Happy Halloween! Hope you received lots of candy in your Halloween bag and that your fantasy hockey team hasn’t been playing tricks on you this week.
The NHL decided not to distract from the Halloween festivities, scheduling only two games on Thursday. In the Calgary/Nashville game, Matthew Tkachuk scored the game-tying goal in the final minute of the third period, then scored the game-winning goal with a second left in overtime to give the Flames a 6-5 win. Tkachuk also chipped in an assist to give him a three-point game.
The Predators coughed up a three-goal lead that they held entering the third period, so this result will no doubt give them nightmares.
Watch closely and you’ll see Tkachuk score his OT winner between his legs (you might have to wait until it goes in slow-mo).
Between this and the lacrosse-style goals, the hockey entertainment factor has sure been turned up a notch this week.
With a goal of his own, Elias Lindholm now has goals in three consecutive games and a five-game goal streak. His goal output for October has been historic for the Flames’ franchise.
First #Flames player with 9 goals in October since Valeri Bure's 10 tallies in 1999.
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) November 1, 2019
Too bad he has only three assists. He will need to pad that assist total going forward, since he is currently shooting at 23.7%. His 5-on-5 shooting percentage currently sits at a more manageable 7.78%. We’ll have more on some shooters that have had some early-season success later in the Ramblings.
Speaking of Granlund, that’s now eight games and counting without a point. At least he gave his owners some hope two nights ago, taking seven shots on goal. On Thursday, not a single shot. I’m sure he will turn it around at some point given the linemates and the half-decent shot total, but at this point you can’t be blamed if you’ve decided to move on for more immediate help. The majority of owners that drafted him now have. He’d been drafted in 99 percent of Yahoo leagues and is now owned in less than half of that (44 percent).
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Austin Watson today. Fresh off signing a three-year, $4.5 million extension, Watson scored two goals and added two assists on Thursday, giving him his first career four-point game. This output is an outlier for Watson, but linemate Nick Bonino scored again to give him four goals in two games and nine points in his last eight games. Because of that, Bonino is a hot waiver-wire pickup on Yahoo at the moment, although you’ll want to beware of both his 25.9 SH% and his 14.08 5on5 SH%.
The Montreal/Vegas game had its own wild finish. (I can only imagine what Halloween is like in Vegas.) After Brendan Gallagher tied the game with two minutes left in regulation, Max Domi scored the overtime winner 26 seconds into overtime. The Habs won the game 5-4 after erasing a Vegas two-goal lead in the third period.
With his 4-4 goal, #GoHabsGo Brendan Gallagher has scored 6 goals in his last 9 games
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) November 1, 2019
With an assist on Gallagher’s goal, Joel Armia now has five points in his last five games. The piece Montreal acquired so they would agree to take Steve Mason’s contract off Winnipeg’s hands, Armia has recently experienced an increase in production now that he is on a line with Jonathan Drouin and Max Domi. The continued deployment will help, but keep in mind that he might not be the kind of add that will be on your roster all season. He is currently shooting at 21.4 percent and at a 5-on-5 shooting percentage of 16.33, which are both listed as “significantly higher than expected” on the Frozen Tools buy/sell meter. If you’re not familiar, that could represent a sell-high opportunity.
Not sold on Montreal scoring?
Three NHL teams have scored 50 goals. Montreal is one of them.
— Grant McCagg (@grantmccagg) November 1, 2019
Some quick hits on players whose teams didn’t play tonight:
Last week J.T. Compher was the guy to pick up in Colorado to move up to the top line after Mikko Rantanen was injured. How quickly things change with the Gabriel Landeskog injury, as Joonas Donskoi is now receiving minutes with Nathan MacKinnon both on the top line and first-unit power play. Donskoi scored a goal on Wednesday with nearly 19 minutes of icetime, so he’s worth at least a short-term add as many did with Compher last week.
Also, if you’ve been waiting on Tyson Jost, he’s also been receiving first-unit power-play minutes. With both Rantanen and Landeskog expected to miss multiple weeks, Jost has a golden opportunity to push past the 30-point mark for the first time in his career.
The Sharks have stumbled out of the gate, which has affected Timo Meier, who has no points in his last four games. This is simply a case of fantasy owners needing to be patient, or perhaps even buying low. Meier is still taking nearly three shots per game, yet has a career-low 3.08 5on5 SH% with a super low 940 PDO.
Sammy Blais returned to the Blues’ lineup on Wednesday and played as top-6 forward on a line with Brayden Schenn and Jaden Schwartz. Add Blais for sure in leagues that count hits, as he’s a top-20 option in that category. Even more reason to add him if he’s being used as a top 6 forward.
David Perron has eight points in his last six games, including seven shots on Wednesday. He’s playing on a line with Ryan O’Reilly. Icetime and power-play time shouldn’t be an issue for Perron with Vladimir Tarasenko out of the lineup for months.
Last week I listed some players that are struggling in the goals department, yet might be on the verge of turning it around because of high shot totals. Today I’ll cover players on the opposite end of the spectrum – players with high goal totals and high shooting percentage. Will these players continue to provide treats for their fantasy owners, or are they tricks waiting to happen?
Brayden Schenn – 9 G, 28 SOG, 32.1 SH%, 8.96 5on5 SH% – In spite of the early-season goal outburst, Schenn is shooting at about the same rate that he did last season. This outburst has been driven by 3 PPG already, which seems like a lot if you consider that Schenn scored 4 PPG all of last season. However, Schenn was a 17 PPG scorer during his final season with the Flyers, so the overall shooting percentage could regress while he still has time to score more power-play goals. The absence of frequent linemate Tarasenko could also affect negatively production here. Schenn is a potential sell-high.
David Pastrnak – 12 G, 40 SOG, 30.0 SH%, 12.35 5on5 SH% – It’s difficult to think that Pasta will score the 80 goals that he is on pace for. You could try to sell high, but it might be a John Carlson-type sell high in which you would only receive the very best in return or a package deal that returns multiple impact players. In both cases, a better bet might be to hold, yet still enjoy great (although somewhat reduced) production. Forty goals is a very real possibility, and he might even make a run at fifty.
T.J. Oshie – 7 G, 24 SOG, 29.2 SH%, 10.71 5on5 SH% – Oshie normally has a high shooting percentage, so this one doesn’t scream sell high as much as the others. Oshie has averaged a high baseline of 17.0 SH% and has shot over 20% over an entire season once. As much as Oshie is a solid option if your league rewards goals and little else, he’s not someone you should go out of your way to add in a multicategory league anyway. In fact, Oshie has never reached the 200-shot mark, and he has only reached 10 PPP once.
Adam Henrique – 8 G, 30 SOG, 26.7 SH%, 11.9 5on5 SH% – Henrique is a bit of a sell high, although part of his success this season has been due to taking more shots (2 shots per game this season, compared to 1.5 shots per game last season). Keep in mind that Henrique has just one assist this month, which lowers his value if goals and assists carry the same reward in your league.
James Neal – 14 G, 42 SOG, 26.2 SH%, 7.02 5on5 SH% – The 5-on-5 shooting percentage isn’t a reason to sell high in itself, but the 3.2 PTS/60 and 72.2 IPP are. Neal has upped his shot total from just over two shots per game in Calgary last season to three shots per game in Edmonton, but better deployment (two and a half minutes per game more) will do that. He’s a much better player in Edmonton than he was in Calgary, but it shouldn’t take someone with a PhD in statistics to figure out that the goal rate will slow down.
Finally, if you would like to know where the avatar from my Forum profile comes from, here’s your answer. Best Halloween-themed goalie mask of all time?
— Mike Commito (@mikecommito) October 31, 2019
For more fantasy hockey information, or to reach out to me directly, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.
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