Happy Quinn Hughes day!
The seventh overall pick in last summer’s draft made his NHL debut on Thursday. He was paired with the recently resurgent Luke Schenn (more on him shortly) in just over 15 minutes of icetime. For fantasy owners who were lightning-fast in adding Hughes to their lineups, he recorded his first NHL point by assisting on Brock Boeser’s second-period goal.
Hughes did much of the work on the goal, hopefully giving us a preview of things to come:
No first-unit power-play duty for Hughes (yet), as the Canucks went with a four-forward first unit with Alex Edler on the point as per usual. However, 3-on-3 overtime with Hughes, Boeser, and Elias Pettersson was a sight to behold. Amazing stuff.
Of course, you can check out Hughes' Dobber Prospects profile, where Cam has lots more to say.
By the way, Edler has five goals and 11 points over his past 12 games. Hughes will probably supplant him one day on the Canucks' first power-play unit, just not today.
With Thatcher Demko in net, the Canucks’ roster on Thursday provided a real glimpse into the future. Demko stopped 37 of 39 shots in earning his second win in three games. It looks like the Canucks will alternate between Demko and Jacob Markstrom the rest of the way, so plan accordingly.
After bouncing around with several teams and even a stint in the minors, Schenn may have found a home in Vancouver, at least for next season. He’ll never be an option in pure points leagues, but he might be worth a grab if you are zeroing in on your hits category in roto. Over the past week Schenn has 28 hits in four games, more than any other player. Schenn and Hughes already know each other from Schenn’s Toronto days, when Hughes’ dad worked for the Leafs.
I have to say that if you think Jonathan Quick is washed up, he looked very impressive in this game. Quick stopped 36 of 38 shots, which included some beauty saves. Quick was pulled from his last start on Tuesday after allowing five goals on 11 shots in one period against Edmonton, so this was a nice bounce-back start for him in spite of not earning a win.
In the matchup of the night, the Canadiens and Blue Jackets faced off for what might be the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Under a ton of pressure considering what they have to lose this offseason, the Jackets pulled through with a 6-2 win over the Habs. In case you’re already planning your playoff pool, the two teams are now tied for the final playoff spot with 90 points, although the Jackets also have the all-important game in hand.
Oliver Bjorkstrand was the Jackets’ scoring star, scoring twice on four shots on goal. Even though he’s being used on what might be considered Columbus’ third line with Alexander Wennberg and Boone Jenner, Bjorkstrand has been heating up with five goals in his last five games. The Jackets play on both Saturday and Sunday, so Bjorkstrand should be considered a streaming option for those days. As should many other Blue Jackets on what is a fairly deep (at least on paper) scoring attack.
After being held without a goal in 12 consecutive games, Artemi Panarin now has goals in back-to-back games. The Jackets can ill-afford another scoring slump from Panarin.
The Panthers might be out of the playoff race, but that isn’t stopping Jonathan Huberdeau. The Panthers’ winger scored two goals on six shots on goal in a 5-2 win over Ottawa. Huby now has eight multipoint games during March to go with nine goals and 21 points over his last 12 games. Too bad I’ve been eliminated in the league that I own him in. Don’t you just hate it when your players cash in after you’ve been eliminated?
Evgenii Dadonov is another Panthers’ forward who has picked up the pace. Over his last 12 games, Dadonov has 17 points (4g-13a). Playing on a line with Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov might have something to do with it. Dadonov has now surpassed last season’s point total and is just four points shy of his first 70-point season.
The Senators certainly can’t blame Brady Tkachuk for this loss. The younger Tkachuk brother scored his 20th goal of the season while firing 12 shots on goal and dishing three hits in 22 minutes of icetime. We’ll have to wait and see what order of pick the 31st-place Senators hand over to the Avalanche. If you believe in the theory of opportunity cost, the Sens would not own Tkachuk had they decided to keep their 2019 pick instead of their 2018 pick as part of the first Duchene deal. Hey, I’m just trying to be positive for Senators’ fans here. We’ll have to wait and see how everything unfolds.
On the other Sens’ goal, Colin White provided some highlight-reel material:
— Hockey Daily (@HockeyDaily365) March 29, 2019
Another forward who provided a big boost to shots on goal totals everywhere was Dylan Larkin. The Wings’ forward fired 12 shots of his own, with two of them going in. Larkin now has the first 30-goal season in his career.
Larkin’s linemates also had strong games. Tyler Bertuzzi scored two goals and added an assist, while Anthony Mantha recorded three assists. Mantha now has six points over his last three games. The Wings play on Sunday, which makes Mantha another possible streaming option, likely in the shallower pools.
Rasmus Ristolainen was held out of the lineup for a second consecutive game due to illness. The Sabres’ workhorse defenseman has been held without a point with a minus-9 ranking in his last nine games. Even multicategory single-season leaguers could consider dropping Risto at this point if more immediate help is needed. If this is actually an injury, then the non-playoff Sabres might consider shutting him down.
If you own Mathew Barzal, you’ve been waiting for a goal for a while. As in over a month. Fortunately, the Isles’ center broke his goal-scoring slump and added an assist in a 5-4 win over Winnipeg. Barzal had gone without a goal in his previous 19 games. He isn’t one to pile up the goals, as his 18 goals this season is just four fewer than his total last season. However, he is well short of his 85-point rookie season from last season. This could be the result of having to play the tougher matchups this season versus last season, when John Tavares was still in the fold.
Playing on the top line with Barzal, Jordan Eberle scored two goals and added an assist. Eberle might have decent value at this very moment based on where he’s being used, but he’s also staring at his first sub-40-point season (lockout-shortened 2012-13 not included) in his career.
It’s finally happened: Ryan Pulock is on the first power-play unit. At least he’s sharing it with Nick Leddy anyway. Pulock had a nice roto game, recording three assists (one on the power play) while taking seven shots on goal in nearly 26 minutes. He’d been held without a point in his previous eight games, so you might want to get him back for what’s left of the season if you decided to move on.
In a losing cause for the Jets, Adam Lowry and Brandon Tanev each had three points. Lowry had been held without a point in his last nine games, while Tanev had not recorded a point in his previous seven games. Tanev has some sneaky roto value, as he fired six shots on Thursday, and he has 23 hits over the past week (four games). However, whenever I’ve thought about picking him up, he seems to be mired in a point drought.
Connor McDavid scored his 40th goal of the season in style:
— Hockey Daily (@HockeyDaily365) March 29, 2019
Leon Draisaitl also scored goal number 47, which puts him just two behind Alex Ovechkin in the Rocket Richard Trophy race and of course the race to 50 goals. Both McDavid and Draisaitl have now hit 100 points and are in the top 5 in scoring. You’d think that would set the Oilers up nicely for a playoff spot, right? Of course not. You need an entire team, not just a couple of top-end players. The same theory applies in fantasy.
With two more goals on Thursday, Alex DeBrincat has 40 goals. That places him in the top 10 in goal scoring. Not bad for a 21 year old in his second NHL season who many teams thought was too small. DeBrincat is not averse to slumps, though, as he entered this game without a point in five consecutive games.
Tomas Hertl scored a goal and added two assists, giving him 34 goals and 68 points in what has been a true breakout. A 70-point season is easily within reach.
If you’re also into baseball, hope you enjoyed Opening Day and the start of fantasy baseball! For more fantasy hockey information, or to reach out to me directly, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.
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