Things can change quickly in hockey.  Matt Murray led the Pens to two Stanley Cups, then struggled mightily last season and to open this year.  Now, Murray has caught fire once again.  The netminder had a 33 save shutout on Friday against the Jets.  That means in his last 6 games, he's allowed 6 goals total with his worst save percentage being .931.  We've seen the upside before, and that's of a top 5 goaltender, if not more.  First off, he's somehow available in 15% of leagues, which is absurd.  If you're lucky enough to be in one, grab him immediately.   Two, if you own Casey DeSmith, you can safely drop him.  Lastly, I doubt you'll be able to trade for him given his hot run, but I'd much rather do that than sell high.  The upside of Murray is too high to pass on, and with the Pens playing as well as they lately, the floor is fairly high too.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Last year's point leader for defensemen is off to an even better start this season.  John Carlson had a goal and two assists on Monday, bringing his totals to 5/8/+6/6/19/8 through eight games.  It was hard to see any upside from last season's totals, but some shooting percentage luck could have Carlson around 20+50.  Add in a quality plus-minus, and there's a chance that Carlson ends up the #1 defenseman for the season.  It's far from a guarantee, but it's abundantly clear through three weeks that last season's big breakout was no fluke.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It took a few injuries, but we finally had some goaltender movement.  Petr Mrazek, who appeared to be Detroit's franchise goalie less than two years ago, is now a member of the Flyers.  In return, Detroit received two conditional draft picks.  Best case scenario, they'll get a 2nd and 3rd round picks.  Worst case, they only get a 4th.  So what is the fantasy impact?  I've been writing for a few weeks that Mrazek should be owned everywhere because he was finally playing well.  That's clear as day now going to a much better situation in Philly, so grab him if he's still available.  As for in Detroit, it should be Jimmy Howard's show.  He has a .910 save percentage this season, which is closer to his career norm than last season's .927 in 26 games.  I don't see him as being much more than a desperation play going forward outside of the best matchups.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
The way young players have stormed the league in recent seasons, people just assume Sam Reinhart won't get much better and be a bust.  If Reinhart wasn't the second overall pick, he'd be impressing everyone with his improvement.  While I don't think he'll ever be a true superstar, I'm still a big fan of Reinhart going forward.  Reinhart was on the ice for all four Sabres goals on Thursday, scoring a goal and two assists with two shots in the win over the Islanders.  That puts Reinhart at 15 points in his past 16 games making him an elite streamer at the moment.  For those in dynasties, Reinhart should develop into a top 100 player eventually but towards the bottom end.  He'll be a beast in real life, but the lack of PIM will keep his value down.  For those in redrafts, use him while he's hot.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
What the Vegas Golden Knights are doing in their inaugural season is nothing short of spectacular.  The only thing I've ever seen like it is Leicester City fighting off relegation before winning the Premier League title the next season at 5000-1 shots.  Sure, Vegas was nowhere near that big of a long shot, but to have the best record in the West is remarkable.  On Tuesday, they beat their top competition, the Nashville Predators, 3-0.  Marc-Andre Fleury led the way with a 28 save shutout.  It's a shame Fleury was injured this season because he's been great in 9 of 10 starts.  Fleury has won 8 of his 10 starts with a GAA below 2 and save percentage above .940.  It's safe to say it will regress some but I'm well past the point of thinking Vegas is going to regress.  This team is real and Fleury looks like he'll be a slam dunk #1 fantasy goalie for the rest of the season and going forward.  Just a remarkable story that I can't get enough of.  Let's take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:
The difference between Mark Scheifele being a first round fantasy pick and a middling to late second round pick comes down to his shot rate.  He scored 32 goals last season but his 20% shooting percentage was due to regress.  While the shots haven't been coming in, they did on Thursday and the goals were flowing.  Scheifele scored a hat trick on four shots in the 5-2 win over the Stars.  That brings him to 7 goals and 8 assists in 12 games, an excellent start for Scheifele.  Still, I have to assume the goals are going to drop since he has only 23 SOG on the season.  Scheifele should be a point per game regardless but again, shots are what we need for him to jump into superstar fantasy status.  Let's take a look at what else happened around the league on Tuesday night:
We talked about Mikael Granlund on last Friday's podcast for a few minutes. Granlund was on an 11 game point streak, the longest of any player during this season, going into Saturday's game. You can say that he extended it in style. Against the Canucks, Granlund scored his first career hat trick on six shots while also having an assist and finishing +4. That brings his totals to a ridiculous 15+33 in 51 games while being +30. He's now a top 10 forward on the season based on RCL categories finally delivering on the hype surrounding him entering the league. As for where he'll be ranked going into next season, check out the podcast. Here's what else happened around the league this weekend:
Dating all the way back to the preseason, I called Pekka Rinne the biggest wild card of the fantasy hockey season. In some seasons, he plays like the #1 goalie. In other seasons, he's been a detriment to fantasy rosters. This year, he's settled more in the middle but closer to the good side. We saw that top end ability once again on Thursday night when Rinne posted a 31 save shutout in the 2-0 win over the Oilers. So what do we do with him going forward? Honestly, nothing really changes. One, Peter Laviolette has already said that he wants to play Juuse Saros more down the stretch. Two, his variance is so high that any game or even any month doesn't change his long term prognosis. Basically, if you want to gamble, Rinne is someone worth the shot based on the high upside. If you want stability, stay the hell away. In dynasties, I'm down on him only because I'm a huge believer in Saros but for the rest of the season, I'm more on the side of Rinne being a top 10 goalie the rest of the way. Here's what else happened around the league the last two nights:
Brad Marchand was one of the biggest breakout players in 2015-16 scoring 37 goals drastically increasing his shot rate to 3.5 per game while adding 90 PIM. While all of those numbers are taking a slight step back this season, he's improving the weaknesses in his game to become a well rounded player. Marchand returned to his old ways this weekend with three goals on six shots over two games to give him 12+22 on the season. He's only six assists from a career high and we've just reached the halfway point. Marchand also has nine power play points which is already a career high. Instead of being a three or four category stud (depending on plus-minus), he's become a big plus in five categories with the potential for all six if the plus-minus improves. These totals have him 15th in the player rater among forwards and that shouldn't come as a shock coming off a top ten season. It might not be exactly what you wanted but it's been excellent across the board. Here's what else I saw around the league this weekend:
Everyone who reads this space knows my love for Brent Burns. His beard brings about a magisterial power that guides him on the ice. The Sharks played on Monday and Tuesday to open the week and their all-world defenseman delivered. In Monday's loss to the Rangers, Burns scored two goals and an assist with seven shots. He followed it up with 2 assists and three shots against the Islanders putting him in the early league lead for points. Burns and Erik Karlsson are in a class of their own right now among defensemen and should battle each other season for top dog status on the blue line. Here's what else I've seen around the league the last two nights: