We have a new candidate for craziest game of the year.  Chicago and Ottawa was a 5-4 game... with 2 minutes left in the first!  The game finished with a ridiculous 8-7 score with Alex DeBrincat leading the way on the score sheet.  The 21 year old scored a hat trick and added two assists, bringing him up to 32+28 on the season.  Not bad for anyone, let alone a 21 year old.  In the preseason, I wrote this: "Everything is in place for DeBrincat to score 35+ goals… if Quenneville plays him the minutes he deserves.  DeBrincat scored 28 goals and 24 assists as a rookie despite playing only 14:48 per game.  It was infuriating that DeBrincat’s minutes down the stretch didn’t drastically increase with the Blackhawks out of the playoff race.  He’s a natural goal scorer who needs to get more playing time for the Blackhawks to have any chance at a bounce back.  The penalty minutes won’t be there, but 30+30 is well within reason, and there’s still upside from there."  Well, Quenneville was fired, but everything else came to fruition.  I love DeBrincat now and going forward.  Sure, he'll never give PIM, but he should be an annual 30 goal scorer who has some years pushing 40 like this one.  Let's take a look at what else happened on Monday night:
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:
Patrice Bergeron has had an excellent career to this point, one that gives him a chance at making the Hall of Fame one day if he ages well.  To this point, we've seen no signs of him slowing down.  That continued on Tuesday as Bergeron scored two goals in his 1000th career NHL game.  He became the fifth Bruin to reach that mark, and he'll be 3rd all-time early next season behind Bourque and Bucyk.  On a per-game basis, this has been the best season of his career.  He has 18+28 in 37 games with an elite shot rate.  This is his eighth straight season with a Corsi over 56%.  Bergeron is arguably the best defensive center in the game who is good enough to dominate the other team's top players on a nightly basis.  His prowess is what gives the Bruins a chance to upset someone, presumably Toronto, in the first round of the playoffs.  I wouldn't be selling high if I owned him; the first line is so damn good that very few teams have a chance against them.  Let Bergeron continue to provide great value to your team.  Here's what else happened on a busy Tuesday night:
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:
Things can change quickly in hockey.  Matt Murray led the Pens to two Stanley Cups, then struggled mightily last season and to open this year.  Now, Murray has caught fire once again.  The netminder had a 33 save shutout on Friday against the Jets.  That means in his last 6 games, he's allowed 6 goals total with his worst save percentage being .931.  We've seen the upside before, and that's of a top 5 goaltender, if not more.  First off, he's somehow available in 15% of leagues, which is absurd.  If you're lucky enough to be in one, grab him immediately.   Two, if you own Casey DeSmith, you can safely drop him.  Lastly, I doubt you'll be able to trade for him given his hot run, but I'd much rather do that than sell high.  The upside of Murray is too high to pass on, and with the Pens playing as well as they lately, the floor is fairly high too.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
In the game of the night, a stealth Hart Trophy candidate led his team to glory.  Johnny Gaudreau scored a hat trick on four shots in the 4-1 win in Winnipeg.  Just like that, he's 5th in the NHL in scoring with by far the best shot rate of his career.  Couple that with a career high shooting percentage and Johnny Hockey is well on his way to a career high in goals.  I've generally been lower on Gaudreau than most, but this year he has proven me wrong.  That line is among the best in hockey and Gaudreau is at the forefront.  I don't expect him to slow down much in the second half making Gaudreau is a good bet to finish as a top 20 player in fantasy.  Let's take a look at what else happened on Thursday night:
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:
I've been pumping Ondrej Kase's tires for a while now.  The former 7th round pick scored his first career hat trick on Wednesday, putting five shots on goal against the Stars with a +4 rating.  That brings the 23 year old Dane to 8+6 in 15 games with well over three shots per game.  He's eliminated any doubt as to whether or not he's a hold; Kase needs to be owned in all formats.  Sure, he's bounced around the first line and other spots, but it doesn't really matter at this point.  There's no penalty minutes, but everything else looks great.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
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:
It's been years since Jack Campbell was the hot goaltending prospect.  Seemingly out of nowhere, Campbell has been thrown into the fire and has come out hotter than a pistol.  Campbell had his best game to date on Thursday, recording a 40 save shutout in the 3-0 win over the Canadiens.  He now has 117 saves on 121 shots over 3 games.  Jonathan Quick is week-to-week, so while it might only be a short term thing, Campbell is worth owning in virtually all leagues until Quick returns.  The Kings aren't the powerhouse they used to be, but they're still a strong possession team making their goal automatically worth owning.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights: