It was less than a week ago that James van Riemsdyk was placed on the fourth line for the Flyers and Scott Gordon had a private meeting with him.  Since then, JVR has taken off, with a monster game coming on Monday.  He scored a hat trick to give him 5+2 in his last 3 games.  Look, we know how good of a player JVR can be; he's been a top 100 player the past few seasons.  However, he only has two games the rest of the week, and then he doesn't have a game for all of next week with the Flyers on a bye week.  Therefore, I wouldn't be holding him right now.  I'd be willing to stream him on Wednesday and Saturday, but I'd cut bait then.  However, with a very heavy schedule starting 1/28, including a lot of bad teams, I would look to grab JVR at the All-Star break to get three games in four nights after that break.  Then, we see how he does in those three games, and proceed from there.  Here's a look at what else happened on Monday night:
It's hard to find a bigger fan of Blake Wheeler than yours truly.  He's been excellent for years, and while he is showing some signs of aging, he's remained incredibly productive.  Wheeler scored a goal and dished three assists in the 7-4 win over the Avalanche, adding two penalty minutes.  Wheeler now has 7+48 in 42 games, a very strong point total.  So where's the concern?  Well, seven goals obviously isn't great, and his shot rate is closer to 2.5 now than 3 per game.  Add in a career low shooting percentage and you can see why he's on pace for only 14 goals.  He's still solid in PIM and has been a quality +/- player for a long time, so he'll still be a top 50 player for a few years.  However, it would be a mistake to expect Wheeler to be a top 20 player again going forward.  Here's a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It was quite the weekend for last season's Calder Trophy winner.  Mathew Barzal entered Friday's game against the Senators with five goals on the season, and he matched that in two games.  Barzal scored two goals and an assist against the Senators before scoring a hat trick against the Maple Leafs on Saturday.  That brings Barzal up to 10+25 in 37 games with solid PIM and an improved shot rate.  He's still only 21 years old so clearly the best is to come.  For the rest of this season, I think he's just inside the top 50 now that his shot rate isn't far from average.  If he can eventually get that up towards three a game, it's game over.  Barzal has top 20 player upside down the line; hopefully the Isles get some more talent around him.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
I've been pumping Ondrej Kase's tires for a while now.  The former 7th round pick scored his first career hat trick on Wednesday, putting five shots on goal against the Stars with a +4 rating.  That brings the 23 year old Dane to 8+6 in 15 games with well over three shots per game.  He's eliminated any doubt as to whether or not he's a hold; Kase needs to be owned in all formats.  Sure, he's bounced around the first line and other spots, but it doesn't really matter at this point.  There's no penalty minutes, but everything else looks great.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It wasn't that long ago that people were talking about a Stanley Cup hangover for the Capitals.  Now, the defending champs have won 10 out of 12 on the backs of their captain, Alex Ovechkin.  Ovechkin recorded the 21st hat trick of his career on Tuesday extending his league lead in goals.  He now has 25 goals and 14 assists in only 30 games this season to go along with 116 shots.  That means he's below four shots per game, a rarity for The Great Eight, but still an elite rate.  Sure, his shooting percentage is going to drop a bit, but there's no reason at all to expect a regression.  I've seen a few articles on other sites that say you should sell high on Ovechkin, and I'd have to disagree.  He gets drafted in the first round for his incredibly high floor, and nothing has changed to reduce that floor.  Let the good times roll and enjoy what should be his eighth 50 goal season of his career.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
The St. Louis Blues have been one of the most disappointing teams in the league through the first two months, and that continued on Sunday.  The Canucks destroyed them 6-1 and they were led by their two young stars.  Brock Boeser scored a hat trick on four shots to go along with a +5 rating.  Boeser has had some massive games this season to along with a lot of blanks, which makes him a prime GPP target most nights.  With 9+8 in 19 games with over three shots per game, Boeser is an elite option in all formats.  The Canucks future looks very bright, especially with the California teams all on a downward trajectory, and Boeser is at the forefront with Pettersson (more on him later).  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
All of the people who have read me since I started writing here three seasons ago (it's going by quick!) knows how big of a fan I am of Dr. Bo Horvat.  In a game where the Canucks were massive underdogs in Boston, Horvat led the Canucks to a major upset, scoring two goals and two assists with four shots and six PIM in the 8-5 win over the Bruins.  That brings Horvat's totals to an outstanding 9+6 in 17 games with 19 PIM and around 2.5 shots per game.  All of the attention is going to Elias Pettersson, and he deserves plenty of it, but Pettersson's arrival finally puts Horvat in a role that he can thrive in.  Yes, Horvat has been fairly luck to this point in terms of on-ice shooting percentage, but he's doing the heavy lifting and still producing plenty offensively.  The question isn't whether Horvat is a hold or not, it's how high his ceiling is.  I don't see a top 50 player, at least not until his linemates improve, but with how the Canucks are playing, he should be a top 100 player.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Everyone knew that Elias Pettersson was an elite prospect who was going to score plenty in the NHL.  In a year where rookies around the NHL actually look like rookies, Pettersson is lighting the world on fire.  Petterson scored two goals and added three assists in the 7-6 win over Colorado on Friday, boosting his totals to an insane 9+6 in 9 games so far.  Obviously he's not going to shoot 39% all season, but after lower minutes to open the year, Pettersson has played at least 18 minutes in each of the last four games, including the last two over 20.  For redrafts, he should be a borderline top 50 player this season.  In dynasties, Pettersson is a top 20 talent.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Phil Housley's shakeup of the lines last Saturday has worked extremely well.  The Sabres have won three straight and carried the play in all three of those games.  One of those moves was putting Jason Pominville on the first line and he's delivered and then some.  Pominville scored two goals on five shots on Thursday, giving him 3+3 in his last three games.  Now, I'm not saying he's going to be a hold all year, it's 2018, not 2008.  However, he's a hot schmotato right now, and first line plus first power play time is nothing to be ignored.  If you need a streamer on Saturday, Pominville is a great option, and if the heater continues, use him next week.  The Sabres schedule is pretty soft over the next two weeks.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
I've long been a fan of Juuse Saros saying that he's the best goaltending prospect in hockey.  His time to be a #1 is coming sooner than later, but for the short term, it's his crease in Nashville.  Pekka Rinne is on injured reserve meaning he will miss at least the next three games, and that opens the door for Saros.  He came in relief for Rinne in a 3-3 game and didn't allow a goal on nine shots, before posting a 31 save shutout in the 3-0 win over the Oilers.  He's available in over 80% of leagues and quite frankly, I don't understand it.  Goaltending is awful around the league right now, so pretty much every fantasy team could use him as their G3.  That said, Saros should be a #1 option when he starts, so go grab him immediately.  He's going to get plenty of starts this year even when Rinne is back, so Saros can make a huge difference for you.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend: