Since the return of Evgeni Malkin, Evan Rodrigues has seven points in 26 games. This surprises no one. But for the last couple of games he has been playing with Malkin and getting reasonable ice time in that 15–16-minute range, and he has points and at least four shots in each of his last two games.
Tristan Jarry, 26, is having the season of his life. As things stand now, he has career bests in GAA (2.32), SV% (0.922), QS% (59.6), RBS (8.5%) and GSAA (+15.20). Not to mention career highs in games and minutes played, wins and shutouts. After a weak postseason last year, I was surprised when several readers questioned why I had him ranked so high in the goalie rankings. Because his youth, the fact that he was the unquestioned No.1 goalie for a team that was still pretty good, and two years of pretty good numbers in the regular season pointed to an upward trajectory and a safe bet.
After a cold spell of six points in 23 games, Brett Pesce has been pushing hard to break out of the funk. He fired a season-high seven SOG (he hadn't had even five SOG prior to this) and scored.
With Tony DeAngelo out, Jaccob Slavin is pointless in nine games. The two had been partners since November.
Antti Raanta was on fire during the three games that Frederick Andersen was sidelined, not only winning them all, but also earning Quality Starts. So with Andersen back, it seems like they want to keep Raanta going. He took the loss on Sunday, but it was another Quality Start. Although Raanta is very injury prone, he is definitely one of those goalies that thrives with a heavy workload. Thanks to this recent run, he has boosted his GAA to 2.29 and SV% to 0.917. The 32-year-old is signed for next year on the cheap ($2M AAV).
Toronto should offer the Islanders Petr Mrazek, a 1st round pick, and a good prospect like Mac Hollowell or Nick Abruzzese – for Semyon Varlamov. It's not often I float fake trade offers here, but who says no? The Isles are out. And Varlamov is perfect because not only does he back up the struggling Jack Campbell, but he could also take over as the starter if those struggles continue. He's injury prone, but you're not counting on him. The Leafs have an amazing group of skaters, but Campbell has slid pretty quickly since November. And the Isles are clearly riding Ilya Sorokin now, so Mrazek would just be his backup at a smaller cap hit. Varlamov is just a wasted asset right now. To turn that into a top pick and a decent prospect