Jeremy Freeborns NHL Fantasy Report

92
Auston Matthews

All season long I have been highly praising the play of Edmonton Oilers superstar Connor McDavid. His play has been unbelievable and a major reason why the Oilers have a legitimate chance to win their first division title since 1987.

However it is important we do not ignore the outstanding goaltending the Oilers have received from Cam Talbot. The native of Caledonia, Ontario, was the third star of the week from March 27 to April 2, after he won all three of his starts with a goals against average of 1.66 and a save percentage of .946.

This past week, Talbot also tied an Oilers franchise record for wins in a season with 40. He tied the record initially set by hockey hall of famer Grant Fuhr who won 40 games for the Oilers in 1987-88.

If you are thinking about starting Talbot this week in your fantasy leagues, do so with some caution however. Even though Talbot deserves high praise for beating the Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks this past week, all three of those wins came at home. Three of the four Oilers games this week are on the road, and with the Oilers having already clinched their first playoff spot since 2006, expect to see backup Laurent Brossoit get a minimum of one start—especially in one of the back-to-back games the Oilers play this weekend against the Vancouver Canucks.

When it comes to forwards in weekly leagues, it is time to go heavy on the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs as they each play five games. It also helps matters that the teams are still battling for playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, and in the Maple Leafs case, they are loaded with a lot of young, outstanding offensive talent.

You simply cannot go wrong with Auston Matthews, William Nylander, Mitchell Marner, Nazem Kadri or James Van Riemsdyk this week. Expect Matthews, Nylander, Marner and Kadri will be the cornerstone of Toronto’s offensive core for the next seven years and if you have any of the aforementioned players in fantasy pools at the moment, I encourage you to keep them for the foreseeable future.

The Senators meanwhile are very cold at the moment as they are battling for their playoff lives after a playoff spot seemed to be a formality a couple of weeks ago. However that is what happens when you have lost four straight in the NHL and only twice in your last ten. The Senators and Maple Leafs currently lead the Lightning by three points for the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. Defenseman Erik Karlsson continues to be a beast on the Ottawa blueline. He leads the Senators in assists (53), points (68), blocked shots (201), power play assists (23), power play points (26) and shorthanded assists (two).

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