It wasn't that long ago that Vladimir Tarasenko requested a trade from the Blues. It wasn't that long ago that Tarasenko could have went to Seattle in the expansion draft. Now, St. Louis has to be thanking their lucky stars that he's still on the roster. Tarasenko had his biggest game of the season on Thursday, scoring a hat trick on four shots and adding two more assists in the 6-2 win over the Sabres. Tarasenko now has 31+41 in 67 games, with a great chance of setting a career high in points. It's a remarkable turnaround for the Russian who is certainly a top 100 player for drafts next season. I don't see him cracking the top 50, but it's great to see Tarasenko playing great hockey again. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Fifty-six goals. That's how many Auston Matthews has on the season after another two goal performance on Thursday. Not only does he have the most goals in a season in Maple Leafs history, he now holds the record for most goals in a season by an US-born player. Matthews has 49 goals on 49 games, a run that hasn't happened in this millennium. He's locking up the Hart Trophy with this run, and the fantasy question is where he goes in drafts next season. I still couldn't bring myself to take Matthews over McDavid because the floor for McDavid is the highest we've seen in the fantasy hockey era, but I think Matthews has played himself into tier one being worthy of the second pick overall. Can't wait to see how Toronto performs in the playoffs this year. Let's take a look at what happened over the last two nights:
Who would have thought that a seven point game wouldn't get the opening? It would take something extravagant and that's what happened, with Jason Robertson scoring back-to-back hat tricks. R0bertson carried the Stars to victory on Friday scoring three on seven shots, including the overtime winner. He capped it off with an empty netter to seal the game against Minnesota on Sunday, totaling six shots and two PIM with his hat trick. That brings Robertson to a whopping 29+25 in 47 games and three shots per game. Robertson seemingly came out of nowhere last season to earn a second place finish in the Calder race. Now, the sky appears to be the limit. Robertson is still only 22 years old and has his center of the present and future already with him. It looks like the Stars have their new Benn and Seguin. They can only hope Hintz and Robertson reach that level, but it's not out of the realm of possibility. I don't think Robertson quite cracks the top 20 for the rest of the season and next year, but he's a slam dunk top 50 player. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
We have our first big named moved prior to the trade deadline. It appears that teams want to get their business done early this season, especially Montreal, and they did on Monday sending Tyler Toffoli to Calgary for a prospect and picks, including a first. In Toffoli's first game, he scored a goal on four shots in 12:18 of ice time. The game was lopsided so it's hard to make a lot of judgments yet. Toffoli started the game on the third line, but his goal was assisted by Lindholm and Gaudreau as Sutter was trying out different looks. Given how well the first line has played, I can't imagine Toffoli stays there, but it's worth noting. If he's on the third line and second PP, he's capable of being a hold like Mangiapane has been in that role in the past, but it also caps his ceiling quite a bit. I'm not rushing to hold him, but his underlying numbers are still quite good this season despite Montreal being a dumpster fire. I wouldn't be surprised if he does turn into a hold at some point again, so if you want to make the spec add, I'm completely fine with it. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
The Flames are playing incredible hockey at the moment as they make their way up the standings. The top line gets a ton of credit, but the second line has been just as important. They've thoroughly dominated for months generating absurd shot rates and possession. This continued the last two nights as Calgary blew out Vegas and Toronto back to back. Mikael Backlund led the way with six points between the two games, scoring a goal and three assists against Vegas, then following it up with two more assists against the Leafs. Andrew Mangiapane scored three goals over the two games, while Blake Coleman dished two assists. It might be a stretch, but I have them all as elite streamers right now. I'd rank them Mangiapane, Coleman, Backlund depending on your league format, but the work they're doing against top lines is more valuable in real life than fantasy. Still, if they keep getting over 80 shots per 60 minutes as a line, which they've done for over a month, there will be plenty of fantasy value. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
The new goalie for the Bruins is the one that's been in for the last decade. Tuukka Rask made his season debut on Thursday, saving 25 of 27 shots in the 3-2 win over the Flyers. Somehow Rask is available in over 65% of leagues still, so if you're in one of them, grab him immediately. He didn't receive a ton of volume even in his prime, but I'd expect him to get 50-60% of the starts going forward which is definitely worth holding. Linus Ullmark should receive the rest of the starts. That's still enough for me to hold him as they should be quality starts now that Boston has turned the corner. Jeremy Swayman was sent to the AHL since he doesn't have to clear waivers, so he can be cut in all formats. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Outside of more COVID cases and postponements, there wasn't a lot that went on over the weekend in the NHL, at least with a fantasy impact. The big story was Marc-Andre Fleury returning to Vegas, the first face of the franchise. Fleury was excellent, stopping 30 of 31 shots to win the game 2-1 for the Blackhawks. MAF's overall numbers are more of a top end #3 goalie, but the volume is really good. I'm indifferent towards holding him or not, but I'd lean that way since it's been better after the brutal first month. There's also some additional upside if he moves somewhere at the trade deadline as a rental. I assume Chicago will ask him what he wants at this point in his career but they're well out of the playoffs so for a couple months, I could see him going to a team for a few months before retirement. The schedule for Chicago over the next 10 days is quite appealing before it gets ugly at the end of the month, which is more reason to hold Fleury for now.
It's no surprise that an ex-Sabre destroyed the Sabres in their first game against their former team. I've seen it for the better part of the decade. The surprise was that the Sabres stormed out to a 3-0 and 4-1 lead, only to blow the game. Sam Reinhart had a goal and three assists with two shots in the comeback, but that's not what makes me excited. Four points doesn't make me excited? Well, it does, but what really excites me is that Reinhart moved onto the first line once the game was 4-1. The line change sparked the Florida comeback, and I'd have to think they keep Reinhart there to start next game. I've already been holding Reinhart, but he is available in a fairly large number of leagues. I'd grab him now because if he stays on the top line, we could see him push towards a point per game.
A personal favorite, Filip Forsberg, took over the game on Tuesday night, scoring four goals in the 6-0 win over the Blue Jackets. That gives Forsberg 10 goals and 5 assists in 13 games. Not bad, not bad. The story is the same for Forsberg as it has been over the last five years. When he's on the ice, he's one of the best offensive players in the league. The problem is that he always seems to have an injury that causes him to miss a month. He's already missed eight games so fingers crossed that he stays healthy the rest of the way. His linemates (more on them later) have found their form as well giving Nashville a potent first line for the first time since Johansen was playing his best hockey and Arvidsson was at his peak goal scoring ability. He has a tough matchup with Boston on Thursday, but after that, Nashville has some easy opponents which could let Forsberg continue this goal scoring run. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
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:
The Maple Leafs went into the season wanting to limit the workload of their goaltending duo, but things have gone off the rails in the first month. The good news is that if you own Jack Campbell in fantasy, you're reaping all of the benefits. Campbell had a shutout against Nashville on Wednesday, saving 24 shots. Is a 1.68/.943 good? I had Campbell ranked as a top 10 goalie going into the season, but now, he's looking like a top 5 guy. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
We wrap up the forward rankings today with the Top 100. If you've missed the early parts, you can start with the Top 60 here and go backwards from there. In a few days, I'll have my Top 200 list out and before you know it, the season will be starting. Let's get to it! 61) Bryan Rust - The point per game season will probably be an outlier, but Rust has a high floor no matter who his center is. Like Guentzel, I wouldn't be surprised if the shot volume goes up a tad while Crosby and Malkin are out because the Penguins will need the puck on their sticks more.