What better way to become the third player ever to 800 goals than to score a hat trick?  Alex Ovechkin did just that on Tuesday, scoring three times and adding an assist against the Chicago Blackhawks.  He's only one goal behind Gordie Howe for second all-time, and then the real chase towards Gretzky starts.  Ovechkin already has 20 goals this season in 31 games, a mere 53 goal pace for the 37 year old.  He's over four shots per game, and while the plus-minus is disappointing, it's starting to turn around a bit.  My love for Ovechkin is well known in these parts, so I don't need to belabor the point, but I can't wait for the greatest goal scorer ever to push towards 895.  Here's to hoping he keeps battling father time and gives hockey fans a great chase.  Let's see what else happened over the last two nights:
At risk of ignoring the 6’7” elephant in the room, the Sabres have been absolutely cruising with Cozens for the last week. Tage Thompson (that 6’7” elephant) was one of our writeup targets earlier in the year, and he definitely had a game for the ages with 5 goals (and 6 points) on Wednesday night. But there’s more to be excited about for Buffalo fans that have been cramming into the 'Cozens cab' for the last couple of weeks
One of the goaltending performances of the season came in the marquee showdown on Tuesday.  Toronto sure didn't make it easy on Matt Murray, taking seven penalties, but Murray stood up to the challenge and then some.  Murray had a 44 save shutout, leading Toronto to a 4-0 victory.  I thought the Toronto goaltending would be rough this season, but Murray has been very good when on the ice.  Same goes with Ilya Samsonov.  It could fall apart just like it did for Campbell last season, but the reason I liked these guys as #2 goalies is their floor is so high because of wins.  When Toronto gets this level of goaltending, it's extremely hard to beat them.  Here's to hoping Murray can stay healthy because he could be a big difference maker in fantasy.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Patrice Bergeron became the eighth active NHL'er to reach 1,000 career points on Monday, assisting on a Marchand goal in the 5-3 win over Tampa.  The best defensive forward for the last decade, Bergeron has long since been a lock for the Hall of Fame, but being the 94th player to ever reach 1,000 points puts him in truly elite company.  It sounds crazy to say that he's underrated, but I do feel like his career is underrated.  He's never been a top five player in the league, but he was close for an extended period, his line was consistently one of the best in the league, and if you could pick any skater to be on the ice with one minute left up one to save the planet, he's the guy.  Congrats to this hockey wizard.  Let's see what else happened on Monday night:
I swear that I haven’t been taken hostage by Sabres fans and forced to write exclusively about those Buffalonian Beasts of the NorthEast. But every week seems to provide a new opportunity to work in one of the Sabres as we head back to KeyBank Center to peek at some wingers and ‘See More Skinner’. At risk of working in a Simpsons reference or two here, Jeff Skinner, (DK: $5,200) seemed like he was doomed to be deemed a huge overpay when he signed that 9 million AAV extension in 2019. Coming off a 40 goal season, he certainly got paid like a top tier winger…then followed up that season with 14 goals and 7 goals respectively (albeit in less than 60 GP for each year). This year, he seems to have found a home on the top line with Tage Thompson and Alex Tuch. 14 points in 17 games with nearly 3 SOG per game qualifies as a good start, and his PP1 time could pay off against Matt Murray and the Leafs tonight. More importantly, unlike his Springfield namesake, I don't think even ‘SuperNintendo Chalmers’ could rattle this Skinner.
Remember when the Devils fans were chanting "Fire Lindy" two games into the season?  My, how the tides have turned.  The Devils have won 13 of 14 since, including 10 in a row.  The most recent win was 5-1 against the Canadiens on Tuesday with their star players leading the way.  Jack Hughes scored twice on seven shots and added an assist in the victory.  Hughes now has multiple points in six of his last ten games, and is pushing 4.5 shots on goal per game.  Even with a lack of penalty minutes, that's enough to be the top 20 player that I ranked him as before the season.  The future is incredibly bright in New Jersey with two elite defensemen prospects coming to support the excellent foundation in place.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
The Canucks have been showing signs of life lately, especially offensively.  Right now, there's no better cure for early season woes than going against the Ducks.  On Thursday, Vancouver scored eight goals, and their big offseason acquisition led the way.  Andrei Kuzmenko had a hat trick and an assist, giving him eight points in his last four games.  He's found great chemistry with Pettersson (more on him later) and Kuzmenko has kept his spot on the first power play unit.  He's on the fringe, but for now, I would definitely hold while he's this hot.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Vancouver has managed to blow multi-goal leads in each of their first four games.  Pretty remarkable stuff that already has Boudreau on the hot seat.  The good news is that there's still been some offensive bright spots for the Canucks, and Elias Pettersson is leading the way.  Pettersson had five points over the last two nights, totaling two goals, three assists, and six shots in the two games.  That brings Pettersson to 3+3 in four games, along with 3.5 shots per game.  That's a good start to one of my bold predictions of the season, which is that Pettersson will score 45+ goals this year.  Time will tell if that pans out, but I have no doubt that Pettersson can be a top 25 player despite the low penalty minutes.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
In the last few rounds of my draft, the best strategy is to take players with high ceilings.  Odds are, even if you take the "safe" guy, you end up cutting that player to stream somebody else at some point, so you might as well target somebody who could turn into a hold.  Today, I'm going to tell you the ten guys that I like the most as dart throws at the end of your draft.  Last season, among the notable late hits I highlighted were Rasmus Andersson and Noah Dobson, with Victor Olofsson's rookie breakout a big win from the past.  I'm going to use players whose ADP is after 180, which is 15 rounds in a 12 man league.  Let's get to it!
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.
We're keeping it moving here at Razzball Hockey HQ today looking at the top 20 defensemen in my 2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Rankings. My goaltending rankings and top 20 overall are easily available on the Razzball Hockey home page.  Unlike when I made a list of players that I considered for my Top 20 overall where I had 35 potential candidates, I only wrote down 22 names for Top 20 defenseman candidates.  Defensemen remains an extremely top heavy positions, so differentiating the players in the 11-50 range will go a long way.  Last year, I nailed Ekblad as an elite D ranking him 6th, and also had DeAngelo and McAvoy well above consensus in my Top 20.  Andersson and Seider were my big wins lower down.  For failures, Barrie and Petry lead the way, along with ranking Doughty too low.  Let's hope for better this time around.  Let's get to it!