Hey, everyone.

I’m Lackeydrinksonme, a Buffalo sports fan and thus a budding alcoholic. I play fantasy everything, and I’ve been in Viz’s fantasy hockey threads for a while now… I’ve also been handing out intermittent advice based on what I’ve seen and gleaned from the world of hockey. I’ve taken a unique approach to my fantasy hockey this year, and have worked to maximize player starts.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Aleksander Barkov is in a dead heat with McJesus for the most time on ice per game as a forward in the NHL.  Barkov has been making those minutes count in October and he continued to do so on Monday.  Barkov finished the month with a bang scoring a goal and three assists with two shots against the Lightning.  The bad news for Barkov is that his team was still electrocuted by the Lightning losing 8-5.  The good news for us fantasy owners is that it doesn’t affect us.  Barkov has been outstanding and if these minutes last, a top 50 season is a near lock.  Let’s take a look at what else happened around the league on Monday night:

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Hat tricks have been in vogue lately so Blake Wheeler decided to take it to another level.  Wheeler scored a hat trick in the first period on Sunday and later added an assist in the 7-1 win over the Penguins.  Wheeler has been the fantasy stalwart we’ve become accustomed to in the early going with 4+8, +3, 12 PIM, 35 SOG and 4 STP in 10 games.  I don’t know how many more years Wheeler will keep up this level of play but for now, he’s a top 20 player with relative ease.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:

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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:

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All everyone talked about in the preseason was wondering how bad Vegas was going to be in their expansion year.  Sure, it’s only two games, but boy did they have some excitement.  On Friday, Dallas was dominating Vegas in their franchise opener but was only up 1-0 in the third.  Down goes Ben Bishop which opened up the door for James Neal to give the people of Las Vegas some relief in an awful time.  Neal scored two goals in the third period to propel the Golden Knights to victory.  To top off the weekend, Neal scored another goal, this time the game winner in overtime, to give Vegas two wins to start the season.  Neal is still available in over 40% of leagues and if you are in one of them, grab him.  The shot rate is going to be elite along with solid penalty minutes and goals.  At least for now, I’m not overly concerned about the top guys on Vegas having bad plus-minuses either.  Let’s take a look at what else happened in the first (long) weekend of the NHL season:

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It’s the final countdown!  This will close out my rankings following my Top 50, Top 100 and Top 150 posts.  After the Top 200, there will be a revised list coming out later in the week updating for injuries and other moves and a separate post about some players I would target with my last pick or two.  Let’s get right to it!

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The Philadelphia Flyers were one of the most irrelevant teams in the league last season.  That’s not to say they were a complete bottom feeder, they certainly weren’t, but they were never truly in the playoff hunt either.  The majority of their top players had down seasons leaving them with the third most points of any non-playoff team 7 points out.  Luckily for them, the lottery gods were on their side as they hit a 7.3% chance of moving into the top three in the lottery, and more importantly, a 4.6% chance of moving into the top two.  In comes Nolan Patrick to add to their developing young core.  Can their core members who are currently in their prime bounce back?  Can their blue line be even average?  What will they get in net?  As Reid and I talked about in our Metro Division preview podcast, they are on the biggest wild cards in the league.  Let’s take a look at what the Flyers are working with to see if we have any answers for fantasy this coming season:

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When it comes to the fantasy playoffs, you’re looking for two things. One, you want to get as many starts from your players as possible. Getting one or two extra starts from your bottom end guys / streamers goes a long way. The other thing you want is your superstars to carry you. Because I was in California for the last four days, my time for writing was non-existent. The good news is two fold. One, I got to meet Grey! He is the man, plain and simple. Secondly, I’m here to catch up on everything that’s happened since last Thursday and it starts with Sidney Crosby. On Friday, Crosby scored two goals and an assist with four shots to push the Penguins past the Devils. He followed that up on Sunday with a hat trick on six shots against the Panthers. Both are huge wins for the Penguins given their current injury situation and it was massive for people in the fantasy playoffs. Here’s to hoping you have Crosby because you’re ahead of the field right off the bat. He’s the number 1 skater at the moment and as of now, I’d rank him first overall going into next season. That can be debated at a later time but there’s no denying that Crosby is having one of the best seasons of his illustrious career. Here’s what else happened over the last four days:

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When Johnny Gaudreau underwent surgery for his finger injury, the expectation was that he was going to miss six weeks. Flames fans and fantasy owners had to be thrilled when he came back on Sunday in less than three weeks. The team did surprisingly well in the 10 games Gaudreau missed, mostly due to Chad Johnson between the pipes, but they didn’t score than 3 goals in any game during that stretch. That changed in a big way Sunday night against a strong Ducks team. The Flames scored a whopping 8 goals beating the Ducks 8-3 with Gaudreau scoring the opener and adding an assist later on. He was finally playing well before his injury so hopefully this is a sign of things to come. We know that he’s a top end player but the impact of his return will be felt throughout the lineup. More on those guys later in the Sunday section, let’s get to the games!

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Holy smokes, over 5000 words! This is quite the recap of the last 5 days of hockey. I had a introduction all set to go around Milan Lucic but I had to erase it and give the lede to Michael Cammalleri. Cammalleri mysteriously missed six games in a row before returning on Wednesday night. It turns out that his 5 year old daughter Chloe had severe pneumonia which eventually required surgery. On this Thanksgiving weekend, we’re thankful that she’s going to make a full recovery. Dad returned and had a three game stretch for the ages. He started with a remarkable goal and three assists with 9 SOG in the 5-4 shootout win over Toronto. Cammy followed it up totaling a goal, assist, four shots and two PIM in the 5-4 loss to Detroit before scoring 2 goals on 4 shots in the 4-3 shootout loss to Pittsburgh. Just a measly 8 points in 3 games, no big deal. He’s almost back to a point per game (just like last season) with three shots per game and solid penalty minutes. Cammalleri is still available in over 50% of leagues and to be blunt, that’s a huge mistake. If you’re in one of those leagues, go grab him now. Here’s a look at the last five days around the league. I’m going to go through day by day but in the format most people like; just note that a player may be mentioned multiple times.

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