Howdy, Razzguys n gals! I'm stoked to bring you my first-ever piece of fantasy hockey content here at Razzball. If you pay attention to the fantasy baseball side of things, then you'll know me from there. But believe it or not, I know a thing or two about fantasy hockey and hope to share my unparalleled wisdom with you all. Poor Viz has been doing it all by himself, so I figured I'd lend a hand. I'll be doing an eight-part Team Previews series, with each division getting two parts. Today is Pacific Part 1, tomorrow will be Part 2, then Wednesday and Thursday will be the Central. Next week, we'll do it all again with the Metro and the Atlantic on Monday-Thursday. Hope you enjoy!
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!
Loyal Razzballers will know my fandom of Martin Necas goes back to when he was drafted by Carolina.  I was perplexed that he fell to 12th overall, and a couple of the guys in front of him are well on their way to becoming busts.  Thankfully, Necas is on his way to breaking out towards stardom.  Necas had two goals and two assists with six shots on Saturday leading Carolina to a 4-3 win over the Lightning.  That brings Necas up to 28 points in 30 games this season and over two shots per game, a big jump on ever level.  The only thing holding him back was playing time and that is certainly not a concern any more.  Somehow, Necas is still available in almost 50% of leagues.  Therefore, we have a few steps to take.  Go to your league's waiver wire, see if he's available, add him immediately if he is, and then come back to see what else happened over the weekend!
Out of the three players moved in the big Columbus-Winnipeg blockbuster, the extra player is the one who has been the best on his new team and it's not even close.  Jack Roslovic has been outstanding since moving to his home town team.  He scored two goals on four shots in the 6-5 win over Chicago.  That brings him to 4+5 in 9 games with the Blue Jackets.  The shot rate is poor to this point, but he also has nine shots in the past three games so it's looking up.  I really liked Roslovic as a prospect, but it never clicked in Winnipeg for whatever reason.  Now, he's playing center, which appears to be his better position, and Torts is utilizing him as a #1 center.  Roslovic is widely available and should be added in all leagues.  There's no guarantee it lasts, but he's hot right now and there's real upside to be had.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
My bold prediction of Tyson Barrie scoring 50 points this season was looking absolutely horrible through the first two weeks.  After the past week, there's some hope.  Barrie had two assists with five shots on Tuesday night against the Senators.  That gives him seven points in the last four games and it hasn't been dominated by power play points.  The good news is that the Oilers have two more games coming up against the Senators early next week, but either way, I'm expecting Barrie to keep playing well and push towards being the top 10 defenseman I projected.  If somebody panicked early, including yourself since I assume most of the readers own Barrie, grab Barrie immediately.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Your early leader in goals two weeks through the season is Max Pacioretty.  Patches had a hat trick on Tuesday putting eight shots on goal in the process while adding two penalty minutes.  That gives Patches six goals in seven games, along with a whopping 32 shots in 7 games.  His linemate, Mark Stone, has arguably been the best player in the league to this point, so the opportunities are going to be there for Patches to have a monster season.  After a disappointing first year in Vegas, Patches has really found his game again.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It's time to get rolling with my fantasy hockey rankings.  Instead of starting with my top 10 and going from there, I'm going to be starting with goaltenders today, defensemen Tuesday, and then forwards and my top 200 by the end of the week.  I will be ranking the guys in order, but I am putting more focus on tiers than the exact rankings of players.  I will be writing in detail about guys that I aggressive with in my rankings, either because I like them a lot or also don't want anything to do with them.  Let's get to it!
The last lottery pick for the Washington Capitals has really come into his own.  Jakub Vrana had an incredible weekend, starting with two goals on eight shots against the Sabres.  He followed it up with a hat trick on five shots against the Flames on Sunday.  That brings Vrana to 9+5 in 16 games with just under three shots per game.  He's a main stay on the second line and second power play unit, so the question is whether or not he's a hold.  For now, I lean towards yes.  I don't think it'll last all season, but Vrana is playing excellent hockey right now and I want to take advantage of it.  The 23 year old has made a jump in every season of his career and looks to be down that path again.  Given that he had 24+23 last season, another slight improvement will get right right onto the fringe.  Vrana isn't an automatic add given that Washington has only two games this week, but I'm holding onto him while Vrana has his foot on the accelerator.  Let's take a look at what else happened this weekend:
On Monday, I wrote the following about James Neal: "As long as he’s on the first power play unit, Neal has a real chance to bounce back.  I wouldn’t hold him yet, but he’s a solid streaming option." And that's me quoting me copying what Grey does! Well, I hope that you streamed him on Tuesday.  Neal stayed on the first power play unit, and the time to hold him is now.  Neal scored four goals on eight shots on Tuesday, playing almost 21 minutes, in the 5-2 win over the Islanders.  Two of those goals came on the power play where it's clear Edmonton is using him as one of their primary shooters.  Am I saying Neal is going to score 40 goals again?  Definitely not.  However, the upside is too high to leave him on the waiver wire.  He's always had a quality shot rate and there's a chance of good penalty minutes on top of the goals.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights: