For my last scheduled post outside of the bracket challenge for the next few months, I'm going to review my bold predictions from before the season.  My goal was to get three or more, did that happen?  Let's find out!  For those that want to read the entire post, click here.  1) Evgeni Malkin leads the league in points.  And a massive whiff to start!  Malkin was injured a lot (what else is new) and wasn't as good as usual when he played.  Even if he was, he was never catching McJesus.
I've run out of superlatives to describe Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.  I don't even like starting posts with them because everyone knows how good they are, but this weekend's play deserves the big praise.  McDavid had two goals and an assist with three shots on Saturday, while Draisaitl had two assists with a shot and two PIM.  Those games were horrible compared to their explosion on Sunday.  McDavid scored a goal and dished four assists while Draisaitl had six assists!  They were already the top two in the league in points before Sunday's games.  Now, they're lapping the field at the end of January.  It's a treat to watch these guys on a nightly basis, and even better if you have one of them on your fantasy team.  With the way the rest of the North division plays, what's the ceiling for points for these guys? 90? 100?  It sounds ridiculous in 56 games, but they're at another level at the moment and they won't have a tough defensive team to play in their entire division.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
For one night at least, the hype was real.  We've been hearing about Kirill Kaprizov for a few years now and his long awaited NHL debut couldn't have gone any better.  Kaprizov scored the game winning goal in overtime, finishing with an additional two assists and two shots on goal with a +3 rating in 21:52.  Cheers to all of you who have been sitting on him in dynasties and everyone who took him in DFS while he was still incredibly underpriced.  The first eight games for the Wild are against the three California teams so I'm expecting a big start from Kaprizov.  I'd have to say he's the Calder favorite if Evason is going to play him over 20 minutes in his first game.  Let's take a look at what else happened on Thursday night:
The title says it all.  Today, I'm going to hit on the ten guys that I like most to break out this season.  With the season a week away, I won't have to time to do a ton of sleeper posts, so I decided it would be best to highlight these players and then follow it up with players I expect to disappoint this season in tomorrow's post.  Let's get to it!
With no exhibition games this season, it's going to be harder to predict what lines and pairing teams are going to use.  Thankfully, there are some coaches, such as Ralph Krueger in Buffalo, who made it clear from Day 1 of practices who would be playing together.  In this post, I'm going to hit on some notable decisions around the league and how they impact fantasy hockey.  Let's get to it!
At the time of his injury, Victor Olofsson was leading rookies in points.  That's not to say that he was the Calder favorite because he certainly was not, but he was in the race, albeit in the third spot.  Sadly he missed 15 games, but he picked up right where he left off.  Olofsson scored two goals on Thursday, including the game winner, in the 4-3 OT win over the Blue Jackets.  That gives him 18+19 in 43 games, a great season from my favorite preseason target for my last pick in drafts.  Sure, the PIM are non-existent and the shot rate is slightly below average, but Olofsson has lived up to expectations.  He's an old rookie at 24, but he should get a bit better going forward.  His role as a PP1 sniper and top six winger is locked in going forward and his chemistry with Eichel is outstanding.  If he was dropped in your league, grab him immediately.  Let's take a look at what else happened on Thursday:
The player with the most points this weekend was Connor.  No, not McDavid.  Kyle Connor continued his terrific season with two amazing games.  First, he scored a goal and dished three assists against the Senators.  Then, he followed it up on Sunday by scoring two goals and an assist with five shots in the win against the Blackhawks.  That brings Connor up to a point per game on the season, 26+30 in 56 games.  Connor is developing into one of the unheralded stars in the league.  Overshadowed by Scheifele and Laine on his own team, this will be Connor's third straight 30 goal season at age 23.  His shot rate is over three per game now and the penalty minutes have jumped quite a bit.  I'm not sure how much higher his ceiling is, if at all, but it doesn't have to get higher.  Connor has established himself as a player whose floor is 30+30 with plenty of upside from there.  He's going to be a top 50 player (conservatively) for a long time, mixing in seasons where he's a top 25 player overall when he has some good fortune.  The Jets are in terrific shape going forward offensively, now they have to do whatever they can to improve their blue line.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
The Pittsburgh Penguins have taken a beating this season in terms of injuries, but they've kept chugging along piling up the wins.  On Tuesday, Sidney Crosby returned and he didn't miss a beat.  Crosby had a goal and three assists with three shots in the 7-3 win over the Wild.  So what impact does Crosby's return to the lineup have in fantasy?  Crosby centered Jared McCann and Dominik Simon on Tuesday.  McCann had a goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM while Simon had a goal and an assist.  These two guys are massive winners in this.  Both are elite streamers with upside from there.  Of the two, I prefer McCann going forward.  Props to Joey Jo Jo Jr. Shabadoo for picking Crosby for three points!  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights: