Matthew Tkachuk entered the All-Star break on a massive hot streak.  He continued it at the All-Star Game, winning MVP honors.  Needless to say, it was continued on Monday night against their rivals, the Tampa Bay Lightning.  Tkachuk had two goals and three assists with six shots in the 7-1 win over Tampa, going +5 in the process.  Tkachuk has managed to blow last season's 42+62 out of the water to this point.  He's the #3 forward overall on the season and has the most balanced stat line of everyone in the entire league.  Marchand was a top five forward for years because of his all-around contribution.  Now, that spot is Tkachuk's.  He's every bit of a top five player now and going forward.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
The Senators have been a disappointment this season despite their big forward acquisitions in the summer.  Turns out that you can't get away with completely ignoring the blue line and being forced to give bad players big minutes.  Anyways, we don't care about that for fantasy, we care about their scoring, and their top players have largely delivered.  Claude Giroux had a great weekend, totaling three goals and two assists with ten shots over two games.  Giroux is having his best goal scoring season since his monstrous 34 goal, 102 point season in 2017-18.  Unsurprisingly, that season and this season are Giroux's two highest shooting percentages, but it seems a bit more sustainable in this environment in Ottawa.  Even with an inconsistent PP1 role, Giroux has still played his way into being a bottom end hold in all formats.  The one problem is that after Ottawa's game on Tuesday, they don't play again until February 11th.  My biggest point here with bottom end holds over these bye weeks is that you need to know your league format and whether the waiver wire is strong enough that you can drop someone like Giroux to get more games.  In head to head leagues, volume is king, so you can make a case after Tuesday that you can let him go for players with a bunch of games after the All-Star break. In roto, I would hold onto Giroux without hesitation.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Not a bad way for Kevin Fiala to follow up a hat trick.  In a new rivalry developing between the Kings and Oilers, Fiala scored two goals and two assists with four shots.  That brings Fiala to 10 points in his last five games with his shot rate jumping up quite a bit lately.  The new line shuffle seems to be working, and the new Los Angeles All-Star has been fantastic in his first year with the Kings.  It's a fantastic stat line across the board that has Fiala comfortably as a top 50 player with upside from there.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It was great to see Aleksander Barkov back in the lineup on Thursday, and if you didn't get him back into your lineup off injured reserve, well, that one is going to hurt for a while.  Barkov scored a hat trick in the first period against the Canadiens and added two assists in the 7-2 win over the Canadiens.  It hasn't been Barkov's best season to this point, but I'm buying Barkov going forward to get back to being well over a point per game.  Florida has dug itself quite a hole in the playoff race and I expect Maurice to really ride their top six even more.  Barkov's shooting percentage is also much lower than his career sh% (10.3 vs 14.0) so look for some positive regression in the New Year for the Panthers captain.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It feels like it's been forever since I've written daily notes.  I guess being stuck inside due to a blizzard will do that.  It was great to be able to watch the NHL on Tuesday night with a massive slate of games.  He didn't have the biggest game of the day, but Erik Gustafsson can be a huge difference maker that impacts the vast majority of fantasy leagues.  Gustafsson scored a goal and added a power play assist in the 4-0 win over the Rangers.  This is notable because John Carlson is out "long term" after taking a puck to the face last Friday against Winnipeg.  It seems like an eternity ago, but Gustafsson did have 60 points with Chicago four years ago with 18 coming on the PP.  It's his top unit to run now, and the minutes have been decent even before Carlson's injury.  The blocks are okay and the hits are below average, so in those formats he's still on the fringe, but without them, I think he's a no brainer hold.  He's available in over 90% of leagues right now, so open another tab, put a claim in for Gustafsson, and then come back and see what else happened on Tuesday night!
The Blues are in the middle of a brutal schedule, playing three back-to-backs in a row, including four games in six days.  They pulled off the first back-to-back through Alberta before going to Vancouver on Monday.  There, Jordan Kyrou stole the show.  Kyrou scored a hat trick on five shots while adding an assist in the 5-1 win, giving him 10 points in his previous four games.  Unfortunately for Kyrou, he was injured late in the game and missed Tuesday's debacle against the Kraken with a UBI.  It's unclear how serious it is, but I do find it a bit encouraging that the news that he was out came later on Tuesday instead of immediately after the game Monday or early Tuesday.  With only one game over the next week, let's hope that he misses minimal time while he's on a heater.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
The Sabres got off to a hot start this season despite their top line struggling to get on the scoresheet.  On Saturday, they started the turnaround against the Blackhawks, but that game paled in comparison to what they did on Monday.  Against the Red Wings, the Sabres scored eight goals, led by their $50 million man, Tage Thompson.  Thompson had the game of the early season, scoring three goals, dishing three assists, and putting nine total shots on goal.  All it took was two games for Thompson to turn his October into a monster month with 6+6 in nine games with over four shots per game.  Granato told him that he needed to start shooting the puck more, and that's turned into 25 shots in the past three games alone.  Obviously he's not going to keep up that rate, but Thompson could turn into a top 50 player if he pushes his shot rate to over four per game.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Kevin Fiala's first two games for the Kings left a lot to be desired.  He didn't generate much in terms of chances, he took a stupid penalty in their opener against Vegas, and his ice time suffered as a result.  His old team, the Wild, were coming off giving up seven goals against the Rangers and were big favorites to get their first win of the season.  Instead, the Wild gave up seven goals again, with the Los Angeles top line leading the way.  Fiala scored a goal and two assists with six shots in the 7-6 win, while Anze Kopitar dished three assists and Adrian Kempe scored two goals and an assist with three shots and four PIM.  My biggest takeaway from this trio in the early going is that I was too low on Kempe this season.  While he's not the focal point of the power play anymore, he's still vital to its success, and the addition of Fiala strengthened the top line.  All of them are easy holds at the moment and I don't expect that to change.  Let's take a look at what else happened on Friday and Saturday:
Today, I move from overall rankings to goaltenders only.  I'm going to cover my first four tiers today out of eight.  This will take me through 16 goalies.  These guys all have a realistic chance of finishing as a top 10 goalie this season to varying degrees.  There are some guys in the lower tiers who have an outside chance, but a lot will have to go right for them.  That post will not be as detailed as the previous three posts.  It will be in part, but when we get to tiers that are beyond desperation, it will be more of a list.  But enough about tomorrow's post, let's get to the top goalies!
Every season, Kevin Fiala finishes on an absolute tear.  This season, he's found another level.  Fiala had a goal and three assists on Sunday against the Sharks, bringing his totals to 29+44 in 75 games with over three shots per game, all career highs.  I've been driving the Fiala bandwagon forever, and I still think it could even get better.  He's still only averaging 17:23 per game, a number that's low for a player of his caliber.  The Wild have a massive decision this summer with Fiala.  They will have to trade players away in order to be able to keep him, and it seems like Guerin has been hesitant to do that since he's taken over.  What if Fiala goes somewhere and plays for 20 minutes on somebody's first line?  To my amazement, Fiala is still only 25 years old.  There are a lot of things that are working in Fiala's favor.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last few days:
Who would have thought that a seven point game wouldn't get the opening?  It would take something extravagant and that's what happened, with Jason Robertson scoring back-to-back hat tricks. R0bertson carried the Stars to victory on Friday scoring three on seven shots, including the overtime winner.  He capped it off with an empty netter to seal the game against Minnesota on Sunday, totaling six shots and two PIM with his hat trick.  That brings Robertson to a whopping 29+25 in 47 games and three shots per game.  Robertson seemingly came out of nowhere last season to earn a second place finish in the Calder race.  Now, the sky appears to be the limit.  Robertson is still only 22 years old and has his center of the present and future already with him.  It looks like the Stars have their new Benn and Seguin.  They can only hope Hintz and Robertson reach that level, but it's not out of the realm of possibility.  I don't think Robertson quite cracks the top 20 for the rest of the season and next year, but he's a slam dunk top 50 player.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend: