Brock Boeser scored a pair of goals with a plus-4 and eight shots on Saturday. Boeser might be perceived as a player whose goal-scoring is down, but in the process he has become a more complete player, and that can help other fantasy categories beyond goals. With 27 assists, Boeser is now three assists shy of his single-season career high in that category. By the way, he’s also on pace to push for his first 30-goal season. So all in all, he’s a near point-per-game player while playing on the top line with Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller. Believe me, there’s nothing to worry about with Boeser. He’ll look to continue his success with a return to his home state of Minnesota and his ailing father in attendance on Sunday.

With a goal on Saturday, Jake Virtanen has now tied his career high in points (25) with plenty of season left. 

Carter Hutton has now started 11 games without recording a victory, dating all the way back to October 22. He’s given up the starting job to Linus Ullmark and thus should be nowhere near your fantasy team.

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The last men vote for the NHL All-Star Game is in. What do you think?
 


Argue all you want about whether these selections are legitimate. However, David Perron has been selling his case even harder recently. With his goal on Saturday, Perron has now scored goals in four consecutive games. He’s already up to 20 goals, including a league-leading eight game-winning goals.

Perron is scoring at a career-high pace (46 points in 46 games). We shouldn’t be totally surprised at his success, as he was also a near point-per-game pace with Vegas two seasons ago and also scored 46 points (in 57 games) last season. Perron can score, but the one concern I have will be when Vladimir Tarasenko returns. To give you an idea, Perron’s icetime is up nearly a minute and a half over last season and his power-play time is up nearly a minute per game. Perron has taken full advantage of the increased power-play time, as he is already up to a career-high 23 power-play points (5th in NHL).

Since Tarasenko is not expected to return this regular season, Perron is in a great spot for continued strong production. However, I wouldn’t overpay in a keeper format.

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Get ready to activate #87 into your fantasy lineup. Sidney Crosby may return to the Pittsburgh lineup on Sunday against Arizona. He has missed close to two months (27 games). The Penguins play six games in ten days starting on Sunday, and Crosby has stated he would like to return to the lineup before the All-Star break, which begins on January 23.

Pittsburgh scoring since November 12, the first game that Crosby was out of the lineup (from Frozen Tools):

Name

      GP

        G

        A

    PTS

  PTS/GP

EVGENI MALKIN

25

11

25

36

1.44

 BRYAN RUST

24

13

17

30

1.25

JAKE GUENTZEL

22

12

17

29

1.32

DOMINIK KAHUN

27

7

12

19

0.70

JOHN MARINO

27

3

15

18

0.67

KRIS LETANG

21

6

10

16

0.76

JARED MCCANN

27

7

8

15

0.56

BRANDON TANEV

27

6

7

13

  0.48

 

 TEDDY BLUEGER

27

4

7

11

0.41

 

 ALEX GALCHENYUK

27

4

7

11

0.41

 

It’s amazing to see the Penguins stay afloat in spite of the injuries that their key players battle year after year. Evgeni Malkin goes crazy whenever Crosby is out of the lineup, which has happened before. Bryan Rust has had quite a run as well, and we’re starting to notice Dominik Kahun (more on him from yesterday’s Ramblings). I’m curious to see if Jared McCann is used as a third-line center or as a top-6 winger once Crosby returns. Regardless, a Crosby return will help more players than it will hurt.

The player who hasn’t benefitted in any way: Alex Galchenyuk. I wonder if he has a future in Pittsburgh or if this is simply a player needing time to get used to his new surroundings.

That’s also an interesting split on defenseman John Marino, who has nearly kept up with Kris Letang (I’m looking at points per game, not just points).  

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Man oh man, these headlines write themselves sometimes. Elvis has left the building in Vegas with a shutout in his pocket. Yes, Elvis Merzlikins made 27 saves in earning a 3-0 shutout over the Golden Knights. Elvis (which is not just more fun to type but also easier to type) has been on quite a run since taking over the net after Joonas Korpisalo’s injury with a 5-2-0 record and six quality starts over those seven games. Columbus as emerged as a very goalie-friendly squad, which a) I did not expect at the start of the season, and b) might be out of necessity because of the offseason scoring losses. Once Korpisalo returns (early to mid-February?), John Tortorella will have quite a decision on his hands as to how to divide the goaltending. For now, enjoy the sweet music that Elvis is singing. Viva Las Vegas!

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Another day, another Carolina Hurricanes shutout. Or do we consider Saturday’s shutout to be one for the Hartford Whalers? I won’t go down the rabbit hole of whether it’s fair to Whalers fans for the Canes to be using their jerseys, but they look awesome every time they get rolled out in Carolina. 
 


James Reimer made 41 saves in a 2-0 win over the Kings, just one day after Petr Mrazek shut out the Coyotes. Two shutouts from two different goalies in two days is the result of a strong defensive system. Reimer’s goals-against average and save percentage have both improved significantly from last season in Florida.

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That’s ten wins in a row for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped all 23 shots he faced to earn his second straight shutout. Hopefully you’ve been patient with the Vezina Trophy winner, as your window to buy low is about to close as the Lightning are now channeling last season’s form.

2019 (Oct/Nov/Dec): 17-9-2, 2.89 GAA, .906 SV%

2020 (Jan): 5-0-0, 0.80 GAA, .971 SV%

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Dominik Kubalik scored two second-period goals on Saturday. The first-year forward now has 16 goals, which includes goals in four straight games, along with eight goals and 13 points in his last 11 games. On Saturday he was rewarded with icetime with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Kubalik has provided multicategory value when he has been provided with icetime, as he is on pace for 48 points, 177 shots, and 110 hits in spite of averaging just over 13 minutes per game this season. His icetime has been bumped up to at least 15 minutes per game over his last four games, though.

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I’ll admit, I wasn’t very bullish on Ilya Kovalchuk signing with the Habs, especially considering how his time with LA ended. I also mentioned that Kovalchuk wouldn’t have much time to make an impression, since the returns of other forwards from injury could bump him down or even out of the lineup. So far, Kovalchuk has made the most of his opportunity. With his overtime goal on Saturday, Kovy now has four points in his four games with the bleu, blanc et rouge. He’s on a scoring line with Tomas Tatar and Phillip Danault. Sure, go ahead and add him, although his addition to your roster should reflect what the Habs had in mind when they signed him: short term.

Props to Carey Price, who with a 41-save effort backstopped the Habs to their first win in nine games. The win was also Price’s first since December 23. Since then, he had posted 5 L’s and 1 OTL prior to Saturday.

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With two goals on Saturday, Nico Hischier now has seven goals and 12 points over his last 12 games. That’s shortly after Taylor Hall was traded. So if there’s any worry that Hischier’s production would fall after Hall was traded, that should be put to rest.

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Brent Burns scored a goal and added an assist and took four shots in the Sharks’ 2-1 win over Dallas. Burns left this game with an injury, but he did return to the game. Bob Boughner said that Burns is dealing with an upper-body issue but it didn’t seem significant. This is worth keeping an eye on if you’re a Burns owner.

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With two goals on Saturday, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins now has points in back-to-back games and 12 points (6g-6a) in his last nine games. Kailer Yamamoto assisted on both of the Nuge’s goals, giving Yamamoto five points in six games since his callup.

After what might be nearly three decades of indifference, the Battle of Alberta rivalry might be back on with both the Oilers and Flames battling for a playoff spot. If you didn’t stay up to watch Calgary and Edmonton, check out this exchange between Zack Kassian and Matthew Tkachuk. First the hit by Tkachuk, then the beating from Kassian, then the postgame interviews where Kassian calls Tkachuk something I won’t repeat here. Old time hockey.
 


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One more thought, before I wrap things up. Stock up on Islanders for Monday, since they have the rare five-game week next week. Players like Mathew Barzal, Brock Nelson, Anders Lee, and Ryan Pulock are probably taken in your league. However, players like Anthony Beauvillier, Jordan Eberle, Josh Bailey, and Derick Brassard are worth looking up for next week. Don’t forget about Devon Toews and Nick Leddy on the blueline (I prefer Toews because of the power-play time). A search on Frozen Tools shows that many of these Islanders are cold at the moment, which shouldn’t be a surprise since the Islanders are in the bottom third of the league in offense. Yet five games is five games, which should be a clear advantage in some formats.

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For more fantasy hockey information, or to reach out to me directly, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.