And we're back! The NHL season starts in just over a month so it's time to start my rankings. I will end up ranking the top 20 players overall, goalies, 100 forwards, 40 D, and then making a top 200 list before the season starts. For now, I'll be doing the top 10 overall in this post. As an aside, if you have any interest in writing fantasy hockey posts for Razzball, please let me know in the comments section below. Let's get to it!
1) Connor McDavid - Don't overthink it. McDavid played at a 154 point pace last season and is so far above the rest of the field. If you're lucky enough to pick first, congrats on the big head start.
It's not the first time this season, but Jonathan Huberdeau had five points in Tuesday's 7-4 win over the Predators, scoring twice and adding three assists. I know I'm a broken record with Huberdeau, but there's no superstar that gets less recognition than Huberdeau does. Thankfully, the Panthers clinched a playoff berth with the victory so he'll get back on the big stage. He's playing a 95 point pace again and should be around 25th overall going into next season in standard leagues. If your league doesn't include shots, he'll be even higher. It took longer than anticipated, but Huberdeau has proven to be worth the third overall pick from 10 years ago and then some. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
As President of the “Mark Stone Fan Club” going back to 2014, it’s great to see him playing at an all-world level. Stone had two assists with two shots on Friday before adding a goal and an assist with three shots on Sunday, both against the Ducks. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Loyal Razzballers will know my fandom of Martin Necas goes back to when he was drafted by Carolina. I was perplexed that he fell to 12th overall, and a couple of the guys in front of him are well on their way to becoming busts. Thankfully, Necas is on his way to breaking out towards stardom. Necas had two goals and two assists with six shots on Saturday leading Carolina to a 4-3 win over the Lightning. That brings Necas up to 28 points in 30 games this season and over two shots per game, a big jump on ever level. The only thing holding him back was playing time and that is certainly not a concern any more. Somehow, Necas is still available in almost 50% of leagues. Therefore, we have a few steps to take. Go to your league's waiver wire, see if he's available, add him immediately if he is, and then come back to see what else happened over the weekend!
It’s not too often that a goalie gives up more goals than he makes saves, especially playing a full period. Hunter Miska, come on down! The good news for Colorado is they have a ton of firepower and they still managed to win by four goals after allowing four in the first. Please, blog, may I have some more?
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:
As far as feel good stories go, Troy Grosenick is near the top of the list for the season. Grosenick, a 31 year old with only two previous NHL games in 2014, was forced into action for the Kings on Wednesday following Cal Petersen going on the COVID list. To say Grosenick rose to the moment would be an understatement. He saved 33 of 34 shots that he faced in the 5-1 win over the Ducks. You have to love a journeyman coming in and having success. All of a sudden, Grosenick could get some starts in the near term. If you're in a deep league and desperate for starts, you can roll the dice on him. With LA's next six games against Colorado, St. Louis, and Vegas, it's definitely a gamble, but the Kings have been a massive surprise so maybe Grosenick will be the next guy to keep them afloat. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
In their last two games, Florida has put a whopping 94 shots on goal. Incredibly, they only scored two goals. Anton Khudobin was robbed off a win on Monday stopping 49 of 51 shots so he decided to one up that performance on Wednesday. Khudobin posted a 43 save shutout to get the Stars back on track. I was high on Khudobin going into the season because of the absence of Bishop. The one problem for Khudobin is with the Stars being delayed for COVID, that's more games later in the schedule when Bishop should be back. Regardless, Khudobin should be the workhorse for at least one more month and should be a #1 goalie in the meantime. 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: