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!
Well, we have a clear winner for craziest game of the season. Toronto went up 6-1 and 7-2 going into the third, only to allow four goals in the first 5:21 of the second, only to end up pulling away from the Red Wings. 10-7! 10-7!!! Absolutely bonkers. Toronto scored ten goals and didn't even have a power play. The top line destroyed Detroit, led by Mitch Marner, who had four goals and two assists with six shots and two PIM. Michael Bunting had a goal and four assists with four shots, while Auston Matthews had a goal and three assists with four shots. Look, we know what we're getting from Marner and Matthews. Bunting I'm still torn on. Even in this game, Bunting played under 14 minutes. It's hard to sustain success with that workload. On the other hand, that line is as good as any in hockey right now, and Bunting has been going off. I'm still leaning towards elite streamer, but I can't argue with anyone holding him. Seventeen goals in a game! Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
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:
Yes, the Sabres are still a bad hockey team, but the good news for long suffering fans like me, is there are finally some signs of hope. One of the best signs is how well the first line has performed since Tuch returned from injury after the trade. They single-handedly won the game for the Sabres on Sunday against Montreal, and it started with their highest paid player. Jeff Skinner was left floundering on the fourth line or scratched by Ralph Kreuger last season because, well, Krueger had no clue about coaching hockey. Skinner had one of the games of the season on Sunday afternoon, scoring four goals and an assist on six shots in the 5-3 win over the Canadiens. That bring Skinner up to 20 goals with 14 assists in 45 games. Is he worth his massive contract? No, but he's proving once again that he's still a damn good hockey player. I've had him on the fringe for a while, but I feel good about holding him now. His shot rate is back over three per game on the season so that's plenty good enough given his contribution in points. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Those of you that have been patient holding Evander Kane for almost four months were rewarded on Saturday night. Kane played his first game of the season with the Oilers and went right on McDavid's wing. Kane scored in the first period and finished with three shots in the 7-2 win over the Canadiens. He's still available in 50% of ESPN leagues and very close to that on other sites. Kane is a must own immediately, and if you use FAAB, you should bid a large amount of your budget. Yes, he could do something stupid and be banished, but the upside is too high for him to be on waivers. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
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:
We don't know what's going to happen come playoff time, but the Florida Panthers have established themselves as a regular season juggernaut. After destroying the Stars 7-1 on Friday, they came back to score nine goals on Saturday, beating Columbus 9-2. Among the highlights between the two games were Sam Bennett scoring a hat trick on Friday and totaling six points between the two games, Jonathan Huberdeau having six points, and MacKenzie Weegar having a rare four point game from a defenseman on Saturday. They're clicking on all cylinders right now and that means great things in fantasy. They have ten skaters that I consider locks to be held, and another four that are quality streamers depending on team needs. Side note, I'm going to do another hold/stream list soon. Could we see the Panthers win their first playoff series since 1996? As long as their goaltending is passable, it's firmly in play despite being in a division with three elite teams. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Outside of more COVID cases and postponements, there wasn't a lot that went on over the weekend in the NHL, at least with a fantasy impact. The big story was Marc-Andre Fleury returning to Vegas, the first face of the franchise. Fleury was excellent, stopping 30 of 31 shots to win the game 2-1 for the Blackhawks. MAF's overall numbers are more of a top end #3 goalie, but the volume is really good. I'm indifferent towards holding him or not, but I'd lean that way since it's been better after the brutal first month. There's also some additional upside if he moves somewhere at the trade deadline as a rental. I assume Chicago will ask him what he wants at this point in his career but they're well out of the playoffs so for a couple months, I could see him going to a team for a few months before retirement. The schedule for Chicago over the next 10 days is quite appealing before it gets ugly at the end of the month, which is more reason to hold Fleury for now.
Pittsburgh is absolutely rolling right now, winning their ninth and tenth straight over the past two nights. The total line has dominated on both nights, being sparked by the return of Bryan Rust. In both games, Rust scored two goals and an assist, bringing his total to 11 points in 3 games since returning from injury. Bonkers. Jake Guentzel had two assists with four shots while Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist with two shots and two PIM. All three of these guys are top 50 players rest of season, with Guentzel being a top 20 guy and the other two probably just outside of it. They're a viable DFS stack every time they play. I wouldn't be surprised to see an uptick in minutes in the short term with the team heading to the West Coast. If you have any of these guys on your team, you have to be thrilled. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It wasn't hard to figure out who to feature in the opening paragraph tonight. Andre Burakovsky started off the weekend with two goals on six shots against the Red Wings and finished it off with a hat trick on six shots against the Panthers. That brings Burakovsky to 12+8 in 24 games on the season, quite the respectable total. He's still available in 40% of leagues and that needs to change immediately. With Gabriel Landeskog out for two weeks, Burakovsky is playing on the top line and top power play unit. That's enough to make him must own in all formats, and he showed why on Sunday, getting a hat trick in a tough matchup. It should be an excellent December for Burakovsky and hopefully it continues into the New Year. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
The Blues have cooled off a bit since their hot start, but that doesn't mean that all of their players have. Pavel Buchnevich tore it up over the weekend, scoring a goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM on Friday before coming back with two goals and an assist with five shots on Saturday. Buch is crushing it across the board on the seasons now with 8+8, 18 PIM and 58 shots in 19 games. Add in a +8 rating and he's a top 20 forward at the moment. Do I expect that to last? No, but his fit in St. Louis couldn't be better and now he's getting plenty of minutes, especially with David Perron out of the lineup. Somehow, he's still available in over 20% of leagues which is blasphemous. He has a real chance at being a top 50 player this year. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
To say Jacob Markstrom finished October on fire would be an understatement. Markstrom had a 20 save shutout against the Flyers on Saturday, his third in the past four games. The Flames are off to a great start with Markstrom at the forefront. He's saved nine goals above expected over in the last four. He's a clear workhorse which is why I had him a bottom end #1 goalie going into the season, but the upside is higher than that because of the volume. Who knows, maybe he puts together a top five season because of how Sutter wants to play. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend: