While general sports fans were watching playoff baseball (Go Braves!) or Sunday Night Baseball, hockey fans saw one of the best performances of the season take place on the first weekend.  Anthony Mantha scored four goals on eight shot, including the winner in the last minute of the game, to beat the Stars 4-3.  This comes after an incredible performance in his season opener in which he scored a goal and two assists with five shots and four penalty minutes in the upset win over Nashville.  In both games, the players on the top line were at or above 20 minutes each.  That's extremely encouraging for their long-term success.  Obviously we're not expecting Mantha to be a top 25 player all of a sudden, but the potential is there for 30 goals, 50 PIM and a very good shot rate.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
The first draft pick in Vegas history, Cody Glass, scored the first goal of his career in his first game, a 4-1 win over the Sharks.  First, the good news.  He played with Mark Stone (G+A) and Max Pacioretty (A, 5 SOG) which puts Glass in a great position to succeed going forward.  He also played with these guys on the power play.  The bad news: his minutes were down because Gallant doesn't trust him defensively yet.  Whenever they had a defensive zone start, Stastny started on the ice and would go off for Glass if they exited the zone.  Yes, it's only a defensive zone start, but on a team that transitions as well as Vegas does, the more minutes the better, and Glass didn't cross the 15 minute mark.  I'm good with picking him up if you want the upside, but let's not go crazy spending a lot of FAAB on Glass.  I like him plenty long term, and perhaps Stone drags him into be a hold all season, but it's far from a guarantee.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the first two nights of the season:
We have now reached the point of doing individual positions before I complete a top 200.  Through the top 20 overall, I have covered 18 forwards, one defenseman and a goalie.  For now, I'll be holding off on the last two.  I'll be covering the top 100 forwards in posts of twenty going forward.  For today, I will go through the top 40.  Let's get right to it!
Well if I had to guess who would have the second four goal game of the season, I'm not sure Brad Richardson would have been in the first 500 guesses.  Richardson single-handedly carried the Coyotes to victory on Thursday with those four goals on six shots, adding two PIM with a +4 rating.  Richardson has 16 goals in 48 games now, a career high in his 14th season.  For those of you in deep leagues, I would grab Richardson for the faceoff boost too.  In standard leagues, I'm probably passing still despite playing at a 27 goal pace.  Everything about it screams unsustainable, but we have to give props to him burying four in one game.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
As far as best contracts in the league go, Roman Josi's is near the top of the list.  Josi, who is nearing the end of a 7/28 deal signed in 2013, has developed into a true #1 defenseman.  Josi scored two goals and an assist on five shots in the 5-3 win over the Stars.  Josi is currently up to #6 on the player rater for defensemen, in the range that we expected from him.  He's not in the top tier, but he's firmly in tier two now and going forward.  Josi looks like a good bet to set career highs in both goals (15) and points (61).  Let's take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:
On January 3rd, the St. Louis Blues were in last place of the entire NHL.  Here we are six weeks later and they're safely in a playoff position.  The Blues have matched the longest winning streak in the NHL this season at 10, winning two games this weekend in convincing fashion.  First, Jake Allen shutout the Avalanche, then Jordan Binnington shut out the Wild on a back to back.  Right now, Binnington is as hot as it gets in the league.  I don't expect this to continue, but for now, he's a must start every time out.  I still view Allen as somewhat of a desperation play, but with how well the team is playing in front of him, I'm fine with streaming him for the time being.  Looks like a coaching change was what they needed to right the ship.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
It was only a matter of time until Vladimir Tarasenko picked up his play.  Tarasenko had four goals over the weekend, including a hat trick on Sunday, in two games against the Predators.  That gives him an eight game point streak to get to 22+19 on the season.  Obviously that's still disappointing, but there's time for him to salvage the season.  Hell, the Blues are even in a playoff spot now because of how bad the Western Conference is.  Look for them to make some additions at the deadline because of all of the moves they made in the summer.  Missing the playoffs would be a major disappointment, and creating depth for the lineup would help things out for Tarasenko.  The buy low window is probably closed but there's a strong chance that he's a top 30 player the rest of the way.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
This is the beginning of teams having bye weeks in the NHL Season.  While most head to head leagues will have a two week schedule this week given the All-Star Break is also here, it's still worth planning for.  With such a small slate this week, I figured this was a good time to layout what my strategy is during this slow period.  I'll finish the posts with streamers for the next three days.  My next post after this will be an updated hold/stream list next Monday after the All-Star Break.  Let's get to it! UPDATE: I will have a post coming out Thursday morning now recapping Monday-Wednesday
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:
The Penguins have been on quite a tear lately, and it's not just their All-Stars.  Over the weekend, Jake Guentzel destroyed the Ducks and Kings.  In the Penguins comeback against the Ducks, Guentzel had a hat trick on seven shots with two penalty minutes, before scoring two more goals on six shots against the Kings.  That brings Guentzel to 23 goals, which is already a career high.  The shot rate has taken a big jump as well, although we can't expect him to shoot 19% all season.  Regardless, Guentzel has settled into being a top 100 player who is a clear hold in all formats.  As long as he continues to play with Crosby, things will be just fine.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend: