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:
Not sure David Pastrnak even knows who Christopher Columbus is, but he sure dominated on his day Monday.  Pastrnak won the game for the Bruins scoring all four goals on five shots.  Two of those goals were on the power play, he chipped in two penalty minutes, and finished +1.  I generally don't like to lead off posts talking about superstars, but I feel obligated to give Pasta props for a four goal game.  The top seven going into the season were pretty clear for me but who was eighth was a debate.  I ultimately decided on Draisaitl but went with Pastrnak in the nine spot.  So far, so good.  Look for the Bruins top line to dominate on a nightly basis.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
We have now reached the point of doing individual positions before I complete a top 200.  Through the top 20 overall, I have covered 18 forwards, one defenseman and a goalie.  For now, I'll be holding off on the last two.  I'll be covering the top 100 forwards in posts of twenty going forward.  For today, I will go through the top 40.  Let's get right to it!
There wasn't a ton of goal scoring over the last two nights, but the most notable performance came from the reigning MVP.  Taylor Hall won the game against the Penguins virtually by himself, scoring two goals and two assists with six shots in the 4-2 win.  That brings Hall up to 5+14 in 16 games with over 3.5 shots per game.  Can we expect a repeat of last season?  That would be a stretch.  Hall shot 14% last season while for the majority of the rest of his career, he's been in the 8-11% range.  This year he's at 8.6, a little low but not an outlier.  I would say 25-30 goals seems likely, but a new career high in assists (54) is certainly within range.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Phil Housley's shakeup of the lines last Saturday has worked extremely well.  The Sabres have won three straight and carried the play in all three of those games.  One of those moves was putting Jason Pominville on the first line and he's delivered and then some.  Pominville scored two goals on five shots on Thursday, giving him 3+3 in his last three games.  Now, I'm not saying he's going to be a hold all year, it's 2018, not 2008.  However, he's a hot schmotato right now, and first line plus first power play time is nothing to be ignored.  If you need a streamer on Saturday, Pominville is a great option, and if the heater continues, use him next week.  The Sabres schedule is pretty soft over the next two weeks.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
What's the worst spot for a goaltender to start right now?  Probably against Toronto on the road.  Well, Matt Murray had that exact spot on Thursday, and did the exact opposite of what most expected.  In a game where Toronto's expected goal total was pushing 4, Murray stopped all 38 shots he faced, shutting out the powerhouse Maple Leafs 3-0.  Murray's upside is undeniable; it's just a matter of keeping him on the ice and the defense in front of him not being a total mess.  For now, expect the Pens to give him the vast majority of the starts, meaning you can safely cut Casey DeSmith.  The Penguins schedule is fairly soft over the next couple of weeks, so feel safe rolling Murray.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Hey guys! Sven here with our stop in New Jersey for 31 in 31. Over the next month, I will be taking a look at each team’s players to watch out for going into the 2018-19 fantasy hockey season: The 31 in 31 daily segment. This analysis features everything from surefire studs, to sleepers, to prospects that may make an appearance at some point this season. Please let me know if you guys enjoy this type of material!  Reminder that the stat totals are from last season.
Hello, everyone! Welcome back to another year of Fantasy Hockey! I am LackeyDrinksOnMe, a Sabres fan who works in college admissions by day and devours hockey analysis by night. Last year, I had a weekly column about week-long streaming opportunities, targeting mostly-available players with multiple games per week, trying to fill slots for the slowest days. In my book, more player starts means more TOI, and the more time you have players on the ice the greater the chance for a lucky assist or to rack up a few extra hits or blocked shots. I’ve been working on a top-100 skaters for your reading pleasure, ranking skaters on 17-18 stats including points per game, points/TOI, Wins Above Replacement, Expected Goals and Actual Goals, and Offensive Point Shares, to name a few. Part of what I’ve been trying to do has been to average these metrics for a holistic impression of a skater's talent, but also supplementing those raw rankings with player age/development and the occasional eye test. Like Viz indicated, once you get past the first few names there can be very little separation between certain players, and this obviously isn’t meant to be a comprehensive or be-all end-all ranking. Rather, it’s to give you another perspective on where players are being valued, and might reinforce an idea you have about a skater or surprise you with a hot take. I’ll gladly take questions in the comment section.
We're keeping things moving here on the hockey side of things at Razzball as we're less than two months from the season starting!  It's not just me: Son has his top 10 out, everyone is posting their football rankings, and Smokey has the EPL RCL set up.  That's ignoring all of the good baseball psts as we approach the closing stretch.  Today, I'm completing my top 40 forward lists.  Nineteen of these guys were already covered in the top 10 and top 20 posts, so the focus will be on players 20-40.  Let's get going!
It's that time of the year guys!  Sure, most people are focused on football drafts right now (check out our stuff here, the guys do a great job), but hockey season is also right around the corner.  I'm getting my rankings out a bit earlier this year to give me more time to slightly adjust if need be, but more importantly, to leave more time to do other preseason posts.  I'll be following a format closer to what Grey has done with baseball.  You'll have this top 10 post, a top 20 post, then I'll be doing forwards in groups of 20, defensemen in groups of 20, followed up by one or two goalie posts.  Once those are wrapped up, I'll make one big list across all positions that will be easy for you to use during your drafts.  Without further adieu, my top ten players for the upcoming NHL season!