The last lottery pick for the Washington Capitals has really come into his own.  Jakub Vrana had an incredible weekend, starting with two goals on eight shots against the Sabres.  He followed it up with a hat trick on five shots against the Flames on Sunday.  That brings Vrana to 9+5 in 16 games with just under three shots per game.  He's a main stay on the second line and second power play unit, so the question is whether or not he's a hold.  For now, I lean towards yes.  I don't think it'll last all season, but Vrana is playing excellent hockey right now and I want to take advantage of it.  The 23 year old has made a jump in every season of his career and looks to be down that path again.  Given that he had 24+23 last season, another slight improvement will get right right onto the fringe.  Vrana isn't an automatic add given that Washington has only two games this week, but I'm holding onto him while Vrana has his foot on the accelerator.  Let's take a look at what else happened this weekend:
To say the start of the season for Dallas has been disappointing is an understatement.  It looked like it was going to continue being 3-0 late in the second against Minnesota.  To quote Lee Corso, "not so far my friend!"  The Wild scored six goals over the last 21 minutes of the game to win 6-3, and they were led by Alexander Radulov.  Radulov entered the game with only 1+3 in 13 games, and he managed to match those four points in this one.  Radulov had three goals and an assist with a whopping 10 shots on goal.  This game might have blown the chance to buy low on Dallas players, but I would still attempt to do so given the opportunity.  These guys are too talented to not have strong seasons, Radulov included.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
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:
Not sure David Pastrnak even knows who Christopher Columbus is, but he sure dominated on his day Monday.  Pastrnak won the game for the Bruins scoring all four goals on five shots.  Two of those goals were on the power play, he chipped in two penalty minutes, and finished +1.  I generally don't like to lead off posts talking about superstars, but I feel obligated to give Pasta props for a four goal game.  The top seven going into the season were pretty clear for me but who was eighth was a debate.  I ultimately decided on Draisaitl but went with Pastrnak in the nine spot.  So far, so good.  Look for the Bruins top line to dominate on a nightly basis.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
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're at the end of individual rankings!  Almost 15,000 words later, we've ranked the top 100 forwards and 40 defensemen.  Now, we conclude that with my goaltending rankings.  I'm going to start by talking about my goaltending strategy for drafts, then split the goalies into tiers.  I'm not going to go in-depth on every goalie, just the ones that I feel are worth talking about, mostly because I'm higher or lower on somebody.  The reason I don't want to go very in-depth on every goalie is that the variance on goaltending from season to season is massive.  In other words, even the best goalies have poor seasons from time to time, and guys will come out of nowhere to have excellent seasons.  Did anyone know who Jordan Binnington was a year ago?  The public certainly did not.  Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss were afterthoughts for most.  Darcy Kuemper was the backup and wasn't drafted outside of deep leagues.  Those goalies were the 3rd-6th ranked goalies at the end of the season.  This is why I never draft goalies in the first two rounds, and never more than one in the first 7-8 rounds.  If you like to have one presumed top end goalie, that's fine, go for it in the 4th-5th rounds if they're still there.  Just do not reach, because the range of outcomes in goalies is incredibly wide, while forwards and defensemen are much more certain.  Any other questions on this, let me know in the comments section below.  Here are my tiers:
For those of you doing well in your head to head leagues, this is the most important post of the year.  This is my annual playoff manifesto where I break down every team's schedule for the last four weeks of the season.  I tell you who are the best teams and players to stream from, who you should look to trade for or away if your deadline hasn't passed, and it allows you to plan ahead with ease.  For those who haven't read it in the past, the numbers in the parentheses are how many games the team plays in each of those weeks, with the last number being the last week in the season and preceding accordingly.  This is going to be a massive post so let's get right to the 2019 Playoff Manifesto!
It was less than a week ago that James van Riemsdyk was placed on the fourth line for the Flyers and Scott Gordon had a private meeting with him.  Since then, JVR has taken off, with a monster game coming on Monday.  He scored a hat trick to give him 5+2 in his last 3 games.  Look, we know how good of a player JVR can be; he's been a top 100 player the past few seasons.  However, he only has two games the rest of the week, and then he doesn't have a game for all of next week with the Flyers on a bye week.  Therefore, I wouldn't be holding him right now.  I'd be willing to stream him on Wednesday and Saturday, but I'd cut bait then.  However, with a very heavy schedule starting 1/28, including a lot of bad teams, I would look to grab JVR at the All-Star break to get three games in four nights after that break.  Then, we see how he does in those three games, and proceed from there.  Here's a look at what else happened on Monday night:
It's hard to find a bigger fan of Blake Wheeler than yours truly.  He's been excellent for years, and while he is showing some signs of aging, he's remained incredibly productive.  Wheeler scored a goal and dished three assists in the 7-4 win over the Avalanche, adding two penalty minutes.  Wheeler now has 7+48 in 42 games, a very strong point total.  So where's the concern?  Well, seven goals obviously isn't great, and his shot rate is closer to 2.5 now than 3 per game.  Add in a career low shooting percentage and you can see why he's on pace for only 14 goals.  He's still solid in PIM and has been a quality +/- player for a long time, so he'll still be a top 50 player for a few years.  However, it would be a mistake to expect Wheeler to be a top 20 player again going forward.  Here's a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
I've been pumping Ondrej Kase's tires for a while now.  The former 7th round pick scored his first career hat trick on Wednesday, putting five shots on goal against the Stars with a +4 rating.  That brings the 23 year old Dane to 8+6 in 15 games with well over three shots per game.  He's eliminated any doubt as to whether or not he's a hold; Kase needs to be owned in all formats.  Sure, he's bounced around the first line and other spots, but it doesn't really matter at this point.  There's no penalty minutes, but everything else looks great.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights: