It was a pretty awful St. Patrick’s Day for a few teams in the NHL’s East Division.
The day started with the amidst the team’s 12-game losing streak which has now extended to 13. Depending on how you look at it, this could be good news given the squad’s struggles, but this season has been another dumpster fire no matter how you slice it.
Hours later, it was announced New York Islanders captain Anders Lee will have to undergo season-ending surgery to Needless to say, losing your team leader is never a good thing, but Lee was more than that. The 30-year-old was a counted upon contributor who had scored 12 goals and 19 points through 27 games. Replacing him will be very hard for the Isles who currently occupy second in the division.
Lastly, the Philadelphia Flyers’ defense and goaltending conundrum reached new levels of bad in a 9-0 defeat to the New York Rangers.
With that, here are 10 fantasy hockey takeaways from this past week in the NHL.
The Flyers’ goaltending situation has been an absolute mess
There’s no way to sugarcoat it, the Philadelphia Flyers have a major problem between the pipes. Amongst all goaltenders with 10 starts or more, the Flyers, along with the Ottawa Senators, are the only teams in the NHL to have two goaltenders rank in the bottom-10 for save percentage. Carter Hart (86% rostered on Yahoo) and Brian Elliott have been downright awful this season, and it’s the former’s performance that has been most shocking.
At first glance, Hart seemed primed to breakout in his third NHL campaign. Being a decorated second-round pick who was twice named CHL Goaltender of the Year and a World Juniors gold medalist with Team Canada, his .915 save percentage and 2.59 goals-against-average through two seasons were more than enough to get excited about. Looking deeper, however, there’s one glaring flaw that has reared its ugly head yet again.
The 22-year-old’s home-road splits have been stark. Last season, he owned an excellent .948 save percentage at home while it dropped to a putrid .857 on the road. This year, the road struggles have remained (.869 save percentage) but there’s been no success at Wells Fargo Center as his save percentage there has dipped to .893. He is still a noticeably better goalie at home, but until those road numbers improve, he can’t be considered a top-10 netminder in this league.
2. What to do with LW/RW Patrik Laine (92% rostered on Yahoo)?
Patrik Laine has not lived up to his lofty 25.1 Yahoo average draft position (ADP) this season and the trade to the Columbus Blue Jackets has really hurt his fantasy value. The 22-year-old has been held pointless in 10 of his last 11 games and he’s been a rather ineffective player for the club at 5-on-5.
In 21 games with his new squad, Laine has registered 5.48 shots per-60 (16th on the team), .31 individual expected goals per-60 (15th), and 0.98 high-danger chances per-60 (16th), Something else that has been evident is the talent dip in linemates since joining the Blue Jackets from the Winnipeg Jets. Instead of playing with highly-skilled forwards like Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler, Nikolaj Ehlers, Kyle Connor and Paul Stastny at even strength and on the power play, he’s currently saddled alongside Nick Foligno and Oliver Bjorkstrand, who are good players, but there’s an evident disparity between the two teams’ top-six. Now, Laine offers a cautionary tale of “be careful what you wish for.” I was a month ago, but now, fantasy managers are wise to either hang on and hope for better days or see if anyone is willing to trade for him. He’s not a great buy-low candidate at this point.
3. All indicators suggest RW Vladimir Tarasenko (81% rostered on Yahoo) is fully healthy
Dealing with a shoulder injury, Vladimir Tarasenko hadn’t played a regular season game since Oct. 24, 2019 before returning to the team’s lineup earlier this month. In the five games he has played, the 29-year-old has recorded four points despite the team losing each of those contests. Additionally, he’s logged the third-most minutes of any forward on the squad during this stretch and is tied for the team lead in scoring chances with 12.
The one thing that may take Tarasenko a little bit of time to find is his shot. Although he has a healthy 22 attempts, only 11 of those have found the net. It may only be a matter of time before the Russian forward finds his shot, or this could be the result of I’m willing to bet on it being the former, which makes me very interested in acquiring Tarasenko, who is on Yahoo.
4. G Jake Oettinger (38% rostered on Yahoo) is playing decent in bid to seize starting role
Since Anton Khudobin’s downright ugly performance against the Chicago Blackhawks (four goals allowed on eight shots through two periods), Jake Oettinger has started all four games for the Dallas Stars. The youngster has been alright during this span, picking up two quality starts in the process while helping Dallas receive four of a possible eight points.
Oettinger has outdone Khudobin in essentially every single goalie metric this season, besting him in save percentage (.913 to .907), goals-against-average (2.23 to 2.65) and save percentage above expected (-0.001 to -0.006), At this point, it’s fair to believe that Oettinger will be afforded more starts moving forward, which makes him a nice add in most fantasy leagues. The Stars have largely underperformed this year, but having played the fewest games in the league with just 26, Oettinger should see a lot of action in the crease moving forward.
5. D Jamie Drysdale (7% rostered on Yahoo) looked mighty impressive in his debut
First impressions don’t come much better than Jamie Dysdale’s with the Anaheim Ducks. In his NHL debut, the 2020 first-round pick registered a goal and an assist, leading the team to its third victory over its last 16 games. What impressed me most was the young rearguard’s willingness to jump in offensively and contribute. It helps that the Ducks trusted him on the top power-play unit, but overall, he seemed very comfortable playing in the pros.
I expect there to be some peaks and valleys, but there’s a lot of upside with Drysdale and I think he’s worth an add in fantasy leagues with 12 teams or more. The Toronto native’s great skating and vision will help him navigate his way through his first stint in the NHL.
6. Sadly, C/RW Jordan Kyrou (35% rostered on Yahoo) can be dropped if you need space
This takeaway really cuts deep for me as I’ve been standing beside Jordan Kyrou of the 2020-21 NHL season. We had our fair share of cheers, laughs and It’s been an amazing run. Unfortunately, as I sit here writing this while listening to old Taylor Swift music, the time has come to go our separate ways. Please don’t make this any harder than it needs to be, Jordan.
Kyrou has recorded just one point over his last six games and the reinsertion of Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz to the lineup has hampered some of his opportunities. He’s no longer on the St. Louis Blues’ first line or top power-play unit, which is obviously a downgrade for his fantasy value. While I still believe in the player and think that he’ll have a great career, fantasy managers can’t be faulted for dropping him in favour of a top option available on the waiver wire.
Blues-Kings game tonight is being postponed due to weather.
And I regret to inform everyone that I must drop Jordan Kyrou in one of my leagues as a result.
This isn’t a day I thought would come. You never plan for a day like today 😔 https://t.co/nwLrpBsr21
— Steven Psihogios (@StevenPsihogios) March 15, 2021
7. G Calvin Petersen (23% rostered on Yahoo) continues to have a nice season
Not too many people are talking about how excellent Calvin Petersen has been for the Los Angeles Kings this season. He’s one of the main reasons why the Kings are currently battling for the fourth seed in the West Division as his .922 save percentage is tied for seventh amongst all goaltenders in the NHL. Additionally, his 0.003 save percentage above expected is tied for 10th amongst all netminders and better than puckstoppers like Tuukka Rask, Frederik Andersen and Jordan Binnington.
His strong play this year has distanced himself from Jonathan Quick as the veteran owns a much lower .898 save percentage, but somehow, remains rostered in just one percent less (22%) of Yahoo fantasy leagues. That’s a mistake. I recommend adding Petersen in your fantasy league, and dropping Quick if you are still clinging onto him.
8. C/LW Trevor Zegras (8% rostered on Yahoo) is just getting started
It took Trevor Zegras 11 games, but the 20-year-old finally scored his first NHL goal and there’s certainly going to be more where that came from. The Bedford, New York native has been playing much better lately for the Anaheim Ducks as he’s recorded three points over his last five games and I think we’re getting close to a real breakthrough for the exciting young talent.
During these last five contests, Zegras’ all-strengths 0.72 individual expected goals per-60 ranks fourth on the Ducks while his 18.97 Corsi for per-60 is first amongst players who have played in each game. The offense seems to be coming and it helps that head coach Dallas Eakins has allowed him to remain part of the team’s top power-play unit. There’s more than enough upside here to warrant an add.
9. LW/RW Kasperi Kapanen (39% rostered on Yahoo) excelling with the Pittsburgh Penguins
Seeing time on Pittsburgh’s second line and top power-play unit, Kapanen has been one of the most consistent contributors on the squad. Since Mar. 2, the former Leafs winger has 11 points in 10 games, which ties him with Sidney Crosby for second-most. Getting a chance to be a regular contributor inside the team’s top-six, there’s a lot to like with Kapanen. For those in need of a late-week push he’s worth a look as the Penguins are scheduled to play Saturday and Sunday.
10. D Shea Theodore’s (95% rostered on Yahoo) strong play coming at a peculiar time
Lately, Shea Theodore has looked more like the player fantasy managers drafted. The 2013 first-round pick has recorded two goals and eight points over his last five games and the timing of this couldn’t be more peculiar. Theodore’s strong play coincides with linemate Alex Pietrangelo’s absence from the lineup as the veteran has now been with an upper-body injury.
What makes this spike in production even more bizarre is that Theodore has seen during the six games Pietrangelo has missed. This could be a sheer coincidence, but it’s certainly something to monitor when the former St. Louis Blues’ captain makes his return. If Theodore’s offensive productions regresses to it’s early-season form, then it may be a trend we have to put some stock into regardless of the story the numbers suggest.
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