He won’t win the Hart, but Anze Kopitar’s season should not go unnoticed.  He had his best game of the season scoring four goals on seven shots in the 7-1 win over the Avalanche.  That brings Kopitar to 33 goals and 53 assists in 75 games.  That’s a new career high in assists and points, and goals may not be too far behind.  Not so bad for a guy people were worried about after last season’s 52 points.  He’ll never be in the top tier of fantasy players because of the lack of PIM and average shot rate, but Kopitar has reestablished himself as a fringe top 25 guy.  Here’s to hoping he keeps it rolling over the last two weeks.  Let’s take a look at what else happened on Thursday night:

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Now is the time of the year where we see college players decide to forgo their collegiate career and sign an entry level contract.  There have been a bunch of players in recent years who have made an immediate impact, such as Chris Kreider and Brock Boeser.  We could have another name to add to the list.  Ryan Donato signed an ELC with Boston and had quite the NHL debut, scoring a goal and two assists with six shots playing almost 20 minutes..  With all of the graduates the Bruins have had over the last year, Donato is currently their #1 prospect (at least in my eyes).  He was a great goal scorer at Harvard and did very well in the Olympics scoring five goals in five games.  His shot is his best attribute but he’s also a strong skater.  I don’t see superstar upside, but Donato can definitely become a top 6’er.  He’s a streamer for now depending on who he’s with and how many minutes he’s getting, but he’s certainly a solid dynasty target.  Donato played on the first power play unit and the second line on Monday, so here’s to hoping that’s what we get for the rest of the season, at least until Patrice Bergeron returns.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:

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Here is what I wrote about J.T. Miller in Tuesday’s post: “J.T. Miller is getting huge minutes in Tampa and has six points in six games for the Bolts.  The shot rate is rough, but Miller should be held despite that.  Everything else should be a clear plus and nothing is better than playing for Tampa.  Miller was on the fringe for the Rangers so this move is enough to move him to a hold.”  And that’s me quoting me!  Well, Miller exploded on Tuesday night, scoring his first career hat trick and putting ten shots on goal.  He played over 20 minutes, including on the top power play unit.  Long story short, if you had any doubt about whether Miller should be held, this game should eliminate that.  Pick the man up because he can be a huge difference maker down the stretch.  Let’s take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:

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I’ll be honest, David Krejci has always been a Guy to me.  Not a guy, not a GUY, just a guy.  I even cut him on Thursday morning to stream a goalie, proof that I am human.  Krejci scored a hat trick on Thursday, scoring on all three of his shots in the 8-4 win over Pittsburgh.  That brings him to 14+19 on the season in 44 games.  He doesn’t quite need that pace to be fantasy worthy, but it’s close because his PIM and SOG are well below average.  In a 12’er, I probably lean towards holding but it’s super close.  Shallower, he’s a streamer, deeper it’s an easy hold.  His playoff schedule is also great so use that to your advantage.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:

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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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You don’t need me to tell you how good Evgeni Malkin is at hockey.  I’m still flabbergasted that he wasn’t one of the players in the NHL 100 because he’s clearly one of the best 100 players ever.  Certainly better than Toews or Keith.  I also wanted to use the word flabbergasted in a sentence.  Oh, yeah, so about that Malkin fella.  He scored his 12th career hat trick on Tuesday night as the Penguins kept rolling against the Sharks.  Malkin is well over a point per game, gives great penalty minutes, and the shot rate remains over three points per game.  As I always say about Malkin, just stay healthy!  As noted here, the playoff schedule is rough for the Pens, but Malkin should definitely help you get to that point.  Let’s take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:

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Am I shocked at how well the Jets are doing?  No.  Reid and I talked about the Jets’ ceiling on the Central Division podcast and we said that second place is certainly within the realm of possibility (I guess we sold them a little short, first is in play).  Long term readers know how much I love Connor Hellebuyck.  The only reason I was scared off a bit for redrafts is that Kevin Cheveldayoff said that Steve Mason would be their starter to open the season.  Well, Mason was lit up in his first game as a Jet and the rest is history.  Hellebuyck continued his outstanding breakout season over the weekend, saving 30 of 31 shots in the 2-1 SO win over the Flames on Saturday, then a 29 save shutout in the 1-0 win against the Canucks on Sunday.  Hellebuyck is currently the #2 goalie on the season, and while there’s a chance he falls off a little bit (I’m certain he’ll finish as a #1G), I think he’s solidified himself as the #2 goalie in dynasty leagues.  The Jets are going to be really good for a long time and Hellebuyck will be a big reason and also a beneficiary of the talent around him.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:

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Hey guys!  I’m very sick at the moment so I’m going to keep this short and sweet.  I’m going to focus on players who aren’t trivial holds in this set of daily notes.  In other words, sorry Jakub Voracek, but this is the extent of me writing about you.  Let’s focus on Nino Niederreiter for a minute.  El Nino killed it last season; he was a borderline top 50 player, definitely top 75.  He hasn’t started off that well and then was injured.  Niederreiter returned on Thursday and had a hat trick before the midway point of the second period.  He scored three goals on four shots as the Wild cruised to victory over the Sabres.  We know his upside and after this game, he’s up to 13 goals in 30 games.  The penalty minutes are strong, he’s +11, and he’s only 48.5% owned because of his injury.  Go pick him up now if he’s available.  Let’s take a look at what else happened over the past two nights:

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Winnipeg cooled off the red hot Oilers on Wednesday night winning 4-3.  They’d probably trade that win if it meant Mark Scheifele wasn’t injured.  The Jets superstar center fell awkwardly into the boards in the second period and did not return.  This is mostly guesswork on my part but from watching a ton of hockey over the years, it looked like Scheifele severely damaged his shoulder or collarbone.  Either way, we could be looking at a significant absence.  What does it mean going forward for the Jets in fantasy hockey?  I think we see the top two lines get their minutes evened out.  Consequently, it would give a small boost to Laine and Ehlers while a slight down tick to Wheeler and Connor.  The potential winner is Bryan Little.  Little scored a goal in this game on three shots and played over 21 minutes.  The Jets lack a true replacement as a top six center so it’ll be interesting to see what the Jets lines look like tomorrow in practice and during the next game.  My speculation: Little becomes must-own, one other player becomes a streamer (Armia?) and not much else changes.  Here’s to hoping Scheifele isn’t out too long for everyone.  Let’s take a look at what else happened on Wednesday night after a three day hiatus for the NHL:

Please, blog, may I have some more?