After their situation looked murky earlier in the season causing public turmoil between the front office and their superstars, the Dallas Stars are close to becoming a lock for the postseason.  Their super Stars (corny, I know) won the game for them on Tuesday against the Panthers.  In the 4-2 win, Tyler Seguin dished four assists while putting six shots on goal and providing two PIM.  Alexander Radulov scored two goals and an assist with five shots, while Jamie Benn scored a goal and two assists with two shots.  The Stars have a great playoff schedule and these three guys should be massive difference makers in the fantasy playoffs.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
We are at the point in the season where it's more important to lead my posts off with the things that have the biggest impact going forward and not the best performances.  Robin Lehner is currently day-to-day with what Barry Trotz called an upper-body injury.  When asked if it was a concussion, Trotz wouldn't give an answer.  Best wishes to Lehner to a speedy recovery no matter what the issue is, but he does have concussion history.  Thomas Greiss started on Thursday and made 35 saves on 37 shots in the 4-2 win over the Senators.  I wouldn't expect anything else against the Senators.  I have been saying Greiss is must-own for a few months now, but for some reason he's still only 27% owned!  If Lehner does miss time, Greiss has a legitimate chance to not only be a #1 goalie the rest of the way, but a top 5 goalie overall.  Pick him up immediately if he's still available in your league.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two days:
We have a new candidate for craziest game of the year.  Chicago and Ottawa was a 5-4 game... with 2 minutes left in the first!  The game finished with a ridiculous 8-7 score with Alex DeBrincat leading the way on the score sheet.  The 21 year old scored a hat trick and added two assists, bringing him up to 32+28 on the season.  Not bad for anyone, let alone a 21 year old.  In the preseason, I wrote this: "Everything is in place for DeBrincat to score 35+ goals… if Quenneville plays him the minutes he deserves.  DeBrincat scored 28 goals and 24 assists as a rookie despite playing only 14:48 per game.  It was infuriating that DeBrincat’s minutes down the stretch didn’t drastically increase with the Blackhawks out of the playoff race.  He’s a natural goal scorer who needs to get more playing time for the Blackhawks to have any chance at a bounce back.  The penalty minutes won’t be there, but 30+30 is well within reason, and there’s still upside from there."  Well, Quenneville was fired, but everything else came to fruition.  I love DeBrincat now and going forward.  Sure, he'll never give PIM, but he should be an annual 30 goal scorer who has some years pushing 40 like this one.  Let's take a look at what else happened on Monday night:
On January 3rd, the St. Louis Blues were in last place of the entire NHL.  Here we are six weeks later and they're safely in a playoff position.  The Blues have matched the longest winning streak in the NHL this season at 10, winning two games this weekend in convincing fashion.  First, Jake Allen shutout the Avalanche, then Jordan Binnington shut out the Wild on a back to back.  Right now, Binnington is as hot as it gets in the league.  I don't expect this to continue, but for now, he's a must start every time out.  I still view Allen as somewhat of a desperation play, but with how well the team is playing in front of him, I'm fine with streaming him for the time being.  Looks like a coaching change was what they needed to right the ship.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
I've felt that Thomas Greiss was underrated for years.  When I started at Razzball, he was battling Halak for playing time and should have received more than he did.  Last season, when I was fully buying in, he was a mess.  This year, his value was so low that he was a nice gamble and he paid off handsomely.  Greiss had a 31 save shutout on Thursday beating Columbus 3-0.  Greiss is pushing a .930 save percentage and it's deserved; he's third in the league in goals saved about expectation.  The bad news is that his teammate is #2 in that category.  Look, Greiss isn't going to get the majority of starts, right around half of the Isles remaining games.  However, those starts are going to be extremely valuable.  He's only owned in 23% of leagues right now which is far too low.  That reason alone is why I'm starting this post with Greiss.  I've been saying for over a month that he should be owned in all formats, but if you're lucky enough for him to still be on the wire, go and get him.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It was only a matter of time until Vladimir Tarasenko picked up his play.  Tarasenko had four goals over the weekend, including a hat trick on Sunday, in two games against the Predators.  That gives him an eight game point streak to get to 22+19 on the season.  Obviously that's still disappointing, but there's time for him to salvage the season.  Hell, the Blues are even in a playoff spot now because of how bad the Western Conference is.  Look for them to make some additions at the deadline because of all of the moves they made in the summer.  Missing the playoffs would be a major disappointment, and creating depth for the lineup would help things out for Tarasenko.  The buy low window is probably closed but there's a strong chance that he's a top 30 player the rest of the way.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Patrice Bergeron has had an excellent career to this point, one that gives him a chance at making the Hall of Fame one day if he ages well.  To this point, we've seen no signs of him slowing down.  That continued on Tuesday as Bergeron scored two goals in his 1000th career NHL game.  He became the fifth Bruin to reach that mark, and he'll be 3rd all-time early next season behind Bourque and Bucyk.  On a per-game basis, this has been the best season of his career.  He has 18+28 in 37 games with an elite shot rate.  This is his eighth straight season with a Corsi over 56%.  Bergeron is arguably the best defensive center in the game who is good enough to dominate the other team's top players on a nightly basis.  His prowess is what gives the Bruins a chance to upset someone, presumably Toronto, in the first round of the playoffs.  I wouldn't be selling high if I owned him; the first line is so damn good that very few teams have a chance against them.  Let Bergeron continue to provide great value to your team.  Here's what else happened on a busy Tuesday night:
The trade deadline is rapidly approaching and we saw our first big move happen over the weekend.  Nick Bjugstad and Jared McCann were traded to Pittsburgh for Derick Brassard, Riley Sheahan, and three draft picks.  So what does this do to their values?  Well, let's start with the easy ones.  Sheahan is fantasy irrelevant as a fourth line center.  McCann is currently playing as the third line center for Pittsburgh with Malkin down, having Pearson and Hornqvist on his wings.  With no power play time, he's a bottom end streamer, but there is some upside here.  Bjugstad is centering the second line, but even when Malkin comes back, the plan is for Kessel to be on his wing.  I'd say this gives him a small boost to his value, but I wouldn't rush to own him.  Bjugstad's situation in Florida was pretty good from a fantasy perspective.  Brassard gets the biggest boost here, but to what level?  Obviously he was a disaster in Pittsburgh since they acquired him.  Florida is starting him on the wing with Trocheck and Hoffman.  This is a huge upgrade for Brassard who becomes an elite streamer.  However, this might only last for a while as I expect Florida to flip Brassard closer to the deadline.  That means big minutes for now which is obviously great, but who knows where he gets moved.  Maybe it's somewhere that would be good for his value (e.g. Winnipeg, who tried to get him last year before Pitt did), but it could also be somewhere like Colorado or Boston which wouldn't be great.  In a deep league, I would grab Brassard immediately.  In standard leagues, I'd use him tonight against the Blues and go from here.  Here's some other observations I've made over the last few days:
It was less than a week ago that James van Riemsdyk was placed on the fourth line for the Flyers and Scott Gordon had a private meeting with him.  Since then, JVR has taken off, with a monster game coming on Monday.  He scored a hat trick to give him 5+2 in his last 3 games.  Look, we know how good of a player JVR can be; he's been a top 100 player the past few seasons.  However, he only has two games the rest of the week, and then he doesn't have a game for all of next week with the Flyers on a bye week.  Therefore, I wouldn't be holding him right now.  I'd be willing to stream him on Wednesday and Saturday, but I'd cut bait then.  However, with a very heavy schedule starting 1/28, including a lot of bad teams, I would look to grab JVR at the All-Star break to get three games in four nights after that break.  Then, we see how he does in those three games, and proceed from there.  Here's a look at what else happened on Monday night:
The Penguins have been on quite a tear lately, and it's not just their All-Stars.  Over the weekend, Jake Guentzel destroyed the Ducks and Kings.  In the Penguins comeback against the Ducks, Guentzel had a hat trick on seven shots with two penalty minutes, before scoring two more goals on six shots against the Kings.  That brings Guentzel to 23 goals, which is already a career high.  The shot rate has taken a big jump as well, although we can't expect him to shoot 19% all season.  Regardless, Guentzel has settled into being a top 100 player who is a clear hold in all formats.  As long as he continues to play with Crosby, things will be just fine.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend: