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:
Nino Niederreiter's first season in Carolina couldn't have gone any better with 14+16 in 36 games. Last season really couldn't have gone worse with 11+18 in 67 games. Well, this year has certainly been closer to 2018-19 and we can be thankful for that in fantasy. Niederreiter scored two goals and an assist with three shots on Friday before dishing an assist on Saturday, adding six shots. That brings Nino to 9+3 in 16 games with over three shots per game, 13 PIM, and a great +11 rating. The second line in Carolina has been incredible, sparked by Niederreiter and Trocheck's revival. He's an easy hold in all formats for the time being. I wish that the minutes were a bit higher, but considering what Nino is doing with what he's getting, there can be some growth with additional minutes, namely in the assist department. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
If you just looked at the boxscore from Wednesday night, you'd see Jesse Puljujarvi scored a goal. Nothing exciting there. However, the big news is that he spent the entire game on the first power play unit. The person in that spot has changed throughout the season. Neal, Chiasson, Yamamoto, and now Puljujarvi have all had the opportunity. It's also notable that with 3 minutes left, the Oilers went on the power play up one. Nurse was out there to be safe having two defensemen out there, but it wasn't Puljujarvi who lost his spot, it was RNH. With Puljujarvi locked into that spot for the time being, he gets bumped up to elite streamer status. With five points in the past six games, things are starting to look up for the former fourth overall pick. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Toronto being up 5-1 on Ottawa with a minute to go in the second period wasn't exactly surprising. The final result? Well, I hope you didn't turn the game off. The Senators, arguably the worst team in the league, stormed back to win 6-5 in OT. Evgenii Dadonov tied the game with 2 minutes left before scoring the overtime winner. That gives Dadonov five goals in his last five games after a sluggish start in Ottawa. Is it going to be as good as it was in Florida? Certainly not. However, Dadonov is starting to build value again to the point where he's a solid streamer. I wouldn't be surprised to see the minutes go up even higher to the point where he's an elite streamer. Let's take a look at what else happened on Monday:
One of my bold predictions from the season that already looks awful is that Chicago would be the worst team in the league. Their season has turned around on the back of somebody who was expected to be a tertiary option. Kevin Lankinen was third fiddle going into the season behind Delia and Subban, but that has changed quickly. Lankinen stopped 34 of 35 shots that he faced on Tuesday in the 2-1 OT win over the Stars. That brings Lankinen's save percentage to above .930 and a GAA approaching two. I didn't imagine a Chicago goalie would even be worth streaming this season outside of playing against Detroit, but Lankinen has played his way into being an easy hold. Will it last? It's impossible to say with goalies. Either way, he should he held until he cools off, assuming that eventually happens. 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:
I've run out of superlatives to describe Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. I don't even like starting posts with them because everyone knows how good they are, but this weekend's play deserves the big praise. McDavid had two goals and an assist with three shots on Saturday, while Draisaitl had two assists with a shot and two PIM. Those games were horrible compared to their explosion on Sunday. McDavid scored a goal and dished four assists while Draisaitl had six assists! They were already the top two in the league in points before Sunday's games. Now, they're lapping the field at the end of January. It's a treat to watch these guys on a nightly basis, and even better if you have one of them on your fantasy team. With the way the rest of the North division plays, what's the ceiling for points for these guys? 90? 100? It sounds ridiculous in 56 games, but they're at another level at the moment and they won't have a tough defensive team to play in their entire division. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
I don’t think most people know that Travis Konecny led the Flyers in both goals and points last season. He’s on his way to a repeat in the early going. Konecny had a hat trick against the Penguins on Friday night which also dishing an assist. Please, blog, may I have some more?
And now we reached the meat of the rankings. Forwards generally make up half of your roster, if not more, and they dominate the beginning of drafts. For today, I’ll have around 50 guys separated into tiers and will have more on Thursday. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Mark Stone has had a pretty good season by his standards, albeit not as great as I had hoped. Perhaps that'll change now that he had his best game of the season. Stone went off on Thursday scoring two goals and three assists while adding five shots on goal and two PIM. That brings him up to 20+33 in 56 games while being +10 and well over 2.5 shots per game. Stone used to be a two shot per game player, but it has taken a big jump since last season, and especially when he went to Vegas. He should be a clear top 50 player going forward, and I think there's a good chance he ends up topping 80 points for the first time in his career. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights: