The Senators have been a disappointment this season despite their big forward acquisitions in the summer. Turns out that you can't get away with completely ignoring the blue line and being forced to give bad players big minutes. Anyways, we don't care about that for fantasy, we care about their scoring, and their top players have largely delivered. Claude Giroux had a great weekend, totaling three goals and two assists with ten shots over two games. Giroux is having his best goal scoring season since his monstrous 34 goal, 102 point season in 2017-18. Unsurprisingly, that season and this season are Giroux's two highest shooting percentages, but it seems a bit more sustainable in this environment in Ottawa. Even with an inconsistent PP1 role, Giroux has still played his way into being a bottom end hold in all formats. The one problem is that after Ottawa's game on Tuesday, they don't play again until February 11th. My biggest point here with bottom end holds over these bye weeks is that you need to know your league format and whether the waiver wire is strong enough that you can drop someone like Giroux to get more games. In head to head leagues, volume is king, so you can make a case after Tuesday that you can let him go for players with a bunch of games after the All-Star break. In roto, I would hold onto Giroux without hesitation. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
I've never seen an organization do more to sabotage their own team and coach as the Canucks have over the last six weeks. They've been openly interviewing coaches for two months while Boudreau was still employed. It was already reported that Rick Tocchet was going to take over the Canucks before the Canucks played on Saturday night. It was highly emotional for the fans, players, and coaches, as Zach Hyman had a goal and three assists with five shots to lead Edmonton to a 4-2 win over the Canucks in Boudreau's last game. He was 50-40-13 in his Vancouver, a 90 point pace per 82 games, much better than it should be with their roster. Boudreau is one of the best coaches of the last 20 years, and I hope he gets another chance. Fantasy wise, Tocchet steps in and well, he was really bad when he coached the Lightning and Coyotes. His only playoff appearance was in the bubble because of an expanded playoffs. The schedule does lighten up quite a bit for the Canucks in the short term, which obviously helps. The distraction of the entire situation being gone also helps, but at the same time, they're going to trade Horvat sooner than later, and this could end up a slight negative for the value of their players. If anything, I lean neutral to their values, but I really don't like the way things are trending in Vancouver. Shame on Aquilini and Rutherford for handling this situation as poorly as possible. As for the Oilers, they're on fire finally starting to solidify their playoff positioning being carried by their superstars. The big thing I would say is never panic about their lines, Hyman and RNH will score plenty regardless, and will end up taking extra shifts with McDavid and Draisaitl anyways. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
There used to be a time where players received a massive fantasy boost playing with Tyler Seguin. That time has now passed, but right now, he's getting the boost playing with Robertson. With Hintz injured, Seguin has moved onto the first line centering Robertson and Pavelski, and he's blown up. On Thursday against the Kings, Seguin had two goals and an assist with five shots and two PIM. In the six games since Hintz was out of the lineup, Seguin has five goals and three assists with 22 shots on goal. It's unclear when Hintz will be back, but until he does, Seguin is an automatic hold in all fantasy formats. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It's remarkable that Boston started off the season 19-0-3 at home, securing a point in all 22 games. That streak ended on Thursday with the red hot Kraken in town. Earning their 7th straight win, Seattle won 3-0, with Martin Jones posting a 27 save shutout. The numbers for Jones aren't great, a 2.68 GAA that is decent and a .898 sv% which is quite the negative. However, in spite of those numbers, Jones has won 20 games, having started 27. When only Ullmark and Hellebuyck have more wins than you, that's quite the value boost. That is an incredible win rate, and why he has to be held everywhere. It's probably only #3 worthy, although you can make a case he's a #2 and certainly has #2 upside. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
As fun as it is to make fun of Toronto's Stanley Cup drought, it's very impressive when somebody breaks one of their major records. On Saturday, Mitch Marner did just that, getting a point in his 19th consecutive game, scoring twice on five shots. Toronto fans love to make Marner their whipping boy, but this should give him a respite until the playoffs come along. The shot rate is slowly creeping back up for Marner, which is a necessity if he's going to approach last season's point total. He's a bit behind at even strength, but he's managed to be even better on the power play. Marner is as safe as it gets in fantasy at this point and remains in the top 20. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
The Jets have been excellent to open the season, but that hasn't stopped them from tweaking things to get better. On Friday, we saw Bowness go back to last season's duo of Pierre-Luc Dubois and Kyle Connor together, something I've been clamoring for. They notched one goal on Friday by Connor from Dubois, but they went off against Chicago on Sunday. Dubois had two goals on eight shots, while Connor had a goal and two assists with two shots. I've been saying it was a matter of time for Connor to get going, and I think that time is now. He's too talented to not pile up goals. Dubois has been quite good across the board so far this season, but career highs are now in play. The shot rate is fantastic, the PIM are strong, and he's playing at a 40 goal pace. It sucks that they're missing Ehlers indefinitely so they don't have a great second winger, but even still, look for these guys to improve their even strength performance while remaining great on the power play. Let's see what else happened over the weekend:
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:
It wasn't the best start to the season for the defending Stanley Cup Champions, who were 4-4-1 in October. Time off before playing the Blue Jackets twice in Finland was just what they needed to get back on track. Colorado won 6-3 on Friday before winning 5-1 on Saturday. The stars led the way in both games. Nathan MacKinnon dished seven assists between the two games, Mikko Rantanen had a hat trick on Friday, totaling 3+2, while Cale Makar had a goal and four assists. Columbus is a complete disaster defensively, but it's great to see Colorado's stars continue to dominate. Sadly, their weekend ended on a somber note with the passing of Peter McNab. He was one of the best TV analysts in the league and he will be sorely missed. Thankfully, he survived his illness long enough to get to see the Avalanche win the Cup again. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
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:
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!