Another Five Pointer For Barzal, plus more…
Mathew Barzal is once again the NHL’s leading rookie scorer, scoring at exactly a point per game (44 points in 44 games). Barzal went off on Saturday, scoring two goals and adding three assists in the Islanders’ 7-2 annihilation of the crosstown Rangers. If you think you’ve seen this before from Barzal, you are right. Barzal also scored five points (all assists) on November 5 against Colorado. I realize things can change, but right now Barzal and Brock Boeser are clearly the two leading candidates for the Calder Trophy.
Barzal’s linemates also got in on the fun. Jordan Eberle recorded four assists, which gives him his best point-per-game average (0.77) in three seasons. Yes, his fantasy value improved with a move from Edmonton to Long Island. You didn’t think you’d be saying that, did you? Unless you already knew that the Islanders were a sleeping giant in fantasy.
Barzal and Eberle are both likely owned in your league, but the third member of the line at the moment is owned in just 1 percent of Yahoo leagues. He scored two goals and added an assist and, like Barzal, was a plus-5 in this game. Anthony Beauvillier is that player, one whose fantasy value has climbed with the Andrew Ladd injury and a subsequent move to the Isles’ second line. But before you rush to the waiver wire to search for Beauvillier, here’s a quick word from the man who created this website:
Andrew Ladd is overpaid and no longer a top sixer. Beauvillier is ready for the job and better at it. But because of contracts…Ladd will take his job back when he's healthy.
Paycheck determines too much, even at the cost of wins
— Dobber (@DobberHockey) January 13, 2018
That’s the reality of the salary cap world. Ladd is signed for (gasp!) five more years after this one at $5.5 million. So you better believe the Islanders will try to squeeze as much return on their investment as they can.
Another Islanders’ note: With breakout scorer Josh Bailey out of the lineup, Alan Quine has been vaulted to the top line with John Tavares and Anders Lee. Quine, however, is without a point in his last eight games and without a goal in 14 games this season. But with the Isles’ success on Saturday, I’d be surprised if Doug Weight juggles any lines for their next contest (Monday against Montreal).
Evgeni Malkin wasn’t an all-star, but an argument could be made that he should be there. Malkin scored two goals and added two assists in the Penguins’ 4-1 win over Detroit. It’s been nearly a week since the Penguins last played, but Malkin now has seven points over his last two games and ten points over his last five games. Better yet, Malkin has missed just four games all season. That might not be a perfect scenario, but you have to go back to 2011-12 to find a season where Malkin has played 70 games.
Should Phil Kessel have been an all-star as well? He absolutely could have, but it would take a lot for Sidney Crosby to be snubbed. Kessel scored a goal and added two assists while firing seven shots on goal in this game. Kessel has five points in his last two games and eight points in his last five games. So what could explain Kessel’s success this season, leading the Penguins in both goals (19) and points (50)? Simple: he’s firing the puck again. Kessel is averaging 3.64 shots per game, nearly a full shot higher than last season. If he keeps this pace up and can avoid injury, Kessel will come close to 300 shots, a total he hasn’t reached since 2013-14, when he was a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Yes, there is a Midseason Guide this season! Get your copy here if you haven’t already.
Scary moment during the Boston/Montreal game, as Philip Danault was stretchered off the ice after taking a Zdeno Chara slapshot to his head.
As expected, Danault will stay in the hospital overnight for observation and will be re-evaluated tomorrow. Let’s hope for the best. Danault recorded one assist before leaving the game.
After going through the entire month of December plus the first game in January (13 games) without scoring a goal, Max Pacioretty has scored goals in three consecutive games and points in four consecutive games. It’s been a subpar season for Patches by his standards, but the 956 PDO and the 5.93 5-on-5 SH% suggest that there’s still a great buy-low opportunity here. Yes, I know I said that before. But remember to consider more than his first half production when making his second-half projection.
Matt Dumba scored two goals with a plus-3 on six shots on goal in 24 minutes of icetime in the Wild’s 4-1 win over the Jets. He’s currently tied for second for goals among defensemen (nine goals). Dumba had not scored a goal in his previous six games.
Mikael Granlund scored a goal and added an assist in this game. After a slow start, Granlund has five points (2g-3a) in his last three games and 13 points (6g-7a) in his last eight games. He’s now on pace for 67 points, which would only be two points below last season’s total. Hopefully you didn’t drop him too early.
After a disastrous December (three points in 14 games), Granlund’s linemate Mikko Koivu is back on track with six points (1g-5a) in his last five games.
Sean Couturier scored two goals and added an assist in the Flyers’ 5-3 win over New Jersey. Couturier is simply on fire at the moment with three consecutive two-goal games, seven goals over his past four games, and 25 goals on the season (tied for third). Is this what we should expect from Couturier going forward, or has he simply had good fortune? I covered Couturier in last weekend’s Ramblings, where I mentioned that his shooting percentage (19%) is unsustainable when compared to his 9 percent career average. But I also mentioned Couturier and Claude Giroux being moved onto a line together, which has tremendously helped both.
With a goal and an assist against the Stars, Alexander Kerfoot now has two points in back-to-back games. Kerfoot is a top-10 rookie scorer with 29 points (11g-18a) in 39 games. He’s also third on the Avalanche with 13 power-play points, which is in the top 5 among rookies. Although he has a higher assist total than goal total, there is a blinking neon sign that his goal total could be in for a major downturn. His 28 percent shooting accuracy is the highest in the entire NHL among players that have played at least 15 games. Kerfoot has decent keeper potential overall, though.
Here's what sparked the fight. Clean hit on Nugent-Hopkins, who looked shaken up afterward. pic.twitter.com/al83tLUePc
— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) January 14, 2018
The hit resulted in a fight between McNabb and Zack Kassian.
He might not be on your radar at the moment, but Darnell Nurse might be a fantasy defenseman worth owning in your league. With the overtime winner against Vegas, Nurse now has four goals in his last four games. Although Nurse isn’t known as an offensive force, the goals shouldn’t be considered a huge shocker. With 106 shots on net, Nurse is a top-25 defenseman in that category. He’s also in the top 20 in penalty minutes, the top 25 in hits, and just outside the top 25 in blocked shots. Remember that he’s also only 22 years of age.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored his first goal in 17 games. In an ideal situation, you want to own him in a multicategory league that does not count plus-minus. His minus-40 (including a minus-3 on Saturday) is by far a league worst (the next worst is a whole 18 points better!), so it is a serious drain to his fantasy value if you own him in any league that counts plus-minus. But he is still a top-20 defenseman for shots on goal and a top-25 defenseman for power-play points. That might not be a huge silver lining, but it’s something that you can salvage.
Joonas Donskoi scored two goals and added an assist in the Sharks’ 6-5 overtime win over Arizona. The goals were Donskoi’s first since December 14, which is a span of 10 games without a goal. In spite of that, Donskoi has already surpassed his point total from last season and is now on pace to just reach the 40-point mark for the first time in his career. His production will probably be limited as long as he’s not on the Sharks’ first-unit power play or a scoring line, which is where he isn’t at the moment.
Brent Burns recorded three helpers in this game, keeping his point streak alive at five games. He has eight points over that stretch, which covers the entire month of January. After a relatively slow first month and a half of the season (no goals and seven points in 19 games), he’s been scoring at a point per game since November 22. He’s also on pace for over 300 shots for the third consecutive season. One drawback? His plus-minus isn’t Ekman-Larsson crazy bad, but thanks to a minus-12 in December and January, it has plummeted to minus-18.
Ondrej Kase scored two goals and added an assist in the Ducks’ 4-2 win over the Kings. Kase had not recorded a point in three games, but he is seeing some second-unit power-play time and is scoring at a 0.64 points/game pace. He has 11 goals, but his shooting percentage stands at 17.5 percent compared to 6.5 percent last season. He probably shouldn’t be on your radar unless the Ducks suffer another injury to a scorer.
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