Post-Trade Deadline Debuts, A Wild Night in the Central Division, plus more...
Rick Nash scored his first goal as a Bruin on Tuesday, skating on the line he was projected to be on with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk. You can find out more about how the Nash move affects fantasy teams in my Fantasy Take from Sunday. The goal was Nash’s first as a Bruin, but so far he has taken a combined ten shots on goal over the two games. The one category where Nash will help your team the most is shots on goal, where he is currently a top-20 option. But overall, I like the move for his fantasy value.
From many accounts Tommy Wingels had a strong Bruins’ debut, scoring a goal and adding an assist. Wingels wasn’t on the checking line as you might expect, instead lining up with Danton Heinen and David Backes. Wingels was at one time during his Sharks days a target in deep leagues that count hits, but should this line arrangement continue he might even make for a sneaky pickup.
The official Taylor Hall point streak is now at 15 games, while the unofficial streak has now reached 22 games. Over the long stretch he is now at 32 points (15g-17a). Since January 1 only Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby have more points than Hall (three other players are tied with him).
Speaking of Crosby, he scored a goal on seven shots on goal on Tuesday. Stating the obvious here, but start him at home (or maybe pick him in your daily league lineup). Crosby has 21 points in his last 12 home games.
After experiencing some immigration issues, Derick Brassard made his Penguins’ debut on Tuesday. He was held without a point but dished four hits while playing on a line with Phil Kessel. To no one’s surprise, Kessel did not deliver a hit in this game. View our breakdown of the Brassard trade here.
With Brassard out of Ottawa, Jean-Gabriel Pageau takes Brassard’s place on Mark Stone’s line. Meanwhile, Magnus Paajarvi (remember him?) is skating with Mike Hoffman and Matt Duchene. That hasn’t helped Paajarvi, who is without a point in his last five games.
This edition of the Ramblings won’t just be about familiar faces in new places. There were some amazing offensive exploits on Tuesday, in particular from the Central Division.
If you own one or more of Eric Staal, Jason Zucker, or Mikael Granlund, today was a good day. Staal had a hat trick with two assists, Zucker had a goal and four assists, while Granlund scored two goals and added two assists. In fact, during the last three games this line hasn’t been playing Minnesota nice to its opponents, combining for 26 points over that span.
Thought to be on the outs fantasy-wise after his days in Carolina were reaching an end, Staal has enjoyed a renaissance in Minnesota. With the five-point performance, he is now officially scoring at over a point per game (64 points in 63 games), pushed by a white-hot tally of 13 goals and 21 points in just 13 games this month. That torrid goal-scoring pace has also vaulted him to a tie for third in NHL goal scoring with 33 goals. Needless to say, he has provided exceptional value from where he was drafted (Yahoo ADP: 135).
Remember when Granlund was one of last season’s breakout performers? He’s at it again. The two-goal, two-assist performance was his second in three games. He’s also a plus-7 with 17 shots on goal over that span.
Zucker is as streaky a player as they come, so not surprisingly he’s hot while he’s a part of this line. Over his last six games he has 11 points (4g-7a).
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Ryan Suter as well, since my head-to-head opponent in one of my leagues has him (along with Staal). With three assists on Tuesday, Suter now has seven assists over his past five games.
Quote on the message board in one of my leagues:
Subject line: “Jake Allen is ruining me”
Body: “I'd like to thank Jake Allen for single-handedly tanking my team from 3rd to like 8th....”
Entering Tuesday’s game, Allen had lost four games in a row. On Tuesday, he didn’t even stick around long enough to be tagged with the L, allowing three goals on eight shots. Yeah, I’d say keep him glued to your bench. But the Blues are still going to be trotting him out there, as Carter Hutton hasn’t been a whole lot better this month (6 GP, 3.21 GAA, .866 SV%). At this point you’d have to consider the Blues to be a real question mark for making the playoffs.
On a side note, the two teams listed next are considered the two top teams in the Central. But with five wins in a row, the Wild are now sitting in third place in this division, just four points behind the second-place Jets with the same number of games played. Even though they kept quiet at the trade deadline, the Wild might be a sneaky Central pick come playoff time.
Predators – Jets. Wouldn’t that be a mouthwatering Central Division final? The two teams met on Wednesday and did their fantasy owners many favors (except for the goalies), combining for 11 goals.
Of the six goals that the Preds scored in their victory, Roman Josi assisted on five of them. This ties him with Mathew Barzal (twice) and Artemi Panarin for the highest assist total, and it also ties him with numerous other players for the highest point total of the season. Josi has also piled up 11 assists (along with one goal) over his past five games.
In his Predators’ debut, Ryan Hartman scored the game-winning goal while logging 13:29 of icetime. View our breakdown of the Hartman trade here. As projected, he didn’t crack the top six, instead playing on a line with Colton Sissons and Austin Watson.
Craig Smith also scored two goals for the Preds. He’s quietly amassed an eight-game point streak with one point in each of his last seven games. He’s back on a line with Kevin Fiala and Kyle Turris, who all formed some instant chemistry when Turris was first acquired from Ottawa.
In his Jets’ debut, Paul Stastny scored a goal and picked up an assist. And as first projected, he centered Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers. I read somewhere that this is the Jets’ third line. Third line? For what, the All-Star team?
So in case you’re wondering, here’s the Jets’ top nine:
26.07% EV CONNOR,KYLE - SCHEIFELE,MARK - WHEELER,BLAKE
20% EV EHLERS,NIKOLAJ - LAINE,PATRIK - STASTNY,PAUL
19.29% EV LITTLE,BRYAN - PERREAULT,MATHIEU - ROSLOVIC,JACK
Not a bad line in the bunch, although the Perreault line would seem more like a third line to me. Someone asked me if Perreault’s fantasy value would suffer as a result of the Jets acquiring Stastny. I would say maybe a little, although the Jets have plenty of scoring to go around now. Plus lines get reshuffled all the time.
See the Stastny trade breakdown here. Man, Dobber sure did an amazing amount of work on Monday.
Shutout shoutout to Ben Bishop, who stopped 38 shots against the Flames. That was also his first win in four games.
Evander Kane had a successful Sharks’ debut, recording two assists with a plus-2 and four hits. There was some worry that Kane would lose value moving away from Jack Eichel, but Peter DeBoer placed Kane on Joe Pavelski’s line. The combination seemed to work for both players, as Pavelski scored a goal and added three assists. View Dobber’s breakdown of the Kane trade here.
Timo Meier also scored for the Sharks while firing nine shots on goal. Meier’s shot totals are very up and down, but at 16 goals now Meier has a real shot at scoring 20 goals in his first full season.
I just realized that not only has Milan Lucic not scored a goal since Christmas, he hasn't had a primary assist, either.
Just five second assists in his last 26 games.
— Jonathan Willis (@JonathanWillis) February 27, 2018
Not the greatest endorsement of Milan Lucic. But entering Tuesday’s action Lucic was still third in the NHL with 195 hits. So whether you should still own him boils down to whether your league counts hits. In spite of that glaring lack of production, Lucic is still receiving first-unit power-play minutes. But with similar power forward winger Patrick Maroon now in Jersey, expect Lucic to keep receiving that power-play time, even though he hasn't had a power-play point since... you guessed it, Christmas.
In his first game as an Oiler, Pontus Aberg recorded an assist on Jesse Puljujarvi’s goal. The speedy Aberg’s new line also includes Ryan Strome, who has been playing better of late with five goals and seven points over his last six games. We even have a breakdown of the trade that sent Aberg to Edmonton here.
Yes, that was Jack Campbell tending net for the Kings in a 4-1 win over Vegas, stopping 41 of 42 shots he faced to earn his first-ever NHL win at the age of 26. With Darcy Kuemper traded to Arizona, Campbell moves into the backup role and received the start with the Kings playing their second of back-to-backs against the Golden Knights. Is Campbell this month’s version of Jeff Glass? It didn’t seem that long ago that Campbell was one of the league’s top goaltending prospects. But that’s probably just me getting old.
For more fantasy hockey information, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.
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