Today, I move into the forwards section of my rankings.  I'm going to go through the top 40 forwards overall, 18 of which were covered in my Top 10 and 20 posts (linked below).  My plan for the rest of the week is to plow through 80 forwards before compiling a top 200 list to be out Friday for everyone's drafts over the next week.  I'm sure this will be a long one so let's get to it!
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:
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:
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:
Over the past few seasons, Patrik Laine has caught plenty of his slack for his game.  The goals have been on the decline and his defense has remained terrible.  The good news is that Laine has completely righted the ship this season.  Laine had a hat trick on Thursday, bringing him up to 16+15 in 29 games.  That's the best goal and assist rate of his career.  The confidence in his game seems to fully be back which is great to see.  He's one of the premier offensive players in the game, and it's crazy to think that Laine is still only 23 years old.  It will be very interesting to see what happens with Laine in the offseason as he's one year away from free agency, but I have to say, I love the fit in Columbus right now given their style of play.  There's a great chance that Laine is back to being the 35+ goal scorer that he was shaping up to be, with 50 goal upside.  The shots aren't elite which keeps his value down a bit, but I'm back to being a big believer in dynasties again.  Props to Fungazi for picking him in the Three Point Challenge.  If you need streamer help for the weekend, go check out JKJ's piece from yesterday here!  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Last season couldn't have been more of a disaster for Patrik Laine.  Is he as good as people expected when he .came out of the draft in regards to being an overall player?  Probably not.  As an offensive player?  He's still incredible. Laine had two goals and an assist with five shots on Tuesday, and that doesn't even count his empty net attempt in the last five seconds that somehow hit both posts and went out.  Laine now has 12+12 in 25 games this season.  Does 40+40 seem good to you because it does to me?  Laine is an incredibly gifted offensive player who has the upside to determine fantasy leagues.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
One of the most popular names discussed in the trade market lately has been J.T. Miller.  A big reason is because whoever trades for him would have him signed for next season as well.  The main reason is because he's a damn good hockey player and he showed that on Thursday.  Miller had a hat trick and an assist with five shots in the 5-1 win over the Jets.  Miller is on pace for the best season of his career, which says a lot because he was over a point per game two seasons ago.  There's no guarantee Vancouver moves him, but if he does, I'm hesitant to think it would help his trade value.  If anything, I would expect it to hurt.  He gets massive minutes that he might not get on his new team, including top power play time.  I wouldn't necessarily sell high on him, especially two months from the deadline, but it's something to think about.  Here's to hoping we don't have to worry about that.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
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:
Today, I'm going to finish out my Top 20.  I am going to have a massive goaltending post come out on Friday that will cover everybody in the NHL that is fantasy relevant.  Things are going to start picking up now in this space now that football drafts are done, and the baseball season is winding down.  Don't forget to check out Son's basketball content as well!  For those who missed it, you can see the Top 10 here. Let's get to 11-20! 11) Patrick Kane - This could be the last time Kane goes in the top 10 as he is about to turn 33 years old. That said, Kane hasn't shown many signs of aging to this point.  We should see a bounce back with goals because Kane shot the lowest percentage of his career last season.  Part of that is not getting to the best spots on the ice as easily as he did when he was younger, but a bigger part of that was simply bad luck.  Having a full season of a healthy Dach as his center should also help.  He's not the most exciting pick, but Kane should get the job done.