I was expecting a big bounce back from Nazem Kadri this season in Colorado after being stuck on the third line in Toronto last season.  It hasn't been spectacular, but Kadri has been a hold all season.  He was going through a rough patch with only one point in seven games before Monday, but he broke out in a big way.  Kadri scored two goals on four shots and added an assist in the Colorado victory over Detroit.  Sure, it's Detroit, but three points is three points.  Kadri has already surpassed last season's goal total in 27 less games and the penalty minutes are through the roof.  His spot on the top power play unit appears locked in, therefore making him a hold for the foreseeable future.  The big offseason trade has been a huge win for the Avalanche, no doubt about it.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It's safe to say that at 26 years old, Jonathan Huberdeau has plenty of hockey to play in his career.  The scary thing is that he's going to destroy the Panthers point record.  In Sunday's big win over the Maple Leafs, Huberdeau had a goal and an assist to pass Olli Jokinen for the most points in franchise history. After last season's breakout campaign where Huberdeau had 92 points, he's on pace to blow by that this season with 61 points in their first 45 games.  The shot rate has fallen off to slightly below average, but I don't think anyone who drafted Huberdeau is complaining.  He's a safe bet to finish as a top 20 overall player this season, and since he's entering his prime along with some of his other teammates (notably Barkov), the future is incredibly bright.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Joel Quenneville saw that Sergei Bobrovsky was rounding into form on Saturday after a strong performance against his old team.  He rewarded him by starting him on Sunday despite being the second game in as many days.  Bob delivered once again.  After making 33 saves in the 4-1 win over Columbus, Bobrovsky stopped 30 of 31 shots in the 5-1 win over the Sharks.  Yes, the season has been worst case scenario to this point for Bob.  However, there's still plenty of time to turn it around and I think we see it.  Sure, maybe he won't be the top 5 goalie he's been in the past, I can almost guarantee that.  However, he could end up being a #1 again and for that reason alone, he's a great trade target.  Over the rest of this month, he plays Tampa twice and Boston, with some decent offenses and poor ones mixed in.  However, look at this January schedule: OTT, BUF, PIT, ARZ, VAN,  DET, MIN, CHI.  Not exactly a murderer's row.  In fact, they don't even play Tampa again after this month.  If I owned Bob, which I do, I'm being patient because I think it's going to turn around.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Life without Couturier hasn't been as good without Claude Giroux.  He started the turnaround on Thursday night.  Giroux scored two goals and two assists with three shots and two PIM in the 5-3 win over Carolina.  That brings Giroux up to 17 points in 22 games, not exactly lighting the world on fire, but the shot rate is the best of his career.  75 shots in 22 games is a huge step forward, and if that continues, we could be looking at a new career high in goals.  Yes, he only has 7 to this point, but we could be on the verge of a heater.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
We've seen this story before.  Last year, upper management called out Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin for poor play.  This year, it was Jim Montgomery.  Benn had one goal through 20 games, but he now has three over the last two games.  Benn scored two goals and an assist with five shots and two PIM in the 6-1 win over the Canucks.  This came after a goal and an assist on four shots against the Oilers.  He wasn't going to shoot 2% forever, but Benn did not look good over the first six weeks of the season.  That said, we've seen a big hot streak from him before so there is hope he can do it again.  The schedule looks fairly good over the short term so I'm expecting Benn to turn this nice stretch into a hot streak.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
A long time analytics darling, Joonas Donskoi is finally getting a chance on the first line in Colorado because of injuries, and he has taken full advantage.  Donskoi scored a goal and added two assists with two shots playing 20 minutes in the 4-0 win over the Jets on Tuesday.  That brings Donskoi up to 9+5 in 18 games, but with 6 points in the last 3 games.  With this workload, I would be holding Donskoi.  The Avs play every other day for the next week plus, and they're all on the road.  That could mean even more minutes for the first line in Colorado as Bednar attempts to match MacKinnon (and therefore Donskoi) against the top players of the opposition.  It's not going to last, but for the short term, Donskoi is a great option.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
One of my main focuses as far as team projections go is coaching, especially when it deals with goaltending.  I always love the Isles goalies because of Trotz, or Arizona because of Tocchet.  Well, I made the mistake of not giving enough credit to Dave Tippett going to Edmonton.  Tippett has always had great defensive teams in Arizona, and that's continued in Edmonton.  The biggest beneficiaries have been the goalies, and over the weekend, that was Mikko Koskinen.  Koskinen had a 29 save shutout on Friday against the Devils before saving 31 of 33 shots in the 6-2 win over the Ducks on Sunday.  His numbers are spectacular as are Mike Smith's.  Do I love these guys going forward?  No, I still prefer the Isles guys, for example.  That said, I probably undersold both of these guys.  I think both Koskinen and Smith need to be held and could be decent #2's for the rest of the season.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
I wrote in this space two seasons ago that Nathan MacKinnon deserved the Hart Trophy.  While he didn't ultimately win, he's been one of the best players in the league for a few years now.  Right now, he's making a legitimate case again in the early going.  With both of his star linemates injured, MacKinnon has continued to dominate.  His best game yet came on Thursday, where he scored a goal on ten shots and added three assists.  In his last four games, he has 34 SOG!  MacKinnon now has 9+13 in 16 games with over five shots per game.  We haven't seen a shot rate like this since prime Ovechkin.  Obviously there's a long way to go, but MacKinnon has a great chance to finally get to 100 points this season.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
The best line in hockey remains in Boston, but the second best at the moment resides in Vancouver.  On Wednesday, they were led by Brock Boeser, who had a hat trick and an assist with seven shots and two PIM in the 5-3 win over the Kings.  Boeser is now up to 7+7 in 12 games with over three shots per game, +6, and six penalty minutes.  He's doing a little bit of everything, and with how well the Canucks are playing, there's no reason he can't finish with 35+40 or better.  I'd bet on Boeser being a top 50 player at this point and it should only get better in the years to come.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
For two periods, the Red Wings were locking the Canucks down defensively.  They went into the third period up 2-0 but that lead didn't last long.  In fact, the Canucks ended up scoring five goals in the third to win with ease.  They were lead by their captain, Bo Horvat, who had his first career hat trick in the victory.  Loyal Razzballers know how much I like Dr. Bo as a player.  It's been a slow start, but here's why I'm buying Horvat (and another Canuck I'll talk about later).  One, Horvat is shooting the puck at an excellent rate.  He's over three shots per game on the season.  Two, and the main reason, is that Horvat is back on the first power play unit.  In fact, two of his goals came on that unit.  There's a ton of potential in that group and Horvat should be a beneficiary.  He's an easy hold and should push the top 100 going forward.  Let's take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night: