Let’s start this off with some news out of Edmonton. Apparently, Peter Chiarelli is ready and willing to make a splash. Rumours have swirled of late that the Oilers are willing to move this year’s first-round selection to push for a playoff spot. And according to Elliott Freidman on the NHL Network, Jesse Puljujarvi has joined in on the fun as an official trade chip.
Firstly, if ownership allows Chiarelli to destroy their future even further by dealing that pick or Puljujarvi, then there must no longer be any doubt; Chia has some disgusting dirt on Daryl Katz.
Whatever happens in Edmonton (and I assume it’ll be an unmitigated disaster), Puljujarvi getting out of town seems like the best hope for his fantasy value moving forward. Either that or a locked in spot next to Connor McDavid. A scenario that does not appear to be in the cards.
Speaking of the Oilers, their next opponent is the Canucks on Wednesday. Elias Pettersson skated by himself after practice again on Tuesday but Canucks’ head coach, Travis Green wasn’t willing to rule him out for Wednesday’s tilt just yet. At the very least, it appears as though the super rookie should be back for Friday against the Sabres.
The bottoming out continued in Anaheim on Tuesday. The Ducks fell to the Red Wings 3-1 and are now winless in 12. They’ve collected just four points in the last month.
The freefall is real.
Rickard Rakell opened the scoring in the second frame with his seventh of the year. Rakell was skating on a new top line with Ryan Getzlaf and newly acquired Devin Shore for much of this one. That was due to Jakob Silfverberg leaving the game due to injury.
There had been chatter that the soon-to-be UFA, Silfverberg was a trade chip as the Ducks fall further and further away from contending status. We’ll await word on the severity of the injury, but with the deadline less than six weeks out, it’ll be something to watch.
Gus Nyquist scored the game-winner in this one. He’s maintaining his stellar campaign and looks like another potential mover this deadline. The 29-year-old is producing at the best point-per-game rate of his career (0.83) and all the metrics appear sustainable. His IPP is trending at a career-high 74.1 but that’s likely explained by his playing over 50 percent of his five-on-five ice with the burgeoning, Dylan Larkin.
If Nyquist does indeed get moved, the potential for improvement is there, but so is the potential for a reduced role. He only sees a little over two minutes on the power play now, so he’s not overly reliant on PPPs. A move to a team like Pittsburgh would likely see his even-strength deployment improve but his PPTOI decrease. Conversely, a swap to a team like Edmonton would perhaps lead to a downgrade at evens but an increase on the power-play (assuming he doesn’t get the McDavid/Draisaitl juicer spot at five-on-five).
These situations need to be closely monitored as you head into your own fantasy playoffs.
The Panthers held a players-only meeting on Tuesday morning. The team had been struggling. The coaching staff appearing no longer to be shy in vocalizing their displeasure with some of the stars. Often a closed-door meeting will have a short-term impact on a slide.
And this one did too, just not on the scoreboard.
Florida was tuned up 5-1 by the Habs on Tuesday but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. The Panthers outshot the Canadiens 53-28 but ran into a brick wall named Antti Niemi.
Here were the lines:
Shea Weber led the charge for Montreal with a power-play tally to go along with an even-strength assist.
Don’t look now, but the Habs are tied with the Bruins for third in the Atlantic and are just one point behind the Maple Leafs. Granted the Habs have played more games than both of the teams they trail, but this has been a gutsy showing from a team many wrote off before puck drop in October.
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Viktor Arvidsson led the Predators to a 7-2 statement win over the Capitals. The Swedish buzzsaw recorded a hat trick and six shots on goal in this one. His third tally coming while shorthanded.
Arvidsson is back to a point-per-game (24 in 24) and is the straw that stirs the drink in Nashville. I recommended you kick the tires on him a few weeks back to see if his limited games played would lower his perceived value. Here’s hoping you listened.
Despite the lopsided final score, the Caps had a ton of grade-A chances. They were thwarted time and time again by the one known as Juicy Fruit. Juuse Saros stood tall (okay, that was too easy) stopping 26 of 28.
The 23-year-old has been lights out the past month. He’s recorded a 0.971 save percentage in six appearances. Just what the doctor ordered as Nashville tries to limit Pekka Rinne’s workload heading into the spring fling.
Two assists for Ryan Johansen brings him to 42 points on the season and 11 in his past eight games.
Ditto for Mattias Ekholm, who for my money has been the Predators best blueliner for much of this season. He’s sporting a new career-high in points with 36 after tonight. And we’ve got 34 contests to go.
Who’s the best netminder in Winnipeg? That should (and is) an easy answer. But my goodness has Laurent Brossoit played well for the Jets this season. The backup netminder had another stellar performance on Tuesday as he outduelled Marc-Andre Fleury by stopping 43 of 44 in Winnipeg’s 4-1 victory.
That’s seven straight wins and a 0.943 save percentage for the former Oiler. Meanwhile, 2017-18 Vezina finalist, Connor Hellebuyck has been kicking it below league average for much of the campaign.
Is a goalie controversy coming in Winnipeg? No. Probably not.
Blake Wheeler kept his recent two-year hot streak rolling with two third period assists on Tuesday. He’s on pace for 107 points and yet just barely cracks the top 10 scorers in the league.
If I couldn’t play fantasy hockey in the ‘80s and ‘90s when guys regularly topped 150 points, I’ll take this level of production as a nice consolation prize.
In the loss, Brandon Pirri was amongst the top Golden Knights in power play deployment with 6:01 on the night. He continued to skate alongside Paul Stastny, Alex Tuch and Max Pacioretty on the power play. However, he was elevated to the top line with William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault at even-strength.
Pirri scored an even-strength goal to bring his season total to eight goals and 12 points in 11 games. Somehow, he’s still available in a bucket load of leagues. Get this guy onto your roster and into the lineup to reap the heater.
Thomas Chabot took part in a full practice on Tuesday morning and is looking good to return to the lineup against the Avalanche on Wednesday.
The Rangers defeated the Hurricanes 6-2 in one of the early affairs. Mika Zibanejad led the way with two goals and two helpers, while another likely deadline mover in Mats Zuccarello added three assists.
Dougie Hamilton didn’t skate on the team’s top power-play unit, but he did see the most PPTOI (3:52) of any Carolina skater. He managed four shots on goal in 22:35 of action – A nice change of pace after breaking the 20-minute barrier just once in the last 12 games.
Andrei Vasilevskiy and Tampa Bay Lightning shutout the Stars 2-0 on Tuesday. Vas is now sporting an 18-5-2 record and a 0.925 save percentage. The former first-round selection has witnessed his numbers improve in four consecutive seasons. At 24 years old, he’s flirting with being a dominant asset.
David Perron kept his hot play going with a goal that forced overtime against the Islanders. Make it 15 points over a 12-game run.
Jordan Binnington suffered his first taste of defeat in his young NHL career but was good again. He’s peeling starts away from the habitually untrustworthy Jake Allen. I’m not ready to anoint him as a true asset moving forward but he’s certainly worth a speculative add.
The Blues find themselves just four points out of the Wildcard with games in hand. At this point, they'll play whoever gives them the best chance to win.
The trio of Artemi Panarin, Pierre-Luc Dubois, and Cam Atkinson was running around against New Jersey. Each member of the top line recorded a goal and an assist as the Blue Jackets defeated the Devils 4-1.
It was Joonas Korpisalo who earned the victory – his third straight in the last week. Another potential goalie controversy? Again, probably not. But with Torts at the helm and Sergei Bobrovsky not on good terms with the antagonistic coach, anything could happen.
Chicago is not a good team anymore. But Patrick Kane remains a tremendous player. The 30-year-old has 27 points in his last 14 games and 64 in 47 on the season. His 1.36 point-per-game output is the best of his illustrious career.
"Every time he touches the puck, something magic happens."— Blackhawks Talk (@NBCSBlackhawks) January 15, 2019
Is Patrick Kane playing his best hockey…ever? pic.twitter.com/DcgIeE7Pdn
Speaking of Kanes, the Sharks and Penguins met in the late affair. I was looking forward to seeing some of the best players on the planet chuck some sauce around. However, this one was handled somewhat easily by San Jose.
Evander Kane was a catalyst throughout assisting on each of Tomas Hertl's three tallies. Kane also added three hits and six shots on goal as the Sharks defeated the Pens 5-2. That's 14 points in the last nine games for Kane.
As for Hertl, he's up to 19 goals and 41 points in 43 contests. This is a player who lost significant chunks of time during two of his five campaigns. So this would count as his fourth full season. Right on cue for the breakout.
Matt Murray snapped his nine-game win streak in this one. To be fair, it looked like the California sun drained the entire Pens lineup.
Looking for a buy-low option? Look no further than William Nylander. As Maple Leaf fans and fantasy owners pull out their hair watching him put up a paltry three points in 17 games, clever beasts can exploit the situation. Nylander has been deployed just 30-odd percent of his even-strength ice next to Auston Matthews so far this season but there are clear signs of good things to come.
The 22-year-old leads the Leafs in Corsi For percentage (CF%) and Expected Goals For percentage (xGF%). He’s also fifth in the league in shot attempts per 60 and scoring chances per 60. Meanwhile, he’s shooting just 3.2 percent after living in the 10 percent range in his first two full seasons.
A bump is coming. Buy-low while you can.
Thanks for reading and feel free to follow me on Twitter @Hockey_Robinson
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