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:
I talked a lot about Taylor Hall in Monday's post (you can read that here).  The trade that I was talking about happened on Monday with Hall moving to Arizona.  In the trade, Hall and Blake Speers went to Arizona for a 2020 conditional first-round draft pick, a conditional 2021 third-rounder, along with forward prospects Nate Schnarr, Nick Merkley and defenseman Kevin Bahl.  First, let's look at this from Arizona's perspective.  It's a steep price to pay for a rental, but Hall is the best player traded in quite some time, and Arizona is looking to snap a long playoff drought in a weak division.  I totally get the move given their strong defensive talent but lack of overall offensive talent.  Hall played on Tuesday dishing an assist and adding a shot in 18 minutes.  He played with Christian Dvorak and Clayton Keller.  In Monday's piece linked above, I said to buy Keller going forward due to his recent play.  This only enhances his value.  Same goes with Dvorak, but he moves up to an elite streamer for now.  As for New Jersey, it's hard to complain about this return.  You have potentially two first round picks in this deal, but at least a 1 and 3.  Bahl is a monster coming in at 6'7 and can skate fairly well.  I don't see a PP guy there, but he should be a modern stay-at-home who is strong on the PK.  For those in deep leagues, he should be a very good hits/blocks guy down the line.  Merkley has decent upside, but he has already had reconstructive knee surgery.  He's not the best skater, but he has great hockey IQ and should end up as a playmaking center in the middle six.  Schnarr was a third round pick in 2018 who didn't show a ton of offense until after he was drafted.  He then exploded in Guelph last season, but he's struggled in the AHL so far.  That isn't a surprise as many 20 year olds struggle in their first pro season.  I don't expect a ton, but there's a decent chance he ends up an NHL'er.  All in all, seems like this trade has the potential to be a win-win once you consider that Hall seemingly didn't want to stay in New Jersey.  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:
The gap between Brad Marchand and the rest of the league right now for fantasy hockey is incredible.  Marchand scored five points on Monday, tallying two goals and three assists and a +4 rating.  It's nothing new, but the first line in Boston has managed to find a way to get even better.  Marchand is crushing every category with 10+18 in 15 games with a +13 rating, 28 PIM and 41 SOG.  He's as good of a bet as any to finish as the #1 player in fantasy this season.  Honestly, he'd be my pick as long as he avoids a lengthy suspension.  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:
We're pushing through the halfway point today in terms of forwards as I get through the top 60.  To see my posts for the top 40 forwards, you can check that out here.  Let's get to it! 41) Jake Guentzel - Guentzel had his big regular season breakout with 40 goals and 36 assists last season.  At first, I was a little hesitant to rank Guentzel this high, but now I feel really good about.  One, he was stapled onto Crosby's wing all season.  I don't expect that to change.  Two, the shot rate took a huge jump forward in year three.  I wouldn't be surprised if he gets to 3+ per game this year.  Three, and the biggest thing, is that there's a spot for him on the first power play unit with Kessel's departure.  Guentzel had only 6 PPG and 5 PPA last season.  He could easily get to 20 PPP if he earns that spot in the preseason (his competition is Galchenyuk I guess?).  Sure, we can't expect 17.6% shooting again, but I don't expect much regression getting to play with Crosby.  I think Guentzel is a solid bet to get back to 40 goals again and boosts his assists to get up to a point per game.  He should be a solid value at this point, especially if he falls between last season's 26 PIM and his 42 in 2017-18.
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:
As far as best contracts in the league go, Roman Josi's is near the top of the list.  Josi, who is nearing the end of a 7/28 deal signed in 2013, has developed into a true #1 defenseman.  Josi scored two goals and an assist on five shots in the 5-3 win over the Stars.  Josi is currently up to #6 on the player rater for defensemen, in the range that we expected from him.  He's not in the top tier, but he's firmly in tier two now and going forward.  Josi looks like a good bet to set career highs in both goals (15) and points (61).  Let's take a look at what else happened on Tuesday 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: