He won’t win the Hart, but Anze Kopitar’s season should not go unnoticed.  He had his best game of the season scoring four goals on seven shots in the 7-1 win over the Avalanche.  That brings Kopitar to 33 goals and 53 assists in 75 games.  That’s a new career high in assists and points, and goals may not be too far behind.  Not so bad for a guy people were worried about after last season’s 52 points.  He’ll never be in the top tier of fantasy players because of the lack of PIM and average shot rate, but Kopitar has reestablished himself as a fringe top 25 guy.  Here’s to hoping he keeps it rolling over the last two weeks.  Let’s take a look at what else happened on Thursday night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Now is the time of the year where we see college players decide to forgo their collegiate career and sign an entry level contract.  There have been a bunch of players in recent years who have made an immediate impact, such as Chris Kreider and Brock Boeser.  We could have another name to add to the list.  Ryan Donato signed an ELC with Boston and had quite the NHL debut, scoring a goal and two assists with six shots playing almost 20 minutes..  With all of the graduates the Bruins have had over the last year, Donato is currently their #1 prospect (at least in my eyes).  He was a great goal scorer at Harvard and did very well in the Olympics scoring five goals in five games.  His shot is his best attribute but he’s also a strong skater.  I don’t see superstar upside, but Donato can definitely become a top 6’er.  He’s a streamer for now depending on who he’s with and how many minutes he’s getting, but he’s certainly a solid dynasty target.  Donato played on the first power play unit and the second line on Monday, so here’s to hoping that’s what we get for the rest of the season, at least until Patrice Bergeron returns.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Rick Nash, the vice president of The Round Face Hockey Club, was traded to the Bruins as they look to make a deep run this postseason.  I’m going to have a live trade deadline post again this year updating all of the trades throughout tomorrow.  I’m also going to be recording a podcast with Reid right around 3 pm tomorrow to give our thoughts on everything that happens.  I have the feeling it’s going to be crazy.  For Nash, I think he’s a solid speculative add if you need the shots.  He played on Sunday against Buffalo on the second line, recording five shots on goal in 17:27.  He’s over three shots per game on the season, the plus-minus should improve on Boston, and everyone can use goals on their team.  I don’t think he’ll be a world beater, but with only 20 games left, it’s certainly possible that Nash gets hot with his shot volume.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

No, I’m not talking about the musical.  I’ve used “Teach Me How to Dougie” before, so I needed to change it up.  Dougie Hamilton scored the first hat trick of his career on Saturday, albeit in a 6-3 loss to the Panthers.  He probably won’t match last season’s 50 point total, but Hamilton has been just as good.  He’s over three shots per game, the plus-minus is solid, the PIM are there, and a career high in goals is a near-certainty (he needs one more).  As someone who has a betting ticket on the Flames to win the Cup, I just wish Glen Gulutzan would play Dougie more.  Their first pair is so damn good that there’s no reason for Hamilton to be under 25 minutes per game.  Regardless, he’s a solid #2 fantasy D for the all-around contribution with upside to be a bottom-end #1.  With his recent play (11 points in his last 10 games), hopefully that happens.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Monday night was a short slate, but there were a couple great games.  Florida and Edmonton decided that defense (and goaltending) was optional leading to a 7-5 barn burner.  Vincent Trocheck took over the game late, scoring three goals in the third period on six shots to record his first career hat trick.  No matter what format you play, Trocheck has been incredible this season.  By the end of the month, there’s a great chance that Trocheck has set career highs in goals, assists, PPP (already did that) and SOG.  The 24 year old is also a monster in faceoffs, hits, and blocks for a forward as well.  For those of us in standard leagues, Trocheck looks like a top 35 player for this season and in the future, if not even better.  He’s basically Jamie Benn with a better shot rate and a lower floor for penalty minutes (obviously plus-minus can shift year-to-year).  The only potential downside going forward is that Trocheck is already averaging 21:33 per game, which has nowhere to go but down.  Either way, that’s of no concern for me; Trocheck is still underrated in my eyes.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:

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Gretzky, Lemieux, Forsberg, LaFontaine.  That’s the list of players in the last 30 seasons to have multiple five assist games in one season.  Add Mathew Barzal to the list after Friday night.  Barzal became the first rookie in 100 years to have three five point games in one season dishing five assists in the 7-6 win over the Red Wings.  That puts Barzal over a point per game on the season and makes him the prohibitive favorite for the Calder (sorry Boeser).  Our second podcast ever, which took place before last season, saw Reid and I hype up Barzal for dynasties.  Regardless, he’s blown away my expectations this season.  Now, it’s not all rosy for fantasy.  The penalty minutes are low, but more importantly the shot rate is barely over two per game.  On the other hand, he’s 20 years old and is over a point per game, so it’s hard to complain.  There’s a top 20 fantasy player in Barzal’s future if he can get that shot rate up.  Regardless, he’ll be a borderline top 50 player next year solely for the points, and it’s only going to get better from there.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The way young players have stormed the league in recent seasons, people just assume Sam Reinhart won’t get much better and be a bust.  If Reinhart wasn’t the second overall pick, he’d be impressing everyone with his improvement.  While I don’t think he’ll ever be a true superstar, I’m still a big fan of Reinhart going forward.  Reinhart was on the ice for all four Sabres goals on Thursday, scoring a goal and two assists with two shots in the win over the Islanders.  That puts Reinhart at 15 points in his past 16 games making him an elite streamer at the moment.  For those in dynasties, Reinhart should develop into a top 100 player eventually but towards the bottom end.  He’ll be a beast in real life, but the lack of PIM will keep his value down.  For those in redrafts, use him while he’s hot.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:

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There have been a few big games by individuals this season but Patrice Bergeron’s on Saturday is the new leader for the best of the year.  Bergeron scored four goals and added an assist with seven shots in the 7-1 win over the Hurricanes.  Bergeron was the second player this year to score four goals after Alex Ovechkin.  Per usual, Bergeron is crushing all of the categories.  He’s playing around a 40+35 pace while already having a +19 rating, solid PIM and pushing four shots per game.  Bergeron is a slam dunk top 50 player for the rest of the season who should push towards the top 25.  Again, the top line in Boston is as good as it gets and Bergeron is at the forefront of their success.  That line just gave up their first goal against at even strength all season!  Remarkable stuff.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:

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First off, I hope everyone had a Happy New Year’s!  As much as I personally don’t care for New Year’s Eve, this year was different because of the Buffalo Bills making the playoffs.  I wish I had video of me celebrating with my dad or an audio recording of my friend, who is in Paris, who heard us yelling on speaker phone and him celebrating in the Paris streets. Couple that with an amazing USA win in the WJC outdoor game against Canada that I was at and things in the sports world couldn’t be better.  Even the Sabres looked competent today despite the loss!  Anyways, let’s get to what you’re here for…

I’ve talked about Josh Bailey being the waiver wire pickup of the year on multiple occasions over the last couple weeks because, well, the Isles top line is on fire.  That said, William Karlsson is easily #2 in this department.  Wild Bill, a Razzball favorite from the past (aka favorite of mine), scored the first hat trick in Vegas history on Sunday, scoring three goals and an assist in the 6-3 win over the Maple Leafs.  That brings Karlsson’s totals to 20+13 in 33 games with a +15 rating.  Sure, it will regress some because he’s not going to shoot 26.3% all season, but let’s give Karlsson his due.  In the first 183 games of his career, Karlsson scored 18 goals.  He has that beat for the Golden Knights in 37 games.  His emergence is a huge part of Vegas shocking the world as they sit atop the Western Conference.  Karlsson will drop off some in the second half, at least in the goals department, but make no mistake about it, it’s not a complete fluke.  Karlsson should be a hold for the rest of the season.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last three days of the old year:

Please, blog, may I have some more?