If anyone cares, I started writing this article on a plane from Atlanta, but Delta Airlines' seat arrangement is so tiny that even a claustrophiliac would be like, "Ooo, this is too tight, guys." literally couldn't even open my laptop all of the way. The large man sitting next to me eating chicken wings and a hamburger wasn't helping matters any. My guess is that within 10 years flight travel will just be travelers piled on top of one another like one of those refugee rafts. My point is, it was a great flight and I highly recommend Delta.
Anyway, there were a significant number of standout offensive performances this week. A list of players notched 5 points, including Tyler Seguin (1 G, 4 A), Jamie Benn (2 G, 3 A), Johnny Gaudreau (3 G, 2 A), Sean Monahan (3 G, 2 A), Ryan O'Reilly (1 G, 4 A), Kyle Okposo (2 G, 3 A), Jeff Skinner (4 G, 1 A), Elias Lindholm (1 G, 4 A), and Andrew Shaw (2 G, 3 A), as well as two more players listed as Stars of the Week below. Victor Rask had 6 points and that still wasn't enough for a nod. That list you just read did include 3 Carolina Hurricanes, believe it or not (plus one below). I don't really know how that happened. I value my time, so I don't watch Hurricanes hockey. Sorry, Canes Country.
This was a pleasant week in getting offense from the blue line, too. Rasmus Ristolainen had 3 Goals (2 PPG), 1 Assist (1 PPA), 10 Shots, 4 Hits, and 5 Blocks, and that still wasn't enough to make the Stars of the Week list.
Here's your 2 and 4 game teams, which includes a 2 game Ducks team that just came off a 1 game week. What a junk schedule that is for owners of Ducks players. Literally half of the league has 4 games, though, so that's fun.
Two Game Teams: Anaheim, Arizona, Winnipeg
Four Game Teams: Boston, Buffalo, Calgary, Chicago, Columbus, Edmonton, Florida, Our beloved Devils, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Vancouver, Washington
* David Backes - 3 Goals (2 PPG, 1 GWG), 2 Assists (1 PPA), 10 Shots, 16 Hits, 7 PIM
He is the ultimate fantasy player when he's scoring. If he racked up more points, he'd be as valuable as Alex Ovechkin because of all the hitting and grit. However, he doesn't, so my implication is mostly worthless. It's like saying if I had a 190 IQ and a doctorate from Harvard, I'd be as valuable to science as Stephen Hawking. I don't, and I'm not. Plus I can walk.
** Claude Giroux - 2 Goals (1 GWG), 4 Assists (1 PPA, 1 SHA), 13 Shots, +3
It stings to put him on here. But the fact that he's on my AAtJ fantasy team serves as a nice, soothing aloe vera. Giroux normally earns a good portion of his points on the power play, but he only had the 1 PPA this week. The SHA was a nice bonus, though. Giroux has to be a top 5 most consistent fantasy hockey player. I hate that.
*** Taylor Hall - 3 Goals (2 GWG), 3 Assists, 4 Shots, +4
This is wonderful stat line. What makes it even wonderful-er is that he achieved this in just 2 games. Hall is setting a massive precedent for the young Oilers squad. One that only Connor McDavid will likely be able to keep up with. I have a sneaky suspicion that an injury is just around the corner for Hall, though. It would only make sense, since he's on both of my fantasy teams.
Rankings: 5 Points - Patrick Kane, 4 Points - Claude Giroux, 3 Points - 10 players tied
* Justin Faulk - 3 Goals (3 PPG), 3 Assists (1 PPA), 9 Shots, 7 Hits, 5 Blocks
He leads all defensemen in goals with 12. Do you know how many of those were scored with the man advantage? All of them. That's pretty amazing. I will admit that I was second guessing myself when I put him on my top 15 defensemen list, but I am now ready to admit that I'm mega-smart.
** Roman Josi - 2 Goals (2 PPG), 2 Assists (1 PPA), 13 Shots, 8 Blocks, 5 PIM
Elite status is nigh. He's hitting the back of the net more (7 goals in 30 games, which has him paced for 20 total) and he's putting up points on a regular basis (T-5th by a defenseman), including half of them coming on the power play. In my defensemen preview, I said that if you value Carlson, then you should value Josi, too, because of their similarities. Check out their numbers. Twinsies!
*** Kevin Shattenkirk -1 Goal, 4 Assists (3 PPA, 1 SHA), 14 Shots, 8 Blocks
If you've played against him over the last two or three weeks, he has undoubtedly shat all over your kirk. He has 2 goals and 9 assists in the last 10. His points are nice, but he still doesn't do a whole lot more. This week's shot and block totals were a windfall, though. His stat line is good, but what is going on with dude's hairline?
Rankings: 6 Points - Erik Karlsson, Roman Josi, Brent Burns, 4 Points - John Klingberg, P.K. Subban
* Corey Crawford - 3 Starts, 3 Wins, 2 Shutouts, 91 Saves, 0.33 GAA, .989 SV%
He gave up a single goal all week. If you do the math, which someone already did, you realize that his efforts were great, and his performances mighty. For some reason I always compare Corey to Cory, and lately, the one with an extra letter has been extra better.
** Jake Allen - 3 Starts, 2 Wins, 1 Shutout, 63 Saves, 1.01 GAA, .955 SV%
He didn't face a lot of rubber, but he handled that rubber with relative ease. I don't know how good Allen actually is, but he's on a good team. When you're talking about fantasy goaltenders, the jersey they wear makes up approximately 36.4% of their value.
*** Tuukka Rask - 2 Starts, 2 Wins, 58 Saves, 1.00 GAA, .967 SV%
He had a high-quality week, but he was still sort of a default pick. There weren't a lot of great goalie numbers this week, which coincides with the strong offensive outputs. Even if he was a default choice for 3rd star, his save game has been much sharper lately.
Rankings: 7 Points - Martin Jones, 5 Points - Henrik Lundqvist, Craig Anderson, Carey Price, Jonathan Quick, 4 Points - Marc-Andre Fleury
Victor Rask (C-CAR) - This week, 1 Goal (1 GWG), 5 Assists (3 PPA), 8 Shots, +5
As you could see from the list at the top of this post, this was a sweet week for some Carolina skaters. Rask is breaking out. Unfortunately he's only eligible at center, so I don't know how much use he will have in the long run. I may be cheating a bit by putting him in this section considering he is now owned in over 55% of leagues.
Jeff Skinner (LW-CAR) - Last two weeks, 6 Goals (1 PPG, 2 GWG), 2 Assists, 21 Shots
The latest Skinner model (I was going for a Blade Runner reference here, but I don't think it worked) is more like the version everyone expected to see. He has 6 goals in the last 6 games, including a hat trick against the Ducks on Friday, and now has a respectable 11 total. He only has 3 assists this year, but if he keeps shooting, points are coming one way or the other.
Elias Lindholm (C/RW-CAR) - Last two weeks, 1 Goal (1 PPG), 6 Assists (2 PPA), 25 Shots, 10 Hits
I'll keep with the Hurricanes theme for one more. This former #1 pick is starting to find his way. He's skating on the top line and is doing fine work on the power play. His 25 shots in the last two weeks is top 10. His talent and output make him worth keeping an eye on. His RW eligibility may boost him to pick up status.
Darcy Kuemper (G-MIN) - This week, 3 Starts, 1 Win, 1 Shutout, 1.30 GAA, .939 SV%
The injury status of Devan Dubnyk is still a bit hazy, but Kuemper has filled in nicely in the interim. Kuemper was a great fantasy value in the past, so we could see a return of that if he keeps getting starts. Definitely pick him up if you own Dubnyk.
DEVILS FANTASY VALUE
Kyle Palmieri - 2 Goals (1 PPG, 1 GWG), 1 Assist (1 PPA), 8 Shots, 7 Hits
Palms and Lee Stempniak are actually tied for 7th in the league for points by a RW. Palms is also tied for 4th in goals by a RW (with Joe Pavelski and Mats Zuccarello). That's dang good for a guy on a team with little offensive help.
Players with 2 points - Jordan Tootoo and Lee Stempniak
I really do love Jordan Tootoo. He's easily one of my favorite Devils of the last 5 years. For God's sakes, don't pick him up, though.
Mike Cammalleri - 13 Shots, 0 Points
Uh oh. Cammy is starting to suck, and John's article about him may be null and void. You might want to give him a seat until he gets things back on track.... Oh my goodness! You believed me! I'm kidding. Play him as you always do. He's excellent.
Adam Henrique and Travis Zajac -
Both are hurt. The latter is on the IR, but I'd recommend benching the former, too. He still isn't back to practice.
That's it for this week. At some point over the next few weeks I'm going to revisit my preseason previews to pine over what I got right and what I got wrong. Those articles will be posted as mid-week bonus fantasy content, so keep an eye out for those. Once I have a "schedule" for those, I will mention it in a weekly recap post. Off the top of your head, is there anything from my previews that surprised you that I ended up being right about? Anything that I obviously got completely wrong? Let's hear it, y'all.