We found another goalie out of nowhere!  Jordan Binnington was great in his second start on Thursday, allowing one goal on 29 shots in the 4-1 win over over Canadiens.  He's been strong in the AHL the last two seasons, and with how bad their other goalies have been, Binnington deserves a chance.  Obviously it could collapse at any time, and the Blues' schedule in January is very road heavy.  On the other side, there a lot of good matchups over the next two weeks for Binnington.  I wouldn't go out of my way in shallow leagues to own him, but Binnington could be a solid streamer with upside for more, especially before the All-Star Break with the Sens, Kings, and Ducks in a row.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It looks like we could be seeing the Timo Meier breakout right before our eyes.  The former top ten pick is really coming into his own this season as DeBoer has given him a top six role.  Meier scored a goal on Friday because totaling two goals and an assist with four shots on Sunday.  That brings Meier to eight goals and four assists in 11 games with over three shots per game.  It's pretty clear at this point: Meier is a must-own in all formats right now.  He's still available in over one third of leagues, so if you're fortunate enough to be in one of those, go grab him now.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
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:
No, I'm not talking about the musical.  I've used "Teach Me How to Dougie" before, so I needed to change it up.  Dougie Hamilton scored the first hat trick of his career on Saturday, albeit in a 6-3 loss to the Panthers.  He probably won't match last season's 50 point total, but Hamilton has been just as good.  He's over three shots per game, the plus-minus is solid, the PIM are there, and a career high in goals is a near-certainty (he needs one more).  As someone who has a betting ticket on the Flames to win the Cup, I just wish Glen Gulutzan would play Dougie more.  Their first pair is so damn good that there's no reason for Hamilton to be under 25 minutes per game.  Regardless, he's a solid #2 fantasy D for the all-around contribution with upside to be a bottom-end #1.  With his recent play (11 points in his last 10 games), hopefully that happens.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
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:
There have been a few big games by individuals this season but Patrice Bergeron's on Saturday is the new leader for the best of the year.  Bergeron scored four goals and added an assist with seven shots in the 7-1 win over the Hurricanes.  Bergeron was the second player this year to score four goals after Alex Ovechkin.  Per usual, Bergeron is crushing all of the categories.  He's playing around a 40+35 pace while already having a +19 rating, solid PIM and pushing four shots per game.  Bergeron is a slam dunk top 50 player for the rest of the season who should push towards the top 25.  Again, the top line in Boston is as good as it gets and Bergeron is at the forefront of their success.  That line just gave up their first goal against at even strength all season!  Remarkable stuff.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
After an amazing start, Patrick Eaves has slowed down quite a bit lately. Despite being in the league since 2005, Eaves never topped 32 points so it wasn't a surprise. That said, he's been given the best opportunity to produce points he's ever had in his career this season and Eaves has taken advantage on the whole. Eaves had his strongest game in over a month on Tuesday scoring a goal and two assists with three shots. He's been on the first power play unit all season (his goal was on the PP) and Eaves moved back to the first line during this game. It's time to stop dropping Eaves and hold him in 12'ers. I'm okay with using him as a streamer if you don't have the room but Eaves has an outside shot of scoring 30 goals this year. Here's what else happened around the league on Tuesday night:
Reid joins me in person from Razzball Hockey Headquarters for Tuesday's podcast. We run down the recent injuries, notably Patrik Laine who was destroyed by Jake McCabe (McCabe pictured above from this hit and ensuing scrum). After the update, we look at the most impactful developments over the last five days. Among the notables are Patrick Maroon, Michael Grabner and James van Riemsdyk catching fire, the second line for Calgary gets rolling, both Florida teams being a mess and the Islanders losing back to back games to the two worst teams in the league. As always, we close things with The Three Point Challenge. All of that and more in the latest edition of the Razzball Hockey Podcast brought to you by SeatGeek and FanPicks.com!
In my preseason rankings, I wrote the following about Chris Kreider: "He’s good for 20+20 with strong penalty minutes but I’m not expecting much more even though he has a ton of potential." What I meant to include was 20+20 at the halfway point! For years, Kreider has been talked about as an elite talent but somebody who hasn't been able to put it together. Like a few other players on the Rangers, Kreider has seemingly put it all together at this point and the results are outstanding. In the 6-2 win over the Avalanche on Saturday, Kreider scored a hat trick on six shots extending his point streak to 4 games (8 total points). In 33 games, Kreider now has 15+14 with 19 PIM and 91 shots. Add in Kreider being +6 and you're looking at a contributor in all categories. At this point, we're looking at a guy who should push towards the top 50 at the end of the season and going forward; he's still only 25 years old. Let's take a look at what happened to close 2016 and the opening day of 2017:
I certainly didn't think I'd be writing about Peter Budaj at any point this year. After all, he played in a whopping one game over the past two seasons combined. Alas, we're here in December with Budaj being a major talking point of the NHL season. After Jonathan Quick went down, the expectation was that offseason signing Jeff Zatkoff would get the majority of the starts but when he went down as well, Budaj stepped in and has kept the job. He had arguably his best two performances over the weekend. Budaj posted a 39 save shutout in the 1-0 OT win over the Penguins before making 29 saves on 30 shots in the 1-0 loss in Boston. Budaj is currently #12 in the ESPN player rater among goalies making him a bottom end #1 or elite #2. With the news that Quick is going to be out until at least March, it's Budaj's job going forward. Despite that, Budaj is still available in over 40% of leagues. Can I explain it? No, not one bit. If you don't already own him and he's available in your league, grab Budaj. Let's take a look at everything that happened around the league the last three nights: