Going into the season, I was high on Aaron Ekblad because the reports out of Florida were that Yandle was going to get scratched to open the season and his future was in doubt.  One bout of COVID later, and Yandle was in opening night and scored.  For the bad luck I've had on rankings this year , Yandle has not impacted Ekblad one bit.  Ekblad had hit a bit of a rough patch over the last week, but he fixed that in a big way on Thursday.  Ekblad scored two goals and added two assists with six shots in the 5-4 win over the Predators.  That brings Ekblad to 8+7 in 22 games, an incredible rate of goals for a defenseman.  Add in three shots per game and strong PIM, and Ekblad has a chance at finishing as a #2D this season.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
To say I've been bullish on Filip Forsberg for half a decade now would be an understatement.  To say I've been over-bullish is probably fair.  Call it stubbornness, call it belief in the player, whatever you want, but I was the high man on Forsberg this year and I think we're finally getting that massive season we've all been waiting for.  Forsberg was incredible on Thursday night, a back-and-forth affair between the Panthers and Predators.  Forsberg totaled five points, two goals and three assists, with eight shots in the victory.  For the season, that puts Forsberg at 6+5 in 10 games with exactly four shots per game.  Pretty, pretty, pretty good.  He hasn't even played Detroit yet!  If he keeps shooting four shots on per game, he'll be a slam dunk top 50 player with upside from there.  Forsberg is at 15% shooting right now which isn't far off his norm.  The minutes are starting to go up a bit which is the main thing which held him back under Laviolette.  Thirty goals and over a point per game isn't out of the question.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Injuries and COVID absences didn't stop Carolina from shutting down the Lightning on Tuesday night.  It started with Petr Mrazek in net who stopped all 32 shots that he faced to earn the win.  That's two shutouts already in three starts already for Mrazek.  It's to the point where I feel comfortable playing him in every start where going into the season, I didn't want to use him against the other top teams in the Central.  We've seen the upside before in Detroit and even though that was a while ago, the system in place in Carolina should make Mrazek's burden relatively easy.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
We've seen this story before.  Last year, upper management called out Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin for poor play.  This year, it was Jim Montgomery.  Benn had one goal through 20 games, but he now has three over the last two games.  Benn scored two goals and an assist with five shots and two PIM in the 6-1 win over the Canucks.  This came after a goal and an assist on four shots against the Oilers.  He wasn't going to shoot 2% forever, but Benn did not look good over the first six weeks of the season.  That said, we've seen a big hot streak from him before so there is hope he can do it again.  The schedule looks fairly good over the short term so I'm expecting Benn to turn this nice stretch into a hot streak.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
As far as best contracts in the league go, Roman Josi's is near the top of the list.  Josi, who is nearing the end of a 7/28 deal signed in 2013, has developed into a true #1 defenseman.  Josi scored two goals and an assist on five shots in the 5-3 win over the Stars.  Josi is currently up to #6 on the player rater for defensemen, in the range that we expected from him.  He's not in the top tier, but he's firmly in tier two now and going forward.  Josi looks like a good bet to set career highs in both goals (15) and points (61).  Let's take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:
It was quite the weekend for last season's Calder Trophy winner.  Mathew Barzal entered Friday's game against the Senators with five goals on the season, and he matched that in two games.  Barzal scored two goals and an assist against the Senators before scoring a hat trick against the Maple Leafs on Saturday.  That brings Barzal up to 10+25 in 37 games with solid PIM and an improved shot rate.  He's still only 21 years old so clearly the best is to come.  For the rest of this season, I think he's just inside the top 50 now that his shot rate isn't far from average.  If he can eventually get that up towards three a game, it's game over.  Barzal has top 20 player upside down the line; hopefully the Isles get some more talent around him.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Jonathan Quick was already out.  Now Jack Campbell is out 4-6 weeks with a knee injury.  That makes Cal Petersen the starter in Los Angeles for the time being.  Petersen was a 5th round pick for the Sabres that blossomed at Notre Dame and signed with the Kings after he became a free agent due to waiting out his time at Notre Dame.  He is a very good prospect, and now he's jumped into the show.  In his two starts over the weekend, Petersen made 34 saves on 35 shots against the Blackhawks before stopping 38 of 42 shots against the Predators.  Obviously the Kings are a bad team, but their schedule is decent for the next two weeks, so I don't mind taking a gamble on Petersen if you need goaltending help.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Everyone knew that Elias Pettersson was an elite prospect who was going to score plenty in the NHL.  In a year where rookies around the NHL actually look like rookies, Pettersson is lighting the world on fire.  Petterson scored two goals and added three assists in the 7-6 win over Colorado on Friday, boosting his totals to an insane 9+6 in 9 games so far.  Obviously he's not going to shoot 39% all season, but after lower minutes to open the year, Pettersson has played at least 18 minutes in each of the last four games, including the last two over 20.  For redrafts, he should be a borderline top 50 player this season.  In dynasties, Pettersson is a top 20 talent.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Last year's point leader for defensemen is off to an even better start this season.  John Carlson had a goal and two assists on Monday, bringing his totals to 5/8/+6/6/19/8 through eight games.  It was hard to see any upside from last season's totals, but some shooting percentage luck could have Carlson around 20+50.  Add in a quality plus-minus, and there's a chance that Carlson ends up the #1 defenseman for the season.  It's far from a guarantee, but it's abundantly clear through three weeks that last season's big breakout was no fluke.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Quick, who is the only team without a loss?  Shockingly, it's the New Jersey Devils.  They've had all home games, but they have been strong in all facets of the game, winning by a total of 17-4 in those games.  Outside of the Sharks game, they've made life easy on Keith Kinkaid and he's taken care of business.  Kinkaid shut out the powerful Stars on Tuesday stopping 24 shots faced.  Do I expect the Devils to be a powerhouse?  No.  Should Kinkaid be owned everywhere?  Absolutely.  Goaltending is a mess right now after the top 20ish guys, so there's no reason Kinkaid should be on the waiver wire, even if he's just a hot schmotato.  He's available in over 2/3rds of leagues right now, so grab him while he's hot.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights: