I have to admit, I’ve always had a soft spot for Thomas Vanek.  I saw him win the NCAA Championship as Minnesota’s best player as a freshman and fell in love with his offensive abilities before the Sabres drafted him 5th overall.  Vanek was excellent for many years in Buffalo and while his game isn’t where it once was, he can still put up points at a fairly high level.  Vancouver switched their lines recently with Vanek playing with Brock Boeser and Sam Gagner.  They exploded against Chicago on Thursday with Vanek leading the way.  In the 5-2 win over the Blackhawks, Vanek scored two goals and three assists with five shots and two PIM finishing +5.  Vanek now has 10 points in his past 4 games giving him 12+16 in 38 games this year.  The shot rate has been up over the past ten games (3 per) so I’d grab Vanek while he’s on fire, at least as a streamer.  I’m sure his name will be discussed as a trade target again at this year’s deadline and unlike last year in Florida, I think Vanek will make a difference.  Injuries really hurt Florida and Vanek was mostly relegated to 12 minutes on third line duty.  We’ve seen in Detroit last season and Vancouver this year that Vanek is still capable of putting up points.  Let’s take a look at what else happened Thursday night around the league:

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Ryan Getzlaf has been killing it for the Ducks since they were known as The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.  He’s been bald for that long too!  Getzlaf missed extensive time this year due to injury but he’s been great when in the lineup.  He had his best game of the season on Thursday dishing four assists and adding two shots in the 5-4 OT win over the Islanders.  To be honest, he wasn’t even the best player on his team for fantasy (more on that guy later), but Getzlaf’s fantasy impact is much greater.  Getzlaf now has 2+13 in only 12 games so far.  He played almost 25 minutes in this game which just goes to show you, everything is in place for Getzlaf to get back to being a top 50 player for the rest of the season.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:

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Jake DeBrusk was the second of three consecutive first round picks by the Bruins in the 2015 draft.  The other two players are still in the AHL developing but DeBrusk is starting to make his mark with the big squad.  In the 7-2 beatdown of the Blue Jackets, DeBrusk scored a goal and two assists with four shots and two penalty minutes.  He followed that up by scoring the only non-empty net goal against the Sabres on Tuesday.  As you can see below, snipe city:

That brings DeBrusk up to 8 goals and 10 assists in 28 games with solid penalty minutes and a decent shot rate.  The crazy thing is that he’s producing despite getting poor minutes (he’s averaging 14 per game on the season).  DeBrusk has shown me plenty this season to improve his stock in dynasties.  He looks like a lock to be a top six player going forward while having plenty of upside from there.  In redrafts, I wouldn’t hold him right now, solely because of the lack of minutes.  That said, DeBrusk is still a great streamer while he’s producing.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights in the NHL:

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Add another goalie to the list of guys who struggled in the opening month only to turn it around.  Braden Holtby, the consensus #1 goaltender going into the season, showed us why this weekend with two big performances.  Holtby saved 27 shots in Friday’s 4-1 win over the Penguins and followed it up with 29 saves in the 2-1 SO win over the Oilers.  Just like that, his save percentage is back to its normal level.  Sure, the goals against average is still a little high, but goals are up around the league and it’s not out of the realm of possibility it goes back down.  With the massive win total as well, expect Holtby to get back to the #1 goalie by season’s end.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:

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Reid and I talked about John Tavares extensively on Tuesday’s podcast.  We both saw him as a viable option for The Three Point Challenge but decided to go elsewhere since it’s rare for someone to post consecutive three point games.  Well, Tavares shoved it up both of our you-know-wheres!  He scored a hat trick and added an assist in the 5-3 win over the Coyotes.  All of a sudden, a slow start (3 points in 7 games) has been erased with Tavares at 10 points in 9 games.  This is why we wait at least a month before we panic about players, especially studs like Tavares.  Look for him to be his usual self going forward, which means being a top 20 forward.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:

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Hello Razzballers, Reid here.

While Viz is off doing things in Vegas that will inherently stay in Vegas, I’m going to bring you the daily writeup from the Monday and Tuesday games (doing a separate post for just one game on Monday makes absolutely no sense). Nikita Kucherov is against hot hot hot as he has a goal in each of the first 6 games for Tampa Bay. I’m only going to highlight the notables from these games that you should be focusing on.

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While the Razzball Hockey committee of one didn’t love the Patrick Marleau contract, we did like Marleau for this season in fantasy.  Like the majority of his teammates, his season debut went extremely well.  Marleau scored twice in his first game as a Maple Leaf registering five shots on goal.  His linemates were inconsistent but whether he’s with Matthews or Kadri, it doesn’t really matter.  Marleau scored 27 goals last season and I don’t see why he can’t get back to that number.  Despite ranking him as a top 150 player, he’s still available in over 50% of ESPN leagues, so grab him now.  Here’s what else happened around the NHL on opening night:

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The Toronto Maple Leafs went from the basement to the playoffs as one of the biggest surprises of the season.  Rookies, Mike Babcock, Frederik Andersen, the vets, everyone contributed to this massive turnaround.  Now, the Leafs are looked at as a perennial playoff team with future aspirations of a true Stanley Cup contender.  I don’t expect them to be a real contender this season, mostly because their blue line still needs a piece or two, but they should be a solid playoff team with plenty of fantasy contributors.  Let’s take a look at the riches Toronto is working with:

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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!

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