Another star player has made his way to the Eastern Conference well ahead of the trade deadline. We already had Horvat and Tarasenko move, and now we have a former Conn Smythe winner. Ryan O'Reilly was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs, along with Noel Acciari, for a bevy of draft picks. The Wild also acquired a pick for retaining salary, and there were prospects involved, but none of them are particularly relevant. For fantasy, we care about RoR and Acciari. Let's start with Acciari because it's easier. Acciari moved right onto Toronto's fourth line. He scored a goal against the Blackhawks on Sunday, and is piling up hits. He'll be a deep league value for his hits and decent goal rate. O'Reilly is an interesting debate. He's easily having the worst offensive season in the last decade. On the other hand, RoR has been playing much better lately, and he went right onto the second line with Tavares and Marner. He dished an assist in his debut on Saturday playing just over 16 minutes in the 5-1 blowout against Montreal. He also won 12 of 14 draws, which is notable that he bumped Tavares from the faceoff circle most of the time. I'm not rushing to pick up RoR, mostly because we know that he's not cracking Toronto's first power play unit. That said, there's upside in Toronto that he couldn't touch in St. Louis again. If you want to stream him on Tuesday against the Sabres and see where it goes, I can get behind that.
While I wasn't expecting a repeat of last season from Filip Forsberg, his drop off was a much higher level than it should have been. Thankfully, he started the turn around in a massive way this weekend. Against Anaheim on Friday, Forsberg had a goal and two assists. He followed it up with an even better game, scoring a hat trick on six shots against the Golden Knights. With those performances, Forsberg is on a 33+41 pace, which isn't amazing, but far more acceptable given Forsberg's shot rate. Here's to hoping that Forsberg can keep building. Nashville is going on a long road trip soon, which could lead to a bit more ice time for Forsberg when Hynes can't protect matchups as easily. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Tage Thompson's nickname, as given to him by Sabres announcer Dan Dunleavy, is TNT. Safe to say that everyone who watched Wednesday's game on TNT learned the nickname. Thompson had the game of the season, scoring five times, five times, five times, five times! He scored four in the first period, becoming the 18th player to ever score four in a period, and the fourth to do it in the first period. He put nine shots on goal in total and added an assist despite playing only 13:56 in the game. Here's the list of players who have multiple 3+ goals, 6+ point games in the last 30 seasons: Thompson, Zibanejad, Lemieux, and Gretzky. And Thompson is only 1/3 of the way through the season! He now has 21+19 in 26 games with over five shots per game. Honestly, it doesn't look like a fluke at all. Sure, his shooting percentage is a little high, but marginally so. If he can maintain his shot rate, that's over 400 shots in a season, making him close to a lock for 50 goals. As far as going forward, Thompson has played his way into the top 10 discussion. His minutes could even end up increasing towards 20 per game from the 18:31 he's at now. Thompson has already turned his contract extension into a massive steal for the Sabres. Let's take a look at what else happened the last two nights:
Mikhail Sergachev had the game of the weekend, scoring two goals and two assists on three shots in the 6-3 win over the Capitals. However, I was starting this post with Sergachev after watching the first ten minutes of the game. Sergachev moved to the first power play unit and immediately delivered, with one goal and one primary assist coming there. That is a massive boon to his value. Whether it lasts, who is to say? I would bet against it staying that way for the whole season, which is why I wouldn't panic if I owned Victor Hedman. However, in the short term, this is enough to make Sergachev a #2 defenseman in a 12 man league, with upside to be a #1. Getting to feed Stamkos and Kucherov for shots over and over again is a godsend to fantasy value. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
During the longest playoff drought in NHL history, there have been plenty of hot starts from the Sabres. While I still expect that drought to extend for another season, Thursday's game against the Flames felt different. Coming off a win that they stole in Edmonton, the Sabres came in with house money. They got a 4-1 lead before giving a goal with 1.6 seconds left in the second that the linesman inexplicably kicked into the middle of the ice. Then, the Flames scored a minute into the third. Old Sabres teams would have collapsed, but this one took over the rest of the game, winning 6-3 and being the better team against an elite Calgary team. Leading the way was Alex Tuch, scoring a hat trick to give him five goals in the past three games. Tuch has at least three shots on goal in all four games this season. Buffalo's schedule for the rest of the month? Vancouver, Seattle, Montreal, Chicago and Detroit. Yeah, Tuch definitely needs to be held for the time being. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
What’s poppin, Razzpimples?
If you missed my Top 20 full-bangs defensemen piece (accounting for standard cats + blocks + PIMs), you can find it right here.
Below, you'll see #21-#40. After that, I'll give a list of names to watch for various reasons, but I don't see much point ranking guys when you get to that range. It'll depend on personal preference and your team build when it comes to deciding who should be our #4 or #5 defenseman. Odds are they won't stick on your roster all season anyway.
Keep in mind, these rankings are for categories leagues.
This will be the last hold/stream list of the season as we're about a month away from the end of the regular season. My plan is to start working on the Playoff Manifesto on Tuesday with the hopes of having it ready on Friday for everybody. Per usual, there will be notes in the list where necessary. Assume a 12 team league and I'm holding the starting goalie only unless noted. Let's get to it!
Igor Shesterkin has been long anointed as "the next one." It turns out he's even better than I expected, and I have him at +1200 to win the Vezina. Shesterkin saved 36 of 37 shots in the 4-1 win over the Capitals on Thursday, losing his shutout with one minute left to an Ovechkin flubbed deflection. Let's face the facts. The Rangers are the good bad team. Yes, the power play is great, but they're a below average even strength team being propped up by how good Shesterkin. He's certainly the best goalie in dynasties, and for this season, it's a two man tier of Shesterkin and Vasilevskiy. If NHL players were in the Olympics, one of these guys would have been stuck backing up, probably Igor. Pretty absurd. Regardless, I'm not a first round pick goalie guy, but starting next season, I wouldn't be surprised if Igor stays in that territory for the next 5+ years. Let's take a look at the last two nights:
What's up, Razzball hockey nerds!
I'm filling in for Viz this week, who's doing some traveling.
Let's start off by giving some love to Tanner Jeannot. At the time of writing this, the dude is still only 47% rostered on Yahoo despite being the #94 overall player in standard formats. He brings massive value in the hits category, clocking in as the #4 forward (and #5 player) in that regard. But he's not your Clutterbuck or Reaves type who isn't scoring any points. Nay, Jeannot has 17 G and 14 A in 51 GP this year. On Tuesday, Jeannot netted two more goals on 3 SOG, chipping in a +2 rating and 6 H, which is a badass freakin line in a standard format. Oh yeah! And if you're a PIM-leaguer, Jeannot is elite there as well, with 87 on the year. All this from a 24-year-old I'd never heard of and who went undrafted, ultimately being signed by the Preds last year and appearing in 15 games. He's an every day-er now, and I think it's safe to say he's found a very comfortable home in the NHL.
Here's what stood out over the last couple days of action:
Joel Eriksson Ek took a big step forward last season, one of the main reasons the Wild made the playoffs with relative ease. It was more on the defensive end than offensively, but he showed plenty of offense with 19 goals in 56 games. On Tuesday, Eriksson Ek controlled the game for the Wild, scoring a hat trick on seven shots in the 6-5 OT win over the Jets. Eriksson Ek averaged just over two shots per game last season, but he now has twelve shots in three games. The minutes are going to be there so there's a chance he could push into bottom end hold territory. For now, he's an elite streamer. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Hello again, Razzfolks!
Wrapping up the Western Conference today. Time for Part 2 of the Central Division previews, finishing things out with the Wild, the Predators, the Blues, and the Jets.
If you want to check out (or look back over) the other previews thus far, links are below:
We're keeping it moving here at Razzball with the Top 40 defensemen. If you didn't see the top 20, you can read that here. I have some good news as well! JKJ, who writes on the baseball side of things, is going to be helping me out with hockey this year. He's going to have a weekly post during the season to focus on streaming. As of now, the plan is for that to come out on Thursdays to cover the weekend since streaming is prevalent on Friday and Saturday. Additionally, he's going to do quick team previews for the entire league. Look out for those starting next week! Now let's get to the top 40: