Gretzky, Lemieux, Forsberg, LaFontaine.  That’s the list of players in the last 30 seasons to have multiple five assist games in one season.  Add Mathew Barzal to the list after Friday night.  Barzal became the first rookie in 100 years to have three five point games in one season dishing five assists in the 7-6 win over the Red Wings.  That puts Barzal over a point per game on the season and makes him the prohibitive favorite for the Calder (sorry Boeser).  Our second podcast ever, which took place before last season, saw Reid and I hype up Barzal for dynasties.  Regardless, he’s blown away my expectations this season.  Now, it’s not all rosy for fantasy.  The penalty minutes are low, but more importantly the shot rate is barely over two per game.  On the other hand, he’s 20 years old and is over a point per game, so it’s hard to complain.  There’s a top 20 fantasy player in Barzal’s future if he can get that shot rate up.  Regardless, he’ll be a borderline top 50 player next year solely for the points, and it’s only going to get better from there.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:

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It seems like forever and a day since Matt Duchene requested a trade from the Colorado Avalanche.  His wish finally came true on Sunday in a massive three-way trade between the Avs, Senators, and Predators.  The Sens acquired Duchene, the Predators received Reid’s favorite Kyle Turris and the Avs get a ton of future assets.  For the Senators, I’m not a big fan.  Is Duchene better than Turris?  I would say so and Duchene had one more year on his contract than Turris.  However, adding a ton here, including a first round pick and Shane Bowers, their first round pick from the 2017 draft, is a lot to add.  For Smashville, adding Turris without losing anyone from the current roster besides Samuel Girard is a nice move for a team positioned to go for it.  It may be more futures heavy than Colorado originally wanted but boy, did they get a ton in this move.  They effectively received 2 1sts, 3 2nds, a third and Andrew Hammond for goaltender depth in the organization.  I love this move for Colorado long term, like the aggressiveness of Nashville using futures to push (and like signing Turris immediately to a 6/36 deal), and question Ottawa’s decision here.

For fantasy, Duchene probably gets a small boost because he should slide onto a line with Hoffman and Stone right away.  Assuming Turris plays with Forsberg, I think this move could help him as well (at the least it’s neutral).  I’m very interested to see if Girard plays for the Avs right away.  He looked great in his brief stint for Nashville and the former second round pick could becomes fantasy relevant immediately if he’s in Denver.  I’ll be sure to talk more about this trade with Reid on Tuesday’s podcast.  Let’s take a look at what else happened this weekend around the league:

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Hat tricks have been in vogue lately so Blake Wheeler decided to take it to another level.  Wheeler scored a hat trick in the first period on Sunday and later added an assist in the 7-1 win over the Penguins.  Wheeler has been the fantasy stalwart we’ve become accustomed to in the early going with 4+8, +3, 12 PIM, 35 SOG and 4 STP in 10 games.  I don’t know how many more years Wheeler will keep up this level of play but for now, he’s a top 20 player with relative ease.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:

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Reid and I talked about John Tavares extensively on Tuesday’s podcast.  We both saw him as a viable option for The Three Point Challenge but decided to go elsewhere since it’s rare for someone to post consecutive three point games.  Well, Tavares shoved it up both of our you-know-wheres!  He scored a hat trick and added an assist in the 5-3 win over the Coyotes.  All of a sudden, a slow start (3 points in 7 games) has been erased with Tavares at 10 points in 9 games.  This is why we wait at least a month before we panic about players, especially studs like Tavares.  Look for him to be his usual self going forward, which means being a top 20 forward.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:

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We’ve reached the halfway point in my rankings and it’s time to approach the finish line.  I will keep updating this with info for players as Friday progresses but I wanted to get the top 150 out as soon as possible.  Also, sorry for the delay, but the RCL’s will launch this coming Monday in the afternoon.  I’ve had a few technical difficulties setting it up but that should be taken care of by then.  Without further adieu, here is my top 150:

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In the marquee match of the night in Washington, both goalies played extremely well. At the end of the game, Braden Holtby came out on top saving 29 of 30 shots in the 2-1 win over the Blue Jackets. He’s managed to find a way to improve his goals against and save percentage the season after winning the Vezina Trophy. His counterpart in this game may be the favorite to win the Vezina this year but Holtby has solidified himself as the #1 goalie in hockey, both in real life and fantasy. I highly doubt that I will draft him next season solely because I’m anti-goalie in the first round but there’s no doubt that Holtby will be the first goalie on my board. It looks like this will be the second season in a row that he finishes as the #2 overall goalie and that consistency is exactly what you’re looking for in your top goalie. If you can find an issue with Holtby, let me know because he’s seemingly perfect. Here’s what else happened around the league the last two nights:

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I call Joe Pavelski “Mr. Consistency” because every season you can make him down for 30 goals, 40 assists and solid contributions elsewhere. It’s generally not flashy, just a consistent point with three shots, but at the end of the year it’s good enough to justify a first round pick on him. Pavelski showed on Wednesday night that he’s capable of dominating a game. Pavelski had a monster outing, scoring two goals and two assists with four shots in the 6-5 OT loss to Florida. The Sharks looked like they were dead before Pavelski scored 2 goals in the last 3:21 to force overtime. He’s on pace for right around 30 goals, a small stepback, but he’s compensating by playing at a career high assist rate. The shots are also over three per game, he’s +9 and the PPP are coming in per usual. Expect Pavelski to provide the value you hoped for drafting him in the back end of the first round and for him to be ranked in that same ball park going into next season. Here’s what else I saw around the league the last two nights:

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On the last podcast, Reid and I looked at a bunch of players who were under 50% that I thought were must-own. I made a massive oversight leaving somebody off that list: Conor Sheary. I just looked and saw that he’s 45% owned which absolutely blows my mind (I thought he was in the 70’s or 80’s). Sheary had an excellent weekend scoring twice on three shots on Friday and then getting two goals and an assist with four shots on Sunday. That brings Sheary’s totals to 17+17 while being +17 in 39 games. Seventeens are wild! Anyways, Sheary is on pace for 35+35 over 82 games with an excellent plus-minus and decent enough shots. That’s closer to a top 50 player than someone who is on the waiver wire. We’ve seen guys in the past be excellent fantasy values being a passenger on Crosby’s line so if you’re in one of the leagues where Sheary is available, pick him up immediately (I’d put him ahead of everyone discussed on the podcast). Then come back and read what else happened around the league this weekend!

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I hope everyone was able to watch the game between Pittsburgh and Washington on Monday night because that was everything that hockey should be. Yes, the defense was lacking at times, but man that was beautiful. Unsurprisingly, the star of the show was the #1 overall skater in fantasy to this point of the season, Evgeni Malkin. Malkin scored a hat trick in the second period and finished the game with those three goals, five shots and two PIM. Nobody can be surprised at how well Malkin is doing; his peak performance is on par with anybody in the league. The surprise is that he’s managed to stay healthy to this point . I was lucky enough to have him fall to 24th and 25th overall in two separate drafts this season and took the gamble. Hopefully you guys all did the same because we’re currently looking at a 40+55 with 100 PIM season. Here’s what else happened around the league on Monday:

Please, blog, may I have some more?