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Weekly Wrap: Fantasy Hockey Week in Review

Welcome back to another fantasy hockey week in review. With the All-Star weekend festivities, it was a week short on games, but not storylines.

Let’s get to it.

Fantasy Hockey Week in Review

All-Star Weekend Highlights

For the first time in years, the skills competition felt competitive. Gimmicks had become the mainstay, not player skill. That changed this past weekend in large part to Connor McDavid and the one million dollar first-place prize.  Not winning the prize, but his input in building the skills competition.

It’s still imperfect, but there were positive steps this year.

Most fans got what they wanted, Auston Matthews versus Connor McDavid in the finals. Let’s be honest, as long as one of the Maple Leafs on Team Matthews put up points in the finals, they were walking away with the game MVP. It was in Toronto after all.

It still wasn’t perfect, I mean…

Nikita Kucherov, RW, Tampa Bay Lightning

Maple Leafs fans didn’t need another reason to boo Kucherov. Yet, he gave them plenty with his lackadaisical effort in the skills competition. He’s an amazing competitor and having an amazing year, but his effort on Friday was deserving of all the boos and online criticism.

The boos will be out in full force the next time he plays in Toronto, count on it. That said, expect Kucherov’s intense competitive spirit to drive him toward a strong second half. The Lightning will need him to do so if they want to make the playoffs.

Nazem Kadri, C, Calgary Flames

He started the year ice cold, with two points in his first nine games, and averaging 2.66 shots per game. That was October. Since November 1st, Kadri has 40 points in 41 games and has increased his shots to 3.41 per game.

It’s only one game, but Kadri didn’t seem to miss Elias Lindholm. In his first game after the all-star break, Kadri had three assists, one on the power play, and five shots.

Elias Lindholm, C/RW, Vancouver Canucks

Speaking of Lindholm, it didn’t take him long to endear himself to Canucks fans. In his first game with the Canucks he scored two power-play goals, on two shots in 21:01 of ice time.

There’s sure to be an uptick in his overall production playing with the likes of Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes, and JT Miller on a nightly basis.

Max Pacioretty, RW, Washington Capitals

He played a season-high 18:12 with five shots, last night against the Montreal Canadiens. He also started on the Capitals’ top line. With seven points in 13 games, the production isn’t quite there yet,  but after playing only 44 games in the last two seasons this shouldn’t come as a surprise.

It is going to take Pacioretty time to reclaim full game speed. After two major Achilles injuries, don’t be surprised if it takes Pacioretty until 2024-25 to return to pre-injury form.

Things are trending in the right direction.

Nicolas Roy, C/RW, Vegas Golden Knights

He went into the all-star break producing at the best clip of his NHL career, will 11 points in his last 10 games. There’s always concern an extended break can ruin the momentum.

Roy has picked up where he left off by picking up a goal in the first period against the Edmonton Oilers. He continues to take advantage of the additional ice time in Jack Eichel’s absence.

Nico Hischier, C, New Jersey Devils

He picked up two assists last night, giving him 13 points in his last 13 games. He is starting to round into the point-per-game performer we saw last season.

The Devils will need him to continue to step up if they expect to make the playoffs. They’re five points out of the wild card, and third in the division with three teams in the way.

Jack Hughes, C, New Jersey Devils

The Devils will also need this guy back and healthy. As luck would have it, Hughes is practicing in a regular jersey and should be a game-time decision on Thursday.

With 45 points in 32 games, Hughes was on his way to a career year and likely would have broken 100 points for the first time. It’s been a month since Hughes last played (January 5th), expect him to log big minutes and be an immediate contributor when he does return.

Alexander Ovechkin, RW, Washington Capitals 

He seemed impervious to extended cold streaks throughout his career. That all changed this year. He scored just his tenth goal of the year last night. It came in 22:49 of ice time, on six shots.

Ovechkin is still shooting just 6.8%, half his career average. Positive regression will soon reveal its long-overdue head. When it does, Ovechkin will go on a run and score in droves. Fifty goals is far beyond his reach unless he goes on a Sam Reinhart-esque scoring binge, so is 40. With 33 games left in the season, he could still hit 30, easily.

Tristan Jarry, G, Pittsburgh Penguins

It has been a mixed bag of a season for Jarry. His record sits at 14-14-3-1. Yet, his save percentage is decently strong at .916. Not to mention, last night he put up his NHL-leading sixth shutout.

In his last eight games, he is 3-2-2, with two shutouts. For leagues using goals against average and save percentage, Jarry remains a strong start. In leagues that use losses as a goalie category, Jarry becomes a bit frustrating to own.

NHL Three Stars of the Week

I’m not going to give this the same coverage this week. The Stars of the Week were handed out for performances in the All-Star game.

It’s an exhibition weekend and performances mean nothing to our fantasy hockey bottom line.

I will highlight that Alex DeBrincat was the third star for the six points he had over the two All-Star games. A great weekend for him.

The NHL also announced there will be a Four Nations Cup in February 2025 – Canada, United States, Sweden, and Finland.

The NHL also announced NHL players will once again return to the Olympics.

That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading.

Follow me on X (Twitter): @doylelb4.

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