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:
The first draft pick in Vegas history, Cody Glass, scored the first goal of his career in his first game, a 4-1 win over the Sharks.  First, the good news.  He played with Mark Stone (G+A) and Max Pacioretty (A, 5 SOG) which puts Glass in a great position to succeed going forward.  He also played with these guys on the power play.  The bad news: his minutes were down because Gallant doesn't trust him defensively yet.  Whenever they had a defensive zone start, Stastny started on the ice and would go off for Glass if they exited the zone.  Yes, it's only a defensive zone start, but on a team that transitions as well as Vegas does, the more minutes the better, and Glass didn't cross the 15 minute mark.  I'm good with picking him up if you want the upside, but let's not go crazy spending a lot of FAAB on Glass.  I like him plenty long term, and perhaps Stone drags him into be a hold all season, but it's far from a guarantee.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the first two nights of the season:
The day has come!  The NHL Season starts today!  I'll be waiting for daily notes until Friday since there are only four games tonight, but for this post I'm going to write about what I'm looking for from each team in their opening game.  Yes, some teams don't start until Friday, but we're covering all 31 of them here.  Let's get to it!
It's now time to move on to defensemen for my rankings.  I'll be doing the top 40 defensemen in two separate posts, with the top 20 in this one.  I have gone through the top 100 forwards so you can check those out through the hockey page.  For now, let's get right to the blueliners! 1) Brent Burns - You can check out Burns in the top 20 here.  I feel like I ranked him too low, so when I do my top 50 overall post, I may slide him up a bit. 2) John Carlson - Burns is in a tier by himself, and who to put at the top of tier two is has been a big internal debate for me.  I ultimately decided on Carlson for the safety.  Carlson put up 70 points last season, 33 of which were on the power play.  Both numbers are incredible.  He's also a plus player most seasons and there's no reason to expect a change.  The one concern is that his shot rate plummeted last season from almost 3 shots per game to about 2.25.  That's still solid for a defensemen, but nowhere near a great asset.  Even given that, Carlson was the #3 defenseman last season.  Hopefully there's a bounce back in his shot rate, but either way it's high floor and high ceiling.
Hey guys! Over the next month, I will be taking a look at each team’s players to watch out for going into the 2019-20 fantasy hockey season. This analysis features everything from surefire studs, to sleepers, to streamers, deeper league holds, even to rookie-eligible 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. Last year my previews went alphabetically, but this year we’re going to go division-by-division, starting with the top team. On our 18th stop on the 31 in 31 tour, we’re crossing the border again to stop in the 6ix – What’s up Leafs Nation? After the monster signing up Johnny T last summer, the Willy hold-out and re-upping Matthews for five years, the time has come to pay Mitch. GM Kyle Dubas has bobbed and weaved thus far, and I am sure they will get something figured out soon. That being said, there are 19 other Leafers to talk about!
Yesterday, I wrote about the winners of the NHL Offseason, so I think you can see where this is going.  For those that missed yesterday's post, you can check that out here.  Now let's go to the other side of the spectrum and get some Beck in here, or Three Doors Down if you're into that kind of thing.  Here's a breakdown of the biggest losers!
Hey everyone!  I'll be starting my rankings next week, but for now, I'll be writing a post on offseason winners.  Losers will be coming tomorrow.  There has been plenty of player movement that I haven't broken down yet so we might as well get right to it! WINNERS Mikhail Sergachev - I already wrote a sleeper post on Sergachev that you can read here.
Detroit's season has been over for months, but they haven't mailed it in.  The Red Wings have won six in a row and it starts with their first line.  Of late, Tyler Bertuzzi has been on an absolute tear.  He had two goals and an assist with five shots on Tuesday, his fourth consecutive third point game!  That brings him to 21+26 on the season with 32 PIM and a +13 rating, a great number on a poor team.  So what's his value going into next season?  It's hard to say.  He looks great with Larkin and Mantha, but what if the Red Wings bring someone else in and he's not there to open next season?  The PIM also aren't at the elite level I had hoped like his old man brought.  I do like Bertuzzi a lot for deeper leagues, but for him to be a play in standard leagues, he'll need to get his shot rate up and maintain the role he's had to finish the season.  You don't need streaming on Thursday or Saturday given the massive schedules, but if you need a guy, Bertuzzi is a great choice while he's hotter than hell.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Three years ago, Ben Bishop was the #1 player in fantasy hockey.  The following year, he struggled in Tampa, then they moved him to Dallas.  Last season, Bishop was solid, but he's been at his best this season.  Bishop posted a shutout on Tuesday, stopping all 28 shots he faced in the 1-0 win over the Rangers.  Injuries have hurt his volume, but Bishop is approaching a 2.20/.930 stat line.  That is pushing towards being the #1 goalie in the league again.  He won't end up there because of the lack of starts, but with the Stars battling for the playoffs, Bishop has the ability to win people fantasy titles this season.  The Stars play 14 games in the fantasy playoffs (more details on their schedule here) which is the most of anyone in the league.  Look for Bishop to be a massive difference maker down the stretch.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Long time readers know that I've long been a fan of Bo Horvat's game.  Horvat scored two goals on four shots with two PIM in the 4-0 win over the Ducks on Monday, getting him to 23+25 on the season.  The big deal here is that Horvat is averaging almost three shots per game, now a massive jump from previous years where he was below 2.5.  He also has 29 PIM, a career high.  Look, Horvat is never going to be a fantasy superstar.  He's destined to be the #2 center in Vancouver behind Pettersson.  However, now that there are other young players blossoming around him, his quality of teammate is so much better that his offense should continue to improve.  Horvat is on pace for over 60 points, and I wouldn't be surprised if we see him in the 70-80 range once he enters his prime in a year or two.  In dynasties, he's a guy I'd target because while he's established himself over the last five seasons, the best is yet to come.  For a look at all of the trades from yesterday, read here. Let's take a look at what else happened on Monday: