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My bullishness of Wyatt Johnston as a hockey player is well known in these parts.  The 20 year old has the makings of a future stud in both regular hockey and for fantasy.  Right now, he's been given the best opportunity early in his career, and he's taking full advantage of it.  Johnston was bumped onto the first line with Dallas' two best forwards, Robertson and Hintz, and Johnston has been excellent since the change.  Robertson totaled three assists, four shots and two PIM in the 5-4 win over the Red Wings on Tuesday.  Johnston has seven points in his last five games while averaging over three shots per game.  The new change is enough to put Johnston on the fringe, and with Dallas closing the week with Anaheim and Washington, I would definitely be targeting Johnston for the bottom of my roster.  Let's take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:
Steve Yzerman can't ask for a better start from his big offseason swing.  After his first game without a point as a Red Wing, Alex DeBrincat followed it up with a hat trick and an assist with five shots in Sunday's win over the Flames.  That brings DeBrincat to a whopping eight goals and four assists in his first six games with Detroit.  He's clicked with Dylan Larkin (two goals and three assists over two games) to give Detroit an elite first line.  We've seen DeBrincat score 41 goals twice before playing with Kane, so it's not like this is completely out of nowhere.  While this shooting percentage won't last, given how much Detroit is rolling the first line, I'm expecting career highs across the board for DeBrincat.  There's a real chance Detroit plays its way into the playoff picture this season if the first line can win its matchups on a regular basis.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
In a Pacific Division battle on Thursday, Stuart Skinner stole the show.  Against the Kings, Skinner saved all 43 shots he faced in the 2-0 win.  We all know about the firepower the Oilers possess, but they made the conference finals last season in large part because of Mike Smith getting hot as he was known to do.  The Oilers replaced him with Campbell, but that has been an epic disaster.  Skinner has established himself as the clear #1 and will be going into the playoffs.  His numbers are that of a #2 in fantasy, and while I do like the 24 year old long term, I don't really see upside past that unless the Oilers completely revamp their defense.  That said, for the Oilers to get on a run, they'll need solid goaltending, and Skinner has shown that he's capable of that.  He's the goalie of the future and more importantly, the present.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Hello, weekend! Hopefully all of you NHL fans enjoyed the all star layoff and are ready to get back to some DFS goodness! At the very least, I will not be dressing up as our underdog namesake Happy Gilmore and skating around my office while I type this out. (Poor Pasta). Speaking of Poor Pasta, after I punched up the rough outline for today’s names I realized that we had more than a few double lettered names. Alliteration station, indeed!  We’ll go with our goalie here as the main focus. I was all set to run with an alliterative goalie, Matt Murray, and even spoke to his newfound health in his Leafs renaissance…then apparently reality set in and Murray was placed on the IR on Thursday with an ankle injury. Ouch. Literally.
There used to be a time where players received a massive fantasy boost playing with Tyler Seguin.  That time has now passed, but right now, he's getting the boost playing with Robertson.  With Hintz injured, Seguin has moved onto the first line centering Robertson and Pavelski, and he's blown up.  On Thursday against the Kings, Seguin had two goals and an assist with five shots and two PIM.  In the six games since Hintz was out of the lineup, Seguin has five goals and three assists with 22 shots on goal.  It's unclear when Hintz will be back, but until he does, Seguin is an automatic hold in all fantasy formats.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
As good as the Jets have been, Friday was a huge boost for their team.  Not only did they get Wheeler, Schmidt and Perfetti back, Nikolaj Ehlers returned for his first game since the second game of the season.  He immediately went onto a line with Pierre-Luc Dubois and Kyle Connor, and it worked out as well as it has in the past.  In the 4-2 win over the Lightning, Dubois scored two goals with four shots and four PIM, with Connor having a goal and an assist plus four PIM of his own.  Sunday was even better with Connor scoring a hat trick, Dubois dishing four assists, and Ehlers scoring a goal and two assists.  This line has the potential to be one of the best in hockey yet again, and with Dubois playing the best hockey of his career right now, it can be even better than last season.  All of them are easily top 50 players with Connor in the top 20, and the other two with the potential to push towards that, but probably a step behind that.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
This Nashville Predators team plays nothing like the style we've come to expect from them over the years.  They're hemorrhaging chances left and right, especially against top competition.  So needless to say, it was always going to be difficult for them to get a result in Carolina.  Luckily for them, they have Juuse Saros.  Saros had the second most saves in a non-OT game in NHL history on Thursday saving 64(!) shots in the 5-3 win over the Hurricanes.  I bet over 30.5 saves for Saros, can I get paid double for him going over twice?  Ha!  It's going to be hard for Saros to improve in GAA considering the team in front of him, but he's been playing much better lately to the point where the save percentage should be an elite asset once again.  Saros is still a #1 fantasy goalie, both for this season and in dynasties.  Amazingly, despite making his debut seven seasons ago, he's still only 27 years old.  Let's take a look at what else happened the last two nights:
It's no secret in these parts that I'm from Buffalo and root for the local teams.  I've seen plenty of devastating injuries over the years, from hockey players being severely cut, Pronger's collapse on the ice, soccer players collapsing like Eriksen in 2021, and I was at the Bills game when Kevin Everett was paralyzed.  Damar Hamlin's cardiac arrest was the first time that it felt like "life or death" on the football field.  It seemed like an eternity between first responders helping him, getting him to the hospital, and waiting for any update.  I can only imagine how it was for his family, friends, and teammates.  Here's to hoping that Hamlin continues to progress in his battle towards recovery.  The Sabres played in Washington on Tuesday night, with the entire team wearing "Love For Three" t-shirts for their Buffalo brethren.  The Sabres won the game 5-4 in the most fitting way possible.  Tage Thompson scored his third goal of the game, completing his third hat trick of the season, exactly three minutes into overtime, playing three on three, bringing him to 30 on the season, which is three off the league lead.  You can't write a better ending than that.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights while we keep Damar in our thoughts:
The Jets have been excellent to open the season, but that hasn't stopped them from tweaking things to get better.  On Friday, we saw Bowness go back to last season's duo of Pierre-Luc Dubois and Kyle Connor together, something I've been clamoring for.  They notched one goal on Friday by Connor from Dubois, but they went off against Chicago on Sunday.  Dubois had two goals on eight shots, while Connor had a goal and two assists with two shots.  I've been saying it was a matter of time for Connor to get going, and I think that time is now.  He's too talented to not pile up goals.  Dubois has been quite good across the board so far this season, but career highs are now in play.  The shot rate is fantastic, the PIM are strong, and he's playing at a 40 goal pace.  It sucks that they're missing Ehlers indefinitely so they don't have a great second winger, but even still, look for these guys to improve their even strength performance while remaining great on the power play.  Let's see what else happened over the weekend:
I'm going to do the second half of the Playoff Manifesto today.  If you missed Part One, you can check it out here.  Let's get right to it! NASHVILLE PREDATORS (4,4,3,3) This schedule is right up there for best in the league.  Fourteen games is as good as it gets.  They close each week with a back-to-back.  The only nitpick is that there are no games on light days, but few things are perfect.  Josi and Forsberg can both push for best player in the fantasy playoffs if things break right.  Ryan Johansen and Tanner Jeannot are both elite streamers in the stretches where Nashville has three games in four nights.
David Perron had a horrible start to the season and was shaping up to being one of the biggest fantasy busts of this year.  To say things have turned for the better is an understatement.  Perron scored two goals on seven shots against the Predators before scoring a goal on seven shots against Winnipeg.  Since Perron went back on the top line, Perron has exploded.  He has eight goals and five assists in the last ten games with 35 SOG.  It's good enough across the board that Perron is a clear hold in all formats again.  He's only available in about 25% of leagues, but even in a shallow league, I wouldn't be cutting Perron to keep a stream spot.  The schedule is a little light the next couple weeks, but it really picks up in the last week of March and early April.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend: