Hat tricks aren't that uncommon in the NHL.  First period hat tricks are.  Evander Kane became the first player in Sharks history to do so, scoring three goals and adding an assist with five shots in the 5-2 win over the Hurricanes on Wednesday.  Kane has long been a player that I rate higher than consensus because of his shot rate and penalty minutes.  Kane has four goals and two assists in four games since returning from suspension to go along with four PIM and 13 shots.  Pretty, pretty good.  I don't think it's a coincidence that the Sharks went 0-3 without Kane and are 3-1 since.  With their current depth issues, Kane should be leaned on heavily giving him a great chance at a top 50 fantasy season.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Brayden Point made his season debut on Thursday for a big showdown with the Maple Leafs.  Unsurprisingly, he started right where he left off, scoring two goals and adding an assist with five shots in the 7-3 win.  The Bucs beat the Argonauts!  Anyways, we know how good Point is and that he's an elite options in all formats.  A couple other takeaways from this game.  One, Point went on the first line with Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov, who had four points each.  If that line sticks together, watch out.  Two, the new fifth person on the top power play unit was Anthony Cirelli, who ended up with three assists, two on the power play.  I'm a big fan of Cirelli's game but he didn't get the opportunity.  Now, he is centering the second line and on the top power play unit.  He's a must own in all formats.  Three, Tampa Bay really is the better version of Toronto.  The defensemen on Toronto just can't keep up.  I mean, Cody Ceci?  Even Rielly and Barrie aren't good defensively.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
We're one week away from the season starting!  I have all of the excites.  This post is going to be shorter since I covered a bunch of the recent developments around the league on Tuesday, but I'm going to hit on a few other things of interest in this post.  Let's get to it! Immediately after signing a three year deal, the Lightning announced that Brayden Point will be out for most, if not all of October.  Point still should be going around 50th overall despite the missing time.  The interesting thing to note is that Patrick Maroon is taking his spot on the first power play unit for the time being.  We've seen Maroon contribute offensively when given quality opportunities in the past, so I'm expecting him to get off to a hot start.  Taking Maroon as your last pick in drafts as a streamer of sorts seems like a great idea.
As a companion to my Top 200, this post is going to cover the big preseason news from the last few weeks, along with the players that I'm targeting at the end of drafts in standard 12 man leagues.  In 12'ers, the waiver wire isn't a complete wasteland, so my goal is to shoot for the moon and hope that our late picks break out in a big way.  Last season, my favorite target was Elias Lindholm and we all know how that worked out.  We're barely over a week away from the season starting so it's time to buckle down and adjust our board wherever necessary.  Let's break down what I've been looking at:
Hey guys! Over the next month, I will be taking a look at each team’s players to watch out for going into the 2019-20 fantasy hockey season. This analysis features everything from surefire studs, to sleepers, to streamers, deeper league holds, even to rookie-eligible 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. Last year my previews went alphabetically, but this year we’re going to go division-by-division, starting with the top team. On our 16th stop on the 31 in 31 tour, we crack open the Atlantic Division with the President’s Trophy-winning Tampa Bay Lightning! It is no secret this team has a chip on its shoulder heading into this season, looking to take care of some unfinished business. With a few nice low-risk deals made this off-season, the Lightning look ready to dominate again.
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!
Hello everyone!  For those that missed it, my top 10 for next season came out last week.  You can find those rankings and what I'll be posting in the future here.  Today, we're going through the top 20 overall.  I'm sure it'll be another monster post so let's get right to it! 11) Johnny Gaudreau - As scoring jumped across the league, Gaudreau found another gear last season.  He set a career high in every category but PIM (he was 2 short), including 99 points.  I've been lower on Gaudreau than consensus for years now, and the last two years it hurt a bit, especially last year.  This ranking does scare me a bit because you're buying him at his peak value.  However, he has stayed incredibly healthy over the years, he bumped his shot rate up to almost exactly three per game, and at 26 years old, Gaudreau should be entering his prime.  I have a feeling I'll end up sliding Gaudreau down a few spots eventually, but he's definitely in this tier that starts with Draisaitl at 8th overall.
One of my favorite late round gambles on the blue line this season was Erik Gustafsson.  Gustafsson played 35 games last season and has 16 points and two shots per game.  That doesn't sound great, but that was with zero power play time and limited minutes.  Keith and Seabrook were falling off a cliff giving Gustafsson prime opportunity.  He took advantage of it and then some.  Gustafsson dished three assists on Monday night while putting a shot on goal and adding 4 PIM.  That brings Gustafsson up to a whopping 17+42 with 34 PIM and almost exactly two shots per game.  That's with 18 STP, a number which could be higher if he played on PP1 all year.  So what do we make of Gustafsson for next season?  Well, it's early to say.  I think these numbers are mostly sustainable as long as Chicago doesn't add a PP specialist in the offseason.  I don't expect them to with the young guys they have coming, especially Jokiharju, but there's always a chance.  Gustafsson looks like he'll be a solid #3 next season, possibly a bottom end #2.  The goals will probably come down a bit, but 40+ assists should be a near lock with Chicago's style and strong PP, and he's average in PIM and shot rate.  If he's going to be better, it's because he takes a few more shots.  Let's take a look at what else happened on Monday night:
We have a new candidate for craziest game of the year.  Chicago and Ottawa was a 5-4 game... with 2 minutes left in the first!  The game finished with a ridiculous 8-7 score with Alex DeBrincat leading the way on the score sheet.  The 21 year old scored a hat trick and added two assists, bringing him up to 32+28 on the season.  Not bad for anyone, let alone a 21 year old.  In the preseason, I wrote this: "Everything is in place for DeBrincat to score 35+ goals… if Quenneville plays him the minutes he deserves.  DeBrincat scored 28 goals and 24 assists as a rookie despite playing only 14:48 per game.  It was infuriating that DeBrincat’s minutes down the stretch didn’t drastically increase with the Blackhawks out of the playoff race.  He’s a natural goal scorer who needs to get more playing time for the Blackhawks to have any chance at a bounce back.  The penalty minutes won’t be there, but 30+30 is well within reason, and there’s still upside from there."  Well, Quenneville was fired, but everything else came to fruition.  I love DeBrincat now and going forward.  Sure, he'll never give PIM, but he should be an annual 30 goal scorer who has some years pushing 40 like this one.  Let's take a look at what else happened on Monday night: