Not everybody can step into the league and score 105 points like Crosby or 52 goals like Ovechkin did.  Even for #1 overall picks, it can take some time for them to learn the league and figure out how to play to their strengths.  If the last week is any indication, it looks like Jack Hughes has started to figure it out.  After a three point game earlier in the week, Hughes followed that up with another three point game; two goals and an assist with seven shots against the Oilers. On Sunday, Hughes kept the multi-point streak going with two assists against the Capitals.  That brings to 8+8 in 16 games.  You don’t need a math major like me to tell you that’s a 41+41 pace over 82 games.  The minutes are starting to reach first line minutes on a regular basis.  Missing a lot of time will keep his overall value down, but Hughes has a reasonable chance to be a top 50 player this season on a per-game basis, and he’ll be ranked extremely high from yours truly in 2022-23.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over what was hopefully a great New Years weekend for everyone!

Friday’s Games

Kailer Yamamoto – Two goals and an assist with three shots.  Yamamoto has been extremely inconsistent.  Even with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins out for an undetermined amount of time, I have Yamamoto as a bottom end streamer.

Duncan Keith – Two assists with five shots.  I can’t bring myself to use Keith at this point.

Connor McDavid – Two goals on three shots playing almost 28 minutes.  McDavid is playing at a 136 point pace.  I think we’re starting to take him for granted.

Ryan McLeod – Two assists with a shot.  These were his first two assists of the season and has less shots than games played.  And there’s your annual McLeod update!

Dougie Hamilton – Two assists with five shots.  He left the game on Sunday early in the first and did not return so let’s hope for the best there.

Damon Severson – Two assists with two shots.  Severson would be must own if Hamilton does miss some time.

Andreas Johnsson – Two assists.  Bottom end streamer for me.

Jesper Bratt – Two assists with four shots.  Bratt has been great this season with 29 points in 31 games.  He’s on the fringe for me depending on team needs, but I’m leaning towards hold right now.

Dawson Mercer – Goal and an assist with four shots.  Mercer is a middling streamer for now, but the long term upside looks pretty good.

Laurent Brossoit – 15 saves on 16 shots in the 3-1 win over the Ducks.  Of course Brossoit had to give up a goal with 12 seconds left to ruin his shutout.  I call that a “Ryan Miller Shutout” as that happened to him all the time in Buffalo.  Anyways, Brossoit should be held right now while Robin Lehner is out.

Barclay Goodrow – Two goals.  He’s getting a lot of minutes with Artemi Panarin on the COVID list, but I can’t see myself using Goodrow in any format.

Steven Stamkos – Goal and an assist with four shots.  Stamkos is playing at a 41+59 pace.  That’s a massive season that’s going a bit under the radar.  Just stay healthy!

Ondrej Palat – Two assists with two shots.  Palat has been his usual steady self.  Whether you want to hold him on the bottom of your roster or not is up to you.  If you want a safe guy who has a balanced stat line, Palat is your guy.

Ilya Samsonov – 19 saves on 20 shots in the 3-1 win over the Red Wings.  Samsonov has been the workhorse lately and while the numbers are only okay, he has 13 wins in 17 starts.  He’s looking like a bottom end #1 now.

Alex Ovechkin – Two goals on seven shots.  The Great Eight won’t slow down.  What he’s doing is nothing short of remarkable.

Evgeny Kuznetsov – Goal and an assist with three shots.  Kuznetsov already has more goals, assists, and shots than he did last season.  In eleven less games!  The career resurgence is real.

Saturday’s Games

Alex Tuch – Goal and an assist with four PIM.  He’s looked the part on the first line and top PP unit right away.  I’m holding him in all formats.

Tage Thompson – Two assists with three shots.  Thompson’s breakout has been a huge positive for the Sabres, both in the present and the future.  He’s on the fringe as the shot rate is excellent, but the assists are a bit low.

Charlie McAvoy – Three assists with four shots.  McAvoy is scoring at the best rate of his career, and the shot rate is above two per game for the first time.  That’s enough to make him a solid #2D.

Brad Marchand – Two assists with four shots.  Absolutely crushing across the board per usual.

Sami Niku – Two assists with two shots.  Even with Montreal decimated by injuries, I’m not looking to hold him.

Jonathan Huberdeau – Three assists with three shots.  Nothing like following up a five point game with a three bagger.  Huberdeau is now the #4 forward in fantasy this season, and while the top 3 are miles ahead of him, that’s still remarkable.

Sam Bennett – Two goals on ten shots.  Quite the return for Bennett, but the bad news is that he received a three game suspension.  Look for Sam Reinhart (2A, 3 SOG) to move back on the second line.

Gustav Nyquist – Goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM.  Considering how much time Nyquist has missed, it’s impressive that he’s done this well, but he’s not worth using in fantasy while he’s under a shot per game.

Alexandre Texier – Goal and an assist with two shots.  He’s on a nice run lately but Texier is still in the middling streamer category.  Even on this run, the shot rate has been quite poor.

Brady Skjei – Two goals on seven shots.  Despite this game, the offense has dried up for Skjei.  Easy pass.

Andrei Svechnikov – Goal and an assist with eight shots and two PIM.  His shot rate is up quite a bit this year compared to last.  It’s starting to look like last season was an outlier in that regard.  The only thing keeping Svechnikov from the huge breakout is consistent minutes.

Noah Dobson – Goal and an assist with five shots.  Dobson has been great lately with ten points in the last ten games.  I’d hold in all formats right now.

Juuse Saros – 37 saves on 38 shots in the 6-1 win over the Blackhawks.  Saros deserves to be mentioned with the top goalies in the league.  That Nashville is in this position near the halfway point is largely due to him.

Mattias Ekholm – Three assists with a shot.  If Josi is out, Ekholm has value.  If Josi is playing, hard pass.

Matt Duchene – Two assists with a shot.  Even with struggling for a couple weeks, Duchene is still at a point per game and close to three shots per.  With Filip Forsberg (1+1, 4 SOG) on the top line, the duo is dominating at evens.

Tanner Jeannot – Two goals.  I’m actually a pretty big fan of what Jeannot can do.  In a hits league that includes PIM, I’d actually hold him.  If you have one or the other, he’s at least an elite streamer.

Jack Campbell – 23 save shutout in the 6-0 win over the Senators.  Nice way for Campbell to be eased back into action.

T.J. Brodie – Goal and two assists with two shots.  He has 15 shots in 31 games.  And there’s your annual Brodie update!

Alex Kerfoot – Three assists with a shot.  Kerfoot is locked into being a bottom end streamer.

Ilya Mikheyev – Two goals on seven shots.  I’m a big fan of Mikheyev for fantasy if he gets the opportunity.  He’s worth monitoring going forward.

William Nylander – Two goals on three shots.  Nylander is easily playing the best hockey of his career.  Nothing about his current pace, which is over a point per game, looks unsustainable.

Jordan Kyrou – Two goals and two assists with four shots.  Every time Kyrou moves down to the third line, he goes off and goes right back up.  I don’t get why Berube does this.  The breakout is real.

Ivan Barbashev – Goal and an assist with four shots.  He’s going off over the last month, but I still have a hard time buying him as anything more than a solid streamer.

Robert Thomas – Two assists.  It all comes down to team needs with Thomas.  The assists are great.  Everything else, not so much.

Kirill Kaprizov – Goal and two assists with three shots.  The Thrill was excellent in the Winter Classic.  He’s played his way into being a top 20 fantasy player, which is how I ranked him.

Ryan Hartman – Goal and an assist with three shots.  Hartman being a top 10 forward on the season at the New Year is absolutely insane.  I can’t buy this lasting, but he’s definitely going to stay a hold all season.

Tanner Pearson – Goal and an assist with four shots and five PIM.  Pearson is still a middling streamer.

Cam Atkinson – Three assists with five shots.  The Flyers were whacked in this game, but the top line was strong with Claude Giroux dishing two assists and Joel Farabee having a goal and an assist.  Two easy holds and Farabee is a middling streamer that has hold upside.  On the other side of things, JVR and Hayes were both -5.  Woof.

Viktor Arvidsson – Two goals and two assists with four shots and two PIM.  Arvidsson has been in a cold streak so this was quite the way to break out.  I’ve been holding him for the shots, but he’s on the fringe.

Trevor Moore – Goal and three assists with four shots.  And there’s your biannual Moore update!

Phillip Danault – Goal and two assists with two shots.  Danault has been shooting the puck a lot more in L.A., but I’m still keeping him in the bottom end streamer range unless the points go up.

Sunday’s Games

Nathan MacKinnon – Three assists with six shots.  The top line took over to win the game as Mikko Rantanen had a goal and two assists with six shots.  The pass by MacKinnon to set up the winning goal was unreal.  The point streak is up to ten games as MacKinnon is rolling once again.

Kevin Shattenkirk – Two assists with three shots.  There’s still deep league value, but I’m not looking to use Shattenkirk in standard leagues barring another injury to the Anaheim blueline.

Igor Shesterkin – 38 save shutout in the 4-0 win over the Lightning.  It’s great to see Igor back in the crease and thriving.

Mika Zibanejad – Hat trick on six shots, all assisted by Chris Kreider.  With Panarin out of the lineup, they’re going to get all the minutes they can handle, especially tonight going against McDavid.

Adam Fox – Two assists with two shots.  Fox hasn’t been great lately, especially without Lindgren next to him. I’m not panicking, but I also don’t have him in the top fantasy defensemen tier with Makar, Hedman, Josi, and Ekblad.

Tomas Nosek – Goal and an assist with four shots and two PIM.  And there’s your annual Nosek update!

Jeremy Swayman – 23 saves on 24 shots in the 5-1 win over the Red Wings.  Swayman has been solid when he played.  The worry is that they sign Rask because that would send Swayman to the minors.  I like him plenty, but in redrafts, there’s a ton of risk here.

Timo Meier – Three assists with two shots.  The PIM have completely dried up out of nowhere, but Meier is well over a point per game and four shots per game.  Incredible first half.

Bryan Rust – Hat trick and two assists with five shots.  Seems like a decent first game back for Rust.  Safe to say that he needs back in your lineups immediately.  Expert analysis!

Evan Rodrigues – Hat trick on six shots.  It blows my mind that the Penguins are giving ERod this much usage and that he’s producing.  He has to be held.

Jake Guentzel – Goal and an assist with two shots.  Nice to see Guentzel back in the lineup and also picking up where he left off.  The Pitt top line with Guentzel, Rust, and Crosby could go on a massive run here soon.

Damon Severson – Goal and an assist playing almost 30 minutes.  See Severson, Damon above.

Nico Hischier – Two goals on four shots.  Five game point streak for Hischier.  Could he turn the corner also?  I don’t see the offensive upside for Hischier that Hughes has, but it’s year five, Hischier needs to play his way into being a hold sooner than later for the Devils to take a leap.

Josh Morrissey – Two assists.  Morrissey has taken a big step back defensively the last two seasons.  I’m not using him outside of deep leagues.

Kyle Connor – Goal and an assist with three shots.  Connor is clearly one of the best goal scorers in the league and doesn’t get mentioned in this class.  He’s scored 30+ goals in every season of his career except last, when he’d have smashed 30 if it was a normal 82 game season.  With a shot rate over four per game, it looks sustainable to see him top 40 goals for the first time.

Mattias Janmark – Two goals.  He’s in a bigger role with Patches and Stone out, but I still see Janmark as a bottom end streamer.

Michael Amadio – Goal and an assist.  And there’s your annual Amadio update!

Zach Whitecloud – Two assists with two shots and two PIM.  He’s a decent DFS option because he blocks a ton of shots, but that’s about it.  You need to be in a deeper league with hits and blocks for Whitecloud to carry value.  Even with injuries, that wouldn’t change as Coghlan and Hague would jump him for PP time.

Jacob Markstrom – 30 saves on 31 shots in the 5-1 win over the Blackhawks.  The wins keep Markstrom from the top tier, but the GAA and sv% are truly elite.  He’s easily a #1G.

Johnny Gaudreau – Goal and two assists with three shots.  The top line dominated some more as Matthew Tkachuk scored a goal on seven shots and added an assist.  Gaudreau’s resurgence has reached peak Gaudreau levels.  It couldn’t come at a better time for him as he’s about to be a UFA.  Back up the Brinks truck!  Tkachuk is about to get one too as he’s RFA after the season and one year from UFA.

Three Point Challenge: We will do Tuesday’s games as it looks like we’ll have enough of a schedule to do so.  The current top ten is McDavid, Draisaitl, Ovechkin, Huberdeau, Kadri, Kaprizov, Stamkos, Gaudreau, Panarin, and J.T. Miller.  I’ll go with Rantanen against the Blackhawks.

That’s all for now guys; it’s good to be back talking about a lot of games!  As always, feel free to ask any questions, leave any comments, or give any suggestions below.  I’ll be back on Wednesday as there’s only the one game tonight.  Thanks for reading, take care!