Man, what could have been with Ryan Ellis this year. If he can stay healthy I think he can out-produce PK Subban and Roman Josi. Perhaps even hang up there with Karlsson, Klingberg, Burns and Gostisbehere. Three points Sunday gives him 20 in 27 and 11 points in his last eight games. Keep in mind that he needed a few games as a ‘training camp’ of sorts. At 27 he’s in his prime. The problem is, he missed 38 games this year, 11 last year, three the year prior and 24 the season before that. That’s 76 games missed in four seasons. Or 19 per season. But man, I’m very bullish on him next year if you don’t mind a 65-game player.


The Preds continue – and will continue – to screw with fantasy owners by sitting their regulars here and there. Sunday it was Craig Smith, Mike Fisher and Roman Josi. And they still won. With 17 games left and only Subban and Calle Jarnkrok having played them all, I think you can expect each regular in the lineup to miss two games down the stretch. Especially if they win anyway.

I think the Blackhawks knew what they were doing when they traded Ryan Hartman. I had never been impressed with him as a prospect, and then I was shocked when he became an NHL regular last year. I was shocked again when he began the season with five big games. But he’s since come back down to earth and now he’s just another depth guy. Really not impressed with what I’ve seen, nor the stat trends with him. The Hawks got a first-round pick and a solid prospect in Victor Ejdsell.


Tyson Jost has seen a huge jump in ice and PP time lately, averaging about 16 minutes per game the last four games. He’s seen 19 minutes of power-play time during those games in getting onto the top PP unit. Just one point though, but that kind of ice time makes him worth watching to see if things starting changing for him.


Don’t look now but the Panthers have won 13 of their last 16 games. Last week at the trade deadline, I had packed it in on the regular season in the most basic of my three keeper leagues (strictly points, with a playoff component, no positions). I’m the defending playoff pool champion in that league though and still have a good team, so I made a few trades from the bottom of my roster (20 players, so I considered the bottom five or six of them in terms of regular season current and upside). In the end, one of my decisions was to drop a 30-point Jason Spezza or a 45-point Keith Yandle. At the time, Dallas had a 74% chance of making the playoffs whereas Florida was at 34%. So I dropped Yandle. Dallas is now at 82.5% while Florida shot up to 75.7% with four wins since that moment so I’m already regretting the move.

Evgenii Dadonov has 16 points in his last 11 games. Puts him on pace to finish with 62 in 73. In the Guide I projected 45 in 76, and even in the Midseason Guide I projected 49 in 76. So this streak has really put him into a different category of fantasy player. It’s the decision to put him with Nick Bjugstad and Aleksander Barkov that’s put Dadonov, his line, and the Florida Panthers on a real good run here. It means that Jonathan Huberdeau can give Vincent Trocheck a top star to play with and create two very potent lines.

Bjugstad has 12 points in his last 14 games. It’s as if his last two injury-filled seasons put his career on hold, and this year he’s finally resuming his career again. Sort of a third attempt at his third NHL season. Last year was so horrible that I, along with most people, had completely written him off. But if he’s finally put injuries behind him, he’s a great candidate for another step forward next year as a 26-year-old – think mid-50s.

Roberto Luongo is 6-1-0 since returning.


Things were pretty sweet for Petr Mrazek for a while there, winning his first three games for the Flyers. But he’s 0-2-1 since then, allowing 14 goals.


There’s been a Jakob Silfverberg sighting! After one point in his last 11 games he scored two Sunday after virtually every fantasy owner dropped or benched him. Silfverberg has always been a late starter, but usually it’s a terrible first 40 games and then nearly a point per game after that. This year he’s starting 20 games left, and that’s assuming he gets going now.


Vincent Hinostroza has eight points in his last nine games. Frankly, he’s been doing well for a couple of months now with 22 in his last 29. Mostly at even strength though he is getting 1B power-play time. He’s been playing on a talented Kid Line with Alex DeBrincat and Nick Schmaltz.


Corey Perry has six points in his last three games. He’s been playing with Ryan Getzlaf and Rickard Rakell as most of you know, as Randy Carlyle has been stacking the deck for Anaheim’s first line.


Taylor Hall watch: Points streak now at 25 games thanks to two points Sunday. But there is a player hotter than him. Evgeni Malkin. In the last 15 games Malkin has 27 points to Hall’s 20. I like to keep an eye on our hot/cold tool every few days in case a hidden gem pops up in there. Hall is just the eighth player in the last 30 years to record a point in 25 straight appearances.

So far Patrick Maroon is not playing with Taylor Hall, he’s with Travis Zajac and Michael Grabner. But he is getting top PP time and has two PP points with the Devils in three games.


It’s taken me a while to come around on these two guys, but I’m finally there with Eric Staal and I’m getting there with Jason Zucker. Staal took a while because he burned me a couple of times when I counted on his late-season surge and it never came. He had won a couple of titles for me with that reliable surge but then suddenly it just stopped and he just plain sucked. Then he went to New York and the suckage continued. I thought Minnesota signed him to a great contract as he was a solid third-line center whose best days were behind him. But apparently he worked his ass off two summers ago and had a great rebound campaign. So I thought: “Alright, I’m on board with that. He’s a 60-point guy, sure.” This year he’s exceeded that by a mile and with each passing day I had been expecting a slowdown. In the Midseason Guide he was on pace for 69 points and I had him slowing to 64 because of a higher 5on5 SH% of 9.6% when last year he was at 8.4%. The former number is more along the lines of a top star player. But Staal has only picked things up and is already at 65 points with his goal Sunday. His 5on5 SH% of 10.6% still indicates a slowdown, but I think the old Eric Staal is truly back. His pace is for 42 goals and 81 points, but with a sky-high SH% of 18.7% I think he finishes with 39 and 78.

As for Zucker, I had always thought his cap was around 65 points, but he was likely a 55-point player due to wild inconsistency. With two goals Sunday he’s already at 53 on pace for 66 and now I think his ceiling is in the 70s. I’m taking a little longer to come around to that with him. But as with Randy Carlyle, Bruce Boudreau is stacking his best offensive players on the same line – Zucker and Staal are playing with Mikael Granlund.


Paul Stastny is getting top PP time with Winnipeg, out there with Mark Scheifele, Patrik Laine, Blake Wheeler and Big Buff. He has four points in three games with the Jets. This is just new-team adrenalin, but his production will still be better here than it was in St. Louis.

Patrik Laine had three points Sunday and is on an eight-game point streak. In fact, in seven of those games he had at least two. Give him 16 points in eight games in all. His 71 career goals as a teenager put him into sixth place all time I believe – I wish I could dig up the Tweet where I saw that to know for sure. But just know that it’s a lot of goals for a young guy, at least I can confirm that much!


Evander Kane has points in all three games he’s played as a Shark, five points in all thanks to two on Sunday. San Jose line combos with Kane on the team:


















Martin Jones was pulled for the sixth time Sunday.


Yesterday’s 20 Fantasy Hockey Thoughts


We’re starting to get close to college free agent signing season now. It’s also close to the end of the season in junior hockey, with two weeks left in the schedule (though there is still playoffs). So you’ll also be seeing some junior players get signed to their entry-level deals, particularly the ones who have to be signed before June 1 or go back into the draft (i.e. the 2016 draftees). With 50 contracts as the maximum, teams will want to know where they stand with regards to contract room before targeting the college guys.

The Panthers signed defenseman Riley Stillman, a solid two-way guy with some upside. I have him ranked 69th among prospect defensemen in fantasy, mostly due to the wait time, though he hasn’t had the step forward in the OHL this year that I had hoped to see. Our profile on Stillman here.

The Ducks signed winger Maxime Comtois to an ELC. He has 76 points in 50 games for Victoriaville of the QMJHL which is a very solid jump from last season’s numbers. He had six points in seven games for Team Canada. He ranks 363 on my fantasy prospects forwards list but is moving up. He’s been several highly-touted prospects in Anaheim’s system such as Sam Steel, Troy Terry, Max Jones and the NHL-ready Kalle Kossila. His profile is here.

The Avalanche signed another Team Canada guy in Conor Timmins. He’s a defenseman who seriously impressed me at the WJC and has been doing nothing but move up my fantasy prospect defensemen list (currently at 37). Profile here.

San Jose signed a player from out of Switzerland named Vincent Praplan. The 23-year-old was never drafted, but he did play for Team Swiss at the Olympics (zero points) and is tied for 12th in Swiss League scoring. I don’t know much about him, but the numbers don’t jump out at me so he could just be another Marcus Sorensen-type of depth option.


You may have noticed a few changes with the Frozen Pool player profiles. Just the tip of the iceberg…


For your viewing enjoyment, if you’re reading this on the commute. Yesterday’s highlight package…