With Tyler Bertuzzi injured and Jakub Vrana in the league's assistance program (best wishes to him), the Red Wings needed somebody to step up on left winger. Dominik Kubalik, come on down! Kubalik wasn't given a qualifying offer by the Blackhawks after last season, leaving him to sign in Detroit as a free agent. The first two weeks couldn't have gone better, especially the last weekend. Kubalik had a goal and an assist with 4 shots against the Blackhawks on Friday, before having a goal and two assists with six shots against the Ducks on Sunday. With eight points in his last four games, Kubalik is in must-own territory right now. There's no guarantee it lasts, but he's shown he can thrive next to Larkin and Kubalik has been a 30 goal scorer before, so we know he has the upside. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Today, I'm going to complete my goaltending rankings with tiers 5-8. If you draft one of these guys as your #2 goalie, you're carrying a bit of risk that they could implode. There are guys in tiers 5-7 that have upside, whether it's needing an injury to the other goalie on the team, or being the #1 on a team with a lot of variance. Let's get to it!
Well, we have a clear winner for craziest game of the season. Toronto went up 6-1 and 7-2 going into the third, only to allow four goals in the first 5:21 of the second, only to end up pulling away from the Red Wings. 10-7! 10-7!!! Absolutely bonkers. Toronto scored ten goals and didn't even have a power play. The top line destroyed Detroit, led by Mitch Marner, who had four goals and two assists with six shots and two PIM. Michael Bunting had a goal and four assists with four shots, while Auston Matthews had a goal and three assists with four shots. Look, we know what we're getting from Marner and Matthews. Bunting I'm still torn on. Even in this game, Bunting played under 14 minutes. It's hard to sustain success with that workload. On the other hand, that line is as good as any in hockey right now, and Bunting has been going off. I'm still leaning towards elite streamer, but I can't argue with anyone holding him. Seventeen goals in a game! Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
One of the most popular names discussed in the trade market lately has been J.T. Miller. A big reason is because whoever trades for him would have him signed for next season as well. The main reason is because he's a damn good hockey player and he showed that on Thursday. Miller had a hat trick and an assist with five shots in the 5-1 win over the Jets. Miller is on pace for the best season of his career, which says a lot because he was over a point per game two seasons ago. There's no guarantee Vancouver moves him, but if he does, I'm hesitant to think it would help his trade value. If anything, I would expect it to hurt. He gets massive minutes that he might not get on his new team, including top power play time. I wouldn't necessarily sell high on him, especially two months from the deadline, but it's something to think about. Here's to hoping we don't have to worry about that. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It wasn't hard to figure out who to feature in the opening paragraph tonight. Andre Burakovsky started off the weekend with two goals on six shots against the Red Wings and finished it off with a hat trick on six shots against the Panthers. That brings Burakovsky to 12+8 in 24 games on the season, quite the respectable total. He's still available in 40% of leagues and that needs to change immediately. With Gabriel Landeskog out for two weeks, Burakovsky is playing on the top line and top power play unit. That's enough to make him must own in all formats, and he showed why on Sunday, getting a hat trick in a tough matchup. It should be an excellent December for Burakovsky and hopefully it continues into the New Year. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
The Blues have cooled off a bit since their hot start, but that doesn't mean that all of their players have. Pavel Buchnevich tore it up over the weekend, scoring a goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM on Friday before coming back with two goals and an assist with five shots on Saturday. Buch is crushing it across the board on the seasons now with 8+8, 18 PIM and 58 shots in 19 games. Add in a +8 rating and he's a top 20 forward at the moment. Do I expect that to last? No, but his fit in St. Louis couldn't be better and now he's getting plenty of minutes, especially with David Perron out of the lineup. Somehow, he's still available in over 20% of leagues which is blasphemous. He has a real chance at being a top 50 player this year. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
To say Jacob Markstrom finished October on fire would be an understatement. Markstrom had a 20 save shutout against the Flyers on Saturday, his third in the past four games. The Flames are off to a great start with Markstrom at the forefront. He's saved nine goals above expected over in the last four. He's a clear workhorse which is why I had him a bottom end #1 goalie going into the season, but the upside is higher than that because of the volume. Who knows, maybe he puts together a top five season because of how Sutter wants to play. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Razzball favorite Oliver Bjorkstrand had his second 3+ point game of the young season on Thursday, dishing three assists and adding two shots in the 3-2 OT win over the Islanders. That's seven points in four games and the equally encouraging sign is that Bjorkstrand played over 20 minutes in this game. He's owned in almost every league like he should be, but the upside may be even higher than I gave Bjorkstrand credit for. I have no doubt that the goals are going to come, but the playmaking has improved leaps and bounds over the last season plus. I don't think he can quite get to being a top 50 player in a best case scenario, but top 75 is attainable. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Things have changed quite a bit with goaltending in the NHL since I started writing at Razzball. When I started, there were tons of workhorses with very few teams using a platoon. Now, more than half of the teams have a duo where the backup is getting at least 1/3 of the starts, if not a complete split. Among the few workhorses that we have left, there are only six that I completely trust to be a #1 goalie this year. I am breaking down all of the goalies in the NHL into tiers (and ranking them within in each tier), but be sure to understand how your league format can change the value of certain players. For example, if you're in a head to head league, Marc-Andre Fleury is going to be more valuable than in a roto league because the volume should be there. In a roto league where you have a set number of starts, someone like Ilya Sorokin, who, barring injury, should start 35-40 games, gets a boost because the quality of starts matters a lot more than volume. If you have specific questions, ask them in the comments section, but I'll have a quick note on everyone when necessary. Let's get to it!
As far as feel good stories go, Troy Grosenick is near the top of the list for the season. Grosenick, a 31 year old with only two previous NHL games in 2014, was forced into action for the Kings on Wednesday following Cal Petersen going on the COVID list. To say Grosenick rose to the moment would be an understatement. He saved 33 of 34 shots that he faced in the 5-1 win over the Ducks. You have to love a journeyman coming in and having success. All of a sudden, Grosenick could get some starts in the near term. If you're in a deep league and desperate for starts, you can roll the dice on him. With LA's next six games against Colorado, St. Louis, and Vegas, it's definitely a gamble, but the Kings have been a massive surprise so maybe Grosenick will be the next guy to keep them afloat. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
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:
He's backkkk. Justin Williams made his return on Sunday, totaling three shots on goal in 13 minutes of action before scoring the shootout winner for the Hurricanes. So what should we expect from him going forward? Well, the Hurricanes are in a bigger dog fight for the playoffs than expected, so I do expect Williams' workload to ramp up sooner than later. He skated on the fourth line in this game, but there's a spot for him right now in the top six that's currently occupied by Foegele. It should only be a matter of time until he fills that role. How much does that matter? Well, we know that Williams is a great source of shots. He pushed close to three per game last season while totaling 53 points and 44 PIM. That sounds like a guy firmly on the fringe to me. I wouldn't be rushing to grab Williams, especially with Carolina only having one game between now and January 31st, but he's back to elite streamer status with the upside of being a bottom end hold. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend: