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:
Aloha! It’s Lackeydrinksonme! It’s the second issue of my weekly long-run streamer column. I’m here to offer some pickups for the short-slate games in the upcoming week, with a focus on putting more players on the ice than your opponent. ESPN has changed everything so I don’t have Games Started data for the new year, but bear in mind that the odds of coming out with a win are strongly related to the number of players you put on the ice.
Jeff Skinner was off to a slow start with the Sabres going pointless in his first four games. That said, having watched all of the games, he was generating plenty of chances and it was only a matter of time. That time was on Saturday, as Skinner did all of the work on Rasmus Dahlin's first career goal getting his first point as a Sabre, and he followed that up with a smooth backhander in the third period for his first goal. Yes, Skinner played only 13 minutes in this game, but I expect him to settle in the 17-18 minute range as the season progresses. Other players had bigger games on Saturday, but I wanted to highlight Skinner for two reasons. One, if you own him, do not panic and hold onto him. Two, if you don't, you might be able to buy low, and I think it's a great opportunity to get a 3 time 30 goal scorer on the relative cheap. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It's not exactly breaking news that John Tavares moves the needle for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He showed why he was worth the mammoth contract on Sunday, scoring a hat trick on seven shots with two PIM in the 7-6 win over the Blackhawks. The main thing that I want to talk about here is Toronto in general. This offense is incredible, but they also remain a sieve defensively. I have a hard time treating them among the truly elite teams in the league until that is tightened up, at least somewhat. That's why I picked them to finish third in the division again. But for us in fantasy, stream everyone you can for the Leafs, and against them for that matter. I'd have a hard time playing any goalie against them right now; it better be someone that's damn good. They're a fantasy gold mine on both sides. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Here is what I wrote about the Blues in my 31 predictions post: "Carter Hutton starts at least half of the games the rest of the way. There’s no way around it, he’s been much better than Jake Allen. You can tell Mike Yeo knows it lately as Hutton is starting to get more starts. Hutton is still available in over 75% of leagues; I’d go grab him now just because of the potential upside." And that's me quoting me copying what Grey does! Hutton received the start on Tuesday and stopped 30 of 31 shots in the Blues' 3-1 win over Toronto. Hutton has started 17 games and has the best GAA and sv% in the league for qualified goalies. Is he going to stay at this level? Of course not. Could Hutton be a top 15 goalie the rest of the way if he gets 25+ starts? Absolutely. It's worth repeating that you should pick up Hutton right now because he's good enough to potentially be a huge difference maker in fantasy leagues this year. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Since it's almost Labor Day, it's time for me to pick up the pace with my rankings. For those who haven't seen them, you can check out my Top 50 here. I'm not going to bore you with an intro, everybody wants to see my top 100 and this is going to be incredibly long as is, so let's get right to it! 51) Ben Bishop - The more research that I do, the more I'm tempted to move Bishop up even higher. Yes, last season was a disaster, but Bishop was the #1 overall player in 2015-16. But Viz, Dallas has been a train wreck defensively for years! This is true, but with Marc Methot coming on board and the growth of their young blueliners, they could take a step forward. More importantly, we've seen some goalies with far less talent than Bishop succeed in Ken Hitchcock's system *cough* Brian Elliott *cough*. It's a little risky but I'm expecting Dallas to push for the Central Division title giving Bishop massive upside across the board.