It’s hard to find a bigger fan of Blake Wheeler than yours truly. He’s been excellent for years, and while he is showing some signs of aging, he’s remained incredibly productive. Wheeler scored a goal and dished three assists in the 7-4 win over the Avalanche, adding two penalty minutes. Wheeler now has 7+48 in 42 games, a very strong point total. So where’s the concern? Well, seven goals obviously isn’t great, and his shot rate is closer to 2.5 now than 3 per game. Add in a career low shooting percentage and you can see why he’s on pace for only 14 goals. He’s still solid in PIM and has been a quality +/- player for a long time, so he’ll still be a top 50 player for a few years. However, it would be a mistake to expect Wheeler to be a top 20 player again going forward. Here’s a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Jordan Bennington – 25 save shutout in the 3-0 win over the Flyers. Nice first start for Bennington, a former third round pick. His numbers have been very good in the AHL the last two seasons, and goaltending has been a mess in St. Louis this season, so there is an opening that Bennington can take. Keep expectations in check, but monitor him over his next couple starts. Welcome to the Razzball Database!
Ryan O’Reilly – Two assists with a shot over two games. RoR has been very steady all season long floating around a point per game.
Pekka Rinne – 18 save shutout in the 4-0 win over the Maple Leafs. What a dominating performance by the Predators in this one. Rinne was in a big downswing so it was nice to see him get back on track against a offensive juggernaut on the road.
Mattias Ekholm – Goal and an assist with two shots. As I wrote earlier in the week, I’m still holding Ekholm despite the rest of the Nashville blue line getting healthy.
Colton Sissons – Goal and an assist with two shots. Bottom end streamer at best.
Kevin Fiala – Goal and an assist. Fiala is starting to show some signs but he’s still only a middling streamer.
Devan Dubnyk – 32 save shutout in the 1-0 win over the Canadiens. Dubnyk has been a solid #2 this season, but I do think it’s possible that he gets better down the stretch. There’s also some downside though if the Wild fall out of the race.
Carey Price – 24 saves on 25 shots as the tough luck loser. He’s been a bit better lately but I’m still not a believer in Price.
Tomas Tatar – Two assists with a shot and two PIM over two games. Tatar is right on the fringe but would lean towards elite streamer.
Andreas Athanasiou – Two goals on four shots. Athanasiou has developed into a very nice player. He’s an elite streamer with his quality shot rate and goals. The assists are what keeps him from a hold.
Johnny Gaudreau – Two goals on four shots. Elias Lindholm had two assists with three shots and Sean Monahan had a goal and an assist with ten shots. This line has been on a ridiculous tear and is pushing towards consideration for the top line in the league. What a job Peters has done taking the Flames to another level.
Patrick Kane – Goal and an assist with three shots. Eighteen points in the past ten for Kane as he keeps rolling.
Artem Anisimov – Two assists. I wouldn’t use Arty at this point.
Erik Gustafsson – Two assists with three shots and two PIM. He played over 26 minutes in this game and is on a six game point streak so I’d be holding Gustafsson in all formats right now.
Martin Jones – 22 saves on 23 shots in the 3-1 win over the Kings. Boy do the Kings suck offensively. Jones has been quite poor this season and while the upside is there, I’m not expecting too big of a turnaround.
Erik Karlsson – Three assists with five shots Monday, then did it again on Tuesday. He now has at least one assist in 14 consecutive games, with 20 in his past 10 games alone. Karlsson’s next contract should make him the highest paid defenseman in the league. Absolute monster in real life and fantasy.
Evander Kane – Two goals and two assists with thirteen shots over two games. Kane is hotter than a pistol right now as the Sharks round into form. I’m really excited for their game in Vegas Thursday.
Brent Burns – Goal and an assist with seven shots over two games. Burns remains a monster; he’s starting to push his way into the Norris conversation.
Joonas Donskoi – Three goals on five shots over two games. For now, Donskoi is an elite streamer as he’s on quite the heater. He has 9 points in his last 7 games.
Timo Meier – Two assists with five shots over two games. He remains in a big goalless drought but Meier is a no-doubt hold.
Tuukka Rask – 24 save shutout in the 4-0 win over the Wild. Strong performance by the Bruins taking advantage of the Wild being on the second of a back-to-back. Rask is in form right now and should be the true #1 going forward.
Patrice Bergeron – Goal and two assists, as did Brad Marchand. There’s no stopping these guys outside of injury.
John Moore – Two assists with two shots and two PIM. And there’s your annual John Moore update!
Torey Krug – Two assists with two shots. Krug has been strong all season, especially on the power play.
Carter Hutton – 20 saves on 21 shots in the 5-1 win over the Devils. The Devils scored in the first two minutes of the game, but then didn’t generate much afterwards. I was at the game and boy, the Devils are tough to watch without Hall. Hutton has been a solid #2 this season and should continue to be one.
Greg McKegg – Goal and an assist. I didn’t expect to do another McKegg update this quickly. I am still not considering using him.
Victor Rask – Two assists. I had hopes for Rask a few years ago but he’s completely fallen off. Very easy pass.
Brock Nelson – Two goals and an assist with four shots. Nelson has raised his game to the level of being a solid to elite streamer. If he can keep the bigger minutes, there’s a chance for a strong second half.
Matt Murray – 36 saves on 37 shots in the 5-1 win over the Panthers. I wrote extensively about Murray on Monday here.
Sidney Crosby – Goal and an assist with seven shots and two PIM. No surprise that Crosby is finding his top level again. He’s crushing across the board.
Bryan Rust – Two goals on four shots. As long as he’s with Crosby, Rust is an elite streamer.
Marcus Pettersson – Two assists with five PIM. Four game point streak for Pettersson, but he’s still far from fantasy worthy at this point in his career.
Andrei Vasilevskiy – 31 save shutout in the 4-0 win over the Blue Jackets. Even when the Lightning get out-possessed, they still have Vas to back them up. They’re so far ahead of everyone else in the league right now.
Brayden Point – Two goals and an assist. These guys are just ridiculous. Point is one of the biggest surprises of the season for me; I did not think he had this level of play in him.
Tyler Johnson – Two assists with two PIM. Johnson is a hold right now while he’s with Point and Nikita Kucherov (1+1, 3 SOG).
Mikhail Sergachev – Two assists with three shots. If you are out of it in a dynasty, Sergachev is a nice player to target. I don’t like him for the rest of the season but the long term upside remains.
Jakub Voracek – Goal and two assists with four shots. I’m still holding Voracek but it’s not a strong hold.
Sean Couturier – Two assists with three shots playing almost 24 minutes. Couturier isn’t that far off last season’s goal pace, but the assists have dried up a bit. I am still holding but it’s bottom end.
Jakub Vrana – Two goals and an assist with four shots. Vrana is an okay streamer and someone that I like long term. I just don’t see enough right now for more.
T.J. Oshie – Two goals on three shots. Only five assists in 31 games from Oshie is quite disappointing. The goals are still strong, as are the PIM, so I’m holding. Just don’t love it.
John Carlson – Two assists. Carlson has been one of the best defensemen all season long after leading the league in points from a defenseman last season.
Tyler Seguin – Two goals and an assist. I think we can put the Seguin talk to bed. That’s a six game point streak which gets him very close to a point per game again. In other words, like I wrote at the time, one decent streak has him back at the level he’s been at for years.
Alex Radulov – Two assists. Six category stud who would be looking at a superstar level fantasy season if he stayed healthy.
John Klingberg – Goal and an assist with two shots. Klingberg is starting to pick it up and has maintained a solid shot rate all season long. I’m expecting a strong second half from the big guns on Dallas.
Ben Bishop – 26 saves on 27 shots in the 3-1 win over the Blues. Bishop has been great despite the Stars struggling this season. His save percentage is at .922 with a very strong GAA. Easy #1 for the rest of the season.
Carl Soderberg – Goal and an assist with three shots and four PIM. He’s had a nice bounce back season but Soderberg is barely a streamer.
Gabriel Landeskog – Two goals, both assisted by Tyson Barrie and Nathan MacKinnon. The Kog already has a career high in goals as he’s playing like a top 20 fantasy player. MacKinnon remains a top 5 guy while Barrie is a solid #2 fantasy defenseman.
Mark Scheifele – Goal and two assists with four shots. A little bit of a slow stretch for Scheifele has been erased. He had only four shots in the previous four games combined so it was nice to see 4 SOG in this game. The shot rate is what gives Scheifele a chance to find even another level from where he’s been.
Jacob Trouba – Goal and two assists with three shots. Easy hold as long as Big Buff is out.
Tyler Myers – Two assists with two shots and two PIM. The offense for Myers has completely evaporated from his early seasons. Even with Buff out, I’d only use Myers in the deepest of leagues.
That’s all for now guys. With only three games tonight, I’ll be back Friday recapping all of 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!