We're moving out from the crease to the blue liners in my rankings. Today, I'll be going through the top 20 defensemen with the Top 40 coming out later in the week. Let's get right to it! 1) Cale Makar - Covered in the Top 20 overall here. 2) Dougie Hamilton - The top defenseman last season by a fairly wide margin, Hamilton moved from Carolina to New Jersey. It's a little worrisome, but I still expect big things from Dougie. I wouldn't be surprised if Hamilton ends up getting more minutes than he did while he was in Carolina.
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.
It's not the first time this season, but Jonathan Huberdeau had five points in Tuesday's 7-4 win over the Predators, scoring twice and adding three assists. I know I'm a broken record with Huberdeau, but there's no superstar that gets less recognition than Huberdeau does. Thankfully, the Panthers clinched a playoff berth with the victory so he'll get back on the big stage. He's playing a 95 point pace again and should be around 25th overall going into next season in standard leagues. If your league doesn't include shots, he'll be even higher. It took longer than anticipated, but Huberdeau has proven to be worth the third overall pick from 10 years ago and then some. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Injuries are a part of the game, but always terrible to see. Unfortunately, a Razzball favorite went down on Monday night. Brendan Gallagher broke his thumb and is out multiple weeks. If you have an IR spot, definitely stash him, but if you don't, you can sadly let him go. So who gets the boost in Montreal? Jesperi Kotkaniemi moved to the wing and took Gallagher's spot which boosts him up to a solid streamer from a middling one. Eric Staal scored the overtime winner in his Canadiens debut and is now centering Toffoli and Drouin. He looked completely shot in Buffalo, but maybe the trade plus the easier division rejuvenate him. Let's see how he looks over the next couple games before we use him. I also really like what I've seen from Josh Anderson lately who is playing more minutes. The assists are brutal, but the goals and shots should be quite good. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Things have taken a dramatic turn for the fourth playoff spot in the West division. With the Blues crumbling, Arizona has played its way into the fourth spot. They opened up a three point lead on Sunday night, almost exclusively because of Jakob Chychrun. Chychrun had the first hat trick of his career, tying the game late in the third before scoring the winner in overtime. That gives him twelve goals on the season pushing towards three shots per game and with elite penalty minutes. He's a solid #2 for this season, but what's the long term ceiling? Chychrun just turned 23 years old and this jump in shot rate does a lot for his long term value. In terms of dynasties, Chychrun has shown me enough this year to warrant a spot in the bottom of the top ten for defensemen, making him a #1D. He's a stud, plain and simple. Arizona has been a surprise offensively, and a lot of it has to do with their kingpin defenseman. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
It's no surprise that the Sharks gave up five goals on Saturday. They've continually allowed a lot of goals and are arguably the best matchup you can hope your players are facing at the moment. It was the top line's turn for the Blues as they combined for eleven points. Ryan O'Reilly and David Perron each had a goal and three assists while Jordan Kyrou scored two goals and added an assist. Perron is now above a point per game and RoR is exactly at it. Kyrou cooled off after a hot start, but he's cemented himself as the third member of this line. The schedule gets pretty tough going forward for the Blues, but I still think I would hold Kyrou in all formats. The upside is through the roof and with the Blues in more of a battle for a playoff spot than they would have anticipated going into the season, I expect the top line to continue getting big minutes. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Nino Niederreiter's first season in Carolina couldn't have gone any better with 14+16 in 36 games. Last season really couldn't have gone worse with 11+18 in 67 games. Well, this year has certainly been closer to 2018-19 and we can be thankful for that in fantasy. Niederreiter scored two goals and an assist with three shots on Friday before dishing an assist on Saturday, adding six shots. That brings Nino to 9+3 in 16 games with over three shots per game, 13 PIM, and a great +11 rating. The second line in Carolina has been incredible, sparked by Niederreiter and Trocheck's revival. He's an easy hold in all formats for the time being. I wish that the minutes were a bit higher, but considering what Nino is doing with what he's getting, there can be some growth with additional minutes, namely in the assist department. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
One of my bold predictions from the season that already looks awful is that Chicago would be the worst team in the league. Their season has turned around on the back of somebody who was expected to be a tertiary option. Kevin Lankinen was third fiddle going into the season behind Delia and Subban, but that has changed quickly. Lankinen stopped 34 of 35 shots that he faced on Tuesday in the 2-1 OT win over the Stars. That brings Lankinen's save percentage to above .930 and a GAA approaching two. I didn't imagine a Chicago goalie would even be worth streaming this season outside of playing against Detroit, but Lankinen has played his way into being an easy hold. Will it last? It's impossible to say with goalies. Either way, he should he held until he cools off, assuming that eventually happens. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
The first draft pick in the franchise history of the Golden Knights, Cody Glass is starting to come into his own. On Friday, Glass scored a goal on four shots before falling it up with an assist and two shots on Sunday. With Pietrangelo out for the time being, Glass has been on the point of the first power play unit and looked extremely comfortable. He has a point in four of his five games and while I'm not looking to hold him, Glass is up to being a solid streamer. Long term, there's tremendous upside but with how loaded Vegas is right now, Glass' ceiling is a bit capped. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
We had a blockbuster happen on Saturday morning. Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic are headed to Columbus in exchange for Pierre-Luc Dubois and a third round pick. Three disgruntled players all get fresh starts and all should have a fantasy impact, albeit to differing degrees. Let's start with Dubois. He's going to start centering the second line, presumably with Ehlers and Stastny moving to the wing. I presume his minutes will come in around the 18 he was at last season which should be quite productive. The big question is whether or not he's on the first power play or if Stastny keeps that spot. We'll have to wait two weeks to find out as Dubois will have to quarantine for that long given Canadian rules right now, but there's a potential top 50 player in here. I really like the combination of Dubois with Ehlers.