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:
If I was going to pick a team to back up an eight goal game with a nine goal game, it would obviously be The Desert Dogs!  The last few weeks have been very strange as a whole in the NHL, but this takes the cake.  Arizona scored eight on Ottawa before scoring a nine ball, corner pocket on Detroit Tuesday.  They were led by the one, the only, Nick Schmaltz, who had two goals and two assists in this game.  That's 11 points and a +11 in two games!  He's the best thing since Gretzky!  While I like to joke, Schmaltz was on fire a week ago and then decided to get 11 points in two games.  He clearly needs to be held for the time being.  Let's see what else happened over the last two nights:
Well, we have a clear winner for craziest game of the season.   Toronto went up 6-1 and 7-2 going into the third, only to allow four goals in the first 5:21 of the second, only to end up pulling away from the Red Wings.  10-7!  10-7!!!  Absolutely bonkers.  Toronto scored ten goals and didn't even have a power play.  The top line destroyed Detroit, led by Mitch Marner, who had four goals and two assists with six shots and two PIM.  Michael Bunting had a goal and four assists with four shots, while Auston Matthews had a goal and three assists with four shots.  Look, we know what we're getting from Marner and Matthews.  Bunting I'm still torn on.  Even in this game, Bunting played under 14 minutes.  It's hard to sustain success with that workload.  On the other hand, that line is as good as any in hockey right now, and Bunting has been going off.  I'm still leaning towards elite streamer, but I can't argue with anyone holding him.  Seventeen goals in a game!  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Before this season, Tage Thompson was part of the punch line about how bad the Sabres were fleeced in the RoR trade.  Amazingly, Thompson has come out of nowhere to play better than RoR has this season (although I'm sure the Blues are just fine with it, banners fly forever).  Thompson was fantastic over the weekend, scoring a hat trick against the Avalanche before scoring a goal on four shots against the Blue Jackets on Sunday.  That brings Thompson up to 20 goals and 18 assists in 47 games and over three shots per game.  Thompson is right on the fringe although I lean towards grabbing him for now.  Buffalo's next opponent?  Montreal.  Let me get some of that.  Either way, Thompson's development is massive for the Sabres going forward.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Yes, the Sabres are still a bad hockey team, but the good news for long suffering fans like me, is there are finally some signs of hope.  One of the best signs is how well the first line has performed since Tuch returned from injury after the trade.  They single-handedly won the game for the Sabres on Sunday against Montreal, and it started with their highest paid player.  Jeff Skinner was left floundering on the fourth line or scratched by Ralph Kreuger last season because, well, Krueger had no clue about coaching hockey.  Skinner had one of the games of the season on Sunday afternoon, scoring four goals and an assist on six shots in the 5-3 win over the Canadiens. That bring Skinner up to 20 goals with 14 assists in 45 games.  Is he worth his massive contract?  No, but he's proving once again that he's still a damn good hockey player.  I've had him on the fringe for a while, but I feel good about holding him now.  His shot rate is back over three per game on the season so that's plenty good enough given his contribution in points.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Last season couldn't have been more of a disaster for Patrik Laine.  Is he as good as people expected when he .came out of the draft in regards to being an overall player?  Probably not.  As an offensive player?  He's still incredible. Laine had two goals and an assist with five shots on Tuesday, and that doesn't even count his empty net attempt in the last five seconds that somehow hit both posts and went out.  Laine now has 12+12 in 25 games this season.  Does 40+40 seem good to you because it does to me?  Laine is an incredibly gifted offensive player who has the upside to determine fantasy leagues.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Since Dougie Hamilton went down with a broken jaw, the Devils have been in a massive tailspin.  It got much worse over the last two nights as Toronto beat them 6-4 and 7-1 going into the All-Star Break.  The hope is that Hamilton will be back after the break, and it's obvious that they need him on the blue line.  Toronto was led by Mitch Marner, who had three goals and four assists with nine shots between the top games.  Marner has multiple points in six of his last seven games, including a goal in all seven games.  I wrote a couple weeks ago that Marner was about to get hot and get past the point per game mark, but he did it much faster than I anticipated.  It helps that he moved to the top line again, as Auston Matthews had four goals and two assists between the two games.  When these two are clicking, it's as dangerous of a combo that there is in the league.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Those of you that have been patient holding Evander Kane for almost four months were rewarded on Saturday night.  Kane played his first game of the season with the Oilers and went right on McDavid's wing.  Kane scored in the first period and finished with three shots in the 7-2 win over the Canadiens.  He's still available in 50% of ESPN leagues and very close to that on other sites.  Kane is a must own immediately, and if you use FAAB, you should bid a large amount of your budget.  Yes, he could do something stupid and be banished, but the upside is too high for him to be on waivers.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
It looks like I was a year early predicting Matthew Tkachuk to be a top 20 fantasy hockey player.  It also looks like I sold him a bit short.  Tkachuk had five assists on Monday, all of which came in the first two periods.  He's playing at a 40+50 pace with well over three shots per game, elite play at even strength and the power play, and plenty of PIM.  The first line in Calgary is playing just about as well as any line in the league with Tkachuk leading the way.  He's a top ten skater on the season now, and while I wouldn't rank him as a first round pick i.e. the top 12, he's a slam dunk top 20 guy.  Guys who absolutely dominate all of the categories are harder to come by, and the only two that have been better so far are Marchand and Kadri.  For the rest of the season, I'd take Tkachuk over Kadri too, and long term, Tkachuk is the top guy.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Pittsburgh is absolutely rolling right now, winning their ninth and tenth straight over the past two nights.  The total line has dominated on both nights, being sparked by the return of Bryan Rust.  In both games, Rust scored two goals and an assist, bringing his total to 11 points in 3 games since returning from injury.  Bonkers.  Jake Guentzel had two assists with four shots while Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist with two shots and two PIM.  All three of these guys are top 50 players rest of season, with Guentzel being a top 20 guy and the other two probably just outside of it.  They're a viable DFS stack every time they play.  I wouldn't be surprised to see an uptick in minutes in the short term with the team heading to the West Coast.  If you have any of these guys on your team, you have to be thrilled.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Not everybody can step into the league and score 105 points like Crosby or 52 goals like Ovechkin did.  Even for #1 overall picks, it can take some time for them to learn the league and figure out how to play to their strengths.  If the last week is any indication, it looks like Jack Hughes has started to figure it out.  After a three point game earlier in the week, Hughes followed that up with another three point game; two goals and an assist with seven shots against the Oilers. On Sunday, Hughes kept the multi-point streak going with two assists against the Capitals.  That brings to 8+8 in 16 games.  You don't need a math major like me to tell you that's a 41+41 pace over 82 games.  The minutes are starting to reach first line minutes on a regular basis.  Missing a lot of time will keep his overall value down, but Hughes has a reasonable chance to be a top 50 player this season on a per-game basis, and he'll be ranked extremely high from yours truly in 2022-23.  Let's take a look at what else happened over what was hopefully a great New Years weekend for everyone!