You guys know I like to start my posts about players who could be available in a large percentage of leagues that you can target on the waiver wire. After all, being aggressive at the bottom of your roster is a huge factor in fantasy hockey. However, sometimes a player has a weekend so good that you have to give him his due. This time, that player is Auston Matthews. Matthews scored three goals on Saturday, recording his second hat trick in as many games. Look, everybody knows the upside. We’re talking about a guy who scored 60 goals two seasons ago on his way to the Hart trophy. He’s obviously in that tier right behind McDavid, and the only reason I had him towards the bottom of the tier is that he tends to miss 10-15 games a season. If Matthews can play 75+ games, a repeat of 60 goals is well within reason. Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Logan Cooley – Two assists with two shots and two PIM. My love affair with Cooley has only just begun. He looked outstanding throughout the game and is an easy hold in all formats.
Nick Schmaltz – Goal and an assist with two shots. Schmaltz should be a bottom end hold for most of the season. There is a bit of upside from there, but the workload is going to be massive.
Clayton Keller – Two assists with two shots. Keller was fantastic, noticeable on almost every shift. Now that the team around him is improving, we could see Keller reach career highs.
Jesper Bratt – Two goals and an assist with three shots. The top line was dominant, as Jack Hughes dished three assists and added six shots. I absolutely love Bratt as a player, but I’m slightly lower than consensus in fantasy. The points will be there, but the secondary contributions are going to be a bit lower than most in that range.
Dougie Hamilton – Goal and an assist with two shots. The reports of Dougie’s demise with the arrival of L. Hughes were premature. Hamilton should still be a top five defenseman.
Tristan Jarry – 19 save shutout in the 4-0 win over the Capitals. Easy night for Jarry, who has had two quality starts to open the season. If he sticks with alternating good and bad seasons, then this one should be worthy of being a bottom end #1. Science! In reality, I like him more as a middling #2.
Evgeni Malkin – Goal and three assists with four shots. Death, taxes, and Malkin plus Sidney Crosby (two goals on five shots) terrorizing the Capitals.
Jake Guentzel – Two assists with two shots. If you were lucky enough to get Guentzel later because of the expectation that he was going to miss the beginning of the season, you made out like a bandit.
Travis Konecny – Goal and an assist with two shots. Konecny picked up right where he left off last season, with two multi-point games to open the year.
Jakob Chychrun – Two goals and an assist with three shots and two PIM. The second power play unit was the game changer for Ottawa on Saturday. I do think that hurts Chychrun a bit in general, but his all-around contributions give him an extremely high floor.
Claude Giroux – Two assists with five shots and four PIM. Giroux was criminally underrated in the preseason. I was 100+ spots over ADP with him. Why was he going to drop off in that massive role?
Vladimir Tarasenko – Two assists with a shot. Tarasenko’s minutes have been way down. That has me quite concerned going forward. It’s something to monitor closely.
Brady Tkachuk – Two goals on four shots with two PIM. Only one hit!? What got into Tkachuk?
Jake Sanderson – Goal and an assist. I’m a huge fan of Sanderson’s game, and think he can be on the periphery of the Norris conversation at his peak. I ranked him super aggressively because I wanted him at the bottom of my roster, but manage expectations unless he moves up to PP1 (unlikely).
Evan Rodrigues – Two goals and two assists with five shots. I think very little of Rodrigues’ offensive ability, but he is a gunner piling up a ton of shots. Right now, he’s getting first line minutes with Aleksander Barkov (2A, 5 SOG) which puts Rodrigues on the fringe. He’s been a hold in the past with Pitt, and there’s a chance he can do that again.
Sam Reinhart – Goal and an assist with four shots. Reinhart continues to be one of the most underrated forwards in the league. He’s extremely consistent and should remain a hold all season.
Matthew Tkachuk – Two assists with two shots and seven PIM. Back to basics with Tkachuk, who will be a monster in all formats.
Kyle Connor – Two goals and an assist with seven shots. The top line for the Jets looks outstanding in the early going. This week is a bit tougher matchup wise, but the week after is a dream.
Mark Scheifele – Goal and an assist with two shots and seven PIM. Props to Scheifele for being willing to fight Tkachuk. Everything looks business as usual for Scheifele.
Josh Morrissey – Two assists with five shots and two PIM. The top PP unit for Winnipeg has been strong in the early going, which bodes well for Morrissey to approach a repeat of last season.
Mason Appleton – Goal and an assist. And there’s your monthly Appleton update!
Zach Benson – Two assists with a shot. The third line for Buffalo has easily been its best through two games. Benson has looked the part so far, playing his way into being a middling streamer.
Casey Mittelstadt – Goal and an assist with two shots. Casey is also in the middling streamer category, mostly because of his refusal to shoot in great positions.
Brock Nelson – Goal and an assist with three shots. Nelson was fantastic and has every chance to repeat the 35+ goals he’s scored each of the last two season.
Colton Sissons – Two goals on five shots with two PIM. A few times a year, Sissons will have a big game, but at the end of the day, he’s only a deep league option.
James van Riemsdyk – Two goals on three shots. Both of his goals were on the PP, where JVR is on the top unit. The problem is that he played under 12 minutes. He’s a solid streamer, but he’ll need a workload bump to be more.
David Pastrnak – Goal and an assist with six shots. Pasta hasn’t missed a step so far without Bergeron.
Charlie McAvoy – Two assists with two shots and two PIM. McAvoy is going to crush every category except shot rate. If he can even get that to two per game, he’s a slam dunk top 10 fantasy defenseman.
Steven Stamkos – Two goals and an assist with six shots. The Lightning have been playing wide open games to start to the benefit of their fantasy studs.
Victor Hedman – Goal and two assists with three shots. Hedman’s goal came on the first power play unit, after Sergachev got a point there in game one. This is why I didn’t want to react too much to preseason in my rankings. Both of them will get their time.
Alex DeBrincat – Two goals and an assist with five shots. Couldn’t ask for a better start in Detroit from DeBrincat with three goals and an assist in two games.
J.T. Compher – Goal and an assist. Compher is playing far too big of a role for his talents again, playing over 21 minutes in this one. He’s an elite streamer as long as he maintains this work load.
Tyler Johnson – Two goals on five shots. Middling streamer.
Sean Monahan – Goal and an assist with three shots and four PIM. Monahan should have a big role as long as he’s on the Canadiens. He’s a solid streamer, but could lose value if he’s moved elsewhere.
Kris Letang– Two assists with a shot. Letang’s been just fine even with the arrival of Karlsson. The one thing I’m interested in is what happens to his shot rate. It will go a long way in determining his value.
William Nylander – Two goals and an assist with six shots. The change in role hasn’t affected Nylander one bit.
Morgan Rielly – Two assist with a shot, +4. Rielly did get a power play point as well despite not being on PP1. He’s still worth holding in 12’ers on the bottom end.
Erik Gustafsson – Goal and an assist with five shots. I have no idea why Gustafsson isn’t on PP2. What’s the point of signing him otherwise? He’s on the fringe because of it.
Adam Fox – Two assists with two shots and two PIM. The shot rate is the only thing keeping him from the top tier for fantasy.
Boone Jenner – Hat trick on four shots. Jenner hits all of the extra categories well, so in those formats, he’s a clear hold everywhere. In standard leagues, Jenner is on the fringe.
Johnny Gaudreau – Two assists with two shots. Gaudreau will be just fine. We know what to expect so I don’t have much to add.
Ivan Provorov – Two assists with four blocks. I don’t see much here outside of a blocks specialist, especially once Werenski comes back in a week or two.
Jordan Binnington – 30 saves on 31 shots in the 2-1 OT win over the Kraken. Two great starts to open the season for Binnington, but I’m still extremely skeptical. I have zero Binnington stock this season and if I get burned, so be it.
Elias Pettersson – Two assists with a shot. Pettersson finishing +3 matching up against the top Oilers says a lot. He’s playing his way into a true superstar.
Nils Hoglander – Goal and an assist. Hoglander played just over 8 minutes in this game. Maybe with some good play he gets a bump, but for now, I have no interest in Hoglander.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Goal and two assists with four shots. The power play merchants were at it again as Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid each had a goal and an assist with seven and eight shots respectively. Obviously there’s no concern there, but I wish they had performed better against a team like the Canucks.
Mackenzie Blackwood – 51 saves on 52 shots as the tough luck loser in the 2-1 SO loss to Alexandar Georgiev (20/21) and the Avalanche. I know it didn’t result in a win, but Blackwood gave a performance that will be up there for best of the season. He was painstakingly close to a 50 save shutout. The Sharks are so bad that Blackwood is a DFS tournament option because games like this can break the slate. However, he’ll be a massive risk on a nightly basis of giving up 4+.
Adin Hill – 22 saves on 23 shots in the 4-1 win over the Ducks. Great start for Hill in both games so far. It looks like he’ll have a split with Thompson, which makes both extremely valuable. They have Bruins goalies from last season potential.
Chandler Stephenson – Goal and two assists. His contract is up at the season… back up the Brinks truck!
Shea Theodore – Goal and an assist with three shots. Alex Pietrangelo missed the game (day to day) and what do you know, Theodore had two power play points. Almost like he should always be on the first unit.
Sebastian Aho – Goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM. It’s hard to find somebody who is more consistent than Aho. We know he’ll be in the 35 goal range and around a point per game.
Kevin Fiala – Three assists with two shots. The goals took a slight step back in his first season in L.A., but Fiala has become an even better playmaker. I’m a huge believer in his talent, as loyal Razzballers know.
Anze Kopitar – Two goals on three shots with two PIM. Kopitar has shown very little sign of slowing down despite turning 36 in the summer. The shot rate keeps him from being a top 100 player, but he’s not far outside of that.
Steven Stamkos – Missed the game due to injury, day to day. Doesn’t sound serious, but if you have weekly set lineups, you can consider sitting him.
Tanner Jeannot – Goal and an assist with two PIM. His one big offensive season looks to be an outlier, but Jeannot is a great streamer for hits.
Brady Tkachuk – Two goals and an assist with seven shots. Monster start for Tkachuk which isn’t a surprise. The top line for Ottawa should be among the best in the league.
Vladimir Tarasenko – Goal and an assist with four shots. The minutes were better today, but it was still at 15:49. It’s not ideal for sustained success, but Tarasenko is definitely a hold everywhere for now.
Teuvo Teravainen – Two goals on three shots. That’s four goals in three games for Teravainen to open the season. He’s generally more of a playmaker, and only have five shots on goal. Something tells me he won’t shoot 80% forever. Anyways, I’m fine holding Teravainen as a hot schmotato, but after last season’s struggles, I’m not all the way back in yet.
Frank Vatrano – Hat trick on six shots with two PIM playing over 20 minutes. If Vatrano gets consistent top six minutes, his shot rate can be a real value, especially in deep leagues. For now, he’s a solid streamer in 12’ers, but he’s definitely worth monitoring.
Cam Fowler – Goal and an assist. The big role is still there for Fowler, but the plus-minus could get really ugly. He’s viable for deep leagues and on the fringe in shallow.
Ryan Strome – Two assists with a shot and two PIM. Nice start from Strome, who could become a fantasy factor again with the team improving around him. He’s in the same boat as Vatrano.
Mason McTavish – Two assists with two shots and two PIM. Long term, I’m all in on McTavish. For this season, I drafted him late in a few places for the upside, and with three points in two games, I see no reason to let him go right now.
Three Point Challenge: We’re bringing back the Three Point Challenge once again! For new readers, normally on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s since they are busier days on the schedule, you can pick somebody to score three points that night. If you get it correctly, you’ll get a shoutout in the next post, and if you end up with the most at the end of the season, I’ll try to get something to reward the winner. You can’t pick somebody who is in the Top 10 in the league in points, and you can’t pick somebody more than once in a two week span. For the first few 4-6 weeks of the season, we will use last season’s top 10. That means you can’t select McDavid, Draisaitl, Kucherov, Pastrnak, MacKinnon, Robertson, M. Tkachuk, Rantanen, RNH, or Pettersson. For Tuesday, I will take Brayden Point against the Sabres in a game I expect to have a ton of goals. Make your picks in the comments section below.
That’s all for now guys. I’ll be back on Wednesday recapping the action from the next two nights. Jules’ weekly preview post will be out later today around noon EST so be sure to check that out as well! As always, feel free to ask any questions, leave any comments, or give any suggestions below. Thanks for reading, take care!