recorded on Wednesday, we're finally back! Reid joins me to run down all of the injuries around the NHL. While this is happening, a trade happens! We give you our instant analysis to the trade between the Anaheim Ducks and New Jersey Devils involving Sami Vatanen and Adam Henrique. After that, we discuss the first line for Vegas doing extremely well, the return of Carey Price, and some players who have performed admirably to start the season but haven't received the credit they deserve. To close things, we make Three Point Challenge picks. Be sure to make your picks in the comments section below. All of that and more in the latest edition of The Razzball Hockey Podcast!
We've gone without daily notes for five days due to Razzball crashing for a short period of time. The good news is that the problem is fixed and that we are backed! I'm not going to go through every single game over the past five days because at this point, some of it would be outdated. I'm going to go through each team in the league and write a little bit about each of them. Let's get right to it!
I was all in on the Tampa Bay Lightning again this year picking them to make the Stanley Cup Finals. Obviously they don't crown champions 3 weeks into the season but Tampa has started off incredibly well. They've had some depth players step up but at the end of the day, their studs have been incredible. The top two players in points in the NHL by a wide margin are both Lightning players with Steven Stamkos. Tampa Bay blitzed Pittsburgh 7-1 on Saturday and Stamkos led the way with a goal, three assists and four shots on goal. That gives Stamkos a whopping 17 points (3+14) in 9 games. Stamkos was a player who consistently dropped in my drafts into the third round and while it's too early to celebrate given Stamkos' injury, it's been the dream start. Fingers crossed that he stays healthy because Stammer could be a top 10, maybe even top 5 player. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
The first home game for the Vegas Golden Knights couldn't have started any better. After an amazing pre-game ceremony, Vegas stormed out to four goals in the first period en route to winning 5-2 against the Coyotes. Here we are with Vegas sitting at 3-0. So do we have to change our expectations for the team? I'll talk about it extensively with Reid tomorrow but I still believe they'll be at the bottom of the league come April. That said, what an amazing start for a team in the wake of tragedy. For fantasy, I think there's three guys I would own right now in standard 12'ers: Marc-Andre Fleury, James Neal and Nate Schmidt. There is still some downside for all of them but in the moment, just enjoy the ride. I can't wait to be there next week to see a game in Vegas. Let's take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:
All everyone talked about in the preseason was wondering how bad Vegas was going to be in their expansion year. Sure, it's only two games, but boy did they have some excitement. On Friday, Dallas was dominating Vegas in their franchise opener but was only up 1-0 in the third. Down goes Ben Bishop which opened up the door for James Neal to give the people of Las Vegas some relief in an awful time. Neal scored two goals in the third period to propel the Golden Knights to victory. To top off the weekend, Neal scored another goal, this time the game winner in overtime, to give Vegas two wins to start the season. Neal is still available in over 40% of leagues and if you are in one of them, grab him. The shot rate is going to be elite along with solid penalty minutes and goals. At least for now, I'm not overly concerned about the top guys on Vegas having bad plus-minuses either. Let's take a look at what else happened in the first (long) weekend of the NHL season: