And now we reached the meat of the rankings. Forwards generally make up half of your roster, if not more, and they dominate the beginning of drafts. For today, I’ll have around 50 guys separated into tiers and will have more on Thursday. Please, blog, may I have some more?
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:
On Friday, I started off talking about the first line in Columbus really putting together some great performances. This continued on Saturday, especially for Cam Atkinson. Atkinson had a goal and an assist with four shots against Chicago, giving him a goal in four of the past five games. The shot rate is above average and could end up elite again, plus the minutes have been excellent. I can not believe that Atkinson is still only 36% owned on Sunday. He should be held in all formats for the time being, and there's a legitimate chance he can stay a hold for the rest of the season. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
To say I've been bullish on Filip Forsberg for half a decade now would be an understatement. To say I've been over-bullish is probably fair. Call it stubbornness, call it belief in the player, whatever you want, but I was the high man on Forsberg this year and I think we're finally getting that massive season we've all been waiting for. Forsberg was incredible on Thursday night, a back-and-forth affair between the Panthers and Predators. Forsberg totaled five points, two goals and three assists, with eight shots in the victory. For the season, that puts Forsberg at 6+5 in 10 games with exactly four shots per game. Pretty, pretty, pretty good. He hasn't even played Detroit yet! If he keeps shooting four shots on per game, he'll be a slam dunk top 50 player with upside from there. Forsberg is at 15% shooting right now which isn't far off his norm. The minutes are starting to go up a bit which is the main thing which held him back under Laviolette. Thirty goals and over a point per game isn't out of the question. 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:
Injuries and COVID absences didn't stop Carolina from shutting down the Lightning on Tuesday night. It started with Petr Mrazek in net who stopped all 32 shots that he faced to earn the win. That's two shutouts already in three starts already for Mrazek. It's to the point where I feel comfortable playing him in every start where going into the season, I didn't want to use him against the other top teams in the Central. We've seen the upside before in Detroit and even though that was a while ago, the system in place in Carolina should make Mrazek's burden relatively easy. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
The player with the most points this weekend was Connor. No, not McDavid. Kyle Connor continued his terrific season with two amazing games. First, he scored a goal and dished three assists against the Senators. Then, he followed it up on Sunday by scoring two goals and an assist with five shots in the win against the Blackhawks. That brings Connor up to a point per game on the season, 26+30 in 56 games. Connor is developing into one of the unheralded stars in the league. Overshadowed by Scheifele and Laine on his own team, this will be Connor's third straight 30 goal season at age 23. His shot rate is over three per game now and the penalty minutes have jumped quite a bit. I'm not sure how much higher his ceiling is, if at all, but it doesn't have to get higher. Connor has established himself as a player whose floor is 30+30 with plenty of upside from there. He's going to be a top 50 player (conservatively) for a long time, mixing in seasons where he's a top 25 player overall when he has some good fortune. The Jets are in terrific shape going forward offensively, now they have to do whatever they can to improve their blue line. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
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:
Hat tricks aren't that uncommon in the NHL. First period hat tricks are. Evander Kane became the first player in Sharks history to do so, scoring three goals and adding an assist with five shots in the 5-2 win over the Hurricanes on Wednesday. Kane has long been a player that I rate higher than consensus because of his shot rate and penalty minutes. Kane has four goals and two assists in four games since returning from suspension to go along with four PIM and 13 shots. Pretty, pretty good. I don't think it's a coincidence that the Sharks went 0-3 without Kane and are 3-1 since. With their current depth issues, Kane should be leaned on heavily giving him a great chance at a top 50 fantasy season. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Hey guys! Over the next month, I will be taking a look at each team’s players to watch out for going into the 2019-20 fantasy hockey season. This analysis features everything from surefire studs, to sleepers, to streamers, deeper league holds, even to rookie-eligible prospects that may make an appearance at some point this season. Please let me know if you guys enjoy this type of material! Reminder that the stat totals are from last season. Last year my previews went alphabetically, but this year we’re going to go division-by-division, starting with the top team. On our 17th stop on the 31 in 31 tour, we’re headed to Bean Town, home of the Eastern Conference Champion Bruins! The Bruins were one game away from hoisting Lord Stanley… Dang it, Gloria! That being said, this team had very little turnover from this past season to now, and should be primed for another great season in the extremely competitive Atlantic.