Injuries have robbed us of an amazing Cale Makar season.  The good news is that he's back now and dominating games on a consistent basis.  Makar had three assists with four shots in Colorado's 5-2 win over the Ducks on Monday.  That brings Makar up to a point per game on the season with a +12 rating in 22 games that isn't a fluke at all.  We've seen a slight uptick in his shot rate this season, but a big jump there is what it will take for Makar to move into being a top five defenseman instead of being a middling to bottom end #1.  With how well he plays in his age 22 season, I have no doubt that it's coming.  For dynasties, I think he has to be the top defenseman.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Nino Niederreiter's first season in Carolina couldn't have gone any better with 14+16 in 36 games.  Last season really couldn't have gone worse with 11+18 in 67 games.  Well, this year has certainly been closer to 2018-19 and we can be thankful for that in fantasy.  Niederreiter scored two goals and an assist with three shots on Friday before dishing an assist on Saturday, adding six shots.  That brings Nino to 9+3 in 16 games with over three shots per game, 13 PIM, and a great +11 rating.  The second line in Carolina has been incredible, sparked by Niederreiter and Trocheck's revival.  He's an easy hold in all formats for the time being.  I wish that the minutes were a bit higher, but considering what Nino is doing with what he's getting, there can be some growth with additional minutes, namely in the assist department.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Now is the time to get excited if you own Blues players.  Sure, the top guys have been plenty good, but after their seven game battle with the Coyotes, the Blues played their next 11 games against the California trio.  It took a dramatic finish on Thursday, but they started off on the right foot.  With the goalie pulled, the Blues tied the game before winning it in overtime on a David Perron goal.  Perron scored a goal and added two assists with four shots in the victory.  That brings him over a point per game on the season with a quality plus-minus, solid shot rate, and good PIM.  He's a true stud across the board that tends to get a bit overlooked.  The top players on the Blues could be in line for a big month with Perron leading the way.  I can't rule out a top 50 season when we reach the end of this truncated year.  Let's take a look at what else happened on Thursday night:
It's time to get rolling with my fantasy hockey rankings.  Instead of starting with my top 10 and going from there, I'm going to be starting with goaltenders today, defensemen Tuesday, and then forwards and my top 200 by the end of the week.  I will be ranking the guys in order, but I am putting more focus on tiers than the exact rankings of players.  I will be writing in detail about guys that I aggressive with in my rankings, either because I like them a lot or also don't want anything to do with them.  Let's get to it!
Injuries this time of year are the main thing we are trying to avoid.  This season probably hasn't been as bad as last year, but unfortunately two of the best players in the world are going to be out for a while.  Steven Stamkos needed core muscle surgery which will put him out for 6-8 weeks.  That's right into the first round of the playoffs, so for those of you in redrafts, you can safely cut Stamkos at this point.  Stone is week-to-week with a lower body injury, but DeBoer could only say that he is hopeful that Stone will be back before the regular season ends.  In other words, I'm not counting on it and it would be a bonus if Stone does return.  So who are the beneficiaries?  In Tampa, it's clearly Ondrej Palat right now as he took Stamkos' place with Point and Kucherov.  I would own Palat in all formats.  In Vegas, Nicolas Roy is currently with Patches and Karlsson.  Will it stick?  Who knows, but he did score a goal against the Sabres on Friday.  He's a solid streamer for the time being until we see if he keeps that role.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last few nights:
The player with the most points this weekend was Connor.  No, not McDavid.  Kyle Connor continued his terrific season with two amazing games.  First, he scored a goal and dished three assists against the Senators.  Then, he followed it up on Sunday by scoring two goals and an assist with five shots in the win against the Blackhawks.  That brings Connor up to a point per game on the season, 26+30 in 56 games.  Connor is developing into one of the unheralded stars in the league.  Overshadowed by Scheifele and Laine on his own team, this will be Connor's third straight 30 goal season at age 23.  His shot rate is over three per game now and the penalty minutes have jumped quite a bit.  I'm not sure how much higher his ceiling is, if at all, but it doesn't have to get higher.  Connor has established himself as a player whose floor is 30+30 with plenty of upside from there.  He's going to be a top 50 player (conservatively) for a long time, mixing in seasons where he's a top 25 player overall when he has some good fortune.  The Jets are in terrific shape going forward offensively, now they have to do whatever they can to improve their blue line.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Andre Burakovsky has gone back and forth between bottom end hold and elite streamer for most of the season.  Right now, we're in one of his upswings again.  Burakovsky had a goal and three assists in the 6-1 Colorado win over the Sabres on Tuesday.  That's a whopping 10 points in the last 4 games and 14 in the past 8 for Burakovsky.  He also has Ottawa, the Kings twice, and Buffalo again over the next three weeks.  He's an easy hold while he's on fire and the schedule remains incredibly soft.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
He's backkkk.  Justin Williams made his return on Sunday, totaling three shots on goal in 13 minutes of action before scoring the shootout winner for the Hurricanes.  So what should we expect from him going forward?  Well, the Hurricanes are in a bigger dog fight for the playoffs than expected, so I do expect Williams' workload to ramp up sooner than later.  He skated on the fourth line in this game, but there's a spot for him right now in the top six that's currently occupied by Foegele.  It should only be a matter of time until he fills that role.  How much does that matter?  Well, we know that Williams is a great source of shots.  He pushed close to three per game last season while totaling 53 points and 44 PIM.  That sounds like a guy firmly on the fringe to me.  I wouldn't be rushing to grab Williams, especially with Carolina only having one game between now and January 31st, but he's back to elite streamer status with the upside of being a bottom end hold.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
The Pittsburgh Penguins have taken a beating this season in terms of injuries, but they've kept chugging along piling up the wins.  On Tuesday, Sidney Crosby returned and he didn't miss a beat.  Crosby had a goal and three assists with three shots in the 7-3 win over the Wild.  So what impact does Crosby's return to the lineup have in fantasy?  Crosby centered Jared McCann and Dominik Simon on Tuesday.  McCann had a goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM while Simon had a goal and an assist.  These two guys are massive winners in this.  Both are elite streamers with upside from there.  Of the two, I prefer McCann going forward.  Props to Joey Jo Jo Jr. Shabadoo for picking Crosby for three points!  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It's safe to say that at 26 years old, Jonathan Huberdeau has plenty of hockey to play in his career.  The scary thing is that he's going to destroy the Panthers point record.  In Sunday's big win over the Maple Leafs, Huberdeau had a goal and an assist to pass Olli Jokinen for the most points in franchise history. After last season's breakout campaign where Huberdeau had 92 points, he's on pace to blow by that this season with 61 points in their first 45 games.  The shot rate has fallen off to slightly below average, but I don't think anyone who drafted Huberdeau is complaining.  He's a safe bet to finish as a top 20 overall player this season, and since he's entering his prime along with some of his other teammates (notably Barkov), the future is incredibly bright.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend: