Every Sunday this season, we’ll share 20 Fantasy Thoughts from the writers at Dobber Hockey. These thoughts are curated from the past week’s “Daily Ramblings” on DobberHockey.com.
1. I was about to drop Pat Maroon in one league, but just as I was about to do so, he went on another scoring run. With a goal on Saturday, the Big Rig (finally, a hockey nickname done right) keeps on trucking with nine goals over his last 11 games and 18 goals on the season. Looks like he’s found a home in Edmonton.
Maybe Maroon is a better fit with Connor McDavid than Milan Lucic, who has been demoted to the third line with Drake Caggiula and Anton Slepyshev. Lucic hasn’t scored a goal in 10 games and counting. Of course you’re going to roll Maroon as long as he’s on the McDavid line but it’s difficult to think he’ll keep this up if he’s off of it, particularly with 17 per cent shooting accuracy.
2. In his 500th NHL game, Brad Marchand scored five points to match his single-game career high. He also helped fantasy teams with a plus-4. Marchand has racked up eight points this week and he’s had a great January with 12 points in seven games. Now that he is on the first power play unit, Marchand is a contributor in virtually every fantasy category and should now be in the conversation for fantasy elite status.
3. Phillip Danault, one of my waiver-wire suggestions for the week, added another three assists in just under 18 minutes of ice time Saturday. So that’s eight points in seven games in January for Danault. With Alex Galchenyuk back, as well as Andrew Shaw (if he isn’t suspended), Danault’s usage might decrease but there should at least be space for him in the top-nine as long as he continues to produce.
4. With two goals on Saturday, Nazem Kadri has scored five goals over his last five games and is on a five-game point streak. That’s the same Kadri that we were worried would be forced into a checking role with the arrival of Auston Matthews. With solid shots on goal and penalty minute totals, Kadri is a multi-category stud who has exceeded expectations.
5. Brock McGinn is now up to four goals and three assists over his last three games. He’s found a nice line with Jordan Staal and Elias Lindholm who have also been hot recently. Staal has seven points over his last four games while Lindholm has a six-game point streak in which he has nine points.
Out of that group, I’d be the most inclined to add Lindholm. He has always had appeal in fantasy but has fallen short, posting back-to-back 39-point seasons. After a slow start (one point in his first nine games) and 10 games missed, Lindholm seems to be making up for lost time. With a career-high 0.55 points/game pace, 25 points during the second half of the season seems attainable.
6. With the game-tying goal and two assists on Saturday, John Klingberg is finding his stride after a slow start. Over his last 12 games, Klingberg has 12 points, including five goals. Hopefully you didn’t sell low. Again, patience is a virtue.
7. One Ranger who is red hot offensively is Chris Kreider who now has eight goals in his last nine games. He’s also taken 36 shots over that time. Both Mats Zuccarello and Kreider have recently been averaging about four shots a game.
8. It’s a small sample but Juuse Saros has allowed only 10 goals in his eight appearances. Seven of those eight games have been quality starts. He’s money in the bank any time you can scoop him up for a spot start so be ready to pounce if Pekka Rinne gets hurt.
9. I recommend buying Ben Bishop stock. Even though I hate the state of the Lightning defence outside of Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman, I still have confidence in them figuring things out and Bishop reaping the rewards.
10. On Mark Stone and Mike Hoffman: I am big on both. Stone has 27 points in his last 26 games while Hoffman has 22 points in 22 games over the same span. They’ve been on fire for almost two months now.
Derick Brassard has eight points in the last 11 games. A good uptick but he spoiled his chance to team up with Hoffman and Stone on the Senators’ top PP unit. It’ll be tough for him to beat out Kyle Turris now. That limits just how hot he can get as we head into the second half.
11. Since Jack Eichel returned from injury, Evander Kane has 11 goals and 14 points in 21 games. That’s basically his entire scoring output for the season. He was irrelevant until Eichel showed up. Suddenly, he’s a high-efficiency scorer.
12. I keep feeling like the Wild’s bubble is going to burst at some point. The injury factor is one to keep in mind because the Wild haven’t had to deal with that much. Maybe they’ll remain healthy and the buzz saw will continue unabated though I have my doubts. I’ve mentioned this before but the secondary guys like Jason Zucker, Mikael Granlund, and Nino Niederreiter have the usage of 50-points guys, not 60-points guys. I have more confidence in the likes of Eric Staal, Zach Parise, and Charlie Coyle and it’s mostly because of usage.
13. The Wild have the option to bring Joel Eriksson Ek back from Sweden but that the window is closing. He’d be better than any trade deadline pickup they could make. I wouldn’t expect Eriksson Ek to be fantasy relevant this season but he could be an option for those in the deepest of leagues. Also, worth filing his name away for consideration in playoff pools.
14. It’s too bad that Nathan MacKinnon has emerged as a volume shooter but not a volume scorer. Maybe one day things will click but it seems that while he can generate chances, he isn’t a great finisher. He might be better served using his skills to make plays for others, if he has that in his bag of tricks. His speed and skill is a zone-entry cheat code, much the way it is for McDavid, Taylor Hall, and other brilliant young players, but he doesn’t score goals at the same rate. This is the hurdle he needs to clear in order to get into the 70-point range or higher.
15. Drew Stafford is indeed taking advantage of filling in for Patrik Laine, so he could be a helpful pickup. My preferred pickups are Vincent Trocheck and Matthew Tkachuk, though. Trocheck has 13 points in his last 10 games. Tkachuk, meanwhile, continues to help the Flames’ second line to challenge as one of the top second lines in the league. He is an absolute terror in multi-category leagues and is valuable in every format.
16. Kevin Labanc looks very good on Logan Couture’s line. If Couture ever goes off on a hot run (and you know it will happen at some point), then Labanc could tag along for a productive ride.
17. Anze Kopitar has eight points in his last six games. Believe in the turnaround, folks!
18. I have more faith in the Blues as a team than I do of the Jets, so I’d rather have Jake Allen than Connor Hellebuyck, but I’m also not paying any price to make the swap. At this stage in the season, I am wary of paying to make goalie upgrades, especially when the price is almost certainly going to be a superstar forward. I’d rather find a way to make the goalie I do have work, which is where goalie splits come in.
19. In my opinion, one of the stupidest things we do in fantasy hockey is reward penalty takers when it’s so obviously a negative stat. This is compounded by the reality that drawing penalties is one of the best things a player can do. I don’t see why, in this day and age, we can’t turn penalty differential into the stat used for fantasy hockey rather than something we all know to be a negative.
20. You’ve got to like when a player responds to getting scratched with a run of production. Mikkel Boedker has five points in four games since being scratched, including a hat trick last Tuesday. Kudos to Mr. Boedker. I’m still not buying him in a fantasy league, however. He remains on the fourth line and second PP unit. The Sharks’ second unit is junk and the fourth line is the fourth line. Boedker can score in a hurry because of his wheels but I wouldn’t even put him at the level of Michael Grabner.