Aleksander Barkov (1 G, 2 SOG, +1) scored a very sexy goal after stealing the puck in the offensive zone and has started his NHL career with the same type of success he’s had since he was 15 years old. Unbelievably enough that was just three effin’ years ago and Barkov turned just 18 years old on September 2nd of this year! That’s just days before the 2013-14 training camp was set to kick off. Despite his youth he’s already averaging 16 minutes a night and shows no signs that he can’t handle the speed and strength of the game at the NHL level. The rookie has points in back-to-back games and is on pace for 30 points with 12 goals this year. Aleks is wise beyond his years in hockey sense and has an uncanny ability to read situations quickly and make good decisions with the puck. He’s technically sound in almost every area and will can be an elite defenseman in the NHL as soon as next year. The Panthers have a rich crop of talented young defensemen and the 2nd overall pick in the 2013 draft is already the brightest star among them. He’s a must own in deeper/keeper leagues and will be relevant in most formats soon. Anyway, here’s what else I saw on a short night o’ fantasy hockey:
Marc-Andre Fleury (2 GA, 37 SV, W) leads goalies with 18 wins now that Corey Crawford has been sidelined for a bit with a bum wheel.
Roberto Luongo (0 GA, 19 SV, W) is having one of the best year’s I’ve seen out of him in a while. I’d expect his GAA to come up slightly, but his SV% is on par with his career average so he should be able to maintain it.
Philipp Grubauer (2 GA, 39 SV, L) continues to look great in a small sample size like many other upstart netminders right now. That said, he’s a big kid with a solid foundation of skills; it’s hard to say what his potential is but while Michal Neuvirth remains hurt Grubby has value in deep leagues. I’d say he warrants attention in keeper leagues as well.
Jason Garrison (3 A, 2 SOG, +1) has shown in the past the ability to put up points, but he just looks all around ballerific this year and should be owned everywhere at this point. Pick him up. Do eeet.
Ryan Kesler (2 A, 3 SOG, +1) is really quite good when he’s healthy, a shame that’s been in the minority to this point in his career. Still, like Garrison he’s having a career year for the Canucks and should be owned everywhere.
Nicklas Backstrom (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG, even) is owned everywhere because he’s always having games like this.
Scott Clemmensen (2 GA, 23 SV, W) only got the start because Tim Thomas is day-to-day with a sore something-or-other. It’s not serious and Clemmy remains largely unownable unless Timmy goes down long term. Still, he stepped in and performed well, earning a 3-2 win over the Caps.
Chris Higgins (1 G, 5 SOG, +1) hasn’t made me look bad yet!
David Booth (1 A, 5 SOG, +1) is on pace for just 22 points in 70 games played this season. Yeezus Crimeny that’s bad. There was a point where Booth showed all the promise of a budding superstar with a 31 goal, 60 point year back in 2009 but after his concussion he’s just never been the same.
Daniel Sedin (1 G, 2 SOG, even) is now in a steady decline, but still a productive guy to have. It’s kind of hard to believe, but the Sedins are getting old.
Dainius Zubrus (1 G, 2 SOG, +1) surprised everyone by being alive still! I honestly had no idea the grizzled old vet was still kicking around the league. He has points in three straight games now for a Devils offense that gets highlighted by the fact that Dainius freakin’ Zubrus scored a goal on two shots. Ouch.
Jonathan Huberdeau (1 A, 5 SOG, even) may very well end the season with just six more points (37) in 82 games played than he had last year (31) in 48 games. That’s not the step forward we hoped for out of the youngster, but you have to be patient as he’s still recovering from hip surgery.
Jaromir Jagr (1 A, 5 SOG, even) actually remains fantasy relevant on pace for 65 points and flirting with 30 goals by season’s end. He had two helpers, one on Zubrus’ goal. What is this, 1998?