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:
While general sports fans were watching playoff baseball (Go Braves!) or Sunday Night Baseball, hockey fans saw one of the best performances of the season take place on the first weekend.  Anthony Mantha scored four goals on eight shot, including the winner in the last minute of the game, to beat the Stars 4-3.  This comes after an incredible performance in his season opener in which he scored a goal and two assists with five shots and four penalty minutes in the upset win over Nashville.  In both games, the players on the top line were at or above 20 minutes each.  That's extremely encouraging for their long-term success.  Obviously we're not expecting Mantha to be a top 25 player all of a sudden, but the potential is there for 30 goals, 50 PIM and a very good shot rate.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
The first draft pick in Vegas history, Cody Glass, scored the first goal of his career in his first game, a 4-1 win over the Sharks.  First, the good news.  He played with Mark Stone (G+A) and Max Pacioretty (A, 5 SOG) which puts Glass in a great position to succeed going forward.  He also played with these guys on the power play.  The bad news: his minutes were down because Gallant doesn't trust him defensively yet.  Whenever they had a defensive zone start, Stastny started on the ice and would go off for Glass if they exited the zone.  Yes, it's only a defensive zone start, but on a team that transitions as well as Vegas does, the more minutes the better, and Glass didn't cross the 15 minute mark.  I'm good with picking him up if you want the upside, but let's not go crazy spending a lot of FAAB on Glass.  I like him plenty long term, and perhaps Stone drags him into be a hold all season, but it's far from a guarantee.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the first two nights of the season:
We're at the end of individual rankings!  Almost 15,000 words later, we've ranked the top 100 forwards and 40 defensemen.  Now, we conclude that with my goaltending rankings.  I'm going to start by talking about my goaltending strategy for drafts, then split the goalies into tiers.  I'm not going to go in-depth on every goalie, just the ones that I feel are worth talking about, mostly because I'm higher or lower on somebody.  The reason I don't want to go very in-depth on every goalie is that the variance on goaltending from season to season is massive.  In other words, even the best goalies have poor seasons from time to time, and guys will come out of nowhere to have excellent seasons.  Did anyone know who Jordan Binnington was a year ago?  The public certainly did not.  Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss were afterthoughts for most.  Darcy Kuemper was the backup and wasn't drafted outside of deep leagues.  Those goalies were the 3rd-6th ranked goalies at the end of the season.  This is why I never draft goalies in the first two rounds, and never more than one in the first 7-8 rounds.  If you like to have one presumed top end goalie, that's fine, go for it in the 4th-5th rounds if they're still there.  Just do not reach, because the range of outcomes in goalies is incredibly wide, while forwards and defensemen are much more certain.  Any other questions on this, let me know in the comments section below.  Here are my tiers:
Hey guys! It's Sven, and we have another 31 in 31. Over the next month, I will be taking a look at each team’s players to watch out for going into the 2019-20 fantasy hockey season. This analysis features everything from surefire studs, to sleepers, to streamers, deeper league holds, even to rookie-eligible prospects that may make an appearance at some point this season. Please let me know if you guys enjoy this type of material! Reminder that the stat totals are from last season. Last year my previews went alphabetically, but this year we’re going to go division-by-division, starting with the top team. On our sixth stop on the 31 in 31 tour, we’re headed back to California to preview the Anaheim Ducks! Last season the Ducks were – well, wounded ducks. Their amount of injuries combined with players just being inconsistent led to a forgettable season. With their core only getting older and some tough decisions made this off-season, I have a feeling these guys have a couple of rough years ahead. That being said, there is still some excitement and some young talent brewing!
For those of you doing well in your head to head leagues, this is the most important post of the year.  This is my annual playoff manifesto where I break down every team's schedule for the last four weeks of the season.  I tell you who are the best teams and players to stream from, who you should look to trade for or away if your deadline hasn't passed, and it allows you to plan ahead with ease.  For those who haven't read it in the past, the numbers in the parentheses are how many games the team plays in each of those weeks, with the last number being the last week in the season and preceding accordingly.  This is going to be a massive post so let's get right to the 2019 Playoff Manifesto!
The trade deadline is rapidly approaching and we saw our first big move happen over the weekend.  Nick Bjugstad and Jared McCann were traded to Pittsburgh for Derick Brassard, Riley Sheahan, and three draft picks.  So what does this do to their values?  Well, let's start with the easy ones.  Sheahan is fantasy irrelevant as a fourth line center.  McCann is currently playing as the third line center for Pittsburgh with Malkin down, having Pearson and Hornqvist on his wings.  With no power play time, he's a bottom end streamer, but there is some upside here.  Bjugstad is centering the second line, but even when Malkin comes back, the plan is for Kessel to be on his wing.  I'd say this gives him a small boost to his value, but I wouldn't rush to own him.  Bjugstad's situation in Florida was pretty good from a fantasy perspective.  Brassard gets the biggest boost here, but to what level?  Obviously he was a disaster in Pittsburgh since they acquired him.  Florida is starting him on the wing with Trocheck and Hoffman.  This is a huge upgrade for Brassard who becomes an elite streamer.  However, this might only last for a while as I expect Florida to flip Brassard closer to the deadline.  That means big minutes for now which is obviously great, but who knows where he gets moved.  Maybe it's somewhere that would be good for his value (e.g. Winnipeg, who tried to get him last year before Pitt did), but it could also be somewhere like Colorado or Boston which wouldn't be great.  In a deep league, I would grab Brassard immediately.  In standard leagues, I'd use him tonight against the Blues and go from here.  Here's some other observations I've made over the last few days:
I hope all of you Razzballers that celebrate had a Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays to everyone!  The three day hiatus without games is over, so I'm going to do a quick preview of Thursday's games with some streamers, DFS options, and other things I'm looking for.  I'll get back to daily notes tomorrow recapping all of these games, so this will be an opportunity to get my thoughts on games out there and either look smart, dumb, or both.  Let's get to it!
Eichel and Skinner are getting tons of credit for the great start to the season for the Buffalo Sabres, but Sam Reinhart isn't getting the love he deserves.  Reinhart had five assists in two games over the weekend, extending his point streak to 10 and reaching 32 points in 34 games.  I've long been a Reinhart supporter but this jump is to an unprecedented level.  The former second overall pick does all of the little things so well and this year, he's finally being rewarded for it.  I don't see why he can't get 70+ points come season's end.  His goals are actually down from last season and with how well the top line is playing, there's no reason why Reinhart can't end up pushing last season's total of 25.  He was always expected to be a playmaker going back to his junior days and now, he might set a new career high in assists by New Year's.  If you're in one of the 25% of leagues that Reinhart is still available, go grab him immediately.  For those who own him, I would definitely hold tight and enjoy the breakout.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend: