I was all in on the Tampa Bay Lightning again this year picking them to make the Stanley Cup Finals. Obviously they don't crown champions 3 weeks into the season but Tampa has started off incredibly well. They've had some depth players step up but at the end of the day, their studs have been incredible. The top two players in points in the NHL by a wide margin are both Lightning players with Steven Stamkos. Tampa Bay blitzed Pittsburgh 7-1 on Saturday and Stamkos led the way with a goal, three assists and four shots on goal. That gives Stamkos a whopping 17 points (3+14) in 9 games. Stamkos was a player who consistently dropped in my drafts into the third round and while it's too early to celebrate given Stamkos' injury, it's been the dream start. Fingers crossed that he stays healthy because Stammer could be a top 10, maybe even top 5 player. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Like Patrice Bergeron, I'm back! After a long flight back home, it'll be difficult for me to return in the style he did. Bergeron had a goal and three assists with six shots in his season debut, a 6-3 win over the Canucks. There's not much to be said about Bergeron; get him back in your lineup immediately. Look for his linemates to take off as well. Let's take a look at what happened over the last two nights:
As far as stunning results go, the Senators going into Calgary and winning 6-0 against Calgary is up there. They then matched it on Saturday night beating the Oilers 6-1. Not bad for back to back games against two elite teams on the road without their best player. Leading the way for the Senators was Kyle Turris. Over the two games, Turris scored two goals on five shots with four assists and two PIM. Reid's man crush has the ability to be a top 100 player in fantasy. Will this be the year he gets there? Maybe, but even if it's not, Turris should be owned in all leagues. Let's take a look at what happened over the weekend:
Minnesota played an excellent game on Thursday booking an impressive 5-2 win over the Blackhawks. Sadly for them, it came at a brutal cost. Charlie Coyle and Nino Niederreiter both left the game injured and were already ruled out for Saturday's game. Coyle was hit in the back of the leg with a shot while Nino looked to suffer an ankle injury that could cost him multiple weeks. Hopefully you have an injured reserve spot for both of these guys but Nino definitely should be held through the injury. With Mikael Granlund out as well, the Wild are getting extremely thin. So who gets a boost? Jason Zucker (1+1, 5 SOG) becomes must-own in 12'ers while Chris Stewart (2G, 5 SOG) moves back on to the streaming radar. We'll have a clearer picture tomorrow but this is a big blow to the Wild and fantasy teams in the short term. Here's what else happened the last two nights around the league:
We have actual hockey to talk about! After Reid gets me to voice my displeasure with the USMNT for a couple minutes, we get to some teams who have had hot starts, notably the Vegas Golden Knights. After running down the list of surprises and disappointments, we zoom in and look at individual players who have stood out, positively or negatively, in the early going and how that's impacting our fantasy decisions going forward. We wrap things up with a preview of Thursday's games and bring back The Three Point Challenge! Be sure to make your picks in the comments section below. All of that and more on the latest edition of the Razzball Hockey Podcast!
The first home game for the Vegas Golden Knights couldn't have started any better. After an amazing pre-game ceremony, Vegas stormed out to four goals in the first period en route to winning 5-2 against the Coyotes. Here we are with Vegas sitting at 3-0. So do we have to change our expectations for the team? I'll talk about it extensively with Reid tomorrow but I still believe they'll be at the bottom of the league come April. That said, what an amazing start for a team in the wake of tragedy. For fantasy, I think there's three guys I would own right now in standard 12'ers: Marc-Andre Fleury, James Neal and Nate Schmidt. There is still some downside for all of them but in the moment, just enjoy the ride. I can't wait to be there next week to see a game in Vegas. Let's take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:
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:
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:
While the Razzball Hockey committee of one didn't love the Patrick Marleau contract, we did like Marleau for this season in fantasy. Like the majority of his teammates, his season debut went extremely well. Marleau scored twice in his first game as a Maple Leaf registering five shots on goal. His linemates were inconsistent but whether he's with Matthews or Kadri, it doesn't really matter. Marleau scored 27 goals last season and I don't see why he can't get back to that number. Despite ranking him as a top 150 player, he's still available in over 50% of ESPN leagues, so grab him now. Here's what else happened around the NHL on opening night:
It's opening night! After looking at some recent injuries, signings, and demotions, Reid and I finish our season preview by looking at the Western Conference over/unders and prop bets. Lines also came out for the Art Ross, Rocket Richard, Norris and Vezina Trophies so we look at all of the available options and pick some bets where we see fit. We close by previewing opening night along with a couple games from Thursday and Friday night. All of that and more in the latest edition of the Razzball Hockey Podcast!