The hype surrounding Kirill Kaprizov was building for a few years before he came to the NHL.  Even with the lofty expectations on his shoulders, he's played at a level higher than anyone expected.  On Friday, Kaprizov scored a hat trick on eight shots with two PIM and a +4 rating.  He followed that up with another eight shots on Sunday, adding an assist and two penalty minutes.  I wrote about a month ago that I expected Kaprizov's shot rate to take a big jump as the season progressed based on his shooting totals in the KHL.  Well, sixteen shots in the past two games brings him over 2.5 per game, an average rate for a forward.  Add in being just under a point per game and we can basically call the Calder race now.  I'm not convinced that it's going to get better in the future as Kaprizov will be 24 by the time the regular season ends, but either way, he should establish himself around a 30+40 pace in a normal season with slight upside on both of those numbers.  Kaprizov is definitely a top 50 dynasty asset, but I don't think he pushes the top 25 long term because the penalty minutes will be low and more importantly, I don't think he gets to be a 3.5-4 shot per game guy because he's too good of a playmaker for that.  Either way, if you're lucky enough to have him, enjoy it because there's nothing fluky about his performance.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
It was looking good for the Wild on Monday night.  After letting Vegas tie the game 2-2, Minnesota scored two goals in 19 seconds near the end of the second period to go up 4-2.  Move to the last minute up 4-3 with the goalie pulled, and Mark Stone makes a fabulous pass to Tuch to tie up the game.  In overtime, the Wild were controlling the puck until Stone won it back, and hit Patches for the game winner.  In a 5-4 victory, Stone had five assists, and not just five assists, five primary assists.  He was in a bit of a slump before this game with one point in his previous five games, but safe to say that's in the rear view mirror now.  Stone now has 22 points in 18 games, averaging an assist a game.  The big concern is that his shot rate has plummeted down to under two per game.  That puts a big dent into his overall value, but if he's going to put up an assist a game dominating at five on five, it's hard to complain.  That said, be a little more selfish and don't let Patches take every shot!  The first captain in Vegas history has been excellent this season and even though I'm American, I can't wait to see him in the Olympics on say, McDavid or MacKinnon's wing.  Or maybe the three of them are a line, who knows with how stacked their team is.  Let's see what else happened over the last two nights:
Nothing helps getting your season back on track like playing against the Buffalo Sabres.  Carter Hart has had a really rough go of it in the opening month of the season, but on Sunday, he looked to turn it around in Buffalo.  You'd think that after the Sabres were shutout 3-0 on Saturday that they would come out firing on Sunday.  Nope.  Hart stopped all 28 shots he faced, most of the routine variety, to beat the Sabres 3-0.  Brian Elliott only needed to make 23 saves on Saturday as the Sabres are in complete disarray.  As I always say, goalies are voodoo, but I'd be stunned if Hart doesn't make a jump towards being a #1 fantasy goalie again.  If you can buy low on Hart, I would try to do so.  The fact that the Flyers are 11-4-3 despite Hart's horrible start shows you what kind of upside the team has.  Elliott should be streamed every time he starts as his save percentage is over .930 in his eight games.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
We've finally reached the final four weeks of the regular season.  That means fantasy hockey playoffs!  This post is meant to help you plan for this specific week on a micro-sense.  For the macro picture, check the the Eastern Conference Playoff Manifesto here and the Western Conference here.  We'll take a look at every day this week and point out the best streamers to use or what games to target.  Let's get to it!
At the time of his injury, Victor Olofsson was leading rookies in points.  That's not to say that he was the Calder favorite because he certainly was not, but he was in the race, albeit in the third spot.  Sadly he missed 15 games, but he picked up right where he left off.  Olofsson scored two goals on Thursday, including the game winner, in the 4-3 OT win over the Blue Jackets.  That gives him 18+19 in 43 games, a great season from my favorite preseason target for my last pick in drafts.  Sure, the PIM are non-existent and the shot rate is slightly below average, but Olofsson has lived up to expectations.  He's an old rookie at 24, but he should get a bit better going forward.  His role as a PP1 sniper and top six winger is locked in going forward and his chemistry with Eichel is outstanding.  If he was dropped in your league, grab him immediately.  Let's take a look at what else happened on Thursday:
Andre Burakovsky has gone back and forth between bottom end hold and elite streamer for most of the season.  Right now, we're in one of his upswings again.  Burakovsky had a goal and three assists in the 6-1 Colorado win over the Sabres on Tuesday.  That's a whopping 10 points in the last 4 games and 14 in the past 8 for Burakovsky.  He also has Ottawa, the Kings twice, and Buffalo again over the next three weeks.  He's an easy hold while he's on fire and the schedule remains incredibly soft.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
There wasn't a lot of action the last two days after the All-Star Break, but sadly we saw what certainly appeared to be a severe injury.  Linus Ullmark has established himself as the clear #1 goalie for the Sabres this season playing at a league average level.  He collapsed to the ice on Tuesday against the Senators with what appeared to be a bad leg injury.  There hasn't been an update yet, but I would be surprised to see if he ends up out for the season.  So what does that mean for the Sabres and for us fantasy hockey players?  Well, the Sabres are far from the best situation, but Ullmark has been serviceable.  Carter Hutton has been one of the worst goalies in the league, so unless he has a bunch of good starts in a row, I have no interest in using him.  I suspect that Jonas Johansson is called up from Rochester.  Johansson is a former third round pick who was an AHL All-Star this season.  He's taken a huge jump forward as he was serviceable in the ECHL last season but that's about it.  However, goalies are strange and perhaps he catches lightning in a bottle.  I wouldn't rush to add him, but he's a name worth monitoring.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
He's backkkk.  Justin Williams made his return on Sunday, totaling three shots on goal in 13 minutes of action before scoring the shootout winner for the Hurricanes.  So what should we expect from him going forward?  Well, the Hurricanes are in a bigger dog fight for the playoffs than expected, so I do expect Williams' workload to ramp up sooner than later.  He skated on the fourth line in this game, but there's a spot for him right now in the top six that's currently occupied by Foegele.  It should only be a matter of time until he fills that role.  How much does that matter?  Well, we know that Williams is a great source of shots.  He pushed close to three per game last season while totaling 53 points and 44 PIM.  That sounds like a guy firmly on the fringe to me.  I wouldn't be rushing to grab Williams, especially with Carolina only having one game between now and January 31st, but he's back to elite streamer status with the upside of being a bottom end hold.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
It's safe to say that at 26 years old, Jonathan Huberdeau has plenty of hockey to play in his career.  The scary thing is that he's going to destroy the Panthers point record.  In Sunday's big win over the Maple Leafs, Huberdeau had a goal and an assist to pass Olli Jokinen for the most points in franchise history. After last season's breakout campaign where Huberdeau had 92 points, he's on pace to blow by that this season with 61 points in their first 45 games.  The shot rate has fallen off to slightly below average, but I don't think anyone who drafted Huberdeau is complaining.  He's a safe bet to finish as a top 20 overall player this season, and since he's entering his prime along with some of his other teammates (notably Barkov), the future is incredibly bright.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
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: