Colorado has been decimated by injuries at a level we've never seen before.  The return of Valeri Nichushkin makes him their second healthy top six forward.  Luckily for them, Mikko Rantanen put the team on his back on Sunday.  After scoring Colorado's only goal against the Rangers on Friday, Rantanen scored all three goals for Colorado on Sunday, tying the game with 7.1 seconds left before winning the game in overtime.  Quietly, Rantanen is up to 19 goals on the season, playing at a higher point pace than his monster 2021-22.  The shot rate is down a bit so his goal rate is a bit unsustainable, but hopefully the shots tick back up without MacKinnon.  Regardless, Rantanen has cemented himself as a top 10 fantasy hockey player.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Tage Thompson's nickname, as given to him by Sabres announcer Dan Dunleavy, is TNT.  Safe to say that everyone who watched Wednesday's game on TNT learned the nickname.  Thompson had the game of the season, scoring five times, five times, five times, five times!  He scored four in the first period, becoming the 18th player to ever score four in a period, and the fourth to do it in the first period.  He put nine shots on goal in total and added an assist despite playing only 13:56 in the game.  Here's the list of players who have multiple 3+ goals, 6+ point games in the last 30 seasons: Thompson, Zibanejad, Lemieux, and Gretzky.  And Thompson is only 1/3 of the way through the season!  He now has 21+19 in 26 games with over five shots per game.  Honestly, it doesn't look like a fluke at all.  Sure, his shooting percentage is a little high, but marginally so.  If he can maintain his shot rate, that's over 400 shots in a season, making him close to a lock for 50 goals.  As far as going forward, Thompson has played his way into the top 10 discussion.  His minutes could even end up increasing towards 20 per game from the 18:31 he's at now.  Thompson has already turned his contract extension into a massive steal for the Sabres.  Let's take a look at what else happened the last two nights:
The Winnipeg first line did all of the scoring for the Jets over the weekend, totaling six goals between Friday and Sunday.  Nikolaj Ehlers contributed to all six goals, dishing two assists on Friday while scoring a goal and three assists on Sunday.  With nine shots between the two games, Ehlers is over four shots per game and inching closer to a point per game again.  Not bad considering he has the worst shooting percentage he's had since his rookie season.  Loyal Razzballers know how much I like Ehlers.  There could be additional upside with Maurice gone because for whatever reason, he refused to use Ehlers on the first power play unit.  Hopefully that changes because he clearly deserves to be there and we could see new career highs as an effect.  Obviously Ehlers should be owned in all formats.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend, a light slate of games due to all of the postponements.  As noted on Friday, I won't be listing every player that goes on the COVID list or every postponement because it's changing rapidly, but I'll note where it's making an impact on lines, PP units, etc.
For players that aren't superstars, Cam Atkinson is among the best for having games that he completely dominates.  He did that on Tuesday night, scoring a hat trick on seven shots and adding an assist in the 6-1 Flyers win over the Devils.  Atkinson is pushing three shots per game with 12+7 in 27 games.  He has eight points in the last seven games and is receiving more ice time since Yeo took over as the coach.  That's enough to make him a hold in all formats.  Let's take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:
It wasn't hard to figure out who to feature in the opening paragraph tonight.  Andre Burakovsky started off the weekend with two goals on six shots against the Red Wings and finished it off with a hat trick on six shots against the Panthers.  That brings Burakovsky to 12+8 in 24 games on the season, quite the respectable total.  He's still available in 40% of leagues and that needs to change immediately.  With Gabriel Landeskog out for two weeks, Burakovsky is playing on the top line and top power play unit.  That's enough to make him must own in all formats, and he showed why on Sunday, getting a hat trick in a tough matchup.  It should be an excellent December for Burakovsky and hopefully it continues into the New Year.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
As far as disappointments for this season go, Cam Atkinson is near the top of the list.  After his breakout last season with 35+27, Atkinson has struggled mightily on the ice and with an injury.  We're finally seeing signs of Atkinson getting back to last season's level.  Atkinson scored a shorthanded goal and added two power play assists with five shots on goal in the Columbus win on Monday. That gives Atkinson 4+4 in his last 9 games with at least three shots on goal in each game during that span.  The minutes are strong so that hasn't been a problem.  The issue has been that Columbus' power play has been so bad that Atkinson had only 3 STP before this game (which he doubled in this one).  Columbus has been better on the man advantage lately, and the arrival of Thomas Vanek should help them even more.  Atkinson is still available in over 40% of leagues and in a 12'er, I'd grab him right now while he's finding his groove again.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
We've gone without daily notes for five days due to Razzball crashing for a short period of time.  The good news is that the problem is fixed and that we are backed!  I'm not going to go through every single game over the past five days because at this point, some of it would be outdated.  I'm going to go through each team in the league and write a little bit about each of them.  Let's get right to it!
Add another goalie to the list of guys who struggled in the opening month only to turn it around.  Braden Holtby, the consensus #1 goaltender going into the season, showed us why this weekend with two big performances.  Holtby saved 27 shots in Friday's 4-1 win over the Penguins and followed it up with 29 saves in the 2-1 SO win over the Oilers.  Just like that, his save percentage is back to its normal level.  Sure, the goals against average is still a little high, but goals are up around the league and it's not out of the realm of possibility it goes back down.  With the massive win total as well, expect Holtby to get back to the #1 goalie by season's end.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
There were seven early games on Tuesday night, all of which hit the under.  That didn't stop a few superstars from having a big night.  Among that select group was Vladimir Tarasenko, who scored a goal and two assists with seven shots in the 3-1 win over the Devils.  He came into the game with an upper body injury making him unclear for the game last night but that didn't stop him from keeping up his excellent play.  Tarasenko has been a five category monster in the early going, scoring 8 goals and 11 assists through 16 games with a whopping +14 rating and over four shots per game.  He's done actually what you hoped for using a late first round pick on him, or a second round pick if you were lucky enough that Tarasenko fell to you.  Let's take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:
It seems like forever and a day since Matt Duchene requested a trade from the Colorado Avalanche.  His wish finally came true on Sunday in a massive three-way trade between the Avs, Senators, and Predators.  The Sens acquired Duchene, the Predators received Reid's favorite Kyle Turris and the Avs get a ton of future assets.  For the Senators, I'm not a big fan.  Is Duchene better than Turris?  I would say so and Duchene had one more year on his contract than Turris.  However, adding a ton here, including a first round pick and Shane Bowers, their first round pick from the 2017 draft, is a lot to add.  For Smashville, adding Turris without losing anyone from the current roster besides Samuel Girard is a nice move for a team positioned to go for it.  It may be more futures heavy than Colorado originally wanted but boy, did they get a ton in this move.  They effectively received 2 1sts, 3 2nds, a third and Andrew Hammond for goaltender depth in the organization.  I love this move for Colorado long term, like the aggressiveness of Nashville using futures to push (and like signing Turris immediately to a 6/36 deal), and question Ottawa's decision here. For fantasy, Duchene probably gets a small boost because he should slide onto a line with Hoffman and Stone right away.  Assuming Turris plays with Forsberg, I think this move could help him as well (at the least it's neutral).  I'm very interested to see if Girard plays for the Avs right away.  He looked great in his brief stint for Nashville and the former second round pick could becomes fantasy relevant immediately if he's in Denver.  I'll be sure to talk more about this trade with Reid on Tuesday's podcast.  Let's take a look at what else happened this weekend around the league:
The Montreal Canadiens stormed out of the gates last season and never looked back en route to winning the Atlantic Division.  They have a roster that seems like a random collection of players with no clear plan.  They've gutted their blue line losing a good top 4 in the last year (Subban, Beaulieu, Sergachev, Markov) leaving themselves depending on Shea Weber far too much.  Like last offseason, they made a massive trade in the summer, this time involving two young talents.   This is a team who is getting the small things right but the big things wrong and that gives me significant concern going forward.  Per usual, it's all on Carey Price's shoulders.  Their fantasy assets for this season look to be limited but there are a few guys with elite potential and some intriguing guys for deeper leagues.  Let's take a look at what Les Habitants are working with:
When talking about the Carolina Hurricanes schedule in my Playoff Breakdown piece, I said the following: "The Godfather of playoff schedules, the Hurricanes are going to be great on volume alone. They don’t have three games in three nights like Detroit but there’s a pile of back to backs here. There has to be with 17(!!!) games in 28 nights to close the season. That’s two more games than anyone else in the league. Jeff Skinner and Victor Rask should be monsters in the playoffs while Sebastian Aho and Elias Lindholm will be among the best streamers in the league." And that's me quoting me! All of this had held true except for Rask being mediocre. Not bad. Skinner has been the best of the bunch and that continued on Tuesday night. Skinner had two goals and an assist with five shots in the 5-3 loss to the Wild. He's been hotter than a pistol bringing his totals to 35 goals and 26 assists on the season. With the elite shot rate, Skinner is pushing towards a top 50 player going forward. The team around him is getting much better and Skinner is nearing his prime as he turns 25 in May. I don't think we've seen his best yet. Here's what else happened around the league the last two nights: