An easy win against the Kraken on Friday wasn’t enough for Jay Woodcroft to keep his job. The most disappointing team in the league felt obligated to make a chance, and the easiest change is firing the head coach. Do I think this was the right move? Probably not. Woodcroft led the team to three playoff series wins over the last two seasons, losing to the eventual Cup champion both times. This season, McDavid rushed coming back to play the Heritage Classic and clearly isn’t 100%. Ekholm looks hampered as well. Kris Knoblauch, who was their AHL coach and McDavid’s former junior coach, takes over. I expect the team to improve because they’ve simply played well below expectations so far. So what does this impact in fantasy? Generally, teams play more focused on the defensive end when a new coach comes in. Is that even possible for the Oilers? Hard to say. If that does happen, Stuart Skinner could be the biggest beneficiary. He’s been a disaster to this point, but it’s clearly his job now (I have a hard time seeing Knoblauch turning to Pickard, even though he’s been coaching him). We’ll have to see tonight how the lines and usage change, but I suspect that he will ride the top players just like Woodcroft did. Let’s take a look at the highlights of the weekend:
J.J. Peterka moved onto the first line late in Friday’s game and stayed there for the game on Saturday. He had four shots on goal playing almost 20 minutes on Saturday, following his goal and an assist with two shots and two PIM on Friday against the Wild. He’s been excellent so far this season, to the point where I’m bumping him up to elite streamer status in the short term. It’s hard to say what happens with the lines in Buffalo once they get healthy, or make a big signing (perhaps the home town boy sooner than later), but Peterka should be locked into the top six the way that he’s playing.
Travis Sanheim had a goal and two assists against the Ducks on Friday, bringing him up to a whopping 2+12 already. He’s locked into PP1 at the moment and playing close to 26 minutes a night. Despite that, he’s available in about 40% of leagues. I don’t care how shallow your league is, or what your format is, Sanheim is must own.
Leo Carlsson had quite the weekend. The second overall pick scored a hat trick on Friday against the Flyers while playing over 20 minutes. He followed that up with an assist and three shots against the Sharks. The Ducks are giving Carlsson some nights off just to keep him fresh for the full 82 game season, but he’s already in elite streamer territory.
The studs on Florida are carrying the team right now, but the leader of the pack isn’t Barkov or Tkachuk, it’s Sam Reinhart. Reinhart had two assists with four shots against the Hurricanes before a two goal, two assist performance against the Blackhawks. Reinhart is up to 11+10 already, putting him in the top 10 in the league in points. Nice time to be an upcoming free agent.
I wasn’t expecting Jeff Petry on the first power play unit anymore in his career, but things have changed. He took Gostisbehere’s spot two games ago, and took Seider’s spot with Gostisbehere back in the lineup on Saturday. Petry has two assists with two shots, two hits, and five blocks playing over 24 minutes on Saturday. In deep leagues, he’s definitely worth an add. In 12’ers, it’s fringe. I don’t mind grabbing him in the short term to see how things shake out.
My love for Wyatt Johnston is well known around these parts, but he’s taking a bigger jump this season than I expected in year two. Johnston had a goal and an assist with two shots against the Jets, before having two goals and an assist in the Dallas domination of Minnesota. That gives Johnston 7+6 in 14 games. Despite being on PP2 and having a below average shot rate, Johnston is an elite streamer that’s effectively on the fringe.
Pyotr Kochetkov had a 22 save shutout against the Kucherov-less Lightning on Saturday (Kuch just has an illness). While I believe Kochetkov is a great dynasty asset as the long term goalie of the Hurricanes, I don’t love him for this season. He has big upside, but there’s also a chance that he’s just a generic backup goalie. I’m not rushing to hold him unless I’m in a league with super deep benches.
The Coyotes and Predators played a bonkers game on Saturday that ended 7-5 Arizona. My main takeaway is that after ten shots on goal total in Logan Cooley‘s first 11 games, he has twelve in the past three. I have no doubt in my mind that he’s going to be a fantasy superstar in the next year or two. For this season, it’s really hard to say what his floor and ceiling are. Right now, I have him on the fringe with a lean towards holding for the upside, but it’s marginal.
The Blues have performed much better than expected, and they played an immaculate game against the Avalanche on Saturday. They scored eight goals, with Brayden Schenn and Pavel Buchnevich each scoring a hat trick. Robert Thomas dished four assists in the win. It’s been a slow start for Buch, but he’s a must hold for me when he’s healthy. Schenn is an elite streamer while he’s a hot schmotato, having tallied eight points in the last four games. Matchbox Twenty is actually averaging over two shots per game. If that holds, he’s easily going to be a top 100 player, because a point per game is well within reason.
It’s been a brutal week for the Avalanche, and it didn’t get better with Artturi Lehkonen out for “weeks.” Valeri Nichushkin moved onto the first PP unit in his place, which makes him must own everywhere. Jonathan Drouin also took Ryan Johansen‘s spot and is playing with MacKinnon and Big Val on the first line. Drouin hasn’t looked particuarly good, although he did have an assist against the Blues. He’s an average streamer for now with clear upside if he clicks with MacKinnon. Johansen drops back to a middling streamer at best.
Zach Hyman had a natural hat trick in the first period in the aforementioned game that couldn’t save Woodcroft’s job. Despite the Oilers struggles, Hyman is still sitting at a point per game right now. This is the player that Hyman is for Edmonton, point blank.
Tristan Jarry came back on Saturday and shut out the Sabres. That’s three shutouts already for Jarry, who now has great numbers on the season. I have zero Jarry this season, and I’m not buying this at all. Yes, he’s had full seasons like this before, but the downside is much higher. They’ve also had a super soft schedule to this point.
Two more goals for Connor Bedard brings him to nine goals already. In case you had any doubts about him, those should be put to bed already. The plus-minus is poor as expected, but with a shot rate over three per game, it’s clear that Bedard is already a major factor in fantasy.
Alexis Lafreniere was the hero for the Rangers on Sunday, scoring the tying goal with 11 seconds left before netting the shootout winner. He played over 24 minutes in this game, and now has 6+4 in his last ten games. His ceiling is capped without PP1 time, but as long as he’s with Artemi Panarin, Laf is back to elite streamer status. Shoutout to Panarin, who had two assists with eight shots playing 28:02 in the victory. 28 minutes!
Another three point for Frank Vatrano puts him at 11 goals on the season with four assists. While he’s certainly going to regress, Vatrano has always been a gunner, and Anaheim has no reason to change his role. Vatrano is shaping up to have one of those seasons where we look back and say “do you remember when Vatrano randomly scored 35+ goals in 2023-24?” He’s even been fantastic with PIM, hits, and blocks. Vatrano has become a force.
Three Point Challenge: We will do Tuesday’s games per usual. For another week or two, we will use last season’s top 10. That means you can’t select McDavid, Draisaitl, Kucherov, Pastrnak, MacKinnon, Robertson, M. Tkachuk, Rantanen, RNH, or Pettersson. I’ll go with Forsberg against the Ducks.
That’s all for now guys. I’ll be back on Wednesday recapping the action from the next two nights. Jules’ weekly preview will be out Monday afternoon, so be sure to check that out! As always, feel free to ask any questions, leave any comments, or give any suggestions below. Thanks for reading, take care!