We're moving out from the crease to the blue liners in my rankings.  Today, I'll be going through the top 20 defensemen with the Top 40 coming out later in the week.  Let's get right to it! 1) Cale Makar - Covered in the Top 20 overall here. 2) Dougie Hamilton - The top defenseman last season by a fairly wide margin, Hamilton moved from Carolina to New Jersey.  It's a little worrisome, but I still expect big things from Dougie.  I wouldn't be surprised if Hamilton ends up getting more minutes than he did while he was in Carolina. 
Injuries are a part of the game, but always terrible to see.  Unfortunately, a Razzball favorite went down on Monday night.  Brendan Gallagher broke his thumb and is out multiple weeks.  If you have an IR spot, definitely stash him, but if you don't, you can sadly let him go.  So who gets the boost in Montreal?  Jesperi Kotkaniemi moved to the wing and took Gallagher's spot which boosts him up to a solid streamer from a middling one.  Eric Staal scored the overtime winner in his Canadiens debut and is now centering Toffoli and Drouin.  He looked completely shot in Buffalo, but maybe the trade plus the easier division rejuvenate him.  Let's see how he looks over the next couple games before we use him.  I also really like what I've seen from Josh Anderson lately who is playing more minutes.  The assists are brutal, but the goals and shots should be quite good.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Mika Zibanejad was looking like the biggest bust of this season near the halfway point.  Well, it's changing pretty quickly and amazingly, it wasn't the Sabres that turned it around.  Last week, Zibanejad had three goals and three assists against the Flyers.  It was so fun that he did it again eight days later!  On Thursday, Zibanejad doubled down with his second natural hat trick and six point game in rapid succession against Philadelphia in the 8-3 win.  That brings him up to 10+16 in 32 games, not exactly lighting the world on fire, but within reason.  He's still over three shots per game, so while a repeat top 20 season is out of play, a top 50 season is still within reason.  As I said at the time, Zibanejad is prone to huge hot streaks, and I think 17 points in 7 games qualifies.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
The Ducks season has gone very poorly.  Not Sabres poorly, but still, the results have been extremely disappointing.  The good news is that their young players have shown some flashes of what can be in the future, and on Thursday night, their two cornerstones scored their first career goals.  Trevor Zegras scored in his 11th career game while Jamie Drysdale scored in his first.  For this season, we shouldn't expect much from either.  At the moment, Zegras is a bottom end streamer, while Drysdale should be left on the waiver wire until we see how much he plays, or if he even stays on the Ducks.  In dynasties, there's a ton to like for both.  Zegras has the chance to be one of the best playmakers in the league who scores plenty of goals for himself.  Drysdale doesn't have massive offensive upside, but he should be good enough in all facets of the game, including quarterbacking the power play, that he ends up as a #2 fantasy defenseman while playing top pair minutes for the Ducks.  It may be bleak now, but the future is bright in SoCal.  Let's take a look at what else happened on Thursday night:
The hype surrounding Kirill Kaprizov was building for a few years before he came to the NHL.  Even with the lofty expectations on his shoulders, he's played at a level higher than anyone expected.  On Friday, Kaprizov scored a hat trick on eight shots with two PIM and a +4 rating.  He followed that up with another eight shots on Sunday, adding an assist and two penalty minutes.  I wrote about a month ago that I expected Kaprizov's shot rate to take a big jump as the season progressed based on his shooting totals in the KHL.  Well, sixteen shots in the past two games brings him over 2.5 per game, an average rate for a forward.  Add in being just under a point per game and we can basically call the Calder race now.  I'm not convinced that it's going to get better in the future as Kaprizov will be 24 by the time the regular season ends, but either way, he should establish himself around a 30+40 pace in a normal season with slight upside on both of those numbers.  Kaprizov is definitely a top 50 dynasty asset, but I don't think he pushes the top 25 long term because the penalty minutes will be low and more importantly, I don't think he gets to be a 3.5-4 shot per game guy because he's too good of a playmaker for that.  Either way, if you're lucky enough to have him, enjoy it because there's nothing fluky about his performance.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Nothing helps getting your season back on track like playing against the Buffalo Sabres.  Carter Hart has had a really rough go of it in the opening month of the season, but on Sunday, he looked to turn it around in Buffalo.  You'd think that after the Sabres were shutout 3-0 on Saturday that they would come out firing on Sunday.  Nope.  Hart stopped all 28 shots he faced, most of the routine variety, to beat the Sabres 3-0.  Brian Elliott only needed to make 23 saves on Saturday as the Sabres are in complete disarray.  As I always say, goalies are voodoo, but I'd be stunned if Hart doesn't make a jump towards being a #1 fantasy goalie again.  If you can buy low on Hart, I would try to do so.  The fact that the Flyers are 11-4-3 despite Hart's horrible start shows you what kind of upside the team has.  Elliott should be streamed every time he starts as his save percentage is over .930 in his eight games.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
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:
On Friday, I started off talking about the first line in Columbus really putting together some great performances.  This continued on Saturday, especially for Cam Atkinson.  Atkinson had a goal and an assist with four shots against Chicago, giving him a goal in four of the past five games.  The shot rate is above average and could end up elite again, plus the minutes have been excellent.  I can not believe that Atkinson is still only 36% owned on Sunday.  He should be held in all formats for the time being, and there's a legitimate chance he can stay a hold for the rest of the season.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
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:
There was very little hype about Jack Hughes going into the season despite being the first overall pick only one year ago.  We're only three games into the season, but he's off to a tremendous start.  Hughes had two goals and an assist in the 4-3 win over the Rangers on Tuesday.  That gives Hughes six points in three games in the early going.  I wrote after his first game that he should be owned everywhere.  He's had the biggest chance in ownership since the beginning of the season, but he's still available in over 1/3 of leagues.  If you've been asleep at the wheel and you're lucky enough that he's still available, go do so immediately, and then read the rest of the notes below!  Let's take a look at what happened over the last two nights: