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:
Things escalated over the weekend with the Devils holding out Taylor Hall from two games due to precautionary reasons.  A trade is on the horizon, and all indications are that the team wants to get a deal done before the trade freeze on the 19th.  There's no guarantee that it happens, but Shero seems to want to make the big move now.  So what does that do for Hall owners in fantasy?  Well, if you're in a weekly lineup league, you have to bench him this week.  The Devils already don't play until Wednesday this week, and if Hall is still on the team then, I highly doubt that he plays.  There's also the chance that there are some visa issues for Hall when he is traded which causes him to miss a game.  This is a clear blow to the rest of the Devils.  Nico Hischier, Jack Hughes, and Kyle Palmieri all lose a big chunk of value.  I would still hold Palmieri, but in redrafts, I think I would cut the other two guys and only look to stream them.  The Devils are really devoid of talent on the wings and as good as Hischier and Hughes are going to be, I doubt it will be consistently good for this entire season.  Let's take a look at some other things going on around the NHL:
Joel Quenneville saw that Sergei Bobrovsky was rounding into form on Saturday after a strong performance against his old team.  He rewarded him by starting him on Sunday despite being the second game in as many days.  Bob delivered once again.  After making 33 saves in the 4-1 win over Columbus, Bobrovsky stopped 30 of 31 shots in the 5-1 win over the Sharks.  Yes, the season has been worst case scenario to this point for Bob.  However, there's still plenty of time to turn it around and I think we see it.  Sure, maybe he won't be the top 5 goalie he's been in the past, I can almost guarantee that.  However, he could end up being a #1 again and for that reason alone, he's a great trade target.  Over the rest of this month, he plays Tampa twice and Boston, with some decent offenses and poor ones mixed in.  However, look at this January schedule: OTT, BUF, PIT, ARZ, VAN,  DET, MIN, CHI.  Not exactly a murderer's row.  In fact, they don't even play Tampa again after this month.  If I owned Bob, which I do, I'm being patient because I think it's going to turn around.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
It was only a matter of time before Vegas got on a heater.  The Golden Knights won their fourth straight game on Tuesday night and Jonathan Marchessault led the way.  Marchesssault scored a hat trick on a whopping 9 shots on goal to beat the Devils 4-3.  While Marchessault hasn't quite gotten back to the level he was at in his first season in Vegas, he has been very good this season.  He has 8+13 in 30 games with an elite 104 SOG.  If anything, we should expect more goals because even after this hat trick, he's still at a career low shooting percentage.  I'm expecting Vegas to go on a massive run soon and Marchessault should be at the forefront.  This is also a good point for anyone looking to make a futures bet to place a wager on Vegas to win the Cup.  No, I don't think they're the best team, but you can get them at 20 or 22-1 at the moment and they might have the best chance in the league to make the Conference Finals given the weak division.  Let's take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:
Life without Couturier hasn't been as good without Claude Giroux.  He started the turnaround on Thursday night.  Giroux scored two goals and two assists with three shots and two PIM in the 5-3 win over Carolina.  That brings Giroux up to 17 points in 22 games, not exactly lighting the world on fire, but the shot rate is the best of his career.  75 shots in 22 games is a huge step forward, and if that continues, we could be looking at a new career high in goals.  Yes, he only has 7 to this point, but we could be on the verge of a heater.  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:
Brayden Point made his season debut on Thursday for a big showdown with the Maple Leafs.  Unsurprisingly, he started right where he left off, scoring two goals and adding an assist with five shots in the 7-3 win.  The Bucs beat the Argonauts!  Anyways, we know how good Point is and that he's an elite options in all formats.  A couple other takeaways from this game.  One, Point went on the first line with Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov, who had four points each.  If that line sticks together, watch out.  Two, the new fifth person on the top power play unit was Anthony Cirelli, who ended up with three assists, two on the power play.  I'm a big fan of Cirelli's game but he didn't get the opportunity.  Now, he is centering the second line and on the top power play unit.  He's a must own in all formats.  Three, Tampa Bay really is the better version of Toronto.  The defensemen on Toronto just can't keep up.  I mean, Cody Ceci?  Even Rielly and Barrie aren't good defensively.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
While general sports fans were watching playoff baseball (Go Braves!) or Sunday Night Baseball, hockey fans saw one of the best performances of the season take place on the first weekend.  Anthony Mantha scored four goals on eight shot, including the winner in the last minute of the game, to beat the Stars 4-3.  This comes after an incredible performance in his season opener in which he scored a goal and two assists with five shots and four penalty minutes in the upset win over Nashville.  In both games, the players on the top line were at or above 20 minutes each.  That's extremely encouraging for their long-term success.  Obviously we're not expecting Mantha to be a top 25 player all of a sudden, but the potential is there for 30 goals, 50 PIM and a very good shot rate.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
For those of you doing well in your head to head leagues, this is the most important post of the year.  This is my annual playoff manifesto where I break down every team's schedule for the last four weeks of the season.  I tell you who are the best teams and players to stream from, who you should look to trade for or away if your deadline hasn't passed, and it allows you to plan ahead with ease.  For those who haven't read it in the past, the numbers in the parentheses are how many games the team plays in each of those weeks, with the last number being the last week in the season and preceding accordingly.  This is going to be a massive post so let's get right to the 2019 Playoff Manifesto!