Monday night was a short slate, but there were a couple great games.  Florida and Edmonton decided that defense (and goaltending) was optional leading to a 7-5 barn burner.  Vincent Trocheck took over the game late, scoring three goals in the third period on six shots to record his first career hat trick.  No matter what format you play, Trocheck has been incredible this season.  By the end of the month, there’s a great chance that Trocheck has set career highs in goals, assists, PPP (already did that) and SOG.  The 24 year old is also a monster in faceoffs, hits, and blocks for a forward as well.  For those of us in standard leagues, Trocheck looks like a top 35 player for this season and in the future, if not even better.  He’s basically Jamie Benn with a better shot rate and a lower floor for penalty minutes (obviously plus-minus can shift year-to-year).  The only potential downside going forward is that Trocheck is already averaging 21:33 per game, which has nowhere to go but down.  Either way, that’s of no concern for me; Trocheck is still underrated in my eyes.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:

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Gretzky, Lemieux, Forsberg, LaFontaine.  That’s the list of players in the last 30 seasons to have multiple five assist games in one season.  Add Mathew Barzal to the list after Friday night.  Barzal became the first rookie in 100 years to have three five point games in one season dishing five assists in the 7-6 win over the Red Wings.  That puts Barzal over a point per game on the season and makes him the prohibitive favorite for the Calder (sorry Boeser).  Our second podcast ever, which took place before last season, saw Reid and I hype up Barzal for dynasties.  Regardless, he’s blown away my expectations this season.  Now, it’s not all rosy for fantasy.  The penalty minutes are low, but more importantly the shot rate is barely over two per game.  On the other hand, he’s 20 years old and is over a point per game, so it’s hard to complain.  There’s a top 20 fantasy player in Barzal’s future if he can get that shot rate up.  Regardless, he’ll be a borderline top 50 player next year solely for the points, and it’s only going to get better from there.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:

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In my second half predictions post, I said that Jack Eichel would be in the top 5 in scoring for the rest of the season.  He’s certainly started on the right track.  Eichel scored the OT winner on his seventh shot against the Flames on Monday before exploding against the Oilers with a goal and three assists with five shots on Tuesday.  The Sabres power play looks like last season’s unit again, the unit that was #1 in the entire NHL.  Eichel is leading the way there but has also been dominant in all phases.  He’s currently in the midst of a 7 game point streak totaling a whopping 14 points in those 7 games while averaging almost 5 shots per game.  This game put Eichel above a point per game for the season and I expect him to finish there.  Sure, the plus-minus is poor, but everything else is outstanding.  He’s a first round pick for me next season, no doubt about it.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:

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After a massive breakout in which he scored 72 points in 77 games and Tampa Bay made the Cup Finals in 2014-15, everyone expected Tyler Johnson to push his way into superstardom.  Then he struggled massively in 2015-16 scoring 38 points in 69 not-so-nice games.  “It’s okay, he’ll bounce back!”  Kind of, but 45 points in 66 games wasn’t necessarily what people hoped.  “Write him off, that was a fluke!”  Nope, Johnson is back on track.  Johnson scored a hat trick on Tuesday putting six shots on goal in the 5-4 win over Carolina.  He now has 16 goals and 18 assists in 42 games with a +11 rating.  The shot rate on the whole doesn’t look great, but Johnson has 33 shots on goal in his past 9 games, in which he has 8 goals.  The player that was tied for the team lead in points during the regular season and led a Cup finalist in points in the playoffs looks to be back.  If he is, Tampa is going to be even more unstoppable.  Johnson is available in around 25% of leagues and if you’re lucky enough to be in, grab him immediately.  If you own him, props for grabbing him and don’t look to sell high because we know the upside.  Let’s take a look at what else happened the last two nights:

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First off, I hope everyone had a Happy New Year’s!  As much as I personally don’t care for New Year’s Eve, this year was different because of the Buffalo Bills making the playoffs.  I wish I had video of me celebrating with my dad or an audio recording of my friend, who is in Paris, who heard us yelling on speaker phone and him celebrating in the Paris streets. Couple that with an amazing USA win in the WJC outdoor game against Canada that I was at and things in the sports world couldn’t be better.  Even the Sabres looked competent today despite the loss!  Anyways, let’s get to what you’re here for…

I’ve talked about Josh Bailey being the waiver wire pickup of the year on multiple occasions over the last couple weeks because, well, the Isles top line is on fire.  That said, William Karlsson is easily #2 in this department.  Wild Bill, a Razzball favorite from the past (aka favorite of mine), scored the first hat trick in Vegas history on Sunday, scoring three goals and an assist in the 6-3 win over the Maple Leafs.  That brings Karlsson’s totals to 20+13 in 33 games with a +15 rating.  Sure, it will regress some because he’s not going to shoot 26.3% all season, but let’s give Karlsson his due.  In the first 183 games of his career, Karlsson scored 18 goals.  He has that beat for the Golden Knights in 37 games.  His emergence is a huge part of Vegas shocking the world as they sit atop the Western Conference.  Karlsson will drop off some in the second half, at least in the goals department, but make no mistake about it, it’s not a complete fluke.  Karlsson should be a hold for the rest of the season.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last three days of the old year:

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I’ll be honest, a year ago, I never thought I’d be writing about Alex Stalock again.  After a few years of being the backup in San Jose, Stalock was shipped to Toronto, where he was immediately waived to play in the AHL.  In the summer of 2016, Stalock signed a two-way deal with the Wild but never played in Minnesota, only in Iowa.  After Kuemper’s struggles last year and Stalock recording a .926 sv% in the A, the Wild let Kuemper go and decided to sign Stalock to be their backup this year.  Sadly, Devan Dubnyk was injured on Tuesday and is week-to-week.  We discussed this on yesterday’s podcast, but Stalock becomes a clear must-own until Dubnyk returns.  He made me look good as he shut out the Maple Leafs on Thursday night stopping 28 shots he’s faced.  Grab Stalock now before somebody else.  The Wild are getting healthy and playing great defensive hockey at the moment so for at least the next week, Stalock should provide great value.  Here’s what else happened the last two nights:

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The Razzball ranking committee of one (yours truly) has long been a fan of Brayden Schenn.  Mid 20’s in goals, about 30 assists, solid PIM, and elite special teams points made Schenn a main stay around the 100 overall mark in his time in Philadelphia.  With the move to St. Louis in the offseason, I wrote the following about Schenn in my preseason rankings: “Schenn’s success will come down to two things: can he improve his even strength play in St. Louis while sustaining his power play prowess?”  Well, the power play points are slightly behind the past, but my god is Schenn crushing at even strength.  Schenn scored a hat trick on Tuesday night leading the Blues to a 4-3 win over Montreal.  That gives Schenn 13+20 in 28 games this season, along with a mind-blowing +22 rating and elite penalty minutes.  Schenn’s career high in a season is 37 even strength points; he already has 25 this year!  Even the biggest of Schenn optimists couldn’t have seen this coming as he’s pushing for the #1 forward spot in all of fantasy hockey.  Kudos to everyone who drafted Schenn in the early to middle rounds and here’s to continued success for the top six in St. Louis.  Here’s what else happened the last two nights around the league:

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We’ve gone without daily notes for five days due to Razzball crashing for a short period of time.  The good news is that the problem is fixed and that we are backed!  I’m not going to go through every single game over the past five days because at this point, some of it would be outdated.  I’m going to go through each team in the league and write a little bit about each of them.  Let’s get right to it!

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The difference between Mark Scheifele being a first round fantasy pick and a middling to late second round pick comes down to his shot rate.  He scored 32 goals last season but his 20% shooting percentage was due to regress.  While the shots haven’t been coming in, they did on Thursday and the goals were flowing.  Scheifele scored a hat trick on four shots in the 5-2 win over the Stars.  That brings him to 7 goals and 8 assists in 12 games, an excellent start for Scheifele.  Still, I have to assume the goals are going to drop since he has only 23 SOG on the season.  Scheifele should be a point per game regardless but again, shots are what we need for him to jump into superstar fantasy status.  Let’s take a look at what else happened around the league on Tuesday night:

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I was all in on the Tampa Bay Lightning again this year picking them to make the Stanley Cup Finals.  Obviously they don’t crown champions 3 weeks into the season but Tampa has started off incredibly well.  They’ve had some depth players step up but at the end of the day, their studs have been incredible.  The top two players in points in the NHL by a wide margin are both Lightning players with Steven Stamkos.  Tampa Bay blitzed Pittsburgh 7-1 on Saturday and Stamkos led the way with a goal, three assists and four shots on goal.  That gives Stamkos a whopping 17 points (3+14) in 9 games.  Stamkos was a player who consistently dropped in my drafts into the third round and while it’s too early to celebrate given Stamkos’ injury, it’s been the dream start.  Fingers crossed that he stays healthy because Stammer could be a top 10, maybe even top 5 player.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:

Please, blog, may I have some more?