A long time analytics darling, Joonas Donskoi is finally getting a chance on the first line in Colorado because of injuries, and he has taken full advantage.  Donskoi scored a goal and added two assists with two shots playing 20 minutes in the 4-0 win over the Jets on Tuesday.  That brings Donskoi up to 9+5 in 18 games, but with 6 points in the last 3 games.  With this workload, I would be holding Donskoi.  The Avs play every other day for the next week plus, and they're all on the road.  That could mean even more minutes for the first line in Colorado as Bednar attempts to match MacKinnon (and therefore Donskoi) against the top players of the opposition.  It's not going to last, but for the short term, Donskoi is a great option.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
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:
Not sure David Pastrnak even knows who Christopher Columbus is, but he sure dominated on his day Monday.  Pastrnak won the game for the Bruins scoring all four goals on five shots.  Two of those goals were on the power play, he chipped in two penalty minutes, and finished +1.  I generally don't like to lead off posts talking about superstars, but I feel obligated to give Pasta props for a four goal game.  The top seven going into the season were pretty clear for me but who was eighth was a debate.  I ultimately decided on Draisaitl but went with Pastrnak in the nine spot.  So far, so good.  Look for the Bruins top line to dominate on a nightly basis.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
We're one week away from the season starting!  I have all of the excites.  This post is going to be shorter since I covered a bunch of the recent developments around the league on Tuesday, but I'm going to hit on a few other things of interest in this post.  Let's get to it! Immediately after signing a three year deal, the Lightning announced that Brayden Point will be out for most, if not all of October.  Point still should be going around 50th overall despite the missing time.  The interesting thing to note is that Patrick Maroon is taking his spot on the first power play unit for the time being.  We've seen Maroon contribute offensively when given quality opportunities in the past, so I'm expecting him to get off to a hot start.  Taking Maroon as your last pick in drafts as a streamer of sorts seems like a great idea.
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 20th stop on the 31 in 31 tour, we’re making our second stop in Florida – it’s Panther time baby! The Panthers entered last season with one of the best top-six forward groups on paper, but bad injury luck and terrible defending left them on the outside looking in. With a new coach, new goalie and some new-found depth, how to the Cats look this season? Let’s take a look!
It's now time to move on to defensemen for my rankings.  I'll be doing the top 40 defensemen in two separate posts, with the top 20 in this one.  I have gone through the top 100 forwards so you can check those out through the hockey page.  For now, let's get right to the blueliners! 1) Brent Burns - You can check out Burns in the top 20 here.  I feel like I ranked him too low, so when I do my top 50 overall post, I may slide him up a bit. 2) John Carlson - Burns is in a tier by himself, and who to put at the top of tier two is has been a big internal debate for me.  I ultimately decided on Carlson for the safety.  Carlson put up 70 points last season, 33 of which were on the power play.  Both numbers are incredible.  He's also a plus player most seasons and there's no reason to expect a change.  The one concern is that his shot rate plummeted last season from almost 3 shots per game to about 2.25.  That's still solid for a defensemen, but nowhere near a great asset.  Even given that, Carlson was the #3 defenseman last season.  Hopefully there's a bounce back in his shot rate, but either way it's high floor and high ceiling.
We are at the point in the season where it's more important to lead my posts off with the things that have the biggest impact going forward and not the best performances.  Robin Lehner is currently day-to-day with what Barry Trotz called an upper-body injury.  When asked if it was a concussion, Trotz wouldn't give an answer.  Best wishes to Lehner to a speedy recovery no matter what the issue is, but he does have concussion history.  Thomas Greiss started on Thursday and made 35 saves on 37 shots in the 4-2 win over the Senators.  I wouldn't expect anything else against the Senators.  I have been saying Greiss is must-own for a few months now, but for some reason he's still only 27% owned!  If Lehner does miss time, Greiss has a legitimate chance to not only be a #1 goalie the rest of the way, but a top 5 goalie overall.  Pick him up immediately if he's still available in your league.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two days:
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:
Long time readers know that I've long been a fan of Bo Horvat's game.  Horvat scored two goals on four shots with two PIM in the 4-0 win over the Ducks on Monday, getting him to 23+25 on the season.  The big deal here is that Horvat is averaging almost three shots per game, now a massive jump from previous years where he was below 2.5.  He also has 29 PIM, a career high.  Look, Horvat is never going to be a fantasy superstar.  He's destined to be the #2 center in Vancouver behind Pettersson.  However, now that there are other young players blossoming around him, his quality of teammate is so much better that his offense should continue to improve.  Horvat is on pace for over 60 points, and I wouldn't be surprised if we see him in the 70-80 range once he enters his prime in a year or two.  In dynasties, he's a guy I'd target because while he's established himself over the last five seasons, the best is yet to come.  For a look at all of the trades from yesterday, read here. Let's take a look at what else happened on Monday: