While there were only four games on the schedule on Wednesday, there was plenty of young talent showcasing their abilities around the NHL. Front and center among them all was Connor McDavid, who scored a gorgeous goal, his fourth of the season. I’d like to see a better shot rate but it’s hard to find real complaints about an 18 year old having 6 points in 7 games, including 5 in the last 3. The Oilers next four games are all against excellent defensive teams so it’ll be interesting to see if he can keep his point streak alive.
Here’s what else I saw on Wednesday:
Nail Yakupov – Two assists with 3 shots. He’s up to 6 points in 7 games as well with an above average shot rate. He’s taking advantage of playing with McDavid and is consistently showing why he also went first overall. He’s someone I’d look to target in a trade if possible and if for some reason he’s available, he’s a must add.
Cam Talbot – 29 saves on 30 shots in the 3-1 win over Detroit. Save percentage is sitting at .920 which is very good to see, albeit in only 5 starts. The goals against average is solid too. It’ll be interesting to see if the Oilers can keep playing well defensively. My guess is no and that Talbot’s sv% will be above average while his GAA falls off but we’ll see.
Tomas Tatar – Scored the lone goal on 3 shots. He’s started slowly; this goal was his first of the season but I do expect him to turn it around quickly. He scored 29 goals last year and should approach that again, if not pass it.
Gustav Nyqvist – Assist on 3 shots. A hot streak should be coming for Nyqvist as well. He played almost 20 minutes last night which is an incredible sign.
Matt Hunwick – No points but 2 PIM, 3 shots, 5 hits and 5 blocked shots. Played a whopping 27:23 without any power play time. In super deep leagues that count the extra categories, Hunwick is worth the add. He’s on the top pair currently in Toronto and seems to be a favorite of Mike Babcock’s.
Jonathan Bernier – 34 saves on 35 shots in the shootout loss to Buffalo. It was an amazing battle between the goaltenders but Bernier was the hard luck loser against Chad Johnson (23 saves on 24 shots), who made a bunch of outstanding saves to keep the Sabres in the game. In 12 man, both goalies should be owned at this point but if I had to choose between the two, I’d go with Johnson in the short term. He’s been amazing since Robin Lehner went down and he should get Zach Bogosian back soon which will be a big help. In their next five, the Sabres get the Devils Saturday and Philly twice who have struggled to score (before last night) so Johnson should be a great spot start.
Evander Kane – First goal as a Sabres on 7 shots. His shot rate has been elite and he’s playing big minutes so the goals should keep coming.
Jack Eichel – No points but 6 shots. He hasn’t registered an assist yet but with the great possession numbers and shot totals Kane and Eichel are posting together, the points should start coming. Hopefully Dan Blysma can find a third wheel for them as he’s rotated the third guy repeatedly without success yet.
Michal Neuvirth – 10 saves on 12 shots, then left the game injured after the first period. No word on the severity yet but with Steve Mason (16 saves on 18 shots in relief) back in the fold, Neuvirth’s value was near-nil anyways.
Wayne Simmonds – Goal, 3 shots and 2 PIM. A line that we are normally accustomed to seeing from Simmonds in recent years.
Claude Giroux – Two goals with 5 shots, 6 PIM and 4 hits. The PIM are far from the norm but his shot rate is getting back to where it usually is. Once the Flyers power play gets going, Giroux should find some consistency.
Mark Streit – Three assists. Playing big power play minutes because the Flyers have nobody else so he’s a great target if you need PPP.
Jakub Voracek – Two assists with 2 shots, 4 hits and 3 blocked shots. He hasn’t scored yet but has taken 4 shots a game; like the rest of the Flyers, the goals should be coming.
Tuukka Rask – 32 saves on 37 shots. Boston’s defense fell apart again and it’s putting Rask in a horrible situation. Again, I’d try to sell him high based on his name if possible. I can’t see the Bruins straightening things out with the players on their roster.
Patrice Bergeron – Goal and assist on two shots. His wife had a kid in the afternoon and he still found a way to play tonight and get a couple points for his new son Zack. Even though the Bruins defense has been a trainwreck, their top guys are playing great.
David Krejci – Two assists with one shot. Unbelievably, Krejci has 11 points in 6 games. He’s a very good player but this is an outrageous streak. If everything goes right, Krejci could post 65 points but I can’t see higher. With his injury history, I’d look to sell high.
Loui Eriksson – Two assists playing over 22 minutes. As long as he’s with Bergeron, Eriksson is in position to succeed. He doesn’t take any penalties, his plus-minus will be shady and doesn’t hit much so I’m not rushing to add him in 12’ers but if you need points and can stomach the rest, add him.
Cam Ward – 26 save shutout in the 1-0 OT win over Colorado. I still think that by the end of the year, Ward loses the job to Eddie Lack. Ward has been bad for too many consecutive years to think he can bounce back.
Semyon Varlamov – 18 saves on 19 shots losing the shutout in overtime. It was good to see Colorado actually control the game possession wise for the first time this season. That should help Varlamov in the long run.
Jesper Fast (0.7% owned) – I talked about Quickie yesterday here . Arizona is regressing quickly and the Rangers should absolutely dominate this game. It’s a great spot for Fast.
Andrew Hammond (17.9%) – The Hamburglar is getting his first start of the year at home against a horrible New Jersey offense. Should be a fairly easy victory.
Marcus Johansson (14.4%) – The return of Nicklas Backstrom gives Johansson a top center to play with. Additionally, he’s on the first power play unit which is clicking on all cylinders right now.
That’s all for now. As always, feel free to post any comments and questions below. With no baseball and what could be a dud football game, do yourself a favor and watch some hockey on this big slate. Take care Razzball Nation!