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:
I wrote in this space two seasons ago that Nathan MacKinnon deserved the Hart Trophy.  While he didn't ultimately win, he's been one of the best players in the league for a few years now.  Right now, he's making a legitimate case again in the early going.  With both of his star linemates injured, MacKinnon has continued to dominate.  His best game yet came on Thursday, where he scored a goal on ten shots and added three assists.  In his last four games, he has 34 SOG!  MacKinnon now has 9+13 in 16 games with over five shots per game.  We haven't seen a shot rate like this since prime Ovechkin.  Obviously there's a long way to go, but MacKinnon has a great chance to finally get to 100 points this season.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
We're at the end of individual rankings!  Almost 15,000 words later, we've ranked the top 100 forwards and 40 defensemen.  Now, we conclude that with my goaltending rankings.  I'm going to start by talking about my goaltending strategy for drafts, then split the goalies into tiers.  I'm not going to go in-depth on every goalie, just the ones that I feel are worth talking about, mostly because I'm higher or lower on somebody.  The reason I don't want to go very in-depth on every goalie is that the variance on goaltending from season to season is massive.  In other words, even the best goalies have poor seasons from time to time, and guys will come out of nowhere to have excellent seasons.  Did anyone know who Jordan Binnington was a year ago?  The public certainly did not.  Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss were afterthoughts for most.  Darcy Kuemper was the backup and wasn't drafted outside of deep leagues.  Those goalies were the 3rd-6th ranked goalies at the end of the season.  This is why I never draft goalies in the first two rounds, and never more than one in the first 7-8 rounds.  If you like to have one presumed top end goalie, that's fine, go for it in the 4th-5th rounds if they're still there.  Just do not reach, because the range of outcomes in goalies is incredibly wide, while forwards and defensemen are much more certain.  Any other questions on this, let me know in the comments section below.  Here are my tiers:
Hey everyone!  I'll be starting my rankings next week, but for now, I'll be writing a post on offseason winners.  Losers will be coming tomorrow.  There has been plenty of player movement that I haven't broken down yet so we might as well get right to it! WINNERS Mikhail Sergachev - I already wrote a sleeper post on Sergachev that you can read here.
As far as best contracts in the league go, Roman Josi's is near the top of the list.  Josi, who is nearing the end of a 7/28 deal signed in 2013, has developed into a true #1 defenseman.  Josi scored two goals and an assist on five shots in the 5-3 win over the Stars.  Josi is currently up to #6 on the player rater for defensemen, in the range that we expected from him.  He's not in the top tier, but he's firmly in tier two now and going forward.  Josi looks like a good bet to set career highs in both goals (15) and points (61).  Let's take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:
One of my best calls in my four years of writing at Razzball was the breakout for Vincent Trocheck.  His ability to hit all of the categories at a very strong rate was underrated by many.  Sadly, it looks like he could be done for the season after a gruesome injury Monday night against the Senators.  Best case scenario, it's going to be a few months.  We don't have an update yet, but either way, you either have to put Trocheck on IR if you have the room or cut him.  It's a tough loss for the Panthers who really ride their top six.  It's unclear who is going to play 2C now.  Perhaps Nick Bjugstad slides there or Jared McCann moves up.  I think Bjugstad and Jonathan Huberdeau take a slight hit to their value without Trocheck, while the guys on the first line get a small boost.  It wouldn't shock me to see those guys pushing 23 minutes a night on a regular basis.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
There wasn't a ton of goal scoring over the last two nights, but the most notable performance came from the reigning MVP.  Taylor Hall won the game against the Penguins virtually by himself, scoring two goals and two assists with six shots in the 4-2 win.  That brings Hall up to 5+14 in 16 games with over 3.5 shots per game.  Can we expect a repeat of last season?  That would be a stretch.  Hall shot 14% last season while for the majority of the rest of his career, he's been in the 8-11% range.  This year he's at 8.6, a little low but not an outlier.  I would say 25-30 goals seems likely, but a new career high in assists (54) is certainly within range.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Everyone knew that Elias Pettersson was an elite prospect who was going to score plenty in the NHL.  In a year where rookies around the NHL actually look like rookies, Pettersson is lighting the world on fire.  Petterson scored two goals and added three assists in the 7-6 win over Colorado on Friday, boosting his totals to an insane 9+6 in 9 games so far.  Obviously he's not going to shoot 39% all season, but after lower minutes to open the year, Pettersson has played at least 18 minutes in each of the last four games, including the last two over 20.  For redrafts, he should be a borderline top 50 player this season.  In dynasties, Pettersson is a top 20 talent.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Hey guys! Today we head to the Big Apple for 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 2018-19 fantasy hockey season: The 31 in 31 daily segment. This analysis features everything from surefire studs, to sleepers, to 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.