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10.30.13
Jonathan Bernier looks to be on top of his game again as he led the Maple Leafs to a 4-2 win in Calgary to help Toronto sweep the province of Alberta in consecutive nights. Bernier made 41 saves for the win while Lupul, Raymond and JVR all scored. Matt Stajan and David Jones scored for the Flames.
Toronto is one of those teams to load up on early this season. They are in the top six in goals for, against, power play and penalty kill. That’s the mark of a real complete team and one to shoot for in fantasy.
The downside is that most of the top players aren’t going to be available unless you try and trade for them. Phil Kessel, James van Riemsdyk, Nazem Kadri, Joffrey Lupul and Mason Raymond aren’t just going to be out there floating. Defenseman Dion Phaenuf with his +10 rating is off to a solid start in that category. Both goaltenders are solid even if James Reimer (4-0-0, 1.99, .949) has the better stat line in the early going.
Take a look on the wire for David Clarkson. Remember he missed the first 10 games of the season for his boneheaded incident where he jumped over the boards and got involved in a fight. He could get you 25 goals. He could get you 100 penalty minutes. And getting both of them is in the question. Colton Orr could also get you PIMs if you’re a little lagging in that area. Most of his PIMs have come on the road this season and the Leafs are at Vancouver Saturday.
Calgary is a team that I really can’t make heads or tails on this season. They have a top-10 offense but are having a lot of problems keeping the puck out of their own net (29th, 3.5 GAA) and their penalty kill has been terrible (25th 76.3%). And it’s only going to get worse with defenseman Mark Giordano out for 6-8 weeks with a broken ankle. Lee Stempniak is week to week with a broken foot but was off to a good start with nine points in the first ten games of the year. Look for him when he’s healthy again.
The Flames are going to need a high-powered offense to stay competitive this season. Sean Monahan (6-4—10) is off to a nice start and played his way into the roster. I doubt you’ll find him on the waiver wire but he’s still out there in a handful of leagues.
Neither Joey MacDonald nor Karri Ramo look like anything more than emergency starts at this point. They’re splitting games almost down the middle. Until someone seizes control, this looks like goaltender by committee and there are many better options out there.
Detroit slipped by Vancouver 2-1. Daniel Sedin had the goal for the Canucks while Daniel Alfredsson and Tomas Tatar scored second period goals for the win. Jimmy Howard (19-20) was a little better than Roberto Luongo (25-27) to get the win. Johan Franzen was a scratch for the Red Wings with an undisclosed reason but is cleared to play against Calgary on Friday.
Something I find very puzzling about Vancouver is the lack of power play production in the early going. How is it a team with the Sedins can’t even break 10% on the power play? They are 4-for-41 on the power play this season and almost have as many shorthanded goals (3) as they do power play goals. They’re a middle of the pack offense and are relying on Luongo and a solid penalty kill (4th, 86.3%) to get the job done. Once you get past the top six forward in Vancouver, the rest of the team is an inconsistent crapshoot in fantasy.
Detroit is adapting well to the Eastern Conference with a 7-4-2 start in the first month. They, too, are a low-offense team averaging 2.2 goals per game so far. Once you get past the big three of Datsyuk-Zetterberg-Alfredsson, the scoring drops off quickly.