Life without Couturier hasn't been as good without Claude Giroux. He started the turnaround on Thursday night. Giroux scored two goals and two assists with three shots and two PIM in the 5-3 win over Carolina. That brings Giroux up to 17 points in 22 games, not exactly lighting the world on fire, but the shot rate is the best of his career. 75 shots in 22 games is a huge step forward, and if that continues, we could be looking at a new career high in goals. Yes, he only has 7 to this point, but we could be on the verge of a heater. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
A long time analytics darling, Joonas Donskoi is finally getting a chance on the first line in Colorado because of injuries, and he has taken full advantage. Donskoi scored a goal and added two assists with two shots playing 20 minutes in the 4-0 win over the Jets on Tuesday. That brings Donskoi up to 9+5 in 18 games, but with 6 points in the last 3 games. With this workload, I would be holding Donskoi. The Avs play every other day for the next week plus, and they're all on the road. That could mean even more minutes for the first line in Colorado as Bednar attempts to match MacKinnon (and therefore Donskoi) against the top players of the opposition. It's not going to last, but for the short term, Donskoi is a great option. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
The last lottery pick for the Washington Capitals has really come into his own. Jakub Vrana had an incredible weekend, starting with two goals on eight shots against the Sabres. He followed it up with a hat trick on five shots against the Flames on Sunday. That brings Vrana to 9+5 in 16 games with just under three shots per game. He's a main stay on the second line and second power play unit, so the question is whether or not he's a hold. For now, I lean towards yes. I don't think it'll last all season, but Vrana is playing excellent hockey right now and I want to take advantage of it. The 23 year old has made a jump in every season of his career and looks to be down that path again. Given that he had 24+23 last season, another slight improvement will get right right onto the fringe. Vrana isn't an automatic add given that Washington has only two games this week, but I'm holding onto him while Vrana has his foot on the accelerator. Let's take a look at what else happened this weekend:
The best line in hockey remains in Boston, but the second best at the moment resides in Vancouver. On Wednesday, they were led by Brock Boeser, who had a hat trick and an assist with seven shots and two PIM in the 5-3 win over the Kings. Boeser is now up to 7+7 in 12 games with over three shots per game, +6, and six penalty minutes. He's doing a little bit of everything, and with how well the Canucks are playing, there's no reason he can't finish with 35+40 or better. I'd bet on Boeser being a top 50 player at this point and it should only get better in the years to come. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
To say the start of the season for Dallas has been disappointing is an understatement. It looked like it was going to continue being 3-0 late in the second against Minnesota. To quote Lee Corso, "not so far my friend!" The Wild scored six goals over the last 21 minutes of the game to win 6-3, and they were led by Alexander Radulov. Radulov entered the game with only 1+3 in 13 games, and he managed to match those four points in this one. Radulov had three goals and an assist with a whopping 10 shots on goal. This game might have blown the chance to buy low on Dallas players, but I would still attempt to do so given the opportunity. These guys are too talented to not have strong seasons, Radulov included. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
For two periods, the Red Wings were locking the Canucks down defensively. They went into the third period up 2-0 but that lead didn't last long. In fact, the Canucks ended up scoring five goals in the third to win with ease. They were lead by their captain, Bo Horvat, who had his first career hat trick in the victory. Loyal Razzballers know how much I like Dr. Bo as a player. It's been a slow start, but here's why I'm buying Horvat (and another Canuck I'll talk about later). One, Horvat is shooting the puck at an excellent rate. He's over three shots per game on the season. Two, and the main reason, is that Horvat is back on the first power play unit. In fact, two of his goals came on that unit. There's a ton of potential in that group and Horvat should be a beneficiary. He's an easy hold and should push the top 100 going forward. Let's take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:
Not sure David Pastrnak even knows who Christopher Columbus is, but he sure dominated on his day Monday. Pastrnak won the game for the Bruins scoring all four goals on five shots. Two of those goals were on the power play, he chipped in two penalty minutes, and finished +1. I generally don't like to lead off posts talking about superstars, but I feel obligated to give Pasta props for a four goal game. The top seven going into the season were pretty clear for me but who was eighth was a debate. I ultimately decided on Draisaitl but went with Pastrnak in the nine spot. So far, so good. Look for the Bruins top line to dominate on a nightly basis. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
We're pushing through the halfway point today in terms of forwards as I get through the top 60. To see my posts for the top 40 forwards, you can check that out here. Let's get to it! 41) Jake Guentzel - Guentzel had his big regular season breakout with 40 goals and 36 assists last season. At first, I was a little hesitant to rank Guentzel this high, but now I feel really good about. One, he was stapled onto Crosby's wing all season. I don't expect that to change. Two, the shot rate took a huge jump forward in year three. I wouldn't be surprised if he gets to 3+ per game this year. Three, and the biggest thing, is that there's a spot for him on the first power play unit with Kessel's departure. Guentzel had only 6 PPG and 5 PPA last season. He could easily get to 20 PPP if he earns that spot in the preseason (his competition is Galchenyuk I guess?). Sure, we can't expect 17.6% shooting again, but I don't expect much regression getting to play with Crosby. I think Guentzel is a solid bet to get back to 40 goals again and boosts his assists to get up to a point per game. He should be a solid value at this point, especially if he falls between last season's 26 PIM and his 42 in 2017-18.
Hey guys! Over the next month, I will be taking a look at each team’s players to watch out for going into the 2019-20 fantasy hockey season. This analysis features everything from surefire studs, to sleepers, to streamers, deeper league holds, even to rookie-eligible prospects that may make an appearance at some point this season. Please let me know if you guys enjoy this type of material! Reminder that the stat totals are from last season. Last year my previews went alphabetically, but this year we’re going to go division-by-division, starting with the top team. On our fifth stop on the 31 in 31 tour, the Vancouver Canucks! The Canucks have had a busy – and awfully confusing – off-season. Nonetheless, their top-six got much better and their prospects got a year older.
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: