We’re keeping things moving here on the hockey side of things at Razzball as we’re less than two months from the season starting!  It’s not just me: Son has his top 10 out, everyone is posting their football rankings, and Smokey has the EPL RCL set up.  That’s ignoring all of the good baseball psts as we approach the closing stretch.  Today, I’m completing my top 40 forward lists.  Nineteen of these guys were already covered in the top 10 and top 20 posts, so the focus will be on players 20-40.  Let’s get going!

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Now is the time of the year where we see college players decide to forgo their collegiate career and sign an entry level contract.  There have been a bunch of players in recent years who have made an immediate impact, such as Chris Kreider and Brock Boeser.  We could have another name to add to the list.  Ryan Donato signed an ELC with Boston and had quite the NHL debut, scoring a goal and two assists with six shots playing almost 20 minutes..  With all of the graduates the Bruins have had over the last year, Donato is currently their #1 prospect (at least in my eyes).  He was a great goal scorer at Harvard and did very well in the Olympics scoring five goals in five games.  His shot is his best attribute but he’s also a strong skater.  I don’t see superstar upside, but Donato can definitely become a top 6’er.  He’s a streamer for now depending on who he’s with and how many minutes he’s getting, but he’s certainly a solid dynasty target.  Donato played on the first power play unit and the second line on Monday, so here’s to hoping that’s what we get for the rest of the season, at least until Patrice Bergeron returns.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:

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To say James van Riemsdyk had a decent two games would be an understatement.  The Charlie Conway look-alike scored five goals over the last two nights, scoring a hat trick against the Stars on eight shots before scoring two goals and an assist against the Sabres.  That brings JVR to 31 goals and 16 assists on the season with just under three shots per game.  Obviously he’s owned in virtually all leagues at this point, but I wanted to start off with him because he doesn’t get the credit he deserves.  He’s played at a 27+ goal pace for six straight seasons now and the two goals last night gave him a new career high.  I’m not sure Toronto will be to keep the impending UFA past this season, but one thing is for certain: JVR is about to get paid handsomely.  Look for him to maintain his value no matter where he ends up, meaning someone who is a top 75-100 player.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:

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As far as disappointments for this season go, Cam Atkinson is near the top of the list.  After his breakout last season with 35+27, Atkinson has struggled mightily on the ice and with an injury.  We’re finally seeing signs of Atkinson getting back to last season’s level.  Atkinson scored a shorthanded goal and added two power play assists with five shots on goal in the Columbus win on Monday. That gives Atkinson 4+4 in his last 9 games with at least three shots on goal in each game during that span.  The minutes are strong so that hasn’t been a problem.  The issue has been that Columbus’ power play has been so bad that Atkinson had only 3 STP before this game (which he doubled in this one).  Columbus has been better on the man advantage lately, and the arrival of Thomas Vanek should help them even more.  Atkinson is still available in over 40% of leagues and in a 12’er, I’d grab him right now while he’s finding his groove again.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:

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Gretzky, Lemieux, Forsberg, LaFontaine.  That’s the list of players in the last 30 seasons to have multiple five assist games in one season.  Add Mathew Barzal to the list after Friday night.  Barzal became the first rookie in 100 years to have three five point games in one season dishing five assists in the 7-6 win over the Red Wings.  That puts Barzal over a point per game on the season and makes him the prohibitive favorite for the Calder (sorry Boeser).  Our second podcast ever, which took place before last season, saw Reid and I hype up Barzal for dynasties.  Regardless, he’s blown away my expectations this season.  Now, it’s not all rosy for fantasy.  The penalty minutes are low, but more importantly the shot rate is barely over two per game.  On the other hand, he’s 20 years old and is over a point per game, so it’s hard to complain.  There’s a top 20 fantasy player in Barzal’s future if he can get that shot rate up.  Regardless, he’ll be a borderline top 50 player next year solely for the points, and it’s only going to get better from there.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:

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You don’t need me to tell you how good Evgeni Malkin is at hockey.  I’m still flabbergasted that he wasn’t one of the players in the NHL 100 because he’s clearly one of the best 100 players ever.  Certainly better than Toews or Keith.  I also wanted to use the word flabbergasted in a sentence.  Oh, yeah, so about that Malkin fella.  He scored his 12th career hat trick on Tuesday night as the Penguins kept rolling against the Sharks.  Malkin is well over a point per game, gives great penalty minutes, and the shot rate remains over three points per game.  As I always say about Malkin, just stay healthy!  As noted here, the playoff schedule is rough for the Pens, but Malkin should definitely help you get to that point.  Let’s take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:

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Winnipeg cooled off the red hot Oilers on Wednesday night winning 4-3.  They’d probably trade that win if it meant Mark Scheifele wasn’t injured.  The Jets superstar center fell awkwardly into the boards in the second period and did not return.  This is mostly guesswork on my part but from watching a ton of hockey over the years, it looked like Scheifele severely damaged his shoulder or collarbone.  Either way, we could be looking at a significant absence.  What does it mean going forward for the Jets in fantasy hockey?  I think we see the top two lines get their minutes evened out.  Consequently, it would give a small boost to Laine and Ehlers while a slight down tick to Wheeler and Connor.  The potential winner is Bryan Little.  Little scored a goal in this game on three shots and played over 21 minutes.  The Jets lack a true replacement as a top six center so it’ll be interesting to see what the Jets lines look like tomorrow in practice and during the next game.  My speculation: Little becomes must-own, one other player becomes a streamer (Armia?) and not much else changes.  Here’s to hoping Scheifele isn’t out too long for everyone.  Let’s take a look at what else happened on Wednesday night after a three day hiatus for the NHL:

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Ryan Getzlaf has been killing it for the Ducks since they were known as The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.  He’s been bald for that long too!  Getzlaf missed extensive time this year due to injury but he’s been great when in the lineup.  He had his best game of the season on Thursday dishing four assists and adding two shots in the 5-4 OT win over the Islanders.  To be honest, he wasn’t even the best player on his team for fantasy (more on that guy later), but Getzlaf’s fantasy impact is much greater.  Getzlaf now has 2+13 in only 12 games so far.  He played almost 25 minutes in this game which just goes to show you, everything is in place for Getzlaf to get back to being a top 50 player for the rest of the season.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:

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I’ll be honest, a year ago, I never thought I’d be writing about Alex Stalock again.  After a few years of being the backup in San Jose, Stalock was shipped to Toronto, where he was immediately waived to play in the AHL.  In the summer of 2016, Stalock signed a two-way deal with the Wild but never played in Minnesota, only in Iowa.  After Kuemper’s struggles last year and Stalock recording a .926 sv% in the A, the Wild let Kuemper go and decided to sign Stalock to be their backup this year.  Sadly, Devan Dubnyk was injured on Tuesday and is week-to-week.  We discussed this on yesterday’s podcast, but Stalock becomes a clear must-own until Dubnyk returns.  He made me look good as he shut out the Maple Leafs on Thursday night stopping 28 shots he’s faced.  Grab Stalock now before somebody else.  The Wild are getting healthy and playing great defensive hockey at the moment so for at least the next week, Stalock should provide great value.  Here’s what else happened the last two nights:

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