Wilson Returns Early, Karlsson a Minus, Dropping Eberle?

Like it or not, Tom Wilson’s suspension was reduced to 14 games, making him eligible to return to the Capitals’ lineup on Tuesday. Without hesitation, I added him in one of my leagues, a league that counts penalty minutes as well as the standard offensive categories. He paid immediate dividends, scoring a goal with a plus-2 while accruing 7 PIM on a goaltender interference penalty on the goal (I thought goals were waived off on those plays) and a second-period fight with Marcus Foligno. Oh, and he played on the Caps’ top line with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov. So his Tuesday debut went exactly how we drew it up. Except for, maybe, another suspension.

If your league counts penalty minutes and/or hits, then Wilson needs to be picked up immediately if he’s still available. We can debate how much scoring that Wilson will actually provide, but we’re talking about a player who finished second in the league with 187 PIM and fourth with 250 hits and plays on his team’s top line. And he’s not going to be as much of a liability to fantasy teams scoring-wise as other typical players who stuff the physical categories.

Dmitry Orlov turned out to be the scoring star for the Capitals in their 5-2 win over Minnesota, scoring his first two goals of the season while adding an assist with a plus-3 in 24 minutes of icetime. It’s understandable if you’d already decided to move on, as Orlov had recorded just two assists in his first 16 games of the season.


Want to buy low on Taylor Hall? Your window is officially closing. Entering Tuesday’s game with just three goals and a minus-7, the Hart Trophy winner exploded for two goals and two assists on six shots on goal in the Devils’ 4-2 win over Pittsburgh. Okay, maybe it’s not a total buy low on Hall, who also entered this game on a point-per-game pace.

Because of Nico Hischier’s injury, Travis Zajac played on Hall’s line on Tuesday, scoring a goal and adding an assist in nearly 23 minutes of icetime.


While falling to the ice, Tom Kuhnhackl scores one of his two goals on Tuesday:

I’ve seen the name “Jordan Eberle” and the word “drop” used in the same sentence recently. Entering Tuesday’s game (where he scored a goal and added an assist), he had been held without a point in his previous three games and without an assist in his previous seven games. I understand that fantasy owners often focus on what you have done for me lately, but I’ll have to say that I’m not sure that he’s droppable except in maybe the shallowest of leagues – he’s probably more of a move to the bench if he’s struggling. He’s a serviceable option that should continue to receive first-unit power-play minutes (he entered Tuesday’s game with more power-play points than even-strength points), although 60 points is probably the most that you should expect.

Jake Virtanen (aka Shotgun Jake) scored again on Tuesday, prompting many BC residents to shotgun a beer. He’s earning that nickname for other reasons, as he has taken six shots on goal in two of his last three games and has a goal in three of his last four games. Plus he’s only 12 goals away from that 20-goal target.  


The point streaks in FLA continued on Tuesday, with Mike Hoffman extending his to 13 games with an assist, and Evgenii Dadonov extending his to 12 games with a goal. Hoffman’s point streak is now officially the longest of the season. Needless to say, both need to be rolling in all fantasy formats.

Was Hoffman throwing a little shade at a former teammate with the initials E.K. with this quote? Or is that simply a compliment directed toward Aleksander Barkov?


In stopping 29 of 30 shots, Carter Hutton backstopped the Sabres to a 2-1 win over the Lightning on Tuesday. Hutton has now earned three consecutive wins, posting a .946 SV% over that span. He’s proving to be a serviceable option in net for the much-improved Sabres.


Mike Green channeled his old self of nearly 10 years ago on Tuesday, scoring a goal and adding two assists with a plus-2 in the Red Wings’ 6-1 drubbing of the Coyotes. In spite of reduced production through the years since, Green still leads the Wings with nearly 22 minutes of icetime. He should still be considered a serviceable depth option in fantasy leagues.

Earlier in the day and just before his season debut, the Arizona Coyotes signed Jakob Chychrun to a six-year contract extension with a cap hit of $4.6 million. I haven’t made a point of targeting him in fantasy leagues, but it’s worth mentioning that he’s only 20 and already has two NHL seasons under his belt.


Sticking Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on the same time may not be the best long-term option for the Oilers if they want to ice a balanced roster. But it can mean plenty of goals and points for both. Each recorded three points (Draisaitl 1g-2a, McDavid 3a) with a plus-2 in the Oilers’ 6-2 win over Montreal. Fantasy owners who aren’t Oilers’ fans don’t care, though. They’ll gladly take that.

With another goal on Tuesday (his 10th of the season), Max Domi now has a seven-game point streak and points in 13 of his last 14 games. Is this sustainable? Should you sell high? How does Domi compare rest of season to another player who isn’t as red-hot but is still off to a good start? Find out in this week’s Cage Match.  


The LA Kings are nothing short of a disaster right now. At the quarter pole, it might not be too early to forecast them as a lottery team. So the Kings aren’t a team that I’m overly interested in if I need a goalie, especially with both Jonathan Quick and Jack Campbell now sidelined for weeks. But if you’re truly desperate, Peter Budaj was yanked in the second period after allowing four goals on 19 shots. Cal Petersen took over to make his NHL debut, stopping 15 of 16 shots. So maybe Petersen gets the next start.

John Tavares scored a goal and added two assists for the Leafs in the win and now has a six-game point streak. 


In an entertaining, back-and-forth late game between the Predators and Sharks, Joe Pavelski scored two goals, while Marcus Sorensen scored a goal and added two assists in an eventual 5-4 win for the Sharks. Sorensen saw time with both Pavelski and Joe Thornton in this game, mainly Thornton. Sorensen’s last points were recorded a week ago, when he also had three points. Pavelski now has multiple points in back-to-back games and has already reached 10 goals.  

Filip Forsberg also added two goals and an assist, breaking a six-game goalless drought. In spite of the recent six-game stretch in which he had recorded just one assist, Forsberg is now tied for third with several other players with 12 goals.

P.K. Subban left Tuesday’s game in the second period. He might be dealing with a nagging injury of some kind, as he also left Monday’s game but returned. Watching this game, I can say that Mattias Ekholm seemed to be out there forever, particularly late in the game. My eyes didn't fool me, as he logged 30 minutes. 

I’ve noticed from watching the Predators the past couple nights that Peter Laviolette has been juggling lines quite a bit. But with Viktor Arvidsson back on IR, Colton Sissons has been seeing both increased minutes and some top-line duty. Sissons has played at least 19 minutes in each of his last four games, although he has not recorded any points since his hat trick last Wednesday. Keep an eye on him while Arvidsson is out.

I have to admit, I investigated buying low on Erik Karlsson in one of my leagues (if you’re in a league with me, I won’t tell you which one). What makes Karlsson an obvious buy-low candidate? A) He hasn’t scored a goal all year, B) He entered Tuesday’s game without a point in seven games (he recorded an assist on Tuesday), and C) He now sits at a minus-9. We know what kind of numbers Karlsson can provide, but E.K. is now a combined minus-34 over the past two seasons. That’s an elite player draining one category that’s still an important one to many, and a trend that so far hasn’t reversed itself in spite of a move to a much stronger team.


For more fantasy hockey information, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.