Welcome back to another fantasy hockey week in review. Where I cover the week that was fantasy hockey; the latest streaks, trends, and anything else that catches my attention.
We’re back to our regular format this week, covering the top stories across the league without limiting ourselves to one per team. It also gives me the window to comment on Tuesday night’s blank slate. Yes, mid-November, on a Tuesday, there are no NHL games.
Let’s dive in!
Fantasy Hockey Week in Review
NHL Three Stars of the Week
First Star: Cale Makar, D, Colorado Avalanche
Amidst a scorching streak, Makar dropped one goal and seven assists in three games. He followed that up with another three-assist game Monday night. Makar right now, is unstoppable. Monday marked his fourth three-assist/three-point game in the last seven. It was also his sixth multi-point game in his last nine. That’s 19 points in his last nine games.
Makar now sits with 27 points in 17 games—just ridiculous numbers for a defenceman. Barring injury, he’s a clear Norris Trophy finalist.
Second Star: William Nylander, RW, Toronto Maple Leafs
Only two games last week, but Nylander made them count. As part of the NHL Global Series the Maple Leafs traveled to Sweden to play two games. William Nylander made the most out of playing in front of home country crowds. Nylander was involved in five of the Leafs’ seven goals. Including the overtime game-winner against Minnesota with a beautiful solo effort.
He’s now up to 27 points in 17 games. His point streak is also 17 games. If you’re in a salary cap league, you’re looking at his next contract starting with at least a 10. If he keeps producing like this it might be an 11.
Third Star: Sidney Crosby, C, Pittsburgh Penguins
‘The Kid’ just keeps producing. With five goals and two assists, Crosby is up to 22 points on the year. He is chasing down some incredible numbers for a 36-year-old. His 12 goals in 17 games put him on pace for 57 goals. His 22 points, put him on pace for 106.
He’s no longer a kid, but he’s still elite. Only Joe Sakic (37) and Gordie Howe (41) reached 100 points at an older age.
If we take into account today’s conditioning and Crosby’s conditioning, we could be looking at another five years of similar production. Sid’s not done yet.
There were no NHL games scheduled for Tuesday, November 23. There are no games scheduled for Thursday, November 27. Thursday marks US Thanksgiving, the NHL doesn’t like going head-to-head with the NFL, so no games make sense. However, zero games on Tuesday is… odd.
The Toronto Maple Leafs, returning from Sweden, play only two games (Friday and Saturday), for the second week in a row. The back-to-back are road games. Hedge your bets before starting the Leafs goalie on Saturday.
Similarly, the Minnesota Wild play Friday and Sunday as they return from Sweden.
The Ottawa Senators, also returning from Sweden, play only once versus the Islanders on Friday.
Quinn Hughes, D, Vancouver Canucks
Hughes is leading the NHL in scoring. He also has 14 points amidst an eight-game point streak. A lot of people figured he had an 80-point season in him, but he’s on pace to thrash that.
Barring injury the next three-quarters of the NHL season is a two-horse race between Quinn Hughes and Cale Makar for the Norris. We could very easily see two defensemen score 100 points or more this year.
On defense, Hughes and Makar are fantasy hockey cheat codes. You can’t replicate this kind of offense on defense.
Tyler Seguin, C/RW, Dallas Stars
We may very well be witnessing the resurgence of Tyler Sequin. He has two points in each of his last four games and 10 in his last six. He also has 19 shots in these six games.
If you held on through the last three seasons of injuries and poor production, your patience and perseverance just might pay off. Or, if you are like me, you used this opportunity to buy low and acquire Seguin for a fraction of the cost.
Tune into my Slappers and Bangers column this Friday if you want a deeper dive into Seguin. I’ll be digging into whether or not we should be getting excited.
Frank Vatrano, LW, Anaheim Ducks
He isn’t slowing down. He is still on pace for 54 goals and 282 shots. Alright, I’ve decided, that Vatrano will be the second player I dig into this Friday. I love a good breakout season and Vatrano’s feels extra fun.
Aaron Ekblad & Brandon Montour, D, Florida Panthers
They returned to the Panthers lineup in the same game. I’m not sure how they coordinated their recoveries so perfectly, but they did.
Montour will resume his place as the first power-play unit quarterback. Ekblad is back in his high-shot volume, number-one defenseman role.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, D, Florida Panthers
He is the biggest loser with the return of Ekblad and Montour. He was in the midst of a huge career and fantasy resurgence. He was chewing up over 23:00 in ice time per game and had 11 points in 18 games, including five on the power-play.
It’ll be really interesting to see how ‘OEL’ responds to the ‘demotion’ in ice time. In the first two games with Ekblad and Montour back in the lineup, he’s dropped to just over 18 per game.
Tomas Novak, C, Nashville Predators
Well, his come-seemingly-out-of-nowhere season is on repeat. Novak is rocking a 23.1 SH%, which is unsustainably high. He did shoot 18.3% last year, so there is a growing track record of being an efficient scorer.
It will be a while before his body of work can grow as he is now on injured reserve for four to six weeks. Expect regression in his shooting percentage upon return. Even Connor McDavid only shot 18.2% last year when he scored 64.
Patrick Laine, RW, Johnny Gaudreau, LW, Columbus Blue Jackets
Laine was scratched, and Gaudreau was benched. Things are going from bad to worse for the faces of the Blue Jackets franchise. In one-year leagues, they’re imploding your season and you should be thinking of moving on.
In dynasties though, you can’t. Both are supremely talented and offer significant fantasy upside. You have to ride out the storm.
Conversely, this is the best time to buy. Their stocks are at their lowest. If you are competing this year, trading for either will bring pain in the short term. If you’re already thinking toward next year I would have these two at the top of my acquire list.
Remember, in fantasy hockey dynasties it is all about buying low and selling high. This is buying time.
New coach, same defensive issues, same goalie woes. There is no easy fix in Edmonton.
I’m not starting any Oilers goalie right now. Even if they acquire a new goalie I am steering clear. They give up too many chances. There is no easy fix. I would comfortably avoid any goaltender that takes the Oilers’ net this season.
The only potential savior is Linus Ullmark. Now that the Boston Bruins are off to a scorching start, this scenario is very unlikely.
Sam Montembeault and Jake Allen appear to be a logical choice. Both are used to seeing a high volume of shots and high danger chances. Either one would be an improvement. Still, I want nothing to do with this mess. Steer clear.
Timo Meier, LW/RW, New Jersey Devils
He has missed the last two games and remains day to day. He hasn’t skated since the injury. The Devils play today versus the Detroit Red Wings. Keep an eye on their practice lines, however, I don’t expect him to play. Perhaps he will be able to return for their Friday or Saturday game.
Although, since he hasn’t even skated on his own, I suspect next Tuesday is a more likely return, at the earliest. Meier was finally starting to find his groove too.
Thomas Chabot, D, Ottawa Senators
He skated in a non-contact jersey. How he responds to practice will help determine how long before he practices in a regular jersey. We need the regular jersey before we can anticipate his return.
With only one game this week, the earliest I expect to see Chabot is the middle of next week: Ahh, but positive steps.
That is a wrap for another week. Thanks for reading.
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