I've been stubborn in terms of thinking Dougie Hamilton was going to have a massive fantasy season for years now.  Loyal Razzballers know my love for guys who hit all of the categories, and Hamilton has always done that.  It seems like Carolina is finally giving him the chance to be the #1 guy in all situations and he's off to a tremendous start.  On Friday, Dougie scored a goal and an assist with four shots and two PIM.  He followed that up with a goal on five shots Saturday, bringing him to 4+4 in 6 games with 19 shots, 6 PIM and +7.  Obviously he's not going to keep up this pace, but this is the kind of start that can allow Hamilton to finish as a top five defenseman.  In fact, gun to head, I'd bet on it happening right now.  If you follow my rankings, odds are that you have Hamilton on your team in redrafts or keepers.  If that's the case, don't even consider selling high because this isn't a fluke.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
In the first half of Tuesday's game, Jack Eichel couldn't get anything going. The puck was constantly jumping over his stick and was turning the puck over constantly. Things certainly changed in the second half of the game as he willed the Sabres to a third straight overtime victory. Eichel scored twice, including an absurd overtime winner, on four shots. https://twitter.com/BradyTrett/status/824106676894638080 Eichel's shot rate is currently the best in the league over his 26 games along with 12 goals and 9 assists. Now, it's not a huge sample, but that's a 40 goal, 30 assist pace with over 320 shots. That's why I had him ranked in the top 20 before his preseason injury and while he'll probably be there at the start of next season. We'll be sure to include some dynasty talk on Thursday's podcast; in Eichel's case, we haven't seen his best yet, far from it. Here's what else happened around the league on Tuesday night:
Atkinson from Dubinsky and Jenner. Atkinson from Dubinsky and Jenner! Atkinson from Dubinsky and Jenner!!! That was the theme Monday night in Columbus as Cam Atkinson scored a hat trick on seven shots with Brandon Dubinsky getting the primary assist and Boone Jenner the secondary assist on all three goals. In recent games, the goals haven't been there but the shots have. He now has 21 shots in the last 5 games and more importantly, he's up to 16 goals and 14 assists on the season. Dubinsky keeps thriving in his increased role under Torts and almost has 30 points himself along with 39 PIM. Jenner has been the best of the bunch with almost identical stats to Atkinson, only with Dubinsky-level PIM (42). All 3 were already owned in the majority of leagues but if some reason any of these guys are out there, grab them. Here's what else I saw around the league on Monday night:
Before Wednesday, three of Cory Schneider's last four starts have been disappointing, especially factoring in for the opposition. Naturally, when he goes against one of the highest scoring teams in the league, he locks it down completely. Schneider had a 36 save shutout against the Senators on Wednesday night placing him in the top 10 in the NHL in wins, GAA and sv%. The Devils can thank Schneider for being in a playoff spot at the new year. Here's what else I saw on Wednesday night:
Last year, Filip Forsberg was one of the biggest breakouts of the NHL season. I had him ranked in the top 50 preseason and was a disappointment so far this year. Signs of a return to last year's dominance have been seen in the last few games and it finally happened Tuesday night, scoring two goals on eight shots and adding an assist in the 5-2 win over Arizona. He's up to 24 shots in the last 5 games which is a good sign that the goals are coming. It may be too late after Tuesday but with 5 goals in 24 games, perhaps his owner is fed up with him and you can try to add him in a trade. Here's what else I saw on a busy Tuesday night:
The Arizona Coyotes put forward a great display of tanking at the end of last season pushing the Sabres for the worst record in the league.  Unfortunately for them, they came up short and were jumped in the lottery.  They were expected to be horrible again and the first two games do not really change their expectations.  That said, you had to come away impressed by the Desert Dogs this weekend crushing the Kings 4-1 in LA on Friday and beating Pittsburgh 2-1 on Saturday. The quick start can largely be attributed to Mike Smith stopping 40 of 41 shots Friday and 27 of 28 on Saturday. He's an incredibly streaky goalie so it's not a terrible idea to pick him up and stream him while it lasts.  He could also get shelled in their next game  (Wednesday at Anaheim) so you have to decide for yourself if it's worth the gamble (I'd lean yes).  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
As a Sabres fan, I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.  After two years of tanking, they ended up with Sam Reinhart and more importantly, Jack Eichel.  In the Sabres first preseason game, Eichel showed why he was worth tanking for scoring a shorthanded goal and adding an assist.  Sabres coach Dan Blysma has Eichel currently slated to be the second line center with multiple 30 goal scorer Matt Moulson and burgeoning power forward Zemgus Girgensons.  It's a great situation for Eichel to thrive, even as an 18 year old.  I currently have Eichel at 51st overall (rankings here) and I feel great about having him ranked higher than anywhere else.  The combination of speed and power that he has at such a young age is incredibly rare.  In dynasty leagues, I'd have him ranked after the big 7 and McDavid.  Bottom line is: 0 Teams usually play half of their starting roster in one preseason game and the other half in the next so it's tough to come away with major takeaways from preseason.  That said, it could be very telling as to who will play on what line which has a major impact on players' value.  Let's take a look at who had a big impact over the first three days of preseason:
Before the season started I cautioned against drafting Semyon Varlamov expecting a repeat of last season and sure enough he sucked up the joint hard to start the year then hit IR with a bum groin. He came back, sucked it up so more and then exited once more with the same injury. Again he returned and again he sucked and yet again he re-injured the same groin and is now down for “a couple weeks.” Yeah, right. Listen, a goalie with a groin injury is a red flag. A goalie that hurts the same groin three times in less than a half a season is more than a red flag, it’s a signal to run for the hills and not look back. For now you stash him on IR, but don’t expect much from him moving forward. In the meantime rookie Calvin Pickard, G (W, 30 SV, 3 GA, .909%) has taken control of the Colorado crease and doesn’t appear to be ready to relinquish command of it anytime soon. With expensive backup Reto Berra struggling Captain Pickard seems to be the go-to guy for Patrick Roy right now. In a recent interview Roy said of Pickard "He deserves to play, he gives us a chance to win every night. We cannot ask for more from him." And how could you? Why would you? The kid has been stellar in the handful of starts he’s been given, win or loss, and seems to be getting stronger as he gets more time. There’s no reason for Pickard to be available in any leagues right now, deep or shallow, so if he’s available in your league add him yesterday. If you do, don’t drop another starter to do it. Remember that while he might out play Berra like whoa until Varly gets back, as soon as he does Pickard is headed back to the AHL unless the Avs cut or trade Berra, who has a one-way deal and cannot be sent to the minors. Regardless, in the meantime if you're thinking of adding Captain Pickard, make it so. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey last night:
When you think of the Sabres lately one name generally comes to mind and he isn’t even in the league yet, yes I’m talking about McJesus himself, Connor McDavid. The Sabres are well on their way to winning the McDavid sweepstakes by bungling their way through the 2014-15 season looking like hot garbage from top to bottom, save one bright spot; Zemgus Girgensons. Girgs was the Sabres’ second first round pick in 2012 and he’s paying off pretty quickly for a team that desperately needs someone to do something positive. I mean the fact that the Sabres had two first round picks should say something in-and-of it self, but I digress, the 20 year old Latvian pivot works his butt off out there from whistle to whistle. He’s hard to knock off the puck, isn’t afraid to fight for position in traffic and while he isn’t a traditional dangler, he definitely has solid hands and fore-checks like whoa. He’s now the Sabres top line center and spends time on their top power play unit as well. Given that it’s the Sabres you can’t expect him to score a ton, but he’s posted a respectable season line so far with 8 G, 6 A, +3 (on the Sabres!), 48 SOG and 9 PIM to date. Wait, that doesn’t look as sexy as I made it sound, does it? Well! That’s because his real value comes from his ability to win faceoffs (161), deliver hits (57) and even block shots (24). There’s basically not much this guy doesn’t do and in roto leagues that’s pure gold. In deep category H2H leagues he has value too. ROS I expect him to end up with around 50-55 points, he has tremendous upside over the long term and it’s clear that the Sabres envision him as a team leader moving forward. Those in keeper leagues would do well to grab him and hold on tight. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey last night:
The Red Wings have been plagued by injury all season and when news that Henrik Zetterberg needed to have his herniated disc removed and was down for at least eight weeks, Wings fans and fantasy owners alike cried in their Molsons. You shouldn’t cry into your Molson though, no one likes watery beer; if we did we’d drink PBR or some shiz. Though Zetterberg is down his line mates remain good options for late season scoring boosts and if last night’s game was any indication, I’m not just blowing smoke here. Both Gustav Nyquist (1 G, 2 SOG, +1) and Johan Franzen (2 A, 3 SOG, +1) are skating on relatively fresh legs and though Z’s absence is a loss, it could open up more chances for both of them. Nyquist scored the game winner with OT winding down on a rebound when Peter Budaj kicked away a Franzen shot from the top of the circle and it was a nice display of soft hands by the young Swede. Though he’s returning from his own groin injury, Nyquist is immensely talented and he should sieze the opportunity to help drive the Wings’ offense in Z’s absence. He’ll need to put up more than two shots a game to do it, but he has the ability and could put up 20 more points down the stretch. As for Franzen, he isn’t without talent and opportunity either. He assisted on both goals for the Wings; first on a nice pass to Todd Bertuzzi and then on Nyquist’s game winner. The assist for the game winner was a bit fluky, but everyone knows that when in doubt put the puck on net and hope for the best, and here’s proof positive that’s a solid maxim to live by! The Mule has only played in 32 games so far due to injury but is 100% healthy now and has the potential to give you 20 or so more points before season’s end. He’s only owned in 61% of Yahoo leagues, and ~87% of ESPN leagues, so if you need a late season scoring boost, he’s among the better options available. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey last night: