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:
Hey guys! 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 18th stop on the 31 in 31 tour, we’re crossing the border again to stop in the 6ix – What’s up Leafs Nation? After the monster signing up Johnny T last summer, the Willy hold-out and re-upping Matthews for five years, the time has come to pay Mitch. GM Kyle Dubas has bobbed and weaved thus far, and I am sure they will get something figured out soon. That being said, there are 19 other Leafers to talk about!
We have now reached the point of doing individual positions before I complete a top 200.  Through the top 20 overall, I have covered 18 forwards, one defenseman and a goalie.  For now, I'll be holding off on the last two.  I'll be covering the top 100 forwards in posts of twenty going forward.  For today, I will go through the top 40.  Let's get right to it!
Hello everyone!  For those that missed it, my top 10 for next season came out last week.  You can find those rankings and what I'll be posting in the future here.  Today, we're going through the top 20 overall.  I'm sure it'll be another monster post so let's get right to it! 11) Johnny Gaudreau - As scoring jumped across the league, Gaudreau found another gear last season.  He set a career high in every category but PIM (he was 2 short), including 99 points.  I've been lower on Gaudreau than consensus for years now, and the last two years it hurt a bit, especially last year.  This ranking does scare me a bit because you're buying him at his peak value.  However, he has stayed incredibly healthy over the years, he bumped his shot rate up to almost exactly three per game, and at 26 years old, Gaudreau should be entering his prime.  I have a feeling I'll end up sliding Gaudreau down a few spots eventually, but he's definitely in this tier that starts with Draisaitl at 8th overall.
From an individual standpoint, this season couldn't be going any better for John Tavares.  That continued on Monday night as Tavares scored 4 goals in the 7-5 win over Florida.  That brings Tavares to 45 goals and 86 points, both career highs.  Obviously we know to roll Tavares every time out, but where does he rank going into next season?  He's bumped his shot rate back up to an elite level and his plus-minus is by far a career best.  Is that sustainable?  It might be given how good Toronto is.  This, of course, assumes that Marner returns next season.  I don't think he'll make my top 10, but it will be very close.  At the least, Tavares will be in consideration for the wheel in a 12 team draft come September.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Well if I had to guess who would have the second four goal game of the season, I'm not sure Brad Richardson would have been in the first 500 guesses.  Richardson single-handedly carried the Coyotes to victory on Thursday with those four goals on six shots, adding two PIM with a +4 rating.  Richardson has 16 goals in 48 games now, a career high in his 14th season.  For those of you in deep leagues, I would grab Richardson for the faceoff boost too.  In standard leagues, I'm probably passing still despite playing at a 27 goal pace.  Everything about it screams unsustainable, but we have to give props to him burying four in one game.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
The Bruins split up their first line recently and there's been one massive winner: Danton Heinen.  Heinen had a great rookie season in 2017-18 with 47 points in 77 games.  He's struggled mightily this season but Heinen has taken off since moving onto a line with Marchand and Bergeron.  Heinen had a goal and two assists with three shots against the Blackhawks on Tuesday.  That gives him three goals and three assists in the past four games, with at least three shots on goal in every game.  If you're in a 16+ teamer, Heinen should be owned no matter the format.  Even in 12'ers, I am good with holding onto Heinen while he's hot and the Bruins have three games in four nights starting on Friday.  At the least, he's moved up to elite streamer status as he's as hot of a schmotato as they come.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It was only a matter of time until Vladimir Tarasenko picked up his play.  Tarasenko had four goals over the weekend, including a hat trick on Sunday, in two games against the Predators.  That gives him an eight game point streak to get to 22+19 on the season.  Obviously that's still disappointing, but there's time for him to salvage the season.  Hell, the Blues are even in a playoff spot now because of how bad the Western Conference is.  Look for them to make some additions at the deadline because of all of the moves they made in the summer.  Missing the playoffs would be a major disappointment, and creating depth for the lineup would help things out for Tarasenko.  The buy low window is probably closed but there's a strong chance that he's a top 30 player the rest of the way.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
It's no secret that the Ducks are a mess right now.  I said in a post last week that they're the worst team in the league at the moment, but last night's game took the cake.  Getting shutout by the Senators is as low as it gets.  Sure, Anders Nilsson played great stopping 45 shots, but a lot of them were low quality like the team taking them.  This isn't a post about Nilsson, he's barely usable.  This is a reminder that you should stream against the Ducks every time you get.  Anaheim plays against plenty of bad teams this month (Vancouver 2x, Edmonton, Chicago) yet I still wouldn't hesitate to use any of their goaltenders.  Take advantage of the Ducks every opportunity that you get.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
We found another goalie out of nowhere!  Jordan Binnington was great in his second start on Thursday, allowing one goal on 29 shots in the 4-1 win over over Canadiens.  He's been strong in the AHL the last two seasons, and with how bad their other goalies have been, Binnington deserves a chance.  Obviously it could collapse at any time, and the Blues' schedule in January is very road heavy.  On the other side, there a lot of good matchups over the next two weeks for Binnington.  I wouldn't go out of my way in shallow leagues to own him, but Binnington could be a solid streamer with upside for more, especially before the All-Star Break with the Sens, Kings, and Ducks in a row.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights: