Playing time has been the only thing that has stopped Alex Tuch from breaking out in the past. It looked like he was going into the top six two seasons ago, but then the Golden Knights acquired Stone keeping Tuch on the third line. Well, this season that has finally changed even though Stone is still on the team, mostly because the Karlsson line plays less minutes. On Saturday, Stone left the game with a minor injury which led Tuch to being double shifted. Even before that, Tuch was on a tear and it'll only get better with his increased workload. Tuch scored two goals on six shots on Saturday after scoring a goal on Friday. That brings Tuch up to 12 goals in 21 games, an excellent mark. Sure, his shooting percentage is unsustainable, but the increase in minutes could counteract that a bit. Tuch is still available in over 40% of leagues, so if you're lucky enough to be in one of them, grab him now. Let's take a look at what else happpened over the weekend:
For one night at least, the hype was real. We've been hearing about Kirill Kaprizov for a few years now and his long awaited NHL debut couldn't have gone any better. Kaprizov scored the game winning goal in overtime, finishing with an additional two assists and two shots on goal with a +3 rating in 21:52. Cheers to all of you who have been sitting on him in dynasties and everyone who took him in DFS while he was still incredibly underpriced. The first eight games for the Wild are against the three California teams so I'm expecting a big start from Kaprizov. I'd have to say he's the Calder favorite if Evason is going to play him over 20 minutes in his first game. Let's take a look at what else happened on Thursday night:
We’re going to keep the rankings rolling today with my defensemen tiers. As a reminder from the goaltending rankings, I will be ranking the guys in order, but I am putting more focus on tiers than the exact rankings of players. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Let’s get the bad news out of the way first. After being initially ruled out for three weeks, Brock Boeser was subsequently ruled out for eight weeks, and possibly the season. Please, blog, may I have some more?
The first big trade deadline move happened two weeks early. Jason Zucker was sent to Pittsburgh in Bill Guerin's first big move as Wild GM, in exchange for Alex Galchenyuk, Calen Addison, and a first round pick. So what does this do for Zucker's fantasy value? It puts it through the roof. Zucker immediately went on Crosby's wing in his first game, registering five shots on goals against the Lightning in 15 minutes. Sure, he's not going to get PP1 time, but the upside is tremendous given this opportunity. I grabbed Zucker in every league that I could just in case that it clicks with Crosby. We've seen Zucker score 30 goals in a season before and generate a ton of chances; now it'll be even easier with Crosby. As for the Wild side of things, it's a really good return. Addison was the Penguins' top prospect, and while their system wasn't loaded, he safely projects as a second pair, potential PP defenseman. I don't see huge upside, but there's value there. As for Galchenyuk, it can't get any worse than it was in Pittsburgh. He only received 12 minutes in his first game, and I'm certainly not rushing to use him, but it's worth monitoring to see if that changes. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last three nights:
I'm a big fan of the revenge game and Semyon Varlamov had one on Monday night against his old team in Colorado. Varlamov had a 32 save shutout to earn the 1-0 victory. I have a few points on Varly. One, he's proving to be the #1 goalie we hoped he would be when he went to the Islanders. Barry Trotz has the best defensive system in the league. Two, how the hell wasn't he an All-Star? He's clearly had the best season for goalies in his division. I get having Korpisalo because the Jackets need a representative, but Holtby? Come on, Varly has been much better. Anyways, keep rolling the Isles goalies. 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:
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:
It's now time to move on to defensemen for my rankings. I'll be doing the top 40 defensemen in two separate posts, with the top 20 in this one. I have gone through the top 100 forwards so you can check those out through the hockey page. For now, let's get right to the blueliners!
1) Brent Burns - You can check out Burns in the top 20 here. I feel like I ranked him too low, so when I do my top 50 overall post, I may slide him up a bit.
2) John Carlson - Burns is in a tier by himself, and who to put at the top of tier two is has been a big internal debate for me. I ultimately decided on Carlson for the safety. Carlson put up 70 points last season, 33 of which were on the power play. Both numbers are incredible. He's also a plus player most seasons and there's no reason to expect a change. The one concern is that his shot rate plummeted last season from almost 3 shots per game to about 2.25. That's still solid for a defensemen, but nowhere near a great asset. Even given that, Carlson was the #3 defenseman last season. Hopefully there's a bounce back in his shot rate, but either way it's high floor and high ceiling.
Hey guys! Sven back with another 31 in 31. 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 second stop on the 31 in 31 tour, we visit the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks season can be summarized by Katy Perry’s 2008 hit “Hot n Cold”. They showed signs of being one of the elite, and signs of being a defensive nightmare. Despite their captain’s departure, this team still has a very good core with a few years of window left.