It wasn't that long ago that Vladimir Tarasenko requested a trade from the Blues. It wasn't that long ago that Tarasenko could have went to Seattle in the expansion draft.  Now, St. Louis has to be thanking their lucky stars that he's still on the roster.  Tarasenko had his biggest game of the season on Thursday, scoring a hat trick on four shots and adding two more assists in the 6-2 win over the Sabres.  Tarasenko now has 31+41 in 67 games, with a great chance of setting a career high in points.  It's a remarkable turnaround for the Russian who is certainly a top 100 player for drafts next season.  I don't see him cracking the top 50, but it's great to see Tarasenko playing great hockey again.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Fifty-six goals.  That's how many Auston Matthews has on the season after another two goal performance on Thursday.  Not only does he have the most goals in a season in Maple Leafs history, he now holds the record for most goals in a season by an US-born player.  Matthews has 49 goals on 49 games, a run that hasn't happened in this millennium.  He's locking up the Hart Trophy with this run, and the fantasy question is where he goes in drafts next season.  I still couldn't bring myself to take Matthews over McDavid because the floor for McDavid is the highest we've seen in the fantasy hockey era, but I think Matthews has played himself into tier one being worthy of the second pick overall.  Can't wait to see how Toronto performs in the playoffs this year.  Let's take a look at what happened over the last two nights:
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:
Remember when the Kraken took Vitek Vanecek in the expansion draft and then traded him right back to Washington?  Imagine where Washington would be if they only had Samsonov.  Vanecek had a 36 save shutout in the 4-0 win over the Hurricanes.  He missed some time recently, but Vanecek is approaching a 2.30/.920 line.  He's been miles better than Samsonov despite Samsonov winning at a much higher clip.  Amazingly, Vanecek is still available in over 70% of leagues at the time of this writing.  I'm not saying that he's going to be a workhorse, but Vanecek will be splitting at the very least, and his numbers are clearly good enough to hold.  This season has been quite encouraging for Vanecek's long term prospects as well.  He's not a lock to be the Washington goalie of the future, but it's certainly in play now.  At the least, he looks the part of a capable tandem.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Jake DeBrusk looked on the path to being a quality top six player for a long time in 2018-19, scoring 27 goals in his sophomore season.  It's been a rough three years since, with a trade request being made.  He looked like a prime candidate to benefit from a trade, but it turned out that all he needed was another chance in the top six in Boston.  DeBrusk has been playing on the first line recently, and the points have started to come in.  His best game was on Monday, where he had a hat trick and an assist with six shots in the 7-0 win over the Kings.  It's a small sample, but DeBrusk has been fantastic over the past six games.  It's hard not to succeed with Bergeron and Bergeron ( Craig Smith ) so at the least, DeBrusk is an elite streamer again.  Right now, I'd probably hold him and ride him while he's hot.  Let's take a look at 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:
We have our first big named moved prior to the trade deadline.  It appears that teams want to get their business done early this season, especially Montreal, and they did on Monday sending Tyler Toffoli to Calgary for a prospect and picks, including a first.  In Toffoli's first game, he scored a goal on four shots in 12:18 of ice time.  The game was lopsided so it's hard to make a lot of judgments yet.  Toffoli started the game on the third line, but his goal was assisted by Lindholm and Gaudreau as Sutter was trying out different looks.  Given how well the first line has played, I can't imagine Toffoli stays there, but it's worth noting.  If he's on the third line and second PP, he's capable of being a hold like Mangiapane has been in that role in the past, but it also caps his ceiling quite a bit.  I'm not rushing to hold him, but his underlying numbers are still quite good this season despite Montreal being a dumpster fire.  I wouldn't be surprised if he does turn into a hold at some point again, so if you want to make the spec add, I'm completely fine with it.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
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:
Columbus was in an absolutely miserable spot on Tuesday.  They were missing their #1 goalie, their best defenseman, arguably their second best defenseman, and one of their hottest forwards.  Their backup goalie was playing his first game in three weeks, and they were facing the healthiest version of Tampa that we've seen in months.  Needless to say, it did not go well.  Tampa was in control from the very beginning and won 7-2, led by Ondrej Palat and Brayden Point.  Palat scored two goals and an assist with four shots, while Point had a goal and two assists with two shots.  These two haven't spent too much time together this season as Palat has been with Stamkos for the vast majority.  They didn't miss a step from playing together in the past.  Point is a fringe top 20 player while Palat is solidified himself as a hold again.  If he's available, grab him now, because I have no doubt that Palat will be a no brainer hold once Nikita Kucherov comes back, which should be in a couple weeks.  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!