It’s not exactly breaking news that John Tavares moves the needle for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He showed why he was worth the mammoth contract on Sunday, scoring a hat trick on seven shots with two PIM in the 7-6 win over the Blackhawks. The main thing that I want to talk about here is Toronto in general. This offense is incredible, but they also remain a sieve defensively. I have a hard time treating them among the truly elite teams in the league until that is tightened up, at least somewhat. That’s why I picked them to finish third in the division again. But for us in fantasy, stream everyone you can for the Leafs, and against them for that matter. I’d have a hard time playing any goalie against them right now; it better be someone that’s damn good. They’re a fantasy gold mine on both sides. Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Sebastian Aho – Goal and an assist with two shots and two PIM. Aho has a point in every game this season; the move to center hasn’t slowed him down at all.
Michael Ferland – Goal and an assist with six shots. He’s playing on the top line, but not the whole time as he played only 13:34 in this one. I don’t mind him as a streamer as he’s produced on Calgary’s top line in the past, but he’s a middling option at best unless your league counts hits.
Curtis McElhinney – 31 saves on 32 shots in the 3-2 win over the Blue Jackets. He was claimed off waivers with Scott Darling out and he might be the best goalie on their roster. Petr Mrazek gave up 5 goals on 24 shots Sunday, so perhaps McElhinney gets another start Tuesday against the Canucks? That would be a prime streaming opportunity.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Assist with three shots. I think Vlasic is worth the spec add in a 10 team league or deeper. The minutes are through the roof with Karlsson and second PP time. There’s a pretty good chance he stumbles into enough points to be worth owning on the blue line.
Milan Lucic – Goal and an assist. He was with Connor McDavid (2A, 2 SOG) which makes him worth streaming. It failed plenty last year so I don’t expect Lucic to stick there.
Leon Draisaitl – Goal and an assist. Typical Oilers game, two points from McDavid and Draisaitl in a 5-2 loss. God, Chiarelli sucks.
Travis Zajac – Two goals on three shots. It’s going to take a lot more than this to care about Zajac again.
Kyle Palmieri – Two goals on three shots with two PIM. He should remain a bottom end hold all season with a little upside from there. Palmieri goes under the radar but manages to produce solid numbers consistently.
Miles Wood – Two assists with a shot. Not enough minutes for Wood to be fantasy relevant at the moment.
Carter Hutton – 43 saves on 44 shots in the 3-1 win over the Rangers. Hutton was outstanding in this game making plenty of big saves, including stopping a 3 on 0 break. Unless the Sabres change their plan, he’s not going to get big volume, but I believe that his numbers will be solid to strong.
Conor Sheary – Two goals on three shots. I would stream Sheary today and potentially hold him. He moved on to the top line with Jack Eichel (1+1, 4 SOG, 2 PIM) and the top power play unit. As a result, Sheary played almost 19 minutes. I suggested in the preseason that Sheary played with Eichel instead of Skinner, so I’m hoping that this sticks. Sheary is definitely worth the spec add.
Ben Bishop – 32 saves on 33 shots in the 5-1 win over the Jets. Near perfect start to the season for Bishop. I would not be surprised if we got a top 5 goalie season from Bishop this season.
Tyler Seguin – Two goals and two assists with eight shots. Jamie Benn scored two goals and an assist with six shots, while Alexander Radulov had a goal and two assists with two shots. Power play, even strength, didn’t matter, the Jets had no answer for the Stars top forwards. They’re an elite GPP option every time they take the ice.
Jason Spezza – Two assists with a shot. He’s still on the first power play unit which alone gives him streamer value. That’s all for now, but perhaps the coaching chance can spark Spezza back into a hold. I have my doubts at his age, but it’s not impossible.
Viktor Arvidsson – Two goals and two PIM. He was back on the first line that quickly. Either way, Arvidsson is going to produce, but obviously it’s a bonus to be playing with Forsberg and RyJo.
P.K. Subban – Two assists with two shots. Nice start to the year for Subban.
Josh Bailey – Two assists with a shot. I’d rather stream Bailey for the assists than hold him, because he does next to nothing else. That said, it’s not a bad decision to hold him.
Mathew Barzal – Goal and an assist. The offense is going to be great, but he was also on the ice for all four Nashville goals, resulting in finishing -3. That was my worry with Barzal this year; it’s a big jump up in competition without Tavares there.
Carey Price – 21 saves on 22 shots in the 5-1 win over Pittsburgh. In the first of two crazy results Saturday, Montreal just took Pittsburgh to school. They’ve had the better of the possession against Toronto and Pittsburgh this year, so maybe Montreal won’t be as bad as originally anticipated. Then again, it’s only two games and we need more time. Regardless, Price is good enough to carry them for stretches, so here’s to hoping he stays healthy.
Paul Byron – Two goals and an assist with three shots. Meh, seems like a hot schmotato to me that I don’t have much interest in using.
Jeff Petry – Two assists with a shot. The opportunity is there as he’s clearly the #1D on the team right now. The risk with Petry is the plus-minus so use him at your own peril.
Arturri Lehkonen – Two assists with a shot. I see Lehkonen as a bottom end streamer right now with the chance of improvement.
Roberto Luongo – 13 saves on 13 shots before leaving their opener with a lower body injury. If you need goaltending help, grab James Reimer (15 saves on 16 shots) right now. There’s no update on Luongo to this point and the good news for the team is they don’t play again until Thursday.
Andrei Vasilevskiy – 42 saves on 43 shots in the 2-1 SO win over the Panthers. My number one goalie started off the year with a bang. Start him every time out.
Thomas Chabot – Two goals and an assist with five shots. The plus-minus is a risk, but Chabot should be owned everywhere right now for the offensive upside. I want the minutes to go even higher than 21:31, and I suspect they will as the season progresses.
Zack Smith – Two assists with a shot. Despite being waived last week, Smith remains on the team and because Boucher likes him, the opportunity is there. I can see him getting back to streamer status so monitor the situation. Or I’ll monitor it and you come back and read my notes!
Morgan Rielly – Goal and an assist with five shots. The way Toronto is playing, Rielly has a great opportunity to become a #1 fantasy defenseman.
Auston Matthews – Goal and an assist with four shots. Teams have no answer for him right now. My prediction for 50 goals is looking pretty good early.
Mitch Marner – Goal and an assist with six shots. At least these guys managed to produce even though they lost to Ottawa. Marner can’t ask for a better spot with Tavares at even strength.
Jonathan Toews – Hat trick with two PIM. Toews has started out the season on fire, but if anything I’d look to sell high. He’s had these streaks before only to cool off quickly. The Blackhawks are playing wide open right now because Cam Ward is atrocious, and I expect them to tighten up when Crawford returns in the relatively near future.
Patrick Kane – Goal and an assist with seven shots and two PIM. Great start to the year for Kane, albeit against poor defensive teams.
Nick Schmaltz – Two assists with two shots. I’d rather stream him given the poor shots, but holding him is completely reasonable.
Alex DeBrincat – Two assists with four shots. He’s the reason Toews has a chance to have a great offensive season, but regardless of Toews, DeBrincat should score plenty. Here’s to hoping Q keeps giving him the minutes he deserves.
Henri Jokiharju – Two assists with two shots. Jokiharju is playing on the top pair to start the year, and it wouldn’t shock me if he eventually gets PP time. He’s worth the spec add if you need help on the blue line.
Ryan O’Reilly – Three assists with four shots and four PIM. That’s a season’s worth of penalty minutes for him! The top line has started off well with Patrick Maroon (2A, 3 SOG) and Vladimir Tarasenko (2G, 7 SOG). It’s clear that RoR is going to be a workhorse as he played over 22 minutes in this game. He could score a career high in points as long as he sticks with Tarasenko.
Marc-Andre Fleury – 29 saves on 30 shots in the 2-1 SO win over the Wild. Nice bounce back win for Fleury who was on the verge of being a tough luck loser.
Devan Dubnyk – 41 saves on 42 shots in the loss. Instead, that tough luck loser was Dubnyk, who was 1:31 away from a shutout. Despite not having a win in his first two starts, it’s encouraging to see Dubnyk start off strongly.
Erik Johnson – Three assists with seven shots on goal. He’s been a big shooter from the blue line, which alone gives him fantasy relevance. Johnson is an injury risk, but he’s worth owning in 12’ers.
Colin Wilson – Two goals. Wilson was seemingly the only Avalanche player to struggle last season. He was a solid streamer in Smashville before last season, so I think he can get back to that level this year with the Avs.
Alexander Kerfoot – Two assists with four shots. Everything comes down to the shot rate for Kerfoot. He was barely over one shot per game last season which made him virtually unusable. Fifty points is well within reason, so if the shot rate gets to 2+, we’re looking at a quality streamer.
Nathan MacKinnon – Goal and an assist with seven shots. Very MacKinnon-esque stat line. Dude’s an animal.
John Gibson – 41 save shutout in the 1-o win over the Coyotes. Another dominating performance by the Coyotes yet they were shutout again by an elite goalie. Gibson is as good as it gets in the league right now; it wouldn’t shock me if he finished as the #1 overall goalie. I don’t think it happens, but he’s so damn good.
Antti Raanta – 19 saves on 20 shots as the tough luck loser. I have faith in the Coyotes and Raanta, rightly or wrongly.
Elias Pettersson – Two goals and an assist with five shots and two PIM. There’s no doubt that this kid is going to score consistently at this level. I’m not all in for redrafts, but I am for dynasties.
Alex Edler – Two assists with three shots and seven blocks playing 27:47 and finishing -3. This perfectly encapsulates Edler. He’s elite in shots and blocks for a defenseman, he should produce with those kind of minutes, but the plus-minus could be dreadful.
Bo Horvat – Goal and an assist with two shots. Dr. Bo is ready to carve up the competition this year. Definite hold.
All the big guns for Calgary had multiple points in the 7-4 win over Vancouver. All of those guys are obviously holds. The important one to me is Elias Lindholm, who scored two goals and an assist with five shots playing almost 22 minutes. Game one was a disaster, but game two was great for Lindholm. He’s as good as it gets as far as streaming goes right now.
Carolina and the Rangers played an 8-5 slugfest. I’m not going to go through and list everyone who had a point or two, because the list is extremely long. The notables for me are:
Chris Kreider – Two goals on three shots with two PIM. These were his first goals, but Kreider has looked pretty good in the early going.
Tony DeAngelo – Two assists with two shots and four PIM. I want DeAngelo to play regularly because he’s had stretches of being relevant in the past. This is for super deep leagues only, but DeAngelo should be worth the flier.
Warren Foegele – Two goals and an assist. He’s playing on the second line, but the minutes aren’t as high as the other two (Williams and Staal). He’s worth monitoring.
Andrei Svechnikov – Goal and an assist with two shots. The minutes are really low right now, but I’m still holding to see how things develop.
Then there was another 13 goal game, as Toronto won 7-6 against Chicago. The highlights:
Kaspari Kapanen – Goal and an assist with seven shots. Kapanen moved onto Matthews’ wing and instantly produced. I would grab Kapanen now if you need forward help because if he sticks next to Matthews, the upside is tremendous.
Henri Jokiharju – Three assists with five shots. Grab him.
Dominik Kahun – Two assists with two shots. He’s playing with Toews and DeBrincat making Kahun a bottom end streamer.
Dennis Cholowski – Two assists with four shots. The 20 year old former first round pick is getting huge minutes right now. He’s another plus-minus risk, but Cholowski is a decent spec add, albeit behind Jokiharju.
Alex Iafallo – Two goals on three shots with two PIM. He’s playing on the top line right now making Iafallo an elite streamer.
Ilya Kovalchuk – Two assists with three shots. Good to see him back in the NHL putting up points.
Tyler Toffoli – Two assists with two shots. I see Toffoli as a middling streamer more than anything, although we’ve seen the upside in the past.
Jack Campbell – 36 saves on 38 shots in the 4-2 win over the Red Wings. Jonathan Quick was hurt in practice and was subsequently placed on IR. We don’t know how long Quick will be out yet, but Campbell appears to have first crack at the job. If he struggles, Peter Budaj will take over, but Campbell is the guy for now.
Conor Sheary (3.0%) – See Sheary above.
Ryan Donato (9.6%) – Despite the strong start, we have to expect the wheels to fall off for Ottawa soon enough. Donato moved onto the second line and first PP unit last game, so look for him to get on the scoresheet today.
Troy Terry (2.3%) – He hasn’t done anything yet, but the US Olympian is still on the first line in Anaheim along with the second PP unit. A matchup with the Red Wings, who are on a back-to-back, gives Terry a great chance for his first point of the year.
UPDATE: I forgot to mention about the Three Point Challenge, Matt reminded me in the comments section. Let’s start by making picks for Tuesday’s games, and you can’t take anyone in last season’s top 10 in points. Give me Seguin with the Leafs’ defensive woes.
That’s all for now guys. I’ll be back on Wednesday recapping the action from the last two nights. Look out for pieces from Sven and Lackeydrinksonme that are coming out today! As always, feel free to leave any comments, questions, or suggestions below. Thanks for reading, take care!