The difference between Mark Scheifele being a first round fantasy pick and a middling to late second round pick comes down to his shot rate.  He scored 32 goals last season but his 20% shooting percentage was due to regress.  While the shots haven’t been coming in, they did on Thursday and the goals were flowing.  Scheifele scored a hat trick on four shots in the 5-2 win over the Stars.  That brings him to 7 goals and 8 assists in 12 games, an excellent start for Scheifele.  Still, I have to assume the goals are going to drop since he has only 23 SOG on the season.  Scheifele should be a point per game regardless but again, shots are what we need for him to jump into superstar fantasy status.  Let’s take a look at what else happened around the league on Tuesday night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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In an opening month where tons of goalies are struggling, Corey Crawford certainly is not.  Crawford continued his excellent play on Wednesday making 35 saves for a shutout against the Flyers.  Crawford sits with a sub 2.00 GAA and > .940 save percentage.  To quote Larry David, “pretty, pretty, pretty good.”  He’s going a long way in masking some of the problems that the Blackhawks have.  Regardless, we all knew Crawford was a #1 fantasy goalie but perhaps he plays his way into the upper tier?  To be honest, the Blackhawks probably need it.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:

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Reid joins me as always to take a look at players who are on the struggle bus. After we run down the injuries, and sadly there are a lot of them (poor Vegas), the focus shifts to players around the league who were high fantasy draft picks that have been underwhelming or flat out disappointing. Five forwards, five defensemen and eight goaltenders are discussed and graded on a 1-10 scale on how worried we are about them going forward. From there, we do The Three Point Challenge for Thursday’s games discussing each game since it’s the next big slate on the schedule. Be sure to make your pick in the comments section below. All of that and more on the latest edition of the Razzball Hockey Podcast!

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Aleksander Barkov is in a dead heat with McJesus for the most time on ice per game as a forward in the NHL.  Barkov has been making those minutes count in October and he continued to do so on Monday.  Barkov finished the month with a bang scoring a goal and three assists with two shots against the Lightning.  The bad news for Barkov is that his team was still electrocuted by the Lightning losing 8-5.  The good news for us fantasy owners is that it doesn’t affect us.  Barkov has been outstanding and if these minutes last, a top 50 season is a near lock.  Let’s take a look at what else happened around the league on Monday night:

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Hat tricks have been in vogue lately so Blake Wheeler decided to take it to another level.  Wheeler scored a hat trick in the first period on Sunday and later added an assist in the 7-1 win over the Penguins.  Wheeler has been the fantasy stalwart we’ve become accustomed to in the early going with 4+8, +3, 12 PIM, 35 SOG and 4 STP in 10 games.  I don’t know how many more years Wheeler will keep up this level of play but for now, he’s a top 20 player with relative ease.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:

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Goals were plentiful around the NHL on Thursday night, none more than in Florida where the Panthers went eight ball, corner pocket on the Ducks.  The Panthers won 8-3 with Radim Vrbata leading the way.  Vrbata netted his seventh career hat trick and his first three goals as a Panther on six shots.  That brings him to 9 points in 10 games with elite shots and solid PIM.  I wouldn’t expect the PIM to last but the points and shots should be plenty to make him a hold.  He’s available in over 50% of leagues right now so grab Vrbata while you can.  He’s a clear must own in 12’ers and probably should be owned in 10’ers as well.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Reid and I talked about John Tavares extensively on Tuesday’s podcast.  We both saw him as a viable option for The Three Point Challenge but decided to go elsewhere since it’s rare for someone to post consecutive three point games.  Well, Tavares shoved it up both of our you-know-wheres!  He scored a hat trick and added an assist in the 5-3 win over the Coyotes.  All of a sudden, a slow start (3 points in 7 games) has been erased with Tavares at 10 points in 9 games.  This is why we wait at least a month before we panic about players, especially studs like Tavares.  Look for him to be his usual self going forward, which means being a top 20 forward.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:

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After two weeks, Reid and I are back!  We start off with a injury rundown focusing on a bunch of goalies that went down on top of Patrick Eaves being diagnosed with an extremely rare disorder.  Then we talk about teams that have started off very well and whether we’re buying or selling the hot start.  The opposite end of the spectrum is looked at next with how high our panic level is for five teams that started poorly.  We do another buy/sell with regards to individual players before making our picks for the Three Point Challenge.  Be sure to make your pick in the comments section below.  All of that and more on the latest edition of the Razzball Hockey Podcast!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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:

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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:

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