There have been a few big games by individuals this season but Patrice Bergeron’s on Saturday is the new leader for the best of the year.  Bergeron scored four goals and added an assist with seven shots in the 7-1 win over the Hurricanes.  Bergeron was the second player this year to score four goals after Alex Ovechkin.  Per usual, Bergeron is crushing all of the categories.  He’s playing around a 40+35 pace while already having a +19 rating, solid PIM and pushing four shots per game.  Bergeron is a slam dunk top 50 player for the rest of the season who should push towards the top 25.  Again, the top line in Boston is as good as it gets and Bergeron is at the forefront of their success.  That line just gave up their first goal against at even strength all season!  Remarkable stuff.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:

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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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There are plenty of great story lines going around the NHL right now.  Vegas’ incredible start, Kucherov and Stamkos dominating, the Blues top line taking off, the Jets breaking out, etc.  Even the Oilers dreadful start is a major talking point but we haven’t talked much about their best player.  Connor McDavid is still only 20 years old and despite the Oilers being a dumpster fire and these other players being the talk of the town, McJesus is only 3 points from the league lead.  In Edmonton’s demolition of Columbus Tuesday, McDavid had a goal and three assists with five shots.  The shot rate is marginally down from last season but he’s well on track to repeat last year’s 30+70.  No matter what awful set of players Peter Chiarelli fills the roster with, it’s good to know McDavid won’t be stopped.  Look for him to win his second scoring title and potentially go for the Hart Trophy again if he can lead the Oilers back to the playoffs (seemingly a long shot).  Let’s take a look at what else happened Tuesday night:

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In Wednesday’s daily notes, I said that if I could, I would be looking to buy low on all of the elite goalies.  Obviously some at different levels than others, but everyone knows my love for Devan Dubnyk and the Wild as a regular season team.  I own plenty of Dubnyk stock again this year and it’s been nowhere near as fun as last season when he took the league by storm.  Dubnyk was a monster on Thursday night stopping all 41 shots he faced in the 3-0 win over the Canadiens.  Four of Dubnyk’s last eight starts (yes, one has bad against Toronto Wednesday but that’s Toronto) have been strong so perhaps there’s something building here.  Expect things for Dubnyk, and the Wild in general, to keep improving sooner than later.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:

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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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Aleksander Barkov is in a dead heat with McJesus for the most time on ice per game as a forward in the NHL.  Barkov has been making those minutes count in October and he continued to do so on Monday.  Barkov finished the month with a bang scoring a goal and three assists with two shots against the Lightning.  The bad news for Barkov is that his team was still electrocuted by the Lightning losing 8-5.  The good news for us fantasy owners is that it doesn’t affect us.  Barkov has been outstanding and if these minutes last, a top 50 season is a near lock.  Let’s take a look at what else happened around the league on Monday night:

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Goals were plentiful around the NHL on Thursday night, none more than in Florida where the Panthers went eight ball, corner pocket on the Ducks.  The Panthers won 8-3 with Radim Vrbata leading the way.  Vrbata netted his seventh career hat trick and his first three goals as a Panther on six shots.  That brings him to 9 points in 10 games with elite shots and solid PIM.  I wouldn’t expect the PIM to last but the points and shots should be plenty to make him a hold.  He’s available in over 50% of leagues right now so grab Vrbata while you can.  He’s a clear must own in 12’ers and probably should be owned in 10’ers as well.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:

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Reid and I talked about John Tavares extensively on Tuesday’s podcast.  We both saw him as a viable option for The Three Point Challenge but decided to go elsewhere since it’s rare for someone to post consecutive three point games.  Well, Tavares shoved it up both of our you-know-wheres!  He scored a hat trick and added an assist in the 5-3 win over the Coyotes.  All of a sudden, a slow start (3 points in 7 games) has been erased with Tavares at 10 points in 9 games.  This is why we wait at least a month before we panic about players, especially studs like Tavares.  Look for him to be his usual self going forward, which means being a top 20 forward.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:

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As far as stunning results go, the Senators going into Calgary and winning 6-0 against Calgary is up there.  They then matched it on Saturday night beating the Oilers 6-1.  Not bad for back to back games against two elite teams on the road without their best player.  Leading the way for the Senators was Kyle Turris.  Over the two games, Turris scored two goals on five shots with four assists and two PIM.  Reid’s man crush has the ability to be a top 100 player in fantasy.  Will this be the year he gets there?  Maybe, but even if it’s not, Turris should be owned in all leagues.  Let’s take a look at what happened over the weekend:

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All everyone talked about in the preseason was wondering how bad Vegas was going to be in their expansion year.  Sure, it’s only two games, but boy did they have some excitement.  On Friday, Dallas was dominating Vegas in their franchise opener but was only up 1-0 in the third.  Down goes Ben Bishop which opened up the door for James Neal to give the people of Las Vegas some relief in an awful time.  Neal scored two goals in the third period to propel the Golden Knights to victory.  To top off the weekend, Neal scored another goal, this time the game winner in overtime, to give Vegas two wins to start the season.  Neal is still available in over 40% of leagues and if you are in one of them, grab him.  The shot rate is going to be elite along with solid penalty minutes and goals.  At least for now, I’m not overly concerned about the top guys on Vegas having bad plus-minuses either.  Let’s take a look at what else happened in the first (long) weekend of the NHL season:

Please, blog, may I have some more?