Remember a month ago when it was a foregone conclusion J.T. Miller was going to get traded? It sure seems like he played the Canucks into close enough contention that it’s no longer a consideration. Please, blog, may I have some more?
I've been aggressive ranking Matthew Tkachuk for years, but I never expected this type of offense from him. Tkachuk had a hat trick on Tuesday, bringing his season totals up to 37+55 in 73 games. He has a chance for 100 points, he's +49, the PIM are strong, and his shot rate is over three per game. Tkachuk is pretty much having a Marchand-esque season. That's the Marchand who has been a top five player for the past 4-5 years. Now, I'm not quite going there with Tkachuk for next season. Gaudreau could leave and this is an outlier in terms of past performance. That said, he's firmly in the first round pick discussion because he smashes every category. I can't wait to see what he does in the playoffs. Let's take a look at what else happened the last two nights:
There's been plenty of bounce back players this season across the NHL. One of them who hasn't received the attention of others is Ryan Johansen. Johansen's career was strongly trending in the wrong direction the previous two seasons, including only 22 points in 48 games last season. He has been decent most of the season, but really took once he moved to the top line. His best game of the season was on Tuesday night, scoring his first career hat trick on seven shots in the 6-2 win over the Wild. Johansen now has 20+34 on the season with 51 PIM. Yes, Johansen's career has turned out to be a big disappointment with the way it was trending early on in Columbus, but it's nice to see him score 20 goals for the first time since 2014. Remarkably, he's still 29 years old, so this level of play can be repeated next season. For the rest of this one, Johansen is an elite streamer in standard leagues and a hold if your league doesn't include SOG as a category. Let's take a look at what else 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:
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:
The Blues have cooled off a bit since their hot start, but that doesn't mean that all of their players have. Pavel Buchnevich tore it up over the weekend, scoring a goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM on Friday before coming back with two goals and an assist with five shots on Saturday. Buch is crushing it across the board on the seasons now with 8+8, 18 PIM and 58 shots in 19 games. Add in a +8 rating and he's a top 20 forward at the moment. Do I expect that to last? No, but his fit in St. Louis couldn't be better and now he's getting plenty of minutes, especially with David Perron out of the lineup. Somehow, he's still available in over 20% of leagues which is blasphemous. He has a real chance at being a top 50 player this year. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
I certainly won't be doing any victory laps after the first weekend, but Sam Bennett made me look good on Saturday, scoring a hat trick on six shots in the 5-1 win over the Islanders. Bennett finds himself in the same role as last season when he blew up after the trade deadline. Remarkably, he's still available in 40% of leagues on ESPN. I assume nobody that reads my posts would be in a league where Bennett is on the waiver wire, but if he is, grab him right now. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Hello again, Razzfolks! Wrapping up the Western Conference today. Time for Part 2 of the Central Division previews, finishing things out with the Wild, the Predators, the Blues, and the Jets. If you want to check out (or look back over) the other previews thus far, links are below:
Hey folks! We're chugging right along with team previews, moving over to the Central and checking in on the Yotes, the Hawks, the Avs, and the Stars this time around. If you missed out on the Pacific installments, you can find them both right here:
And now we move to where around half of your starters come from. The guys who really put up the points, the forwards. Because I cover so many forwards in the Top 20 overall (18 to be exact), this post will cover the top 40 forwards instead of only the top twenty. From there on out, each post will be 20 players. Let's get right to it!