And now we reached the meat of the rankings. Forwards generally make up half of your roster, if not more, and they dominate the beginning of drafts. For today, I’ll have around 50 guys separated into tiers and will have more on Thursday. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Playing time has been the only thing that has stopped Alex Tuch from breaking out in the past. It looked like he was going into the top six two seasons ago, but then the Golden Knights acquired Stone keeping Tuch on the third line. Well, this season that has finally changed even though Stone is still on the team, mostly because the Karlsson line plays less minutes. On Saturday, Stone left the game with a minor injury which led Tuch to being double shifted. Even before that, Tuch was on a tear and it'll only get better with his increased workload. Tuch scored two goals on six shots on Saturday after scoring a goal on Friday. That brings Tuch up to 12 goals in 21 games, an excellent mark. Sure, his shooting percentage is unsustainable, but the increase in minutes could counteract that a bit. Tuch is still available in over 40% of leagues, so if you're lucky enough to be in one of them, grab him now. Let's take a look at what else happpened 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:
Now is the time to get excited if you own Blues players. Sure, the top guys have been plenty good, but after their seven game battle with the Coyotes, the Blues played their next 11 games against the California trio. It took a dramatic finish on Thursday, but they started off on the right foot. With the goalie pulled, the Blues tied the game before winning it in overtime on a David Perron goal. Perron scored a goal and added two assists with four shots in the victory. That brings him over a point per game on the season with a quality plus-minus, solid shot rate, and good PIM. He's a true stud across the board that tends to get a bit overlooked. The top players on the Blues could be in line for a big month with Perron leading the way. I can't rule out a top 50 season when we reach the end of this truncated year. Let's take a look at what else happened on Thursday night:
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:
To say I've been bullish on Filip Forsberg for half a decade now would be an understatement. To say I've been over-bullish is probably fair. Call it stubbornness, call it belief in the player, whatever you want, but I was the high man on Forsberg this year and I think we're finally getting that massive season we've all been waiting for. Forsberg was incredible on Thursday night, a back-and-forth affair between the Panthers and Predators. Forsberg totaled five points, two goals and three assists, with eight shots in the victory. For the season, that puts Forsberg at 6+5 in 10 games with exactly four shots per game. Pretty, pretty, pretty good. He hasn't even played Detroit yet! If he keeps shooting four shots on per game, he'll be a slam dunk top 50 player with upside from there. Forsberg is at 15% shooting right now which isn't far off his norm. The minutes are starting to go up a bit which is the main thing which held him back under Laviolette. Thirty goals and over a point per game isn't out of the question. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
We had a blockbuster happen on Saturday morning. Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic are headed to Columbus in exchange for Pierre-Luc Dubois and a third round pick. Three disgruntled players all get fresh starts and all should have a fantasy impact, albeit to differing degrees. Let's start with Dubois. He's going to start centering the second line, presumably with Ehlers and Stastny moving to the wing. I presume his minutes will come in around the 18 he was at last season which should be quite productive. The big question is whether or not he's on the first power play or if Stastny keeps that spot. We'll have to wait two weeks to find out as Dubois will have to quarantine for that long given Canadian rules right now, but there's a potential top 50 player in here. I really like the combination of Dubois with Ehlers.
The player with the most points this weekend was Connor. No, not McDavid. Kyle Connor continued his terrific season with two amazing games. First, he scored a goal and dished three assists against the Senators. Then, he followed it up on Sunday by scoring two goals and an assist with five shots in the win against the Blackhawks. That brings Connor up to a point per game on the season, 26+30 in 56 games. Connor is developing into one of the unheralded stars in the league. Overshadowed by Scheifele and Laine on his own team, this will be Connor's third straight 30 goal season at age 23. His shot rate is over three per game now and the penalty minutes have jumped quite a bit. I'm not sure how much higher his ceiling is, if at all, but it doesn't have to get higher. Connor has established himself as a player whose floor is 30+30 with plenty of upside from there. He's going to be a top 50 player (conservatively) for a long time, mixing in seasons where he's a top 25 player overall when he has some good fortune. The Jets are in terrific shape going forward offensively, now they have to do whatever they can to improve their blue line. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
I was expecting a big bounce back from Nazem Kadri this season in Colorado after being stuck on the third line in Toronto last season. It hasn't been spectacular, but Kadri has been a hold all season. He was going through a rough patch with only one point in seven games before Monday, but he broke out in a big way. Kadri scored two goals on four shots and added an assist in the Colorado victory over Detroit. Sure, it's Detroit, but three points is three points. Kadri has already surpassed last season's goal total in 27 less games and the penalty minutes are through the roof. His spot on the top power play unit appears locked in, therefore making him a hold for the foreseeable future. The big offseason trade has been a huge win for the Avalanche, no doubt about it. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It's safe to say that at 26 years old, Jonathan Huberdeau has plenty of hockey to play in his career. The scary thing is that he's going to destroy the Panthers point record. In Sunday's big win over the Maple Leafs, Huberdeau had a goal and an assist to pass Olli Jokinen for the most points in franchise history. After last season's breakout campaign where Huberdeau had 92 points, he's on pace to blow by that this season with 61 points in their first 45 games. The shot rate has fallen off to slightly below average, but I don't think anyone who drafted Huberdeau is complaining. He's a safe bet to finish as a top 20 overall player this season, and since he's entering his prime along with some of his other teammates (notably Barkov), the future is incredibly bright. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend: