The Pittsburgh Penguins have taken a beating this season in terms of injuries, but they've kept chugging along piling up the wins.  On Tuesday, Sidney Crosby returned and he didn't miss a beat.  Crosby had a goal and three assists with three shots in the 7-3 win over the Wild.  So what impact does Crosby's return to the lineup have in fantasy?  Crosby centered Jared McCann and Dominik Simon on Tuesday.  McCann had a goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM while Simon had a goal and an assist.  These two guys are massive winners in this.  Both are elite streamers with upside from there.  Of the two, I prefer McCann going forward.  Props to Joey Jo Jo Jr. Shabadoo for picking Crosby for three points!  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
For years, Patric Hornqvist has been an easy hold in fantasy, but last season brought some doubt if the 32 year old would get back to that level.  Injuries have set back Honrqvist this season, but his first three games back have been strong, namely the last two.  On Thursday, Hornqvist scored two goals on eight shots in the 3-2 loss to the Sharks.  So why am I excited for Hornqvist?  One is the shots.  He's pushing three per game which brings plenty of value.  Two is the top power play time on a strong unit.  Three, and this is the main one, is that Sidney Crosby should be returning within a week or so, and given the injuries Pittsburgh has suffered, it seems likely that Hornqvist ends up playing on his wing.  This would do wonders for his value and give him the chance to be a solid hold again.  Hornqvist is available in almost two-thirds of leagues right now which makes him an incredible speculation add in all formats.  If he can stay healthy and plays with Crosby, we could get borderline top 100 value the rest of the way from Hornqvist.  Let's take a look at what else happened on Thursday night:
James Neal opened the season on an absolute tear, a stretch that included a four goal game.  He fell off dramatically over the last two months, but he had another massive game on Tuesday.  Neal had a hat trick and an assist in the 7-5 win over the Rangers.  So should we care?  I mean, the Rangers are a disaster defensively.  And the answer is... yes and no.  What great advice!  It all comes down to your team needs.  Neal has been excellent on the power play and should continue to do so on Edmonton's first unit.  The goals are going to keep coming in.  On the other hand, he's -23 and has only eight assists on the season.  If you're desperate for goals and power play points, or are in a league with extra categories that include PPG, then there's a case to hold Neal.  Otherwise, I would prefer to stream him so he doesn't tank my plus-minus while also giving less assists than any other fantasy relevant player.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last three 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:
We've seen this story before.  Last year, upper management called out Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin for poor play.  This year, it was Jim Montgomery.  Benn had one goal through 20 games, but he now has three over the last two games.  Benn scored two goals and an assist with five shots and two PIM in the 6-1 win over the Canucks.  This came after a goal and an assist on four shots against the Oilers.  He wasn't going to shoot 2% forever, but Benn did not look good over the first six weeks of the season.  That said, we've seen a big hot streak from him before so there is hope he can do it again.  The schedule looks fairly good over the short term so I'm expecting Benn to turn this nice stretch into a hot streak.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
One of my main focuses as far as team projections go is coaching, especially when it deals with goaltending.  I always love the Isles goalies because of Trotz, or Arizona because of Tocchet.  Well, I made the mistake of not giving enough credit to Dave Tippett going to Edmonton.  Tippett has always had great defensive teams in Arizona, and that's continued in Edmonton.  The biggest beneficiaries have been the goalies, and over the weekend, that was Mikko Koskinen.  Koskinen had a 29 save shutout on Friday against the Devils before saving 31 of 33 shots in the 6-2 win over the Ducks on Sunday.  His numbers are spectacular as are Mike Smith's.  Do I love these guys going forward?  No, I still prefer the Isles guys, for example.  That said, I probably undersold both of these guys.  I think both Koskinen and Smith need to be held and could be decent #2's for the rest of the season.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
I wrote in this space two seasons ago that Nathan MacKinnon deserved the Hart Trophy.  While he didn't ultimately win, he's been one of the best players in the league for a few years now.  Right now, he's making a legitimate case again in the early going.  With both of his star linemates injured, MacKinnon has continued to dominate.  His best game yet came on Thursday, where he scored a goal on ten shots and added three assists.  In his last four games, he has 34 SOG!  MacKinnon now has 9+13 in 16 games with over five shots per game.  We haven't seen a shot rate like this since prime Ovechkin.  Obviously there's a long way to go, but MacKinnon has a great chance to finally get to 100 points this season.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
The last lottery pick for the Washington Capitals has really come into his own.  Jakub Vrana had an incredible weekend, starting with two goals on eight shots against the Sabres.  He followed it up with a hat trick on five shots against the Flames on Sunday.  That brings Vrana to 9+5 in 16 games with just under three shots per game.  He's a main stay on the second line and second power play unit, so the question is whether or not he's a hold.  For now, I lean towards yes.  I don't think it'll last all season, but Vrana is playing excellent hockey right now and I want to take advantage of it.  The 23 year old has made a jump in every season of his career and looks to be down that path again.  Given that he had 24+23 last season, another slight improvement will get right right onto the fringe.  Vrana isn't an automatic add given that Washington has only two games this week, but I'm holding onto him while Vrana has his foot on the accelerator.  Let's take a look at what else happened this weekend:
While general sports fans were watching playoff baseball (Go Braves!) or Sunday Night Baseball, hockey fans saw one of the best performances of the season take place on the first weekend.  Anthony Mantha scored four goals on eight shot, including the winner in the last minute of the game, to beat the Stars 4-3.  This comes after an incredible performance in his season opener in which he scored a goal and two assists with five shots and four penalty minutes in the upset win over Nashville.  In both games, the players on the top line were at or above 20 minutes each.  That's extremely encouraging for their long-term success.  Obviously we're not expecting Mantha to be a top 25 player all of a sudden, but the potential is there for 30 goals, 50 PIM and a very good shot rate.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
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 14th stop on the 31 in 31 tour, we visit the Windy City – Chicago baby! There weren’t huge expectations for this Hawks squad heading into 2018-19, but their young offensive weapons helped them fight till the bitter end, ending up just six points out of the playoffs. With an interesting free agent pickup and some moves to stabilize their D core, what will the Hawks do this season?