There have been a few big games by individuals this season but Patrice Bergeron’s on Saturday is the new leader for the best of the year.  Bergeron scored four goals and added an assist with seven shots in the 7-1 win over the Hurricanes.  Bergeron was the second player this year to score four goals after Alex Ovechkin.  Per usual, Bergeron is crushing all of the categories.  He’s playing around a 40+35 pace while already having a +19 rating, solid PIM and pushing four shots per game.  Bergeron is a slam dunk top 50 player for the rest of the season who should push towards the top 25.  Again, the top line in Boston is as good as it gets and Bergeron is at the forefront of their success.  That line just gave up their first goal against at even strength all season!  Remarkable stuff.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

First off, I hope everyone had a Happy New Year’s!  As much as I personally don’t care for New Year’s Eve, this year was different because of the Buffalo Bills making the playoffs.  I wish I had video of me celebrating with my dad or an audio recording of my friend, who is in Paris, who heard us yelling on speaker phone and him celebrating in the Paris streets. Couple that with an amazing USA win in the WJC outdoor game against Canada that I was at and things in the sports world couldn’t be better.  Even the Sabres looked competent today despite the loss!  Anyways, let’s get to what you’re here for…

I’ve talked about Josh Bailey being the waiver wire pickup of the year on multiple occasions over the last couple weeks because, well, the Isles top line is on fire.  That said, William Karlsson is easily #2 in this department.  Wild Bill, a Razzball favorite from the past (aka favorite of mine), scored the first hat trick in Vegas history on Sunday, scoring three goals and an assist in the 6-3 win over the Maple Leafs.  That brings Karlsson’s totals to 20+13 in 33 games with a +15 rating.  Sure, it will regress some because he’s not going to shoot 26.3% all season, but let’s give Karlsson his due.  In the first 183 games of his career, Karlsson scored 18 goals.  He has that beat for the Golden Knights in 37 games.  His emergence is a huge part of Vegas shocking the world as they sit atop the Western Conference.  Karlsson will drop off some in the second half, at least in the goals department, but make no mistake about it, it’s not a complete fluke.  Karlsson should be a hold for the rest of the season.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last three days of the old year:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Jake DeBrusk was the second of three consecutive first round picks by the Bruins in the 2015 draft.  The other two players are still in the AHL developing but DeBrusk is starting to make his mark with the big squad.  In the 7-2 beatdown of the Blue Jackets, DeBrusk scored a goal and two assists with four shots and two penalty minutes.  He followed that up by scoring the only non-empty net goal against the Sabres on Tuesday.  As you can see below, snipe city:

That brings DeBrusk up to 8 goals and 10 assists in 28 games with solid penalty minutes and a decent shot rate.  The crazy thing is that he’s producing despite getting poor minutes (he’s averaging 14 per game on the season).  DeBrusk has shown me plenty this season to improve his stock in dynasties.  He looks like a lock to be a top six player going forward while having plenty of upside from there.  In redrafts, I wouldn’t hold him right now, solely because of the lack of minutes.  That said, DeBrusk is still a great streamer while he’s producing.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights in the NHL:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Growing up, the Avalanche were always my second favorite team.  My grandpa was a huge Peter Forsberg fan and it didn’t interfere with my Sabres since they were in the Western Conference.  I’ve always kept a close eye on them even though my rooting interests are now firmly with the Sabres and “Team Whoever I Bet In Game X.”  Anyways, Gabriel Landeskog has been a personal favorite of mine in this new Avalanche era.  He became the youngest captain in the league when it wasn’t cool to make your young top pick a captain.  Landeskog won the Calder and led the Avs on a massive warpath to a shocking #1 seed in 2013-14.  When I started at Razzball, things looked on the up for Landeskog at 23 years old.  Then, like the rest of the Avalanche organization, Landeskog struggled mightily.  Thankfully for all of us fantasy owners, he’s back.  Landeskog had the best game of his career on Saturday scoring a hat trick and two assists with five shots against the Lightning.  Sure, the Avs lost, but it doesn’t change his stat line for us!  The Kog now has 13+11 in 28 games with a strong plus-minus and solid PIM plus shots.  In fact, I’d be surprised if the penalty minutes don’t jump soon.  It’s amazing that Landeskog just turned 25 so he’s not even in his prime yet.  Look for him to be a top 100 player for the rest of the season and for at least the next few years.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Hey everyone!  Per usual, we start off by examining the latest injuries around the league and their impact to their teams and fantasy owners.  From there, we talk about the situation the Ottawa Senators are in regarding Erik Karlsson’s contract, Kyle Turris’ interview about his end in Ottawa, and where the organization is going.  After that, we examine the playoff picture in both conferences and determine who are the locks to make it in and pick the teams that we think will be in the Stanley Cup Playoffs come April.  At the end, we wrap things up with Three Point Challenge picks.  Be sure to make your pick below. All of that and more in the latest edition of the Razzball Hockey Podcast!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Add another goalie to the list of guys who struggled in the opening month only to turn it around.  Braden Holtby, the consensus #1 goaltender going into the season, showed us why this weekend with two big performances.  Holtby saved 27 shots in Friday’s 4-1 win over the Penguins and followed it up with 29 saves in the 2-1 SO win over the Oilers.  Just like that, his save percentage is back to its normal level.  Sure, the goals against average is still a little high, but goals are up around the league and it’s not out of the realm of possibility it goes back down.  With the massive win total as well, expect Holtby to get back to the #1 goalie by season’s end.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The difference between Mark Scheifele being a first round fantasy pick and a middling to late second round pick comes down to his shot rate.  He scored 32 goals last season but his 20% shooting percentage was due to regress.  While the shots haven’t been coming in, they did on Thursday and the goals were flowing.  Scheifele scored a hat trick on four shots in the 5-2 win over the Stars.  That brings him to 7 goals and 8 assists in 12 games, an excellent start for Scheifele.  Still, I have to assume the goals are going to drop since he has only 23 SOG on the season.  Scheifele should be a point per game regardless but again, shots are what we need for him to jump into superstar fantasy status.  Let’s take a look at what else happened around the league on Tuesday night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Goals were plentiful around the NHL on Thursday night, none more than in Florida where the Panthers went eight ball, corner pocket on the Ducks.  The Panthers won 8-3 with Radim Vrbata leading the way.  Vrbata netted his seventh career hat trick and his first three goals as a Panther on six shots.  That brings him to 9 points in 10 games with elite shots and solid PIM.  I wouldn’t expect the PIM to last but the points and shots should be plenty to make him a hold.  He’s available in over 50% of leagues right now so grab Vrbata while you can.  He’s a clear must own in 12’ers and probably should be owned in 10’ers as well.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I was all in on the Tampa Bay Lightning again this year picking them to make the Stanley Cup Finals.  Obviously they don’t crown champions 3 weeks into the season but Tampa has started off incredibly well.  They’ve had some depth players step up but at the end of the day, their studs have been incredible.  The top two players in points in the NHL by a wide margin are both Lightning players with Steven Stamkos.  Tampa Bay blitzed Pittsburgh 7-1 on Saturday and Stamkos led the way with a goal, three assists and four shots on goal.  That gives Stamkos a whopping 17 points (3+14) in 9 games.  Stamkos was a player who consistently dropped in my drafts into the third round and while it’s too early to celebrate given Stamkos’ injury, it’s been the dream start.  Fingers crossed that he stays healthy because Stammer could be a top 10, maybe even top 5 player.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Like Patrice Bergeron, I’m back!  After a long flight back home, it’ll be difficult for me to return in the style he did.  Bergeron had a goal and three assists with six shots in his season debut, a 6-3 win over the Canucks.  There’s not much to be said about Bergeron; get him back in your lineup immediately.  Look for his linemates to take off as well.  Let’s take a look at what happened over the last two nights:

Please, blog, may I have some more?