We're cutting right to the chase today with forwards ranked 41-60 for this season. You can see the Top 40 here. 41) Patrick Kane - It feels wrong to rank Kane this low. Maybe it is. But Chicago is going to be a complete mess, and I don't see Kane being traded until closer to the deadline. Kane has already been bad at even strength and now he loses DeBrincat. -30 isn't out of the realm of possibility. Will the PP be good enough around Kane for him to repeat last season's 31 points? He doesn't take penalties or pile up hits, which already lowers his ceiling. The shots will be elite, and I'm sure he'll get plenty of points, but it could be harmful elsewhere. Kane is a guy I'm not looking to draft, but to target in a trade around New Year's if you're doing well to have him for the stretch run on a presumed new team.
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:
Igor Shesterkin has been long anointed as "the next one." It turns out he's even better than I expected, and I have him at +1200 to win the Vezina. Shesterkin saved 36 of 37 shots in the 4-1 win over the Capitals on Thursday, losing his shutout with one minute left to an Ovechkin flubbed deflection. Let's face the facts. The Rangers are the good bad team. Yes, the power play is great, but they're a below average even strength team being propped up by how good Shesterkin. He's certainly the best goalie in dynasties, and for this season, it's a two man tier of Shesterkin and Vasilevskiy. If NHL players were in the Olympics, one of these guys would have been stuck backing up, probably Igor. Pretty absurd. Regardless, I'm not a first round pick goalie guy, but starting next season, I wouldn't be surprised if Igor stays in that territory for the next 5+ years. Let's take a look at the last two nights:
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:
The Flames are playing incredible hockey at the moment as they make their way up the standings. The top line gets a ton of credit, but the second line has been just as important. They've thoroughly dominated for months generating absurd shot rates and possession. This continued the last two nights as Calgary blew out Vegas and Toronto back to back. Mikael Backlund led the way with six points between the two games, scoring a goal and three assists against Vegas, then following it up with two more assists against the Leafs. Andrew Mangiapane scored three goals over the two games, while Blake Coleman dished two assists. It might be a stretch, but I have them all as elite streamers right now. I'd rank them Mangiapane, Coleman, Backlund depending on your league format, but the work they're doing against top lines is more valuable in real life than fantasy. Still, if they keep getting over 80 shots per 60 minutes as a line, which they've done for over a month, there will be plenty of fantasy value. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Those of you that have been patient holding Evander Kane for almost four months were rewarded on Saturday night. Kane played his first game of the season with the Oilers and went right on McDavid's wing. Kane scored in the first period and finished with three shots in the 7-2 win over the Canadiens. He's still available in 50% of ESPN leagues and very close to that on other sites. Kane is a must own immediately, and if you use FAAB, you should bid a large amount of your budget. Yes, he could do something stupid and be banished, but the upside is too high for him to be on waivers. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Prior to Monday, there has only been four times in the last 25 years that a player scored five goals in a game. Add Timo Meier to the list. Meier single-handedly won the game for San Jose, scoring five times on six shots in the 6-2 win over the Kings. We haven't seen a player ascent from solid top six player to bonafide superstar in quite some time. Meier now has 20+25 in 35 games to go with over four shots per game. He looked to be on this path three seasons ago when he had 30+36 as a 22-year-old, but he was a major letdown the last two seasons. So what should we be looking for from Meier going forward? Well, his shooting percentage isn't that outlandish to expect major regression. It appears to be the real deal, which would make Meier a top 20 player going forward. At 25 years old, Meier's prime should only be beginning. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
We don't know what's going to happen come playoff time, but the Florida Panthers have established themselves as a regular season juggernaut. After destroying the Stars 7-1 on Friday, they came back to score nine goals on Saturday, beating Columbus 9-2. Among the highlights between the two games were Sam Bennett scoring a hat trick on Friday and totaling six points between the two games, Jonathan Huberdeau having six points, and MacKenzie Weegar having a rare four point game from a defenseman on Saturday. They're clicking on all cylinders right now and that means great things in fantasy. They have ten skaters that I consider locks to be held, and another four that are quality streamers depending on team needs. Side note, I'm going to do another hold/stream list soon. Could we see the Panthers win their first playoff series since 1996? As long as their goaltending is passable, it's firmly in play despite being in a division with three elite teams. 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:
The Winnipeg first line did all of the scoring for the Jets over the weekend, totaling six goals between Friday and Sunday. Nikolaj Ehlers contributed to all six goals, dishing two assists on Friday while scoring a goal and three assists on Sunday. With nine shots between the two games, Ehlers is over four shots per game and inching closer to a point per game again. Not bad considering he has the worst shooting percentage he's had since his rookie season. Loyal Razzballers know how much I like Ehlers. There could be additional upside with Maurice gone because for whatever reason, he refused to use Ehlers on the first power play unit. Hopefully that changes because he clearly deserves to be there and we could see new career highs as an effect. Obviously Ehlers should be owned in all formats. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend, a light slate of games due to all of the postponements. As noted on Friday, I won't be listing every player that goes on the COVID list or every postponement because it's changing rapidly, but I'll note where it's making an impact on lines, PP units, etc.
As a Sabres fan, I've tortured myself for the better part of a decade watching this team. In the last few years in particular, they would play a ton of games that were over halfway through the game because of how poor their goaltending was (besides Ullmark, who was constantly hurt). Ukka-Pekka Luukkonen was considered the goalie of the future for the past few years, but in the eyes of most, he was passed this year by Portillo and Levi in college. Well, UPL was called up out of desperation ten days ago, and opinions are quickly changing. Luukkonen saved 30 of 32 shots in the 3-2 SO win over the Wild on Thursday. Since being recalled, UPL has started five games and allowed exactly two goals in all of them, making over 30 saves in the past four games. Even with the acquisition of Subban, UPL is going to stay up and should get most of the starts. Granato has made it clear that they need to reward guys who play well and Luukkonen is keeping them in games. I'm not rushing to grab him in redrafts, but he's certainly worth considering in his next start, presumably against Columbus on Monday. In dynasties, I'm still a big fan. Who knows what happens with the other goalies, but both are 2-3 years away, and the time for UPL is now. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights: