Why Dadonov Makes Sense, Bergeron Injured, Trade Rumblings, plus more…
Between in-game happenings, trade rumors, Olympics, and even injury news, there is a lot to discuss here. So although this Ramblings will contain more quick hits than deep dives, there shouldn’t be a lack of content.
Brandon Manning recorded the first three-point game (1g-2a) of his career on Saturday. He did so in just 18 minutes of icetime with barely a sniff of power-play time. That give him five points over his last four games. His situation probably isn’t attractive enough for him to warrant fantasy consideration, though.
Here’s Manning’s goal, which will be better remembered as another lowlight in the Senators’ season.
With an assist on Saturday, Shayne Gostisbehere is the third defenseman to reach 50 points this season. He has posted monster numbers in February in particular with 16 assists and a plus-12 (and one goal) in just 12 games. That’s the highest number of assists, points, and plus/minus by a defenseman this month, and also a three-way tie for most power-play points by a d-man this month. Is it possible for Ghost to be the highest-scoring defenseman in the NHL by season’s end?
With the Flyers 9-0-2 over their past 11 games, Petr Mrazek is a great option in net at the moment. Although he allowed three goals to the Senators on Saturday, Mrazek has now posted back-to-back wins in his first two games as a Flyer. I won’t say he’s a must-start, but because of his new situation he’s a preferred option in many instances if you have three goalies and can only start two.
Another Flyers’ note to keep in the memory bank for next season: With Wayne Simmonds out of the lineup, Nolan Patrick is playing on the Flyers’ first-unit power play. We haven’t heard from Patrick during most of his rookie season, but he now has goals in four consecutive games and points in five consecutive games. He also fired nine shots on goal on Saturday. Don’t forget about him.
The hockey world wondered whether Erik Karlsson would be pulled from Saturday’s day game in anticipation of a trade. Alas he was not, and he could not register a point in the loss. I tend to believe that a player of that stature won’t be moved by the deadline, as there are more possible teams that can clear the necessary space to make a deal in the offseason. But oh man, imagine if it did. Be sure to check Dobber Hockey on Monday as we will post our fantasy takes on the deals that matter.
Fresh off signing a six-year contract extension a week ago, Mikael Backlund scored a goal and added two assists on Saturday afternoon. Backlund is an important two-way center for the Flames, although his real-life value may be higher than his fantasy value. His $3.575 million cap hit might be easier to take for deep cap leaguers this season, but fantasy leaguers might want to move on after it reaches $5.35 million next season. That doesn’t necessarily mean he should be ignored in non-cap leagues, though.
With a goal and three assists on Saturday, Mitch Marner has 11 goals and 20 points over his last 17 games. Not only has he turned his season around, but he is now the Leafs’ leading scorer with 51 points. What sophomore slump?
Nazem Kadri had a nice multicategory game, scoring two power-play goals on eight shots on goal. Kadri is on a similar type of roll as Kadri, scoring nine goals and 20 points over his last 17 games.
The Bruins’ loss extended beyond the scoreboard. Patrice Bergeron was seen leaving the Air Canada Centre with a boot on his right foot. On the HNIC intermission panel, Nick Kypreos speculated that if the injury is serious, Bergeron could be placed on LTIR to make room for Rick Nash. As well, the Rangers can take on as much as 50 percent of Nash’s $7.8 million cap hit in any deal. Nash or no Nash, the Bruins are back in action today (Sunday) against Buffalo, so it’s probably safe to assume Bergeron won’t be in the lineup for that game.
With two assists, Taylor Hall extended his “point streak” to 21 games (technically a 14-game streak because of the injury). Over that 21 games Hall has 30 points (14g-16a). If the Hart Trophy is awarded to the player most valuable to his team, Hall should be in the running. With 66 points in 57 games, Hall is 26 points ahead of the next-highest scorer on the Devils, with four fewer games played.
With an assist on Saturday, Blake Wheeler has 17 points over his last 11 games, including an eight-game point streak.
With two goals on Saturday, Patrik Laine has six goals and nine points over his last five games.
After a so-so first half that was slowed by injuries, Dustin Byfuglien has 11 points (1g-10a) over his last nine games. He recorded three helpers on Saturday. Remember that Big Buff’s average draft position was 25.1 in Yahoo leagues, so there’s still time to recoup your original investment. But in spite of the numerous categories that Byfuglien is a contributor, you should be moving the soon-to-be 33-year-old down your draft rankings next season.
Michael Hutchinson made just his second start of the season, earning the win after stopping 33 of 36 shots. Starts are rare with Connor Hellebuyck playing so well. He would be worth keeping an eye on for spot starts because of how strong the Jets are, but Steve Mason has been cleared to play.
Kari Lehtonen earned a second consecutive start on Saturday after posting a shutout on Thursday against LA. But after being pulled in the second period after allowing four goals on 21 shots, there probably won’t be a third consecutive start.
The Panthers may not be a playoff team, but they’re a team that you want to target for your fantasy playoffs. Over the last three weeks of the season, they play 13 times, more than any other team. So if you want to target Barkov, he won’t come cheap because he’s been scoring at a point per game. But Dadonov would be a superb fantasy playoff target, as he’s only owned in 27 percent of Yahoo leagues. Even if you had to trade for him, you probably wouldn’t have to break the bank.
With three points on Saturday, Evgeni Malkin has 27 points over his last 13 games. That’s over two points per game. Insane! Do you sell really high in case the inevitable injury happens? He’s “only” missed four games this season.
Flying well under the radar of Malkin and others, Carl Hagelin has 17 points over his last 20 games, including a goal and an assist on Saturday. His overall scoring (eight goals and 23 points in 62 games) doesn’t look that appealing, but having a linemate as hot as Malkin makes Hagelin a possible add since he’s so widely available (just 4 percent in Yahoo leagues).
Alex Ovechkin scored twice – his league-leading 37th and 38th of the season – while firing 11 shots on goal. Is he on pace for 50? Yes, but just barely. It would be nice to have a 50-goal scorer this season after we didn’t have any last season. Remember when he said he would bail on the NHL season to play in the Olympics? Yeah, that would have been interesting.
Evgeny Kuznetsov scored a goal and added three assists on Saturday. He’s on pace to match his 77 points from two seasons ago. Lining up with Ovechkin for part of the season seems to be making a difference, as is additional power-play time (1:30 more this season over last). As a result, Kuznetsov already has 20 power-play points this season compared to 14 last season, a number that has helped him reach the same number of points as he had all of last season.
Will the Darcy Kuemper acquisition tighten the screws on Antti Raanta? You wouldn’t have known it on Saturday, as he stopped all 26 Ducks’ shots he faced in a 2-0 shutout win. Kuemper is expected to start the second of back-to-backs on Sunday against Vancouver (Goalie Post). But unless the Yotes somehow decide to trade Raanta, Kuemper may not see any more starts than he did in LA. Raanta has won four of his last five starts with shutouts in two of them with a 1.51 GAA and .958 SV% over that span.
It was perhaps a bit earlier than expected, but Jeff Carter returned to the Kings’ lineup on Saturday. He was held without a point with four shots on goal in 17 minutes of icetime. I mentioned in my latest Sportsnet article that now is the time to activate him or add him. Unfortunately, he has yet to score his first goal of the season in seven total games.
Tyler Toffoli scored a goal while taking eight shots on goal. The goal was Toffoli’s first in six games and just his second in 20 games. Toffoli was matched with Carter in this game, so perhaps the two struggling forwards can help each other out.
The Kings have decided to try newly acquired Tobias Rieder’s speed on the Anze Kopitar line. Rieder took full advantage, scoring a goal while taking six shots on goal. If this arrangement can stick for a while then Rieder’s fantasy value will improve with the move to LA.
For those of you that stayed up late, wasn’t that Olympic gold medal game fun? We don’t have a Contrarian article anymore, but I’m going to give my own Contrarian hot take: What do you say we have this same Olympic format in four years so that we can give nations outside of the usual hockey powers a chance to win the gold medal again? (ducks) Okay, but at least we know that Olympic hockey won’t be so bad if Bettman and the IOC can’t agree on something to send NHL players to Beijing in 2022.
Nikita Gusev scored two goals in the gold medal game. Because you’re probably interested in finding out more about him, I’ve attached his Dobber Prospects profile. If the Vegas Golden Knights can get him to come to the NHL, look out. But that’s a major if. But he’s not the only Russian player where that is the case…
… because there’s also Kirill Kaprizov, the golden goal scorer in this game. Here’s his Dobber Prospects profile. It’s really difficult to know what to do with these two prospects in keeper leagues, as they should be fantasy relevant players. They could both theoretically play in the NHL next season, or they could decide to sign in the KHL again for 2-3 more seasons. Personally, I’d like to see that NHL contract before I attempt to add one of these players to my keeper team. But I know there are others that will take the risk sooner than that.
But we could see players 3 and 4 from this list in the NHL very soon…
Final top scorers for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games: Nikita Gusev (VGK), Kirill Kaprizov (MIN) and Eeli Tolvanen (NSH). USA's Ryan Donato (BOS) tied for the tournament goal-scoring lead with 5 with Kaprizov and Kovalchuk. pic.twitter.com/w8VkaxKKwm
— Chris Peters (@chrismpeters) February 25, 2018
For more fantasy hockey information, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.
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