As President of the “Mark Stone Fan Club” going back to 2014, it’s great to see him playing at an all-world level. Stone had two assists with two shots on Friday before adding a goal and an assist with three shots on Sunday, both against the Ducks. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Who would have thought that a seven point game wouldn't get the opening? It would take something extravagant and that's what happened, with Jason Robertson scoring back-to-back hat tricks. R0bertson carried the Stars to victory on Friday scoring three on seven shots, including the overtime winner. He capped it off with an empty netter to seal the game against Minnesota on Sunday, totaling six shots and two PIM with his hat trick. That brings Robertson to a whopping 29+25 in 47 games and three shots per game. Robertson seemingly came out of nowhere last season to earn a second place finish in the Calder race. Now, the sky appears to be the limit. Robertson is still only 22 years old and has his center of the present and future already with him. It looks like the Stars have their new Benn and Seguin. They can only hope Hintz and Robertson reach that level, but it's not out of the realm of possibility. I don't think Robertson quite cracks the top 20 for the rest of the season and next year, but he's a slam dunk top 50 player. Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
We have our first big named moved prior to the trade deadline. It appears that teams want to get their business done early this season, especially Montreal, and they did on Monday sending Tyler Toffoli to Calgary for a prospect and picks, including a first. In Toffoli's first game, he scored a goal on four shots in 12:18 of ice time. The game was lopsided so it's hard to make a lot of judgments yet. Toffoli started the game on the third line, but his goal was assisted by Lindholm and Gaudreau as Sutter was trying out different looks. Given how well the first line has played, I can't imagine Toffoli stays there, but it's worth noting. If he's on the third line and second PP, he's capable of being a hold like Mangiapane has been in that role in the past, but it also caps his ceiling quite a bit. I'm not rushing to hold him, but his underlying numbers are still quite good this season despite Montreal being a dumpster fire. I wouldn't be surprised if he does turn into a hold at some point again, so if you want to make the spec add, I'm completely fine with it. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Since Dougie Hamilton went down with a broken jaw, the Devils have been in a massive tailspin. It got much worse over the last two nights as Toronto beat them 6-4 and 7-1 going into the All-Star Break. The hope is that Hamilton will be back after the break, and it's obvious that they need him on the blue line. Toronto was led by Mitch Marner, who had three goals and four assists with nine shots between the top games. Marner has multiple points in six of his last seven games, including a goal in all seven games. I wrote a couple weeks ago that Marner was about to get hot and get past the point per game mark, but he did it much faster than I anticipated. It helps that he moved to the top line again, as Auston Matthews had four goals and two assists between the two games. When these two are clicking, it's as dangerous of a combo that there is in the league. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Prior to Monday, there has only been four times in the last 25 years that a player scored five goals in a game. Add Timo Meier to the list. Meier single-handedly won the game for San Jose, scoring five times on six shots in the 6-2 win over the Kings. We haven't seen a player ascent from solid top six player to bonafide superstar in quite some time. Meier now has 20+25 in 35 games to go with over four shots per game. He looked to be on this path three seasons ago when he had 30+36 as a 22-year-old, but he was a major letdown the last two seasons. So what should we be looking for from Meier going forward? Well, his shooting percentage isn't that outlandish to expect major regression. It appears to be the real deal, which would make Meier a top 20 player going forward. At 25 years old, Meier's prime should only be beginning. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
A week without hockey in December did not seem right at all. Thankfully, the NHL is back up and running. Sure, there are plenty of postponements, but I'll take what we can get. There's not a lot of games over the past two nights, but I'm going to do a quick recap of everything that happened. Goaltending was mostly optional, especially in Wednesday's games. The highlight was a 8-7 SO win by the Sharks over the Coyotes, where Arizona scored two goals in the last three minutes of the game to send it to overtime. Phil Kessel had four assists and four shots in the game, and was dominant throughout the entire game. He's an elite streamer for now, but he can end up a hold depending where he goes at the trade deadline. Yes, I'm assuming he's traded, but that seems like a formality. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights. I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays!
As a Sabres fan, I've tortured myself for the better part of a decade watching this team. In the last few years in particular, they would play a ton of games that were over halfway through the game because of how poor their goaltending was (besides Ullmark, who was constantly hurt). Ukka-Pekka Luukkonen was considered the goalie of the future for the past few years, but in the eyes of most, he was passed this year by Portillo and Levi in college. Well, UPL was called up out of desperation ten days ago, and opinions are quickly changing. Luukkonen saved 30 of 32 shots in the 3-2 SO win over the Wild on Thursday. Since being recalled, UPL has started five games and allowed exactly two goals in all of them, making over 30 saves in the past four games. Even with the acquisition of Subban, UPL is going to stay up and should get most of the starts. Granato has made it clear that they need to reward guys who play well and Luukkonen is keeping them in games. I'm not rushing to grab him in redrafts, but he's certainly worth considering in his next start, presumably against Columbus on Monday. In dynasties, I'm still a big fan. Who knows what happens with the other goalies, but both are 2-3 years away, and the time for UPL is now. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It's no surprise that an ex-Sabre destroyed the Sabres in their first game against their former team. I've seen it for the better part of the decade. The surprise was that the Sabres stormed out to a 3-0 and 4-1 lead, only to blow the game. Sam Reinhart had a goal and three assists with two shots in the comeback, but that's not what makes me excited. Four points doesn't make me excited? Well, it does, but what really excites me is that Reinhart moved onto the first line once the game was 4-1. The line change sparked the Florida comeback, and I'd have to think they keep Reinhart there to start next game. I've already been holding Reinhart, but he is available in a fairly large number of leagues. I'd grab him now because if he stays on the top line, we could see him push towards a point per game.
The Maple Leafs went into the season wanting to limit the workload of their goaltending duo, but things have gone off the rails in the first month. The good news is that if you own Jack Campbell in fantasy, you're reaping all of the benefits. Campbell had a shutout against Nashville on Wednesday, saving 24 shots. Is a 1.68/.943 good? I had Campbell ranked as a top 10 goalie going into the season, but now, he's looking like a top 5 guy. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
There was plenty of craziness on Thursday night, but the Detroit-Tampa game takes the cake. The Red Wings took the lead 6-3 in the third on the back of four, count them four, Tyler Bertuzzi goals, only to blow the game and lose in overtime 7-6. Bertuzzi looks to be a solid streamer, but it's going to take a lot more to hold him. He's been inconsistent in the past, and he's unvaccinated. That means he won't be able to play any games in Canada. The Red Wings already have a one off in Montreal next Saturday and another game in Toronto the week after. It's simply too hard to hold a player that's missing games for something other than an injury. Let's take a look at what else happened on the ice on Thursday night:
Howdy, Razzballers! We've reached our final four stops: Montreal, Ottawa, Tampa Bay, and Toronto. Apologies for leaving y'all stranded yesterday, been a little under the weather. If you'd like to look back over the other team previews, you can find them all below:
We're moving out from the crease to the blue liners in my rankings. Today, I'll be going through the top 20 defensemen with the Top 40 coming out later in the week. Let's get right to it! 1) Cale Makar - Covered in the Top 20 overall here. 2) Dougie Hamilton - The top defenseman last season by a fairly wide margin, Hamilton moved from Carolina to New Jersey. It's a little worrisome, but I still expect big things from Dougie. I wouldn't be surprised if Hamilton ends up getting more minutes than he did while he was in Carolina.