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:
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:
What better way to become the third player ever to 800 goals than to score a hat trick? Alex Ovechkin did just that on Tuesday, scoring three times and adding an assist against the Chicago Blackhawks. He's only one goal behind Gordie Howe for second all-time, and then the real chase towards Gretzky starts. Ovechkin already has 20 goals this season in 31 games, a mere 53 goal pace for the 37 year old. He's over four shots per game, and while the plus-minus is disappointing, it's starting to turn around a bit. My love for Ovechkin is well known in these parts, so I don't need to belabor the point, but I can't wait for the greatest goal scorer ever to push towards 895. Here's to hoping he keeps battling father time and gives hockey fans a great chase. Let's see 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:
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:
The Sabres got off to a hot start this season despite their top line struggling to get on the scoresheet. On Saturday, they started the turnaround against the Blackhawks, but that game paled in comparison to what they did on Monday. Against the Red Wings, the Sabres scored eight goals, led by their $50 million man, Tage Thompson. Thompson had the game of the early season, scoring three goals, dishing three assists, and putting nine total shots on goal. All it took was two games for Thompson to turn his October into a monster month with 6+6 in nine games with over four shots per game. Granato told him that he needed to start shooting the puck more, and that's turned into 25 shots in the past three games alone. Obviously he's not going to keep up that rate, but Thompson could turn into a top 50 player if he pushes his shot rate to over four per game. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
What's poppin, Razzpimples? Ya boi JKJ is back for another year of fantasy hockey content here at Razzball! Going a different route this time around, though. I'm gonna be your D daddy! No, no, not that kind of D, ya silly goose! Defenders. All the defenders. I don't exactly know why, but I've taken a real liking to that position. If you're familiar with my baseball work, I handle all the RP business. Taken a liking to relievers in baseball, and in hockey it's the defenders.
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!
Fifty-six goals. That's how many Auston Matthews has on the season after another two goal performance on Thursday. Not only does he have the most goals in a season in Maple Leafs history, he now holds the record for most goals in a season by an US-born player. Matthews has 49 goals on 49 games, a run that hasn't happened in this millennium. He's locking up the Hart Trophy with this run, and the fantasy question is where he goes in drafts next season. I still couldn't bring myself to take Matthews over McDavid because the floor for McDavid is the highest we've seen in the fantasy hockey era, but I think Matthews has played himself into tier one being worthy of the second pick overall. Can't wait to see how Toronto performs in the playoffs this year. Let's take a look at what happened over the last two nights:
There's been plenty of bounce back players this season across the NHL. One of them who hasn't received the attention of others is Ryan Johansen. Johansen's career was strongly trending in the wrong direction the previous two seasons, including only 22 points in 48 games last season. He has been decent most of the season, but really took once he moved to the top line. His best game of the season was on Tuesday night, scoring his first career hat trick on seven shots in the 6-2 win over the Wild. Johansen now has 20+34 on the season with 51 PIM. Yes, Johansen's career has turned out to be a big disappointment with the way it was trending early on in Columbus, but it's nice to see him score 20 goals for the first time since 2014. Remarkably, he's still 29 years old, so this level of play can be repeated next season. For the rest of this one, Johansen is an elite streamer in standard leagues and a hold if your league doesn't include SOG as a category. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
In stunning fashion, the Coyotes have won six of seven games this month, including games against the Avalanche and Maple Leafs. In their last six games, they have goal totals of 8, 9, 5, 5, and 6. Just as we all expected, an offensive juggernaut in the desert. Wait, that's not Vegas... Arizona won both games in a back-to-back on Monday and Tuesday, winning 5-3 in Ottawa and 6-3 in Montreal. Their lead man was Lawson Crouse. Crouse had a hat trick on four shots in the win over Ottawa before scoring a goal and an assist with three shots in Montreal. That brings Crouse to 19+13 on the season, easily a career high in goals and one off his career high in assists. For the time being, Crouse is an elite streamer. You can even make a case for holding him in hits leagues given his gaudy total, and the PIM are great as well. Crouse looked on the path to being a massive bust, and while he still has a way to go, this is an incredible encouraging season from the 24 year old. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
David Perron had a horrible start to the season and was shaping up to being one of the biggest fantasy busts of this year. To say things have turned for the better is an understatement. Perron scored two goals on seven shots against the Predators before scoring a goal on seven shots against Winnipeg. Since Perron went back on the top line, Perron has exploded. He has eight goals and five assists in the last ten games with 35 SOG. It's good enough across the board that Perron is a clear hold in all formats again. He's only available in about 25% of leagues, but even in a shallow league, I wouldn't be cutting Perron to keep a stream spot. The schedule is a little light the next couple weeks, but it really picks up in the last week of March and early April. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend: