I wrote in this space two seasons ago that Nathan MacKinnon deserved the Hart Trophy.  While he didn't ultimately win, he's been one of the best players in the league for a few years now.  Right now, he's making a legitimate case again in the early going.  With both of his star linemates injured, MacKinnon has continued to dominate.  His best game yet came on Thursday, where he scored a goal on ten shots and added three assists.  In his last four games, he has 34 SOG!  MacKinnon now has 9+13 in 16 games with over five shots per game.  We haven't seen a shot rate like this since prime Ovechkin.  Obviously there's a long way to go, but MacKinnon has a great chance to finally get to 100 points this season.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
The gap between Brad Marchand and the rest of the league right now for fantasy hockey is incredible.  Marchand scored five points on Monday, tallying two goals and three assists and a +4 rating.  It's nothing new, but the first line in Boston has managed to find a way to get even better.  Marchand is crushing every category with 10+18 in 15 games with a +13 rating, 28 PIM and 41 SOG.  He's as good of a bet as any to finish as the #1 player in fantasy this season.  Honestly, he'd be my pick as long as he avoids a lengthy suspension.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
I've felt that Thomas Greiss was underrated for years.  When I started at Razzball, he was battling Halak for playing time and should have received more than he did.  Last season, when I was fully buying in, he was a mess.  This year, his value was so low that he was a nice gamble and he paid off handsomely.  Greiss had a 31 save shutout on Thursday beating Columbus 3-0.  Greiss is pushing a .930 save percentage and it's deserved; he's third in the league in goals saved about expectation.  The bad news is that his teammate is #2 in that category.  Look, Greiss isn't going to get the majority of starts, right around half of the Isles remaining games.  However, those starts are going to be extremely valuable.  He's only owned in 23% of leagues right now which is far too low.  That reason alone is why I'm starting this post with Greiss.  I've been saying for over a month that he should be owned in all formats, but if you're lucky enough for him to still be on the wire, go and get him.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
The Penguins have been on quite a tear lately, and it's not just their All-Stars.  Over the weekend, Jake Guentzel destroyed the Ducks and Kings.  In the Penguins comeback against the Ducks, Guentzel had a hat trick on seven shots with two penalty minutes, before scoring two more goals on six shots against the Kings.  That brings Guentzel to 23 goals, which is already a career high.  The shot rate has taken a big jump as well, although we can't expect him to shoot 19% all season.  Regardless, Guentzel has settled into being a top 100 player who is a clear hold in all formats.  As long as he continues to play with Crosby, things will be just fine.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Things can change quickly in hockey.  Matt Murray led the Pens to two Stanley Cups, then struggled mightily last season and to open this year.  Now, Murray has caught fire once again.  The netminder had a 33 save shutout on Friday against the Jets.  That means in his last 6 games, he's allowed 6 goals total with his worst save percentage being .931.  We've seen the upside before, and that's of a top 5 goaltender, if not more.  First off, he's somehow available in 15% of leagues, which is absurd.  If you're lucky enough to be in one, grab him immediately.   Two, if you own Casey DeSmith, you can safely drop him.  Lastly, I doubt you'll be able to trade for him given his hot run, but I'd much rather do that than sell high.  The upside of Murray is too high to pass on, and with the Pens playing as well as they lately, the floor is fairly high too.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
It was quite the weekend for last season's Calder Trophy winner.  Mathew Barzal entered Friday's game against the Senators with five goals on the season, and he matched that in two games.  Barzal scored two goals and an assist against the Senators before scoring a hat trick against the Maple Leafs on Saturday.  That brings Barzal up to 10+25 in 37 games with solid PIM and an improved shot rate.  He's still only 21 years old so clearly the best is to come.  For the rest of this season, I think he's just inside the top 50 now that his shot rate isn't far from average.  If he can eventually get that up towards three a game, it's game over.  Barzal has top 20 player upside down the line; hopefully the Isles get some more talent around him.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Mark Stone has been a favorite of Razzball Hockey (aka me) for a few years now.  One of the most underrated players in hockey, Stone is an above average first liner, no doubt about it.  Somebody is going to pay him a ton in the offseason as an unrestricted free agent and he'll be worth every penny.  Stone had an incredible game on Tuesday scoring two goals on seven shots while adding in three assists as well.  That brings him to 6+12 in 15 games.  He's somehow available in 25% of leagues on ESPN, which is crazy.  Stone should be owned everywhere, and while I've been clamoring for him to be traded so he's even better, it's become abundantly clear that he'll produce just fine in Ottawa this season.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
What's the worst spot for a goaltender to start right now?  Probably against Toronto on the road.  Well, Matt Murray had that exact spot on Thursday, and did the exact opposite of what most expected.  In a game where Toronto's expected goal total was pushing 4, Murray stopped all 38 shots he faced, shutting out the powerhouse Maple Leafs 3-0.  Murray's upside is undeniable; it's just a matter of keeping him on the ice and the defense in front of him not being a total mess.  For now, expect the Pens to give him the vast majority of the starts, meaning you can safely cut Casey DeSmith.  The Penguins schedule is fairly soft over the next couple of weeks, so feel safe rolling Murray.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
All everyone talked about in the preseason was wondering how bad Vegas was going to be in their expansion year.  Sure, it's only two games, but boy did they have some excitement.  On Friday, Dallas was dominating Vegas in their franchise opener but was only up 1-0 in the third.  Down goes Ben Bishop which opened up the door for James Neal to give the people of Las Vegas some relief in an awful time.  Neal scored two goals in the third period to propel the Golden Knights to victory.  To top off the weekend, Neal scored another goal, this time the game winner in overtime, to give Vegas two wins to start the season.  Neal is still available in over 40% of leagues and if you are in one of them, grab him.  The shot rate is going to be elite along with solid penalty minutes and goals.  At least for now, I'm not overly concerned about the top guys on Vegas having bad plus-minuses either.  Let's take a look at what else happened in the first (long) weekend of the NHL season:
I hope everyone was able to watch the game between Pittsburgh and Washington on Monday night because that was everything that hockey should be. Yes, the defense was lacking at times, but man that was beautiful. Unsurprisingly, the star of the show was the #1 overall skater in fantasy to this point of the season, Evgeni Malkin. Malkin scored a hat trick in the second period and finished the game with those three goals, five shots and two PIM. Nobody can be surprised at how well Malkin is doing; his peak performance is on par with anybody in the league. The surprise is that he's managed to stay healthy to this point . I was lucky enough to have him fall to 24th and 25th overall in two separate drafts this season and took the gamble. Hopefully you guys all did the same because we're currently looking at a 40+55 with 100 PIM season. Here's what else happened around the league on Monday: