Hello, everyone! Welcome back to another year of Fantasy Hockey! I am LackeyDrinksOnMe, a Sabres fan who works in college admissions by day and devours hockey analysis by night. Last year, I had a weekly column about week-long streaming opportunities, targeting mostly-available players with multiple games per week, trying to fill slots for the slowest days. In my book, more player starts means more TOI, and the more time you have players on the ice the greater the chance for a lucky assist or to rack up a few extra hits or blocked shots.

I’ve been working on a top-100 skaters for your reading pleasure, ranking skaters on 17-18 stats including points per game, points/TOI, Wins Above Replacement, Expected Goals and Actual Goals, and Offensive Point Shares, to name a few. Part of what I’ve been trying to do has been to average these metrics for a holistic impression of a skater’s talent, but also supplementing those raw rankings with player age/development and the occasional eye test.

Like Viz indicated, once you get past the first few names there can be very little separation between certain players, and this obviously isn’t meant to be a comprehensive or be-all end-all ranking. Rather, it’s to give you another perspective on where players are being valued, and might reinforce an idea you have about a skater or surprise you with a hot take. I’ll gladly take questions in the comment section.

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We’re keeping things moving here on the hockey side of things at Razzball as we’re less than two months from the season starting!  It’s not just me: Son has his top 10 out, everyone is posting their football rankings, and Smokey has the EPL RCL set up.  That’s ignoring all of the good baseball psts as we approach the closing stretch.  Today, I’m completing my top 40 forward lists.  Nineteen of these guys were already covered in the top 10 and top 20 posts, so the focus will be on players 20-40.  Let’s get going!

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We’re back continuing this season’s rankings.  You guys know the drill by now so I’m not going to waste your time with a big introduction.  My main thought is that the tier that started with #8 overall (check out the top 10 here) actually goes to around 18th overall instead of 15th.  The gaps between these players are much smaller than in the past so you can go a lot of different ways based on personal preference.  Do you want higher upside, the safer player, six category guys?  All of this is in play and will make for some interesting draft strategy.  Strategy will come in later posts, but for now, let’s get through the top 20:

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Instead of my usual Monday daily notes, I am going to update my list of holds and streams for every NHL team.  This should help everyone out quite a bit in companion with my Playoff Schedule Manifesto.  I will also add in some notes where I feel like they’re necessary, either to explain myself, or some quick thoughts on a player.  Let’s get right to it!

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After a brief haitus, Reid and I are back to bring you up to date on the hockey world. We have a wide ranging conversation about what has happened recently and its impact on fantasy hockey. Among the notable topics are the Dion Phaneuf trade, Jack Eichel’s injury and the subsequent breakouts, Boston pushing Tampa Bay in the standings, and the Rangers are on the verge of blowing things up. We finish with Three Point Challenge picks, which you can make at hockey.razzball.com. All of that and more on the latest edition of The Razzball Hockey Podcast!

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Gretzky, Lemieux, Forsberg, LaFontaine.  That’s the list of players in the last 30 seasons to have multiple five assist games in one season.  Add Mathew Barzal to the list after Friday night.  Barzal became the first rookie in 100 years to have three five point games in one season dishing five assists in the 7-6 win over the Red Wings.  That puts Barzal over a point per game on the season and makes him the prohibitive favorite for the Calder (sorry Boeser).  Our second podcast ever, which took place before last season, saw Reid and I hype up Barzal for dynasties.  Regardless, he’s blown away my expectations this season.  Now, it’s not all rosy for fantasy.  The penalty minutes are low, but more importantly the shot rate is barely over two per game.  On the other hand, he’s 20 years old and is over a point per game, so it’s hard to complain.  There’s a top 20 fantasy player in Barzal’s future if he can get that shot rate up.  Regardless, he’ll be a borderline top 50 player next year solely for the points, and it’s only going to get better from there.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:

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The way young players have stormed the league in recent seasons, people just assume Sam Reinhart won’t get much better and be a bust.  If Reinhart wasn’t the second overall pick, he’d be impressing everyone with his improvement.  While I don’t think he’ll ever be a true superstar, I’m still a big fan of Reinhart going forward.  Reinhart was on the ice for all four Sabres goals on Thursday, scoring a goal and two assists with two shots in the win over the Islanders.  That puts Reinhart at 15 points in his past 16 games making him an elite streamer at the moment.  For those in dynasties, Reinhart should develop into a top 100 player eventually but towards the bottom end.  He’ll be a beast in real life, but the lack of PIM will keep his value down.  For those in redrafts, use him while he’s hot.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:

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This is year three of me writing daily notes for Razzball, and at this point, I don’t think it provides a ton of value for me to write the intro paragraph on superstars.  That said, four goal games are a different animal.  Connor McDavid crushed the best team in the NHL on Monday, scoring a whopping four goals on nine shots and adding an assist in the 6-2 win over the Lightning.  We know McDavid is as good as it gets and he’s the best player in fantasy for the foreseeable future.  This is just a reminder about how good he is (let’s not take him for granted) and how bad of a job Peter Chiarelli has done as a GM that McDavid isn’t going to be in the playoffs this season.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:

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In my second half predictions post, I said that Jack Eichel would be in the top 5 in scoring for the rest of the season.  He’s certainly started on the right track.  Eichel scored the OT winner on his seventh shot against the Flames on Monday before exploding against the Oilers with a goal and three assists with five shots on Tuesday.  The Sabres power play looks like last season’s unit again, the unit that was #1 in the entire NHL.  Eichel is leading the way there but has also been dominant in all phases.  He’s currently in the midst of a 7 game point streak totaling a whopping 14 points in those 7 games while averaging almost 5 shots per game.  This game put Eichel above a point per game for the season and I expect him to finish there.  Sure, the plus-minus is poor, but everything else is outstanding.  He’s a first round pick for me next season, no doubt about it.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:

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The best line in hockey from last season is at it again.  Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron each had five points in the two Boston wins over the last two nights.  Marchand started off with a goal and an assist with three shots in the 4-1 win over Montreal, then bettered that with a goal and two assists with three shots against the Islanders.  Bergeron dished two assists on Wednesday before getting his second hat trick in the last two weeks on Thursday.  Bergeron is now one point short of being at a point per game while Marchand is well over that, sitting at 1.28 ppg, third in the league.  Marchand has provided slam dunk first down value, just exactly what you hoped for when you selected him this year.  Bergeron has managed to surpass expectations on a per-game basis.  If he didn’t miss time, he’d be a top ten forward on the season.  These guys are the main reason why the Bruins are one of the best teams in the league and a major Stanley Cup threat if they can manage to upset the Lightning.  For our purposes, keep rolling them in seasonal formats, and if you’re someone who fires multiple DFS lineups every night, I would make sure to have a Bruins stack on at least one team every night.  The upside is simply too high to ignore.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:

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