Ray Shero had no choice. He had to do something. The final straw in John Hynes’s tenure as bench boss of the New Jersey Devils was an embarrassing 7-1 loss in Buffalo last Monday night. The next day, the 44-year-old was handed a pink slip and assistant Alain Nasreddine was handed the interim tag. Good luck to him. He’ll need it. For what it’s worth, the Devils are 0-2-1 since the change behind the bench.
Now, to a more positive note tracking teams that have figured things out after early-season slumbers. Sometimes, the best decision is the one not made.
|San Jose Sharks||4-9-1||11-6-1|
Moral of the story: Don’t judge a book by its cover. It’s a long season, folks.
1. At this point in New Jersey, anyone not named Taylor Hall or P.K. Subban are fair game to be dropped. You can revisit the core files later on if they start to demonstrate some sort of consistency.
Furthermore, I’m giving Subban until the end of this decade to figure it out. Can you believe that he’s now been held pointless in an unprecedented 17 straight games? Ridiculous.
2. As expected, Alain Nasreddine has jumbled things up early on. Here’s what the top-six looks like right now:
Taylor Hall – Jack Hughes – Kyle Palmieri
Blake Coleman – Travis Zajac – Nikita Gusev
For the sake of fantasy-hockey kind, can someone start producing regularly?
3. The injury bug has hit the Avalanche again – this time it’s Cale Makar and Philipp Grubauer. Both left Colorado’s 4-1 win versus Boston on Saturday night due to undisclosed injuries. Post-game, all head coach Jared Bednar disclosed was that it would be a couple of days before we know more. It doesn’t look good on either front. I hope I’m wrong.
As for some quick fixes, here are some blue-line options: Ryan Graves (COL), Brandon Montour (BUF), Jonas Brodin (MIN), Hampus Lindholm (ANA) and Tucker Poolman (WPG).
Also, I’d grab Peter Francouz for insurance purposes.
4. Sticking with Colorado, even with Gabriel Landeskog back in the mix, Bednar has elected not to reunite the big three on the top line just yet:
Joonas Donskoi – Nathan MacKinnon – Mikko Rantanen
Gabriel Landeskog – JT Compher – Andre Burakovsky
Also, keep in mind that Nazem Kadri is currently out with a lower-body ailment as well. Regardless, there continues to be plenty of daily fantasy value in Denver.
5. Andreas Johnsson being placed on LTIR mixed with Toronto’s offensive ineptitudes prompted Sheldon Keefe to tinker with refreshed lines:
Pontus Aberg – Auston Matthews – William Nylander
Zach Hyman – John Tavares – Mitch Marner
Not sure how long that look lasts for Aberg. He’ll likely get another shot to impress Tuesday night in Vancouver.
6. Don’t look now but the Flames are starting to catch fire. They’re 5-0-1 over the last six games. Interim bench boss Geoff Ward has pulled all the right strings so far, including making the gutsy call to split up the Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm connection:
Matthew Tkachuk – Elias Lindholm – Andrew Mangiapane
Mikael Backlund – Sean Monahan – Dillon Dube
Milan Lucic – Derek Ryan – Johnny Gaudreau
So. Much. Value. To. Be. Had. Here. As seen on Saturday night, it won’t be long before those are three are back together. Look out for Dube, too.
7. Might be time to go back and buy some Shayne Gostisbehere stock again. The much-maligned 26-year-old Flyers defender has notched three goals and one assist in five games since a three-game healthy scratch hiatus. Low risk, high reward.
8. With Tristan Jarry currently playing out of his mind, now’s a tremendous time to buy low on Matt Murray. No goalie controversy to see here. I’m confident that the 25-year-old will regain his form from earlier this season.
9. Due to fear of the unknown, I still think Jakub Vrana is highly attainable on the trade market at the moment. He’s in the midst of a breakout campaign and no one knows if it’s legitimate. For what it’s worth, I believe, and you should too.
10. Pick up Vegas power forward Alex Tuch immediately. After a slow start, he’s been delivering lately with four goals and seven points over his last five outings. Love the category coverage here!
11. With a four-game week ahead for the Wild, grab Jason Zucker and take him for a spin. The 27-year-old is flying under the radar. Believe it or not, he’s currently on track for his second-career 30-goal season and first-ever 70-point display.
12. Target Mike Hoffman before it’s too late. The free agent to be is on pace for another 30-goal season and with a strong finish, he could hit the jackpot ala Jeff Skinner on the open market. Move quickly.
13. Place Vancouver’s Micheal Ferland on your watch list. The bruising forward returned to the Canucks lineup on Saturday afternoon for the first time since suffering a concussion back on October 30. Provided the 27-year-old can stay moderately healthy, he has the potential to be an absolute fantasy monster.
14. Speaking of the Canucks, Tanner Pearson has been hot lately and could prove to be a useful stream for you this upcoming week. The undrafted winger has netted four goals and eight points since November 20th.
15. Whatever you do, don’t doubt Brent Burns. He’ll turn things around. Just trust me.
16. Ditto for Steven Stamkos and Andrei Vasievslkiy. If anything, view this as a sneaky little buy-low window. At some point in time, the Lightning will catch fire. They looked pretty good on Saturday night against San Jose. Be smart.
17. Drop Carter Hutton. For starters, he’s been dreadful. Secondly, he’s lost his starting gig to Linus Ullmark. In general, I’d stay clear of Buffalo from a goaltending standpoint – they’re not very good at keeping the puck out of the net.
18. Often overlooked, Montreal’s Phillip Danault has been providing cheeky fantasy value for a while now. Playing with Tomas Tatar and Brendan Gallagher, the 26-year-old has averaged a point per game over the last six contests.
19. Of the 51 games in the NHL this upcoming week, 28 will be played across Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Nine teams (BOS, CGY, CHI, DET, LAK, MIN, TBL, VAN & VGK) have four-game slates, the other 22 play three times.
20. I like these three schedules the most:
Boston Bruins: Mon (@OTT), Wed (@WSH), Thurs (@TBL), Sat (@FLA)
Waiver Looks: Jake DeBrusk (32%), Charlie Coyle (15%)
SN Fantasy Pool: Brad Marchand (4), David Pastrnak (4), Tuukka Rask (3)
Vegas Golden Knights: Tues (CHI), Thurs (@STL), Fri (@DAL), Sun (VAN)
Waiver Looks: Alex Tuch (22%), Nate Schmidt (11%)
SN Fantasy Pool: Marc-Andre Fleury (4), William Karlsson (2), Max Pacioretty (2)
Colorado Avalanche: Mon (CGY), Wed (PHI), Fri (NJD)
Waiver Looks: Ryan Graves (21%), Pavel Francouz (8%)
SN Fantasy Pool: Nathan MacKinnon (4), Gabriel Landeskog (3), Pavel Francouz (2)
Other SN Fantasy Pool Targets: David Rittich (3), Patrick Kane (4), Drew Doughty (2), Jason Zucker (2), Nikita Kucherov (4)