All everyone talked about in the preseason was wondering how bad Vegas was going to be in their expansion year.  Sure, it’s only two games, but boy did they have some excitement.  On Friday, Dallas was dominating Vegas in their franchise opener but was only up 1-0 in the third.  Down goes Ben Bishop which opened up the door for James Neal to give the people of Las Vegas some relief in an awful time.  Neal scored two goals in the third period to propel the Golden Knights to victory.  To top off the weekend, Neal scored another goal, this time the game winner in overtime, to give Vegas two wins to start the season.  Neal is still available in over 40% of leagues and if you are in one of them, grab him.  The shot rate is going to be elite along with solid penalty minutes and goals.  At least for now, I’m not overly concerned about the top guys on Vegas having bad plus-minuses either.  Let’s take a look at what else happened in the first (long) weekend of the NHL season:

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Giving up five goals to St. Louis in the opener wasn’t extremely concerning for the Penguins.  But ten goals to Chicago in game two?  I believe that qualifies as a mess.  Obviously I’m not going to panic in regards to the Pittsburgh season outlook; I’d actually try to trade for Matt Murray if their owner is panicking.  We’ll have to wait a few weeks to develop a bigger sample size, especially because this spot was perfect for the Blackhawks, but maybe they’re better than I gave them credit for.  Let’s take a look at the eight games from Thursday night and see what developed:

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Once you get outside of the top 200 overall, you’re looking at the last 2-3 picks in a standard 12 man league.  There are a few different ways you can go about making your last few picks.  You can shoot for upside, get a couple safe players if you already have plenty of upside, fill out your last couple defensemen, grab a goalie out of desperation.  I’m going to list a bunch of players in different categories that fall outside of my top 200 that you can target depending on what you’re looking for.  I’m not going to go into detail on these guys but I will put them in my order of preference.  Here is my list:

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Anyone who reads my posts knows how much I love Evander Kane for fantasy hockey. You’re probably sick of me writing about him at this point. Well, I’m leading off with him again today because of the following: a) He had three more points on Thursday night (2+1, 3 SOG), b) nobody else went off because Nino and I just led off with him, c) I watched the entire Sabres game to see Kane’s impact, and d) there is no D. Well, there is, watch Dwight Howard and Dennis Schroeder joke about it but not in regards to this point. Anyways, you guys know what to do with Kane at this point. For those who are new here, pick him up and play him! It’s an excellent combination of goals, shots and penalty minutes at the moment. Here’s what else happened over the last two nights before the All-Star break:

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As far as players that I’ve enjoyed watching hockey over the years go, Jaromir Jagr is at or near the top of the list. The adjustments he’s made to his game over the years while the NHL has become a young man’s game is incredible. When you look in the record books under points, now there’s only one player ahead of him: Wayne Gretzky. Jagr led the way for the Panthers on Tuesday posting 3 assists and 3 shots placing him second all-time in points. It’s a shame he went to Russia for 4 years because he’d probably be #1 all-time in goals. While he’s nowhere near last season’s 66 point pace, Jagr’s shots and PIM are up quite a bit and now that the first line is picking it up over the last few weeks, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Jagr is a top 100 player the rest of the way. We salute you, Jaromir Jagr. Let’s take a look at everything that happened around the league the last two nights:

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I think most fantasy hockey players would agree that Antti Raanta is worth streaming every time he gets the start. The problem has been that Raanta rarely plays because he’s behind one of the best goalies in the world, Henrik Lundqvist. A healthy Lundqvist never sat three games in a row while healthy. Until this weekend. After a game on Thursday, Vigneault turned to Raanta again and he posted a 26 save shutout in the 1-0 win over his former team in Chicago. To the surprise of everyone, Raanta started again on Sunday and posted another shutout, this time an easy 5-0 win over the Devils in which Raanta posted 19 saves. If you streamed Raanta on Sunday, hold him until Tuesday to see if he gets another game. This certainly isn’t going to last, this is Lundqvist’s team, but ride the hot wave while you can. At the least, Raanta is a must-stream every time he gets the nod. Let’s take a look at everything else that happened over the weekend:

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In the afternoon Monday, there was talk that recent Penguins callup Jake Guentzel was going to play on the second line with Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel in his NHL debut. Needless to say that it was a damn good debut, at least from an individual perspective. Guentzel scored a goal one minute into the game and added another one later on in the first period to go up 2-0. He finished the game with two goals on five shots playing over 15 minutes. Yeah, the Rangers came back to win 5-2 but that doesn’t take away from Guentzel’s debut. So I did some digging on Guentzel. The former third round pick was a stud in college at Nebraska-Omaha (a damn good college hockey school, believe it or not) including putting up 46 points in 35 games his junior year before going pro. He finished off 2015 with Scranton and had 6 points in 11 games before posting 5 goals and 9 assists in 10 playoff games. Guentzel was over a point per game in Scranton this season before getting called up. Basically, this kid can score and getting to play with Malkin and Kessel should do him wonders. In deep leagues, definitely add him where you can. In standard 12’ers, I’ll probably look to stream him again on Wednesday to see if this role is legitimate. I don’t want to overreact to one game but Guentzel has potential to be a waiver wire darling if he sticks. Here’s what else happened around the league on Monday night:

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The first few weeks of the season, Connor Hellebuyck was a polarizing figure in the fantasy hockey world. He made the Jets roster and was clearly the best goalie but Hellboy was struggling and splitting starts. Plenty of people were asking me if he was worth rostering and justifiably so. Well, things no longer look to be a mixed bag after the last week of games. Hellebuyck has won 4 straight starts allowing no more than 2 goals in a game. His best performance came last night recording a 27 save shutout at home against the Blackhawks. Hellebuyck is getting massive offensive support right now and the defense is gradually improving in front of him. At the end of the year, I believe he will finish as a top end #2 goaltender with the expectation that he will be a #1 in 2017-18 and beyond. Here’s what else I saw around the league in a very busy Tuesday night slate.

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First off, I’d just like to apologize to everyone for not having daily notes on Monday morning. I wasn’t feeling too well Sunday night; one minute I’m watching the beginning of the Seahawks game and the next thing I know it’s 10 AM! Thankfully there was only one game on Monday night so it wasn’t the end of the world. Anyways, Sebastian Aho scored his first two NHL goals on Saturday and added an assist in Carolina’s 5-1 win over the Capitals. That brings Aho’s totals to 2+7 in 14 games which is great for the 19 year old. Unfortunately, that’s accompanied by exactly 2 shots per game and only 2 PIM on the season. Add in the fact that the minutes are low (12:13 in this one) and I don’t think you can hold onto Aho in standard 12’ers. That said, he’s going to remain a great streamer for assists and is a Razzball favorite for dynasties. Let’s take a look at what happened over the weekend plus the one Monday night game.

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I live in Canada, eh. And what I saw here on election night, and now post-election, was a country shaken to the core in absolute disbelief at how the American election turned out. If that’s how we as a nation are collectively feeling, I can’t imagine how high emotions are running on the other side of the border right now. I’m sure last night’s result cut a lot of social network friend lists in half, for starters. But I’m here to say, for better or worse, dammit man, we have hockey.

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