Going into the season, I was high on Aaron Ekblad because the reports out of Florida were that Yandle was going to get scratched to open the season and his future was in doubt.  One bout of COVID later, and Yandle was in opening night and scored.  For the bad luck I've had on rankings this year , Yandle has not impacted Ekblad one bit.  Ekblad had hit a bit of a rough patch over the last week, but he fixed that in a big way on Thursday.  Ekblad scored two goals and added two assists with six shots in the 5-4 win over the Predators.  That brings Ekblad to 8+7 in 22 games, an incredible rate of goals for a defenseman.  Add in three shots per game and strong PIM, and Ekblad has a chance at finishing as a #2D this season.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
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:
My bold prediction of Tyson Barrie scoring 50 points this season was looking absolutely horrible through the first two weeks.  After the past week, there's some hope.  Barrie had two assists with five shots on Tuesday night against the Senators.  That gives him seven points in the last four games and it hasn't been dominated by power play points.  The good news is that the Oilers have two more games coming up against the Senators early next week, but either way, I'm expecting Barrie to keep playing well and push towards being the top 10 defenseman I projected.  If somebody panicked early, including yourself since I assume most of the readers own Barrie, grab Barrie immediately.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
I've run out of superlatives to describe Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.  I don't even like starting posts with them because everyone knows how good they are, but this weekend's play deserves the big praise.  McDavid had two goals and an assist with three shots on Saturday, while Draisaitl had two assists with a shot and two PIM.  Those games were horrible compared to their explosion on Sunday.  McDavid scored a goal and dished four assists while Draisaitl had six assists!  They were already the top two in the league in points before Sunday's games.  Now, they're lapping the field at the end of January.  It's a treat to watch these guys on a nightly basis, and even better if you have one of them on your fantasy team.  With the way the rest of the North division plays, what's the ceiling for points for these guys? 90? 100?  It sounds ridiculous in 56 games, but they're at another level at the moment and they won't have a tough defensive team to play in their entire division.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
There was very little hype about Jack Hughes going into the season despite being the first overall pick only one year ago.  We're only three games into the season, but he's off to a tremendous start.  Hughes had two goals and an assist in the 4-3 win over the Rangers on Tuesday.  That gives Hughes six points in three games in the early going.  I wrote after his first game that he should be owned everywhere.  He's had the biggest chance in ownership since the beginning of the season, but he's still available in over 1/3 of leagues.  If you've been asleep at the wheel and you're lucky enough that he's still available, go do so immediately, and then read the rest of the notes below!  Let's take a look at what happened over the last two nights:
It's hard to believe that Filip Forsberg recently had a 20 game goalless streak.  He had his best game in months on Tuesday scoring two goals and an assist with five shots and two PIM.  The thing that excites me most is that Forsberg played 20 minutes in this game.  Forsberg is clearly the best forward on the team and it has been infuriating that his minutes have been down, slump or not.  The playoff schedule for the Predators is excellent (you can read up on that here) giving Forsberg the opportunity to be a top 20 player down the stretch.  I don't expect that, but he has that kind of upside.  The Predators are making their playoff push and it's the time for Forsberg to get his season back on track.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two 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: