The day has come!  The NHL Season starts today!  I'll be waiting for daily notes until Friday since there are only four games tonight, but for this post I'm going to write about what I'm looking for from each team in their opening game.  Yes, some teams don't start until Friday, but we're covering all 31 of them here.  Let's get to it!
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:
From an individual standpoint, this season couldn't be going any better for John Tavares.  That continued on Monday night as Tavares scored 4 goals in the 7-5 win over Florida.  That brings Tavares to 45 goals and 86 points, both career highs.  Obviously we know to roll Tavares every time out, but where does he rank going into next season?  He's bumped his shot rate back up to an elite level and his plus-minus is by far a career best.  Is that sustainable?  It might be given how good Toronto is.  This, of course, assumes that Marner returns next season.  I don't think he'll make my top 10, but it will be very close.  At the least, Tavares will be in consideration for the wheel in a 12 team draft come September.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Three years ago, Ben Bishop was the #1 player in fantasy hockey.  The following year, he struggled in Tampa, then they moved him to Dallas.  Last season, Bishop was solid, but he's been at his best this season.  Bishop posted a shutout on Tuesday, stopping all 28 shots he faced in the 1-0 win over the Rangers.  Injuries have hurt his volume, but Bishop is approaching a 2.20/.930 stat line.  That is pushing towards being the #1 goalie in the league again.  He won't end up there because of the lack of starts, but with the Stars battling for the playoffs, Bishop has the ability to win people fantasy titles this season.  The Stars play 14 games in the fantasy playoffs (more details on their schedule here) which is the most of anyone in the league.  Look for Bishop to be a massive difference maker down the stretch.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Long time readers know that I've long been a fan of Bo Horvat's game.  Horvat scored two goals on four shots with two PIM in the 4-0 win over the Ducks on Monday, getting him to 23+25 on the season.  The big deal here is that Horvat is averaging almost three shots per game, now a massive jump from previous years where he was below 2.5.  He also has 29 PIM, a career high.  Look, Horvat is never going to be a fantasy superstar.  He's destined to be the #2 center in Vancouver behind Pettersson.  However, now that there are other young players blossoming around him, his quality of teammate is so much better that his offense should continue to improve.  Horvat is on pace for over 60 points, and I wouldn't be surprised if we see him in the 70-80 range once he enters his prime in a year or two.  In dynasties, he's a guy I'd target because while he's established himself over the last five seasons, the best is yet to come.  For a look at all of the trades from yesterday, read here. Let's take a look at what else happened on Monday:
On January 3rd, the St. Louis Blues were in last place of the entire NHL.  Here we are six weeks later and they're safely in a playoff position.  The Blues have matched the longest winning streak in the NHL this season at 10, winning two games this weekend in convincing fashion.  First, Jake Allen shutout the Avalanche, then Jordan Binnington shut out the Wild on a back to back.  Right now, Binnington is as hot as it gets in the league.  I don't expect this to continue, but for now, he's a must start every time out.  I still view Allen as somewhat of a desperation play, but with how well the team is playing in front of him, I'm fine with streaming him for the time being.  Looks like a coaching change was what they needed to right the ship.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
It's no secret that the Ducks are a mess right now.  I said in a post last week that they're the worst team in the league at the moment, but last night's game took the cake.  Getting shutout by the Senators is as low as it gets.  Sure, Anders Nilsson played great stopping 45 shots, but a lot of them were low quality like the team taking them.  This isn't a post about Nilsson, he's barely usable.  This is a reminder that you should stream against the Ducks every time you get.  Anaheim plays against plenty of bad teams this month (Vancouver 2x, Edmonton, Chicago) yet I still wouldn't hesitate to use any of their goaltenders.  Take advantage of the Ducks every opportunity that you get.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights: