Injuries this time of year are the main thing we are trying to avoid.  This season probably hasn't been as bad as last year, but unfortunately two of the best players in the world are going to be out for a while.  Steven Stamkos needed core muscle surgery which will put him out for 6-8 weeks.  That's right into the first round of the playoffs, so for those of you in redrafts, you can safely cut Stamkos at this point.  Stone is week-to-week with a lower body injury, but DeBoer could only say that he is hopeful that Stone will be back before the regular season ends.  In other words, I'm not counting on it and it would be a bonus if Stone does return.  So who are the beneficiaries?  In Tampa, it's clearly Ondrej Palat right now as he took Stamkos' place with Point and Kucherov.  I would own Palat in all formats.  In Vegas, Nicolas Roy is currently with Patches and Karlsson.  Will it stick?  Who knows, but he did score a goal against the Sabres on Friday.  He's a solid streamer for the time being until we see if he keeps that role.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last few nights:
At the time of his injury, Victor Olofsson was leading rookies in points.  That's not to say that he was the Calder favorite because he certainly was not, but he was in the race, albeit in the third spot.  Sadly he missed 15 games, but he picked up right where he left off.  Olofsson scored two goals on Thursday, including the game winner, in the 4-3 OT win over the Blue Jackets.  That gives him 18+19 in 43 games, a great season from my favorite preseason target for my last pick in drafts.  Sure, the PIM are non-existent and the shot rate is slightly below average, but Olofsson has lived up to expectations.  He's an old rookie at 24, but he should get a bit better going forward.  His role as a PP1 sniper and top six winger is locked in going forward and his chemistry with Eichel is outstanding.  If he was dropped in your league, grab him immediately.  Let's take a look at what else happened on Thursday:
Mark Stone has had a pretty good season by his standards, albeit not as great as I had hoped.  Perhaps that'll change now that he had his best game of the season.  Stone went off on Thursday scoring two goals and three assists while adding five shots on goal and two PIM.  That brings him up to 20+33 in 56 games while being +10 and well over 2.5 shots per game.  Stone used to be a two shot per game player, but it has taken a big jump since last season, and especially when he went to Vegas.  He should be a clear top 50 player going forward, and I think there's a good chance he ends up topping 80 points for the first time in his career.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
I talked a lot about Taylor Hall in Monday's post (you can read that here).  The trade that I was talking about happened on Monday with Hall moving to Arizona.  In the trade, Hall and Blake Speers went to Arizona for a 2020 conditional first-round draft pick, a conditional 2021 third-rounder, along with forward prospects Nate Schnarr, Nick Merkley and defenseman Kevin Bahl.  First, let's look at this from Arizona's perspective.  It's a steep price to pay for a rental, but Hall is the best player traded in quite some time, and Arizona is looking to snap a long playoff drought in a weak division.  I totally get the move given their strong defensive talent but lack of overall offensive talent.  Hall played on Tuesday dishing an assist and adding a shot in 18 minutes.  He played with Christian Dvorak and Clayton Keller.  In Monday's piece linked above, I said to buy Keller going forward due to his recent play.  This only enhances his value.  Same goes with Dvorak, but he moves up to an elite streamer for now.  As for New Jersey, it's hard to complain about this return.  You have potentially two first round picks in this deal, but at least a 1 and 3.  Bahl is a monster coming in at 6'7 and can skate fairly well.  I don't see a PP guy there, but he should be a modern stay-at-home who is strong on the PK.  For those in deep leagues, he should be a very good hits/blocks guy down the line.  Merkley has decent upside, but he has already had reconstructive knee surgery.  He's not the best skater, but he has great hockey IQ and should end up as a playmaking center in the middle six.  Schnarr was a third round pick in 2018 who didn't show a ton of offense until after he was drafted.  He then exploded in Guelph last season, but he's struggled in the AHL so far.  That isn't a surprise as many 20 year olds struggle in their first pro season.  I don't expect a ton, but there's a decent chance he ends up an NHL'er.  All in all, seems like this trade has the potential to be a win-win once you consider that Hall seemingly didn't want to stay in New Jersey.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
I've been stubborn in terms of thinking Dougie Hamilton was going to have a massive fantasy season for years now.  Loyal Razzballers know my love for guys who hit all of the categories, and Hamilton has always done that.  It seems like Carolina is finally giving him the chance to be the #1 guy in all situations and he's off to a tremendous start.  On Friday, Dougie scored a goal and an assist with four shots and two PIM.  He followed that up with a goal on five shots Saturday, bringing him to 4+4 in 6 games with 19 shots, 6 PIM and +7.  Obviously he's not going to keep up this pace, but this is the kind of start that can allow Hamilton to finish as a top five defenseman.  In fact, gun to head, I'd bet on it happening right now.  If you follow my rankings, odds are that you have Hamilton on your team in redrafts or keepers.  If that's the case, don't even consider selling high because this isn't a fluke.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
On Monday, I wrote the following about James Neal: "As long as he’s on the first power play unit, Neal has a real chance to bounce back.  I wouldn’t hold him yet, but he’s a solid streaming option." And that's me quoting me copying what Grey does! Well, I hope that you streamed him on Tuesday.  Neal stayed on the first power play unit, and the time to hold him is now.  Neal scored four goals on eight shots on Tuesday, playing almost 21 minutes, in the 5-2 win over the Islanders.  Two of those goals came on the power play where it's clear Edmonton is using him as one of their primary shooters.  Am I saying Neal is going to score 40 goals again?  Definitely not.  However, the upside is too high to leave him on the waiver wire.  He's always had a quality shot rate and there's a chance of good penalty minutes on top of the goals.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
While general sports fans were watching playoff baseball (Go Braves!) or Sunday Night Baseball, hockey fans saw one of the best performances of the season take place on the first weekend.  Anthony Mantha scored four goals on eight shot, including the winner in the last minute of the game, to beat the Stars 4-3.  This comes after an incredible performance in his season opener in which he scored a goal and two assists with five shots and four penalty minutes in the upset win over Nashville.  In both games, the players on the top line were at or above 20 minutes each.  That's extremely encouraging for their long-term success.  Obviously we're not expecting Mantha to be a top 25 player all of a sudden, but the potential is there for 30 goals, 50 PIM and a very good shot rate.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
The first draft pick in Vegas history, Cody Glass, scored the first goal of his career in his first game, a 4-1 win over the Sharks.  First, the good news.  He played with Mark Stone (G+A) and Max Pacioretty (A, 5 SOG) which puts Glass in a great position to succeed going forward.  He also played with these guys on the power play.  The bad news: his minutes were down because Gallant doesn't trust him defensively yet.  Whenever they had a defensive zone start, Stastny started on the ice and would go off for Glass if they exited the zone.  Yes, it's only a defensive zone start, but on a team that transitions as well as Vegas does, the more minutes the better, and Glass didn't cross the 15 minute mark.  I'm good with picking him up if you want the upside, but let's not go crazy spending a lot of FAAB on Glass.  I like him plenty long term, and perhaps Stone drags him into be a hold all season, but it's far from a guarantee.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the first two nights of the season:
We have now reached the point of doing individual positions before I complete a top 200.  Through the top 20 overall, I have covered 18 forwards, one defenseman and a goalie.  For now, I'll be holding off on the last two.  I'll be covering the top 100 forwards in posts of twenty going forward.  For today, I will go through the top 40.  Let's get right to it!
Hey guys! Sven back with another 31 in 31. 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 third stop on the 31 in 31 tour, we’re in Sin City covering the Vegas Golden Knights! After a movie-script-esque inaugural season, Vegas saw no Sophomore Slump, securing the #3 seed in the Pacific Division. Their recent stockpiling of former Atlantic division studs has left them cap-strapped, and they have had to deal away a couple of their players they absolutely SNAKED from opposing GMs. According to most sites, the Golden Knights have the highest odds to win the West. Here are the players that may make that possible: