It's no secret in these parts that I'm from Buffalo and root for the local teams.  I've seen plenty of devastating injuries over the years, from hockey players being severely cut, Pronger's collapse on the ice, soccer players collapsing like Eriksen in 2021, and I was at the Bills game when Kevin Everett was paralyzed.  Damar Hamlin's cardiac arrest was the first time that it felt like "life or death" on the football field.  It seemed like an eternity between first responders helping him, getting him to the hospital, and waiting for any update.  I can only imagine how it was for his family, friends, and teammates.  Here's to hoping that Hamlin continues to progress in his battle towards recovery.  The Sabres played in Washington on Tuesday night, with the entire team wearing "Love For Three" t-shirts for their Buffalo brethren.  The Sabres won the game 5-4 in the most fitting way possible.  Tage Thompson scored his third goal of the game, completing his third hat trick of the season, exactly three minutes into overtime, playing three on three, bringing him to 30 on the season, which is three off the league lead.  You can't write a better ending than that.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights while we keep Damar in our thoughts:
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:
Hey, Razzballers! We've made it to our final round of stops: the Atlantic Division. It's a two-day journey, where today I'll be taking you through Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, and then circle back southeast for Florida. Lot of ground to cover in one day but thankfully we won't stay long in Buffalo or Detroit. Not much to see. Tomorrow, our final four stops together shall commence: Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Tampa Bay. Need a refresher on all the previews thus far? Have at it:
Loyal Razzballers will know my fandom of Martin Necas goes back to when he was drafted by Carolina.  I was perplexed that he fell to 12th overall, and a couple of the guys in front of him are well on their way to becoming busts.  Thankfully, Necas is on his way to breaking out towards stardom.  Necas had two goals and two assists with six shots on Saturday leading Carolina to a 4-3 win over the Lightning.  That brings Necas up to 28 points in 30 games this season and over two shots per game, a big jump on ever level.  The only thing holding him back was playing time and that is certainly not a concern any more.  Somehow, Necas is still available in almost 50% of leagues.  Therefore, we have a few steps to take.  Go to your league's waiver wire, see if he's available, add him immediately if he is, and then come back to see what else happened over the weekend!
Sure, it's on the basis of playing two more games than Washington, but the Islanders in first place in late March is a truly remarkable feat.  Yes, they did make the Conference Finals last season, but in this division, they were not expected to contend for first place.  Goaltending is going a long way for their success, and their future is starting to become more of the present.  Ilya Sorokin saved 36 of 37 shots in the 2-1 OT win over the Flyers on Monday night.  That brings Sorokin to 8 wins in 11 games with a 1.97/.922 stat line.  That's elite right off the bat for the rookie which has led Sorokin to starting four games over the past two weeks.  Semyon Varlamov's numbers and Sorokin's are nearly identical and for now, Trotz seems content to split between the two of them.  Long term, Sorokin is one of the best goalies for fantasy hockey, granted he's a 25 year old rookie.  That said, he's playing enough right now that I would own Sorokin in all formats.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
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:
The first big trade deadline move happened two weeks early.  Jason Zucker was sent to Pittsburgh in Bill Guerin's first big move as Wild GM, in exchange for Alex Galchenyuk, Calen Addison, and a first round pick.  So what does this do for Zucker's fantasy value?  It puts it through the roof.  Zucker immediately went on Crosby's wing in his first game, registering five shots on goals against the Lightning in 15 minutes.  Sure, he's not going to get PP1 time, but the upside is tremendous given this opportunity.  I grabbed Zucker in every league that I could just in case that it clicks with Crosby.  We've seen Zucker score 30 goals in a season before and generate a ton of chances; now it'll be even easier with Crosby.  As for the Wild side of things, it's a really good return.  Addison was the Penguins' top prospect, and while their system wasn't loaded, he safely projects as a second pair, potential PP defenseman.  I don't see huge upside, but there's value there.  As for Galchenyuk, it can't get any worse than it was in Pittsburgh.  He only received 12 minutes in his first game, and I'm certainly not rushing to use him, but it's worth monitoring to see if that changes.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last three nights:
Tony DeAngelo grew up in New Jersey and on Thursday, he had the best game of his career against the Devils.  DeAngelo scored a hat trick on seven shots while adding two assists to have the best game of the NHL season by a defenseman.  In the preseason, I ranked DeAngelo 32nd at defensemen, way above consensus.  Here's what I said: "Alright, somebody I really like!  Now, that’s not to say there’s concern here with DeAngelo.  One, he’s still unsigned and I’m not sure if a deal gets done sooner than later.  Two, it’s possible that Fox takes his PP time.  I think the two play together on PP2 but we’ll have to wait and see.  However, if DeAngelo is playing on opening night getting PP2 time, he could get 40 points and 100 PIM.  Yes, the shot rate is slightly below average, but it’s extremely difficult to get that out of anyone on the blue line.  You won’t need to take him this early, but I’m targeting DeAngelo because he fits so many team builds."  And that's me quoting me copying what Grey does!  Well, I may have overshot the PIM, but I was way under on the points.  DeAngelo now has 11+25 in 42 games and he worked his shot rate up to over two per game, a solid number for a defenseman.  Hopefully you guys checked out my preseason rankings and you own DeAngelo everywhere because I'm not expecting a drop off given the style the Rangers play.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Who had Noel Acciari scoring seven goals in one week this season?  Alright, who had Acciari scoring more than seven goals this season?  After Acciari scored a hat trick last Monday against the Senators, Acciari managed to follow it up with another hat trick plus an assist against the Stars on Friday.  Acciari scored again on Saturday against Carolina completing one of the craziest weeks we've ever seen from a depth hockey player.  So should we care?  Probably, yes.  He's playing with Jonathan Huberdeau who is piling up assists looking to feed Acciari at the moment.  The problem is that Acciari isn't getting power play time yet, but he could get PP2 time sooner than later.  However, he still played over 17 minutes last game without the power play time which is enough to have value.  He's the epitome of a hot schmotato so I would look to stream him against Tampa on Monday and carrying that into Saturday's game against Detroit.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
I talked a lot about Taylor Hall in Monday's post (you can read that here).  The trade that I was talking about happened on Monday with Hall moving to Arizona.  In the trade, Hall and Blake Speers went to Arizona for a 2020 conditional first-round draft pick, a conditional 2021 third-rounder, along with forward prospects Nate Schnarr, Nick Merkley and defenseman Kevin Bahl.  First, let's look at this from Arizona's perspective.  It's a steep price to pay for a rental, but Hall is the best player traded in quite some time, and Arizona is looking to snap a long playoff drought in a weak division.  I totally get the move given their strong defensive talent but lack of overall offensive talent.  Hall played on Tuesday dishing an assist and adding a shot in 18 minutes.  He played with Christian Dvorak and Clayton Keller.  In Monday's piece linked above, I said to buy Keller going forward due to his recent play.  This only enhances his value.  Same goes with Dvorak, but he moves up to an elite streamer for now.  As for New Jersey, it's hard to complain about this return.  You have potentially two first round picks in this deal, but at least a 1 and 3.  Bahl is a monster coming in at 6'7 and can skate fairly well.  I don't see a PP guy there, but he should be a modern stay-at-home who is strong on the PK.  For those in deep leagues, he should be a very good hits/blocks guy down the line.  Merkley has decent upside, but he has already had reconstructive knee surgery.  He's not the best skater, but he has great hockey IQ and should end up as a playmaking center in the middle six.  Schnarr was a third round pick in 2018 who didn't show a ton of offense until after he was drafted.  He then exploded in Guelph last season, but he's struggled in the AHL so far.  That isn't a surprise as many 20 year olds struggle in their first pro season.  I don't expect a ton, but there's a decent chance he ends up an NHL'er.  All in all, seems like this trade has the potential to be a win-win once you consider that Hall seemingly didn't want to stay in New Jersey.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights: