In my preseason defenseman rankings here, I included a detailed breakdown on why I liked John Klingberg so much for this season. Almost everything I said has come to fruition. Klingberg is definitely a top 10 defenseman next year and is going forward this year, the Stars power play is amazing, he’s well on his way to double last year’s 12 power play points (he has 10 already) and with 20 points in 18 games, he’s well on his way to getting 60 points. He’s also exactly at two shots per game so there’s no limit to how good Klingberg can finish this season. On Saturday night, Klingberg was involved in all 3 Stars goals, assisting on both goals in regulation before scoring the winner in overtime. He’s the #1 defenseman so far this season based on ESPN’s player rater, which isn’t perfect by any means, but it illustrates just how good he’s been. I’d say the number 10 overall player and 5th best skater is even better than what I thought his best case scenario was. I hope you drafted him on some teams because you won’t be able to acquire him now.
Here’s what I saw in the games this weekend:
Jamie Benn – Goal and two assists with six shots and two PIM. I still feel like he isn’t getting enough credit for how good he is even though he led the league in points last season and has 25 through 18 games this year.
Tyler Seguin – Assist with four shots. He’s one of two guys who has more points than Benn does. Benn, Seguin and Klingberg are the 2nd, 3rd and 5th best skater in the player rater right now based on the categories used in the RCL’s. The Stars are a powerhouse. I can’t wait to see them in person Tuesday.
Nino Niederreiter – Goal on three shots. His line has become the de facto first line in Minnesota and they’re dominating possession so I’d look for Nino to get on a hot streak soon.
Ryan Suter – Three shots. Only bringing him up because he played over 33 minutes in the loss to Dallas. That’s absolutely insane.
Sergei Bobrovsky – 28 saves on 29 shots in the 2-1 win over Pittsburgh, then 27 saves on 29 shots in the 5-2 win over Arizona. I hope you guys bought low like I suggested; a few people mentioned in the comments that they did and it’s paying off dividends right now. His season long numbers still look dreadful but he’s played very well since Torts took over in Columbus.
Brandon Saad – Two goals and an assist with six shots in the two games. I expected a big breakout for Saad this year and while it hasn’t been great, he does have 7 goals in 17 games which is a 33 goal pace. Hopefully the assists start to pick up; I expect it to.
Ryan Johansen – Goal and an assist with two shots. Averaged only 15 minutes in the two games which is just ridiculous, especially with Brandon Dubinsky out injured. He should be playing close to 20 minutes. I still wouldn’t sell low though but it is frustrating.
Boone Jenner – Goal and two assists with four shots and ten PIM. He’s up to 9 goals and is playing well so grab him if you can.
William Karlsson – Two goals with four shots. I’m a fan of his game but these were his first two goals of the year. That said, he appears to be the biggest beneficiary of Dubinsky going out so I’d grab him in deep leagues and look to stream him in 12’ers for the time being.
Anthony Duclair – Goal and an assist with two shots. He’s slowed down a bit and isn’t shooting the puck enough to keep his current goal rate. I’d like to move him in seasonal leagues but would hold in dynasties.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Goal on five shots with two PIM. He has points in the last five games and is playing massive minutes; thankfully he is even on the year as well instead of having a horrible plus-minus as expected. He’s also been a bit unlucky with his shooting percentage.
Kris Letang – Assist with seven shots and eight PIM. The Penguins offense was a disaster this weekend; they were less than a minute away from being shutout twice. I don’t understand how it’s as bad as it is but it’s time for them to fire Mike Johnston. It’s apparently that he doesn’t have a clue and it could provide a spark for these guys.
Sean Monahan – Two goals on six shots in the two Flames games this weekend. Starting to get rolling; he should dig himself out of his plus-minus hole in time too.
Karri Ramo – 34 saves on 36 shots in the win over Washington, then 37 saves on 40 shots in the loss to Chicago Sunday. He’s playing a ton but Jonas Hiller will be back relatively soon and the Flames are a wreck defensively right now so there isn’t much value in Ramo going forward.
Martin Jones – 26 saves on 28 shots, then 30 saves on 31 shots in the two Sharks wins over the weekend. He had struggled recently after the hot start so it was good to see two solid performances back to back.
Joe Pavelski – Goal and an assist with two shots. The Big Pavelski is putting up points consistently and looks great every time he’s on the ice. And that’s just, like, my opinion, man.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Goal and two assists with four shots and two PIM. He’s playing big minutes but he’s still not ownable in 12’ers.
Tomas Tatar – Goal and an assist with two shots. I had high expectations for Tatar so it’s been a disappointing but with how poorly he started, 11 points in 17 games isn’t the end of the world. I’d like to see his shot rate increase back to last year’s.
Frans Nielsen – Two goals on three shots. Nielsen is now centering Josh Bailey and Anders Lee who both assisted on Nielsen’s goals. I’d grab Nielsen in 12’ers where I can, especially if you count faceoffs as a category. Lee has been a disappointment this year and is right on the edge of holding or cutting him and letting him be a streamer. Bailey is a clear streamer with his lack of shots (only 25 in 18 games).
Johnny Boychuk – Assist with six shots and four PIM. He’s on a 40 point pace with solid PIM and an elite shot rate for a defenseman. That’s pretty much exactly what you hope for from Boychuk.
Corey Perry – Goal on four shots. Starting to get hot; it was only a matter of time.
Torey Krug – Goal on five shots. Finally scored his first goal of the season on 44 shots; he should regress to the mean and score some more goals soon.
Tuukka Rask – 22 saves on 23 shots in the win over Detroit. Meh, his goals against is still over 3 and his save percentage under .900. No thanks.
Ryan O’Reilly – Goal on six shots. He had a rough week before he sniped on Saturday. The Sabres upcoming schedule is absolutely brutal with two games against Dallas, St. Louis and Nashville in the next seven but RoR is matchup proof at this point; just roll him.
Rasmus Ristolainen – Assist on three shots. Played 29 minutes. I love it when I’m right!
Chris Kreider – Goal and an assist with four shots and 17 PIM in the two Rangers games this weekend. He’s another player I’d look to target in trades; the Rangers look outstanding and a goal streak should be upcoming.
Ryan McDonagh – Goal and an assist with eight shots. He’s starting to show some signs of life, especially with all of the shots. If he’s available, I’d take the chance on him and grab him over your last defenseman. At the least, he’ll keep an incredible plus-minus.
Mats Zuccarello – Goal and two assists with four shots. He’s up to 8 goals and 7 assists in 17 games. Things are going great for the Blueshirts.
Dion Phaneuf – Goal and an assist with six shots and four PIM. I’d like to see the shots increase but they’re aren’t terrible. The PIM have been great and he’s actually a plus player right now despite how horrible Toronto is. Good stuff.
Joffrey Lupul – Two goals on nine shots. Still only a streamer for me.
Nathan MacKinnon – Two goals and an assist with three shots. That sophomore slump seems like an eternity ago. Looks like he could push 80 points this year.
Matt Duchene – Goal and two assists with two shots and two PIM. After a miserable start, he has 8 points in the last 3 games to get his season total to 14 in 17 games. I was telling people to hold so hopefully you did.
Mikhail Grigorenko – Goal and two assists with a shot filling in on the top line with Gabriel Landeskog suspended. He has a ton of talent but I’m not grabbing him since he’ll be dropped down after the Kog returns. He’ll almost certainly be on my streamer list on Tuesday against Toronto though.
Aaron Ekblad – Goal on two shots playing over 27 minutes. I’d look to buy low now that his minutes have taken a big jump up.
Reilly Smith – Two assists with a shot. The shot rate sucks so I wouldn’t own him in 12’ers.
Vladislav Namestnikov– Two goals on two shots. He has great skill but is stuck in the bottom six with all of Tampa’s firepower. He’s a solid stream on the right nights; if somebody in the top 6 was to get hurt, he’d be a must add.
Steven Stamkos – Two assists with three shots. He’s had a slow start by his standard, mostly because his shot rate is his lowest since his rookie year. He should work his way out of it though.
Cory Schneider – 21 save shutout against the Penguins. The good stats aren’t a surprise but Schneider being 9-4-1 is astonishing. I have no idea how the Devils are 10-6-1 but Schneider owners can enjoy it while it lasts.
Michael Cammalleri – Goal and two assists with three shots. The Devils top line keeps killing it; Adam Henrique had two assists and two shots while Lee Stempniak had a goal and an assist with three shots. Stempniak has played his way into being a must-own while the other two already were.
Jakub Voracek – Goal and an assist with a shot. Buy low if you can; he has 1 goal on 59 shots. Clearly that won’t last.
Eric Staal – Two assists. He has five in the last five games but the shot rate is his worst since his rookie year. Whether he can get it back to old levels will determine how much he’ll produce this year.
Pekka Rinne – 20 save shutout in the 7-0 win over the Jets. Smashville lived up to their nickname burying the Jets on Saturday. After two brutal performances, Rinne has given up only one goal in his last two games. He’s the third best goalie rest of the season for me behind Henrik Lundqvist and Carey Price, who could be back on Thursday this week.
Seth Jones – Goal and two assists with a shot. The 3:29 of power play time is very encouraging to see. He’s owned in over 90% of leagues on most sites but if for some reason he’s available, grab him.
Ryan Ellis – Two assists with four PIM. I’m grabbing Ellis as well where possible.
Filip Forsberg – Assist with three shots and ten PIM. Two goals on the season is incredibly disappointing but I don’t have any worries going forward.
Craig Smith – Goal and two assists with four shots. If you’re in need of shots, Smith is a great add. He took over three per game last year and is over three again so far this season.
James Neal – Goal and an assist with two shots and two PIM. He’s been a great value so far this year on the first line. If he keeps up the assists, he could end the year as a top 50 player.
Mike Ribeiro – Goal and an assist with two shots and 12 PIM. Ribiero is taking less than one shot a game so I don’t want anything to do with him even though he’ll probably score 50+ points.
Patrick Kane – Two goals and an assist with six shots and two PIM. 28 points in 18 games? Seriously? What a beast.
Duncan Keith – Two assists with three shots and 2 PIM in his first two games back from injury. Picking up right where he left off. If I owned Brent Seabrook, I’d love to trade him now. He’s surely going to fall off now with Keith’s return.
Artem Anisimov – Goal and two assists with five shots. If you can stomach the poor shot rate, he’s worth the roster spot. Kane is playing as well as anyone right now and Artemi Panarin (goal and an assist with four shots) still looks great so Anisimov should maintain his production.
Jonathan Toews – Goal and an assist with seven shots and nine PIM. He had only three shots in the four previous games so it was good to see Toews take six shots yesterday. The 24 PIM so far this year is pretty outrageous; it’s a nice bonus to make up for his slow offensive start.
Marian Hossa – Goal and two assists with seven shots. He was horrible earlier in the year but he’s starting to get going so he’s a solid buy low.
Vladimir Tarasenko – Two goals on six shots. Not much else to say about him; I wouldn’t be shocked if he ended up leading the league in goals this year.
Taylor Hall – Goal and an assist with three shots. He’s not getting a lot of attention but he’s the #4 skater in the player rater so far; he’s killing it across the board.
Leon Draisaitl – Goal and an assist with a shot. I hope everyone grabbed him right away and held onto him because he’s showed no signs of slowing down.
Teddy Purcell – Goal and an assist with six shots playing an insane 21:42. The minutes are going up and he has four points in the last four games. He’s been bumped up to the first power play unit so I’d pick him up where available.
Oscar Klefbom – Two assists with two PIM. The shot rate is poor but he’s on the first power play unit, playing the most minutes of anyone on the team and is up to 10 points in 18 games. He has games when he takes 5 shots and then follows it up with 0 or 1. He’s not a bad add if you don’t need the shots but he’s right on the edge of standard 12’ers for me right now.
Marian Gaborik – Goal and an assist with three shots. He’s been absolutely horrible this year and I still don’t like him going forward; he has been dropped down off the power play and is playing only 13ish minutes a game.
Tanner Pearson – Goal and two assists with two shots. I’d pick him up where available since he’s on the first line and PP unit right now.
Monday Streamers: There are six games which is a big slate for a Monday night. Here are my top streaming options:
Rickard Rakell (1.2% owned) – Playing on the first line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry right now. Sometimes it’s just that simple.
Brock Nelson (8.1%) – He’s heating up with four points in the last three games and is on the first line right now. Expect his point streak to reach four games against a porous Coyotes team.
Josh Bailey (0.8%) – Talked about him above. Solid streamer normally; top notch streamer against the Coyotes.
That’s all for now guys. I hope everyone’s weekend went well! As always, feel free to ask any questions or post any comments below. I’ll be back on Tuesday recapping the six games on Monday night. I plan on looking at some advanced stats things for these games as well since most people have enjoyed them. Take care everyone!