It feels like forever ago that Tomas Hertl took the league by storm as a rookie.  He's shown signs of promise since, but never really put it together.  Until.  Hertl had a hat trick on Tuesday to lead the Sharks over the Penguins.  That brings him up to 19+22 in 43 games, both numbers rapidly approaching career highs in mid-January.  He is providing no penalty minutes and a below average shot rate which caps his long term ceiling, but he looks to be a guy who is a fringe top 100 player for the next few seasons.  I would say if I had to say where I rank him next year, my guess is just outside the top 100 just because the downside is much higher for a guy whose sole value is coming from points and not the side categories.  Let's take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:
We found another goalie out of nowhere!  Jordan Binnington was great in his second start on Thursday, allowing one goal on 29 shots in the 4-1 win over over Canadiens.  He's been strong in the AHL the last two seasons, and with how bad their other goalies have been, Binnington deserves a chance.  Obviously it could collapse at any time, and the Blues' schedule in January is very road heavy.  On the other side, there a lot of good matchups over the next two weeks for Binnington.  I wouldn't go out of my way in shallow leagues to own him, but Binnington could be a solid streamer with upside for more, especially before the All-Star Break with the Sens, Kings, and Ducks in a row.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It's hard to find a bigger fan of Blake Wheeler than yours truly.  He's been excellent for years, and while he is showing some signs of aging, he's remained incredibly productive.  Wheeler scored a goal and dished three assists in the 7-4 win over the Avalanche, adding two penalty minutes.  Wheeler now has 7+48 in 42 games, a very strong point total.  So where's the concern?  Well, seven goals obviously isn't great, and his shot rate is closer to 2.5 now than 3 per game.  Add in a career low shooting percentage and you can see why he's on pace for only 14 goals.  He's still solid in PIM and has been a quality +/- player for a long time, so he'll still be a top 50 player for a few years.  However, it would be a mistake to expect Wheeler to be a top 20 player again going forward.  Here's a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
I've been pumping Ondrej Kase's tires for a while now.  The former 7th round pick scored his first career hat trick on Wednesday, putting five shots on goal against the Stars with a +4 rating.  That brings the 23 year old Dane to 8+6 in 15 games with well over three shots per game.  He's eliminated any doubt as to whether or not he's a hold; Kase needs to be owned in all formats.  Sure, he's bounced around the first line and other spots, but it doesn't really matter at this point.  There's no penalty minutes, but everything else looks great.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Everyone knew that Elias Pettersson was an elite prospect who was going to score plenty in the NHL.  In a year where rookies around the NHL actually look like rookies, Pettersson is lighting the world on fire.  Petterson scored two goals and added three assists in the 7-6 win over Colorado on Friday, boosting his totals to an insane 9+6 in 9 games so far.  Obviously he's not going to shoot 39% all season, but after lower minutes to open the year, Pettersson has played at least 18 minutes in each of the last four games, including the last two over 20.  For redrafts, he should be a borderline top 50 player this season.  In dynasties, Pettersson is a top 20 talent.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Phil Housley's shakeup of the lines last Saturday has worked extremely well.  The Sabres have won three straight and carried the play in all three of those games.  One of those moves was putting Jason Pominville on the first line and he's delivered and then some.  Pominville scored two goals on five shots on Thursday, giving him 3+3 in his last three games.  Now, I'm not saying he's going to be a hold all year, it's 2018, not 2008.  However, he's a hot schmotato right now, and first line plus first power play time is nothing to be ignored.  If you need a streamer on Saturday, Pominville is a great option, and if the heater continues, use him next week.  The Sabres schedule is pretty soft over the next two weeks.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
What's the worst spot for a goaltender to start right now?  Probably against Toronto on the road.  Well, Matt Murray had that exact spot on Thursday, and did the exact opposite of what most expected.  In a game where Toronto's expected goal total was pushing 4, Murray stopped all 38 shots he faced, shutting out the powerhouse Maple Leafs 3-0.  Murray's upside is undeniable; it's just a matter of keeping him on the ice and the defense in front of him not being a total mess.  For now, expect the Pens to give him the vast majority of the starts, meaning you can safely cut Casey DeSmith.  The Penguins schedule is fairly soft over the next couple of weeks, so feel safe rolling Murray.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It's not exactly breaking news that John Tavares moves the needle for the Toronto Maple Leafs.  He showed why he was worth the mammoth contract on Sunday, scoring a hat trick on seven shots with two PIM in the 7-6 win over the Blackhawks.  The main thing that I want to talk about here is Toronto in general.  This offense is incredible, but they also remain a sieve defensively.  I have a hard time treating them among the truly elite teams in the league until that is tightened up, at least somewhat.  That's why I picked them to finish third in the division again.  But for us in fantasy, stream everyone you can for the Leafs, and against them for that matter.  I'd have a hard time playing any goalie against them right now; it better be someone that's damn good.  They're a fantasy gold mine on both sides.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Hey guys! Sven back with 31 in 31 and my analysis of the Tampa Bay Lightning! Over the next month, I will be taking a look at each team’s players to watch out for going into the 2018-19 fantasy hockey season: The 31 in 31 daily segment. This analysis features everything from surefire studs, to sleepers, to prospects that may make an appearance at some point this season. Please let me know if you guys enjoy this type of material!  Reminder that the stat totals are from last season.