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Weekly NHL Recap (Nov. 27 Edition): Who Stood Out?

Another week gone, another group of standouts across the NHL. Goaltenders were a mixed bag, rookies were especially interesting and a couple of veterans really took the spotlight.
Morgan Frost

Goalies

Tristan Jarry, Penguins

It’s too bad Jarry wasn’t included on the long list of goalies because he’s become an excellent candidate for the Canadian Olympic team. To be fair, despite winning 25 of his 38 games last season, Jarry was far from the league’s best, and nobody could foresee the situation with Carey Price (substance abuse program) and Marc-André Fleury (unceremoniously jettisoned to Chicago). Jarry is 6-2-2 with a .937 Sv% and 1.95 GAA in November though he’s actually been pretty good all season, and the Pens’ multiple losing streaks were more of an indictment of their lack of depth. Going forward, fantasy managers should start Jarry with confidence since the Pens are able to win games now, and the return of Evgeni Malkin should give the Pens another boost later in the season.

Filip Gustavsson and Anton Forsberg, Senators

Matt Murray was scratched against the Ducks on Friday, not that it would’ve made a difference anyway because the Sens were shut out, 4-0. However, it is certainly an interesting development that Murray is expected to be waived and probably demoted to AHL Belleville, where Murray will presumably stay until he recovers from the yips… if he ever does.

The Sens, who look like they’re lottery-bound once again, will now rely on Gustavsson and Forsberg, and Gustavsson should have the edge on the starting job going forward. Not only does Gustavsson have the slight statistical edge – .905 Sv% and 3.41 GAA vs. Forsberg’s 883 Sv% and 4.44 GAA – Gustavsson is a former second-round pick and six years younger. He’ll be thrown to the wolves, but it’s not a bad idea as he’ll be getting a lot of ice time against the best competition in the world and facing a barrage of shots every night. Acquired in a three-way trade with Vegas and Pittsburgh, the Sens didn’t give up much to get him, and years from now, when the Sens are better and Gustavsson is more seasoned, we might look back and say this was a steal.

For fantasy purposes, Gustavsson and Forsberg will be waiver-wire fodder for most of the season, but once in a while they’ll be worth the spot start because the Sens offense has the ability to bail them out once in a while.

Jake Oettinger, Stars

The Stars had quite the scare when Oettinger left in the second period after Nicolas Aubé-Kubel crashed into the net and forced Braden Holtby into action. But, fear not, as Oettinger was healthy enough to return in the third period and finish the game and secure his fourth straight win. If it isn’t obvious already, Oettinger has taken over the starting job with Holtby and Anton Khudobin duking it out for the backup job.

When the Stars made the curious move to sign Holtby during the summer, this was always going to be one of the potential scenarios. It’s conceivable the Stars carry three goalies the rest of the way – defenseman Andrej Sekera and forward Tanner Kero were the extras on Friday – but it’s not ideal. The veteran goalies will want to play, but they won’t get a chance if Oettinger continues to win. Could a trade be in the works? Multiple teams could use some goaltending help. If fantasy managers haven’t done so already, Oettinger’s a must-have with the Stars finding their mojo again.

Jeremy Swayman, Bruins

Sigh. A late injury forced Linus Ullmark to miss his start against the Sabres, and Swayman made good with a 5-1 win following a 4-0 loss to the Flames. It earned him a start against the Rangers, who routinely get out-chanced and outshot and rank bottom five in possession metrics, according to naturalstattrick.com, but the Bruins blew one-goal leads twice on Friday and ultimately lost the second time in three games.

The Bruins have allowed at least four goals in six of their seven losses this season, and it’s a sign of their inconsistent goaltending; when things are good, they’re great, but when things aren’t good, they’re really bad. Both Swayman and Ullmark have negative GSAA values at 5-on-5, and interestingly enough, Ullmark has the better save percentage at .922 while Swayman’s .893 ranks 40th out of 46 goalies who have played at least 100 minutes. Fantasy managers will likely be stuck with this timeshare all season.

Other goalies we’re keeping an eye on: Marc-André Fleury, Blackhawks; Stuart Skinner, Oilers; James Reimer, Sharks; Philipp Grubauer, Kraken

Rookies

Morgan Frost, C, Flyers

Frost drew the first assist on Rasmus Ristolainen’s first goal of the season, finishing with 12:40 of ice time, including 2:24 on the power play. At even strength, Frost just doesn’t have the coaches’ trust just yet, but it’s obvious they recognize his talent. After Derick Brassard was injured, the Flyers needed some more playmaking down the middle, and who else better than their leading scorer in the AHL and one of their best prospects? Frost’s ice time will be limited but he will also get quality chances in the offensive zone.

Michael Bunting, LW, Maple Leafs

An assist on Auston Matthews’ goal extended Bunting’s point streak to three games, and he’s one of the most under-the-radar fantasy options riding shotgun on the top line. Nick Ritchie gets a look every now and then, but with zero goals and only 34 shots in 21 games heading into Friday’s game against San Jose, he’s been barely there for the Leafs. Bunting is rostered in only eight percent of Yahoo leagues and there’s a lot of upside because he shoots a lot and also gets power-play time.

Alex Barré-Boulet, C/RW, Lightning

What a whirlwind journey it’s been for ABB, and it’s all about timing. He was one of Tampa’s top minor-league forwards whose path to the NHL was blocked by a deep veteran roster, but cap constraints opened up roster spots and it was ABB’s golden opportunity. But he couldn’t crack the roster and was waived and claimed by the Kraken, where he lasted just two games before getting waived again and re-claimed by the Lightning. With Brayden Point injured, ABB’s ice time has increased and he’s playing on the top line with Steven Stamkos and Ondrej Palat. With two goals in three games, he’s worth keeping an eye on and perhaps worth a stash in deep leagues.

Other rookies we’re keeping an eye on (<50 percent of Yahoo leagues): Jamie Drysdale, D, Ducks; Kyle Capobianco, D, Coyotes; Seth Jarvis, C/RW, Hurricanes; Alex Newhook, C, Avalanche; Lassi Thomson, D, Senators; Scott Perunovich, D, Blues; Vasily Podkolzin, LW/RW, Canucks; Aliaksei Protas, C, Capitals

Notables

Trevor Zegras, C/LW, Rickard Rakell, LW/RW, and Sonny Milano, LW/RW, Ducks

Ryan Getzlaf and Troy Terry have cooled off a little bit, so it’s time to draw attention to the Ducks’ second line. Zegras and Rakell both led the Ducks with two points apiece and Milano now has points in three straight games and scoring at the highest pace in his career. Zegras and Rakell, both of whom are rostered in less than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, should be consistent contributors for the rest of the season, while Milano’s fantasy value will be very much tied to whether or not he can stay on this line.

Nazem Kadri, C, Avalanche

Kadri’s 10-game point streak was snapped by the Stars, but he has continued to play an important role, finishing third in ice time among forwards behind only Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog. As long as Nathan MacKinnon is out, Kadri’s an elite fantasy asset and currently ranks fifth in league scoring with 25 points in 17 games. At some point, he’ll likely cool off, but for the time being, he should be rostered in more than 81 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Roope Hintz, C/LW, Stars

Congrats, your patience has paid off. Fantasy managers who stuck by Hintz are now reaping the benefits after he scored six goals and four assists over his past eight games. His shooting percentage is back up to 12 percent, which is still a little below his career average but certainly more in line than his October slump where he had just one assist in eight games. Things are going right for the Stars, finally, with timely scoring and good goaltending. Don’t be surprised if they start charging up the standings. Hintz is a must-play every night and he was one of the top breakout picks before the season. 

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