It looks like I was a year early predicting Matthew Tkachuk to be a top 20 fantasy hockey player. It also looks like I sold him a bit short. Tkachuk had five assists on Monday, all of which came in the first two periods. He’s playing at a 40+50 pace with well over three shots per game, elite play at even strength and the power play, and plenty of PIM. The first line in Calgary is playing just about as well as any line in the league with Tkachuk leading the way. He’s a top ten skater on the season now, and while I wouldn’t rank him as a first round pick i.e. the top 12, he’s a slam dunk top 20 guy. Guys who absolutely dominate all of the categories are harder to come by, and the only two that have been better so far are Marchand and Kadri. For the rest of the season, I’d take Tkachuk over Kadri too, and long term, Tkachuk is the top guy. Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Hampus Lindholm – Three assists with a shot. Lindholm is right on the fringe, but I lean hold while he hits all of the categories reasonably well.
Ryan Getzlaf – Goal and an assist with two shots. Getzlaf piles enough assists to be a solid streamer, but his days of being a hold are over.
Rickard Rakell – Two assists with two shots. After a hot stretch with Zegras, Rakell has cooled off. He’s back to being a middling streamer.
David Pastrnak – Goal and an assist with six shots. Pasta has caught fire on the second line with 11 goals in the last nine games. The assists are down quite a bit, but the goals are back on track.
Artemi Panarin – Two assists with five shots. The goals are down a bit, but Panarin has still been very good.
Roope Hintz – Goal and an assist with two shots. The top line has been on fire and also belongs in that top line conversation right now, albeit on the fringes. Hintz turned around a slow start as he’s close to a point per game. It’s also encouraging that the shot rate is up quite a bit.
Jake Oettinger – 27 saves on 28 shots in the 3-1 win over the Flyers. I take this as more of a reflection on the Flyers than Oettinger. He’s been struggling quite a bit and Holtby looks to be the 1A now, so Oettinger is more of a streamer for me.
Robin Lehner – 34 save shutout in the 1-0 win over the Capitals. Nice to see the Panda have a great performance. The upside is very high and the floor is solid because of the wins, but I have Lehner more towards a bottom #1 as a median outcome for the rest of the season.
Vitek Vanecek – 28 saves on 29 shots as the tough luck loser. He’s the #1 at the moment and definitely needs to be held in all leagues.
Nico Sturm – Goal and two assists with two shots. The Wild absolutely wrecked Montreal with Sturm being the only guy to get three points. I like Sturm as a player, but he’s stuck on the fourth line because of how deep the Wild are.
Matthew Boldy – Goal and an assist with five shots. Boldy has looked the part so far and appears to be sticking with the team. He’s getting PP1 time so I have Boldy as an elite streamer, but I don’t mind spec adding him for the upside.
Jacob Markstrom – 20 saves on 21 shots in the 7-1 win over the Blues. This has easily been the best season of Markstrom’s career, and with how the Flames are playing, I expect a better win rate in the second half. With his volume, Markstrom will push being a top 5 goalie.
Johnny Gaudreau – Goal and three assists with four shots. Gaudreau has 18 points in his last 9 games, including 10 in the last four. Absolutely insane.
Nikita Zadorov – Goal and an assist with two shots. And there’s your annual Big Z update!
Pavel Francouz – 24 save shutout in the 2-0 win over the Blackhawks. Francouz has been great now that he’s healthy. Will he be the #1? No way, but he could probably get 35-45% of the starts in his current form. I’m holding Francouz in a few leagues because he’s a massive favorite to get a win in almost every game and he’s actually playing well.
Matt Murray – 32 save shutout in the 5-0 win over the Sabres. Murray is still over a 3 GAA and under .900 sv%. He’s a desperation play until further notice.
Tyler Ennis – Hat trick on six shots with two PIM. Revenge game for Ennis, who played way more minutes than usual because Ottawa was down to ten forwards. Unless his role changes, he’s a bottom end streamer.
Drake Batherson – Out long term after being taken out by Dell. Absolutely dirty play from Dell who is going to get the rare goalie suspension. Brutal break for Batherson after being named an All-Star.
Nolan Patrick – Goal and an assist. I feel bad that Patrick is getting dragged lately because of the Clarke vs. Hextall feud. Here’s to hoping Patrick can stay healthy and get his career back on track. There’s still a lot of upside here, but for now, leave him on the waiver wire.
Sebastian Aho – Two goals on five shots. Aho has a real chance to get his first 40 goal season.
Andrei Svechnikov – Two assists with six shots. Svechnikov has two points in five consecutive games. It’s infuriating that Brind’Amour doesn’t give him top minutes because Svechnikov is at a point per game with limited minutes for a player of his caliber. Either way, Svechnikov is having the big breakout and he’s still only 21.
Braden Holtby – 36 saves on 37 shots in the 5-1 win over the Devils. Great start from Holtby who has been struggling lately. He’s still the top guy so I’m holding Holtby. The Stars are rounding into form which helps quite a bit.
Joe Pavelski – Two goals and two assists with four shots. Ridiculous run from Pavelski who has 20 points in the last 10 games. Fungazi picked him for 3+ points! What a run to the top of the leaderboard.
Nick Schmaltz – Two goals and an assist. The minutes are up quite a bit for Schmaltz now and we know the upside. He’s a solid streamer with upside despite the struggles of the team.
Clayton Keller – Goal and an assist with two shots. Keller’s value comes down to your league format, but he’s either an elite streamer or bottom end hold.
Sidney Crosby – Goal and two assists, as did Bryan Rust. It’s almost expected that Pittsburgh destroys Arizona, but the Coyotes were up 3-2 in the third before pulling away. We know what we’re getting from the elite Penguins as they all had 2+ points except Guentzel somehow. Props to Eli Man Penguin Boy for getting his second correct pick with Crosby!
Travis Sanheim – Two assists with a shot. After Sanheim’s second season, it looked like Sanheim would be a solid fantasy option, but his offense has fallen off a cliff. Outside of being a streamer for blocks, there’s not much here.
Mathew Barzal – Goal and an assist with four shots. Barzal has taken a step back this season, mostly because of the rest of his team. There’s nothing we can really do besides hope Barzal picks it up.
Zach Parise – Goal and an assist with four shots. Bottom end streamer at best.
Brock Nelson – Two assists with two shots. Nelson is picking it up quite a bit lately, but he’s still more in the middling streamer range for me.
Mason Marchment – Two goals and an assist with six shots and two PIM. Marchment received more minutes than usual and delivered. He actually has 4+10 in 18 games, but I can’t have him as more than a middling streamer unless he starts to get 15+ minutes consistently.
Aaron Ekblad – Two assists with three shots. Ekblad continues to crush every category.
Sam Reinhart – Two assists with two shots. Reinhart has five multi-point games in his last nine. The goals are down quite a bit from last season in Buffalo, but the assists are excellent. It’s not quite as good as I expected from him, but it’s still damn good.
Anton Lundell – Goal and an assist with two shots. I really like how Lundell plays and his long term prospects. For now, he’s an elite streamer.
Roman Josi – Two assists with two shots. His peripherals are down quite a bit lately, but I’m expecting that to turn around sooner rather than later.
Marcus Johansson – Two assists with a shot. Even with top line minutes, Johansson is a bottom end streamer.
We’re going to do Thursday’s games per usual. Reminder that you’re only allowed to pick the same player once every two weeks, so once every four times. You can not pick Ovechkin, Draisaitl, McDavid, Kadri, Huberdeau, Rantanen, Stamkos, Kaprizov, Gaudreau, and Pavelski. Fungazi moves up to four correct picks with Eli Man Penguin Boy moving to second with two. I’ll take Aho against the Senators.
That’s all for now guys. I’ll be back on Friday recapping the action from the next two nights. As always, feel free to ask any questions, leave any comments, or give any suggestions below. Thanks for reading, take care!