First off, I hope everyone had a Happy New Year’s!  As much as I personally don’t care for New Year’s Eve, this year was different because of the Buffalo Bills making the playoffs.  I wish I had video of me celebrating with my dad or an audio recording of my friend, who is in Paris, who heard us yelling on speaker phone and him celebrating in the Paris streets. Couple that with an amazing USA win in the WJC outdoor game against Canada that I was at and things in the sports world couldn’t be better.  Even the Sabres looked competent today despite the loss!  Anyways, let’s get to what you’re here for…

I’ve talked about Josh Bailey being the waiver wire pickup of the year on multiple occasions over the last couple weeks because, well, the Isles top line is on fire.  That said, William Karlsson is easily #2 in this department.  Wild Bill, a Razzball favorite from the past (aka favorite of mine), scored the first hat trick in Vegas history on Sunday, scoring three goals and an assist in the 6-3 win over the Maple Leafs.  That brings Karlsson’s totals to 20+13 in 33 games with a +15 rating.  Sure, it will regress some because he’s not going to shoot 26.3% all season, but let’s give Karlsson his due.  In the first 183 games of his career, Karlsson scored 18 goals.  He has that beat for the Golden Knights in 37 games.  His emergence is a huge part of Vegas shocking the world as they sit atop the Western Conference.  Karlsson will drop off some in the second half, at least in the goals department, but make no mistake about it, it’s not a complete fluke.  Karlsson should be a hold for the rest of the season.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last three days of the old year:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’ve generally been lower on players like Johnny Gaudreau than consensus for fantasy hockey.  The penalty minutes aren’t there, the shot rate was good but not elite, and the power play points were in the same boat as shot rate.  It’s why I’ve had him ranked as a third or fourth round pick because if he hasn’t not a point per game, he’s not giving you value.  Well, Gaudreau is laughing in my face at a point per game.  Gaudreau extended his point streak to ten games on Monday scoring a goal and an assist against the Capitals.  That gives him an incredible 31 points (10+21) in 20 games so far this season.  I’m going to go out on a limb and say that’s pretty good.  Johnny Hockey and the Flames look excellent right now (nods in approval since they’re my Cup pick) and Gaudreau is going down the path of being a second round pick in the future.  Let’s take a look at what else happened on Monday night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Has Sam Reinhart lived up to being the second overall pick in his draft?  Definitely not.  Is the book closed on him becoming a great player?  I don’t think so.  Reinhart has shown flashes this season but his quality of linemate has been quite poor.  Last game, Reinhart moved to the first line with Jack Eichel and Evander Kane.  This move paid dividends on Tuesday night where Reinhart scored a goal and two assists with four shots playing 18:36 in the 5-4 OT loss to the Penguins.  What does this mean going forward?  Well, Reinhart becomes an elite streamer and potential hold as long as he’s playing with Eichel and Kane.  Subjectively, I think Reinhart has been much stronger on the puck this year and if not for Eichel missing a glorious chance and another point blank save, Reinhart could have easily reached 4-5 points in this game.  Obviously we can’t expect that on a nightly basis but there’s no reason Reinhart can’t play around a 25+35 pace going forward.  Here’s to hoping Phil Housley does what’s right and keeps him there.  Let’s take a look at what else happened around the league the past two nights:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Goals were plentiful around the NHL on Thursday night, none more than in Florida where the Panthers went eight ball, corner pocket on the Ducks.  The Panthers won 8-3 with Radim Vrbata leading the way.  Vrbata netted his seventh career hat trick and his first three goals as a Panther on six shots.  That brings him to 9 points in 10 games with elite shots and solid PIM.  I wouldn’t expect the PIM to last but the points and shots should be plenty to make him a hold.  He’s available in over 50% of leagues right now so grab Vrbata while you can.  He’s a clear must own in 12’ers and probably should be owned in 10’ers as well.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Minnesota played an excellent game on Thursday booking an impressive 5-2 win over the Blackhawks.  Sadly for them, it came at a brutal cost.  Charlie Coyle and Nino Niederreiter both left the game injured and were already ruled out for Saturday’s game.  Coyle was hit in the back of the leg with a shot while Nino looked to suffer an ankle injury that could cost him multiple weeks.  Hopefully you have an injured reserve spot for both of these guys but Nino definitely should be held through the injury.  With Mikael Granlund out as well, the Wild are getting extremely thin.  So who gets a boost?  Jason Zucker (1+1, 5 SOG) becomes must-own in 12’ers while Chris Stewart (2G, 5 SOG) moves back on to the streaming radar.  We’ll have a clearer picture tomorrow but this is a big blow to the Wild and fantasy teams in the short term.  Here’s what else happened the last two nights around the league:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Sadly, the fantasy hockey season has come to an end. I’ll have an RCL summary post up later this week along with a preview of The Stanley Cup Playoffs with Reid on Tuesday’s podcast. For now, I’d like to invite everyone to join the Razzball Bracket Challenge again through the link here and to present my super early top 50 for next season. I’m not going to go into much detail at this point because so many things can change between now and six months from now when the 2017-18 regular season actually begins. This will go longer than our mock draft podcast but if you want more details about my thought process, I’d be sure to check that out. I’ll be separating these guys into tiers with tier explanations but that will be the extent of the analysis. Obviously you’re welcome to ask me in the comments section about anything you like / disagree with. Let’s get to it!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Hey everyone! With only a few days left in the season, it’s time to set up the Razzball Bracket Challenge! For those who didn’t partake last year, you simply fill out the Stanley Cup Playoff Bracket once it’s released. You can join the Razzball group by clicking here and creating a free account if you don’t already have one. It’s a good way to keep the Razzball Hockey community in touch throughout the playoffs.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Philadelphia Flyers have nothing to play for besides being a spoiler. Their season is effectively over but they basically ended their division rivals on Thursday. The Flyers blitzed the Islanders on Thursday going up 5-0 in the first period and winning 6-3. With the Bruins, Maple Leafs, Lightning and Hurricanes all winning, the Islanders are toast. There were many players who stood out for the Flyers in this game but the one with the biggest fantasy impact is Wayne Simmonds. Simmonds had a Gordie Howe hat trick and then some totaling a goal, two assists, five penalty minutes and four shots. The goal was Simmonds’ 30th of the season allowing him to reach the 30 goal plateau for the second straight season. With four straight seasons of 28+ goals and massive penalty minutes, we know who Simmonds is in those departments. The shots are solid and the PPP are elite but there are some concerns. One, he’s been a minus player every season in Philly with this year being his worst ever, a -20. The other issue is that he’s never topped 31 assists. I thought this season he would set a new career high but he’s not coming close. So where does that leave us? I had Simmonds in my top 25 last season which turned out to be too high. I love Simmonds for what he is but it’s not worth taking him in the top of the third round when he’s only getting 55-60 points. He’ll certainly be in my top 50 but since he’s on the verge of turning 29, my hopes of Simmonds taking another step seem incredibly unlikely. Here’s what else happened around the league the last two nights:

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The season is rapidly approaching the end so every development is increasing important! Reid joins me once again to look at a wide array of topics. We start off with an injury recap focusing on Steven Stamkos’ imminent return, whether Zach Parise or Patrick Sharp are worth drafting next season and if Reto Berra is worth streaming. From there, we hit on the developing rivalry between the Flames and Kings (thanks Matthew Tkachuk!), where Nathan MacKinnon should be ranked next season and the bevy of college signings. What do we make of Clayton Keller, Brock Boeser, Tyson Jost and Charlie McAvoy now and in the future? What can we expect from undrafted college signings? All of the above is discussed before we preview Thursday’s slate and make our Three Point Challenge picks. Be sure to make your pick in the comments section below. All of that and more on the latest edition of the Razzball Hockey Podcast brought to you by Seatgeek and Draft!

Please, blog, may I have some more?