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If it wasn’t for a late injury last season, Tyler Seguin would have almost certainly led the NHL in points.  Instead, his teammate and linemate for most of the year, Jamie Benn, won the Art Ross trophy.  Stars coach Lindy Ruff put newly acquired Patrick Sharp on the wing with Seguin and Benn the last two games, and there were immediate dividends.  On Saturday, in a 4-2 win, Seguin had 2 goals and 2 assists, Benn had 2 goals and an assist and Sharp had 2 assists.  If these three stick together, and there’s no reason to expect them to be separated, they’re going to be the best line in hockey this season and carry the Stars back into the postseason as a legitimate threat.

Here’s what else I saw this weekend:

Martin Jones – 31 saves on 32 shots in a shootout win over the Devils.  Jones has been absolutely incredible so far this season and looks to be the goalie taken in the middle rounds who has the most potential to finish as a top 5 goalie.  I don’t expect this to hold, but a top 10 season is certainly within reach.

Joel Ward – Assist on Friday and goal on Saturday.  He’s settled into the second line and power play right now so he’s at least worth streaming in 12 man leagues.  If your league counts hits, I’d definitely own Ward.

Logan Couture – Out 4+ weeks after being injured in practice.  Tough break for Couture who was in great position to repeat as a top 50 player.  For now, Tomas Hertl is on the second line (assist and 3 shots Friday, 3 shots and 2 PIM Saturday), so he’s in a great spot to justify my high rankings of him preseason.  He’s must own in all leagues right now.

Cory Schneider – 33 saves on 34 shots in the 2-1 shootout loss Friday, 26 saves on 27 shots in the 2-1 overtime win Sunday.  This is probably going to happen a fair amount with Schneider.  I just can’t see the Devils scoring many goals this year but the percentages will be there for Schneider.

Adam Henrique – Two goals and an assist on 9 shots in 2 games this weekend.  He’s playing big minutes on the first line so he’s worth monitoring but I don’t really have any interest in owning any Devils skaters right now.

Nazem Kadri – Goal on 7 shots Friday, assist on 6 shots and 2 PIM on Saturday.  His shot totals are through the roof right now and the Leafs have been in most of their games this year.  He’s must own in all leagues.

Leo Komarov – Three goals over the weekend.  He has some talent but I wouldn’t own him except in the deepest of leagues.

Joffrey Lupul – Goal and assist with 2 shots Friday, shot and 2 PIM Saturday.  He’s regularly put up solid point totals in his career when healthy so he’s a good streamer but I wouldn’t have him holding down a spot in a 12’er.

Scott Hartnell – Goal and assist with 5 shots in 2 games.  The Blue Jackets are an absolute dumpster fire defensively right now but their top 6 is still producing.  Don’t panic and sell low on their guys or cut someone like Hartnell.

Sergei Bobrovsky – 28 saves on 33 shots.  Man, the Blue Jackets just give up glorious chance after glorious chance.  While the defense isn’t great, it shouldn’t be as bad as it is.  If you can buy low, I probably would.  If you want to sell him, I wouldn’t blame you but don’t sell him too low and definitely don’t cut him.

Justin Faulk – Goal and 9 shots in 2 games this weekend.  Carolina has started 1-4 but they’ve been very good with Faulk on the ice possession-wise.  Faulk has a chance to push into the big tier of defenseman I had from 4-13th.  The shots are incredible for a defenseman and the plus-minus shouldn’t be as bad as previously expected.

Eric Staal – Goal and two assists with 5 shots in 2 games.  Looks to have regained his form from before last season.

Kris Versteeg – Goal and two assists, 2 total shots and 2 PIM.  He’s playing on the top line right now with Staal so he’s worth considering as a streamer.

Teemu Pulkkinen – Goal with 8 shots and 2 PIM in 2 games.  His playing time is starting to increase and he’s getting time on the first power play unit.  He’s not quite must-own in 12 man but he’s getting really close.

Dylan Larkin – Goal, assist, 2 shots and 4 PIM in 2 games.  Minutes are starting to go up drastically (played over 20 minutes Saturday) so I still believe he’s must own.

Henrik Zetterberg – Two assists in 2 games.  Surprisingly he has zero shots but that’s just an aberration.  The points are going to keep coming and so will the goals as he starts to shoot more.  He always is among the best in the league in shot rate so no worries there.

Blake Wheeler – Goal and two assists with 8 shots in 2 games.  Justifying my high rank (33rd preseason) so far.  Hits all of the categories at a quality level; incredibly underrated player.

Vladimir Tarasenko – Two goals, two assists, 9 shots and 4 PIM in two games.  Ninth overall preseason looks like it was too low.  Carrying the Blues offensively now with the next guy…

Alex Steen – Goal and assist with 9 shots and 4 PIM.  I said in my preseason ranking of Steen here that he really just needs to stay healthy to be in the top 50.  The way Tarasenko is playing, I’d say Steen would push the top 30 if he stays healthy.  Knock on wood!

Jori Lehtera – Goal and assist with 6 shots.  Paul Stastny was hurt Friday and didn’t play Sunday so Lehtera moved onto the first line with Tarasenko and Steen.  He’s must-own for the time being.

Brandon Sutter – Shorthanded goal and two assists with 6 shots in two games.  Still playing with the Sedins and playing huge minutes so pick him up if you can.

Mikko Koivu – Goal and assist with 10 shots in 2 games.  On the top power play right now and has an elite shot rate so he’s a great stream if available.  I wouldn’t find fault in holding onto him in 12’ers and I would definitely own him in deeper leagues.

Reto Berra – 35 save shutout on Friday, 38 saves on 40 shots in the loss Sunday.  I still think Seymon Varlamov will get the majority of the starts but with his slow start, Berra may get some more action than originally anticipated.

Jonathan Quick – 25 saves on 26 shots in the win Friday, 21 saves on 22 shots Sunday.  Kings are starting to straighten things out defensively and Quick will surely reap the benefits.

Carey Price – 21 saves on 22 shots in the win Saturday.  Canadiens came out and dominated a great Detroit team to move to 6-0.  You look at their roster and wonder how they consistently win but a lot of it is simply having Price.

Brandon Gallagher – Goal and assist with 5 shots.  Still on the first line so will remain fantasy relevant as long as he’s there.  Worth owning in 12’ers.

Roman Josi – Two assists and a shot in 29 minutes Saturday. Great start to the season besides being -2; that should straighten itself out in time.

James Neal – Two goals on 5 shots.  Extremely underrated in fantasy circles.  It’s hard to find guys who can score 30 goals, take 250+ shots while being very good in PIM.

Mike Hoffman – Two goals and an assist with 4 shots Saturday.  I said in the preseason here that if Hoffman gets the opportunity, he could be a top 50 player.  Well he’s getting the opportunity and he’s taking full advantage.  His line with Mark Stone (1+1, 2 SOG) and Kyle Turris (0+2. 3 SOG, 2 PIM) are dominating games right now and I don’t expect that to change.  Stone and Turris could both have 70 point seasons and Hoffman should get 30+ goals and top 60 points.

Sam Reinhart – First career goal on 3 shots Saturday.  He’s currently on the Sabres first line and looked great there.  I’m not rushing to add him in 12’ers but he’s definitely worth streaming in the Sabres next game (Toronto on Wednesday) and is worth monitoring to see if he sticks there this week.

Ben Bishop – 31 saves on 32 shots in the win over Buffalo.  Bishop has historically dominated the Sabres and that continued on Saturday.  He’s a top 5 fantasy goalie right now.

Aleksander Barkov – Goal on his only shot Saturday.  The top line with Jaromir Jagr and Jonathan Huberdeau is still on fire.

Evgeni Malkin – Goal on 3 shots with 2 PIM.  His goal was an amazing individual effort which was good to see.  A hot streak may be on the horizon.

Olli Maatta – Goal with 4 shots and 2 PIM.  Minutes were low (16:30) but I still like Maatta a lot going forward.  He’s must own for me in 10 man leagues and deeper.

Nicklas Backstrom – Goal and two assists with two shots in his season debut.  Hopefully if you own him you knew he was coming back and had him in your lineup.  He’s a top 20 player for me going forward.

John Carlson – Goal on his only shot with 2 PIM.  A lot of guys this weekend who I had ranked higher than consensus made me look good! Carlson has looked great so far and their power play is only going to get better with Backstrom back.

T.J Oshie – Goal and assist with 6 shots.  His shot rate took a big jump up last year and has taken another big jump so far this year.  If it keeps up, Oshie is top 50 for the rest of the season.

Braden Holtby – 18 saves on 19 shots.  Not going to get much easier for a goalie than what Holtby faced Saturday.

Johnny Boychuk – Goal on 5 shots.  The shots are elite and that is enough to make Boychuk a must-own everywhere.  He’s amazing in leagues that count hits.

Kyle Okposo – Goal and two assists on 5 shots.  He’s currently not on the first line but there’s enough depth on the Islanders that not playing with John Tavares ( 2 assists, 5 shots) isn’t going to kill Okposo’s value.

Frans Nielsen – Goal and assist with 4 shots.  Playing the point on the first power play unit so definitely worth streaming in 12’ers and should be owned in 14+ man leagues.

Ryan Strome – Two assists with one shot.  He’s on Tavares’ line right now and on the first power play unit; Strome just needs the shot rate to go up to be a top 100 player.

Marian Hossa – Goal and assist with 2 shots.  Is he the most underrated player in all sports the last 20 years.  I feel like it has to be him or Adrian Beltre.  Two easy hall of famers who don’t get the credit they deserve.

Patrick Kane – Goal on 4 shots.  Still really good at the hockey game.

Artemi Panarin – Two assists on 3 shots.  Killing it with Kane so far, he’s confirming that he’s must own.

Connor McDavid – Two goals, two assists, 5 shots and 2 PIM in 2 games this weekend.  He’s putting the league on notice; he’s ready to start dominating games already.

Taylor Hall – Goal and 2 assists with 9 shots.  Just stay healthy Taylor, please.  Top 20 season is a near lock if he does.

Nail Yakupov – Two goals and an assist with 8 shots and 2 PIM.  Playing on a line with McDavid right now so if for some reason Yakupov is available in your league, get him right now.  Would be a great trade target as well.

David Jones – Two goals on his only two shots.  Not relevant except in the deepest of leagues.

Patrice Bergeron – Two goals and an assist on 8 shots and 22 minutes played.  What a beast.  Against horrible possession teams, Bergeron is going to absolutely dominate, obviously not on a 3 point per game level but there will be some massive games.

Zdeno Chara – Assist on 4 shots and 2 PIM.  He’s nowhere near as good as he once was but the Bruins defense is so thin that he’s going to accumulate stats playing 25+ minutes.

David Krejci – Goal and two assists on 6 shots.  On fire right now and also just needs to stay healthy.

Torey Krug – Two assists on five shots.  Still hasn’t scored a goal but been great overall.

 

 

That’s a wrap.  There is only one game tomorrow, Sharks vs. Rangers, so I’ll suggest Oscar Lindberg and Nikolay Goldobin as streamers.  Lindberg has started the season on fire and Goldobin is getting a shot right now playing with the Joe’s on the first line.  As always, feel free to post any comments and questions below and I will answer them as soon as possible.  With only one game tomorrow, there will be no article Tuesday but I’ll be back on Wednesday along with an article from Marv and Pesos!  Talk to everyone soon!

  1. Gus says:
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    In a keeper league counting W, GAA and SV%, would you prefer Bob over Schneider? I have Schneider and while I like his ratios, I think Bob could be a stronger own in the future considering the state of CBJ vs NJD.

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Gus: yes, in keeper I’m going with Bob for all the reasons you said.

  2. Sherm says:
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    Hey, Viz, thanks for the good stuff.

    I picked up Hertl but someone also dropped Couture. Should I grab Couture for later? I am crazy over my GS limits in forwards right now so I could afford having a non-productive F slot. I would be dropping Perriault who’s been pretty good so far. Could also let go Zuccarello, Kunitz, or a D like Leddy.

  3. Viz

    Viz says:
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    I think Couture is definitely worth a stash, yes, especially being over in starts. Is Leddy a spare defenseman on your team? I’d be tempted to cut him. If you’re counting on him, I think I’d actually cut Kunitz or you can try to trade him based on name value. He’s playing with Crosby and Kessel for now but he looks completely shot. I don’t think he’s going to last there and he’s already lost his PP1 spot.

  4. Vrbata has been held pointless through 6 games to start the season and someone in our league just cut Kucherov loose to waivers. Kuch only has one goal himself but it seems like his ceiling is much higher. I was thinking about waiting out the waver period and make the swap Wednesday, or is his potential so much higher that I should burn my 6 of 10 waiver priority to try to pick him up? Thanks Viz. Appreciate your insights!

    • Or should I just eliminate my streamer positon and wait a week or so to see how they both start to shake out? @madden_curser:

      • Viz

        Viz says:
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        @madden_curser: I would definitely pick up Kucherov, there’s no doubt he’s worth owning. He should, conservatively, end up around 50th overall this season and probably better so use your waiver. It’s extremely unlikely anyone better will touch waivers all season. I think for now, I would eliminate the streamer spot and hold Vrbata as well.

  5. I had one of your older websites on my post. I just wanted to make sure you see my question… Vrbata has been held pointless through 6 games to start the season and someone in our league just cut Kucherov loose to waivers. Kuch only has one goal himself but it seems like his ceiling is much higher. I was thinking about waiting out the waver period and make the swap Wednesday, or is his potential so much higher that I should burn my 6 of 10 waiver priority to try to pick him up? Thanks Viz. Appreciate your insights!

  6. BootsyBaby says:
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    Lotta drops in my league over the weekend. I would drop Talbot, Pominville, and TMyers if I claimed any of the following: Should I do these claims?

    Claim Bobrovsky, drop Talbot (have Price, JAllen)
    Claim Couture (for the second half), drop Pominville
    Claim Mike Green, drop Tyler Myers

    All are coming up the same day, Wednesday. If you would do any of these, which would you do first, second, third? What is the highest priority claim of these?

    Thanks!

    • I think I would do all three of those, but Viz is the guru, not I. If you claim Couture maybe you can IR him and pick-up another guy while he is stashed away… @BootsyBaby:

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @BootsyBaby: I would do all of these. My only question is if you have anybody worse than Pominville but if you don’t, I would still cut him. Also, do you have an IR spot to stash Couture? If you do, I’d just pick Pominville back up. I would do them in the order you have them listed if you don’t have an IR spot. If you do, I’d order them Couture, Bob, Green.

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