All everyone talked about in the preseason was wondering how bad Vegas was going to be in their expansion year. Sure, it’s only two games, but boy did they have some excitement. On Friday, Dallas was dominating Vegas in their franchise opener but was only up 1-0 in the third. Down goes Ben Bishop which opened up the door for James Neal to give the people of Las Vegas some relief in an awful time. Neal scored two goals in the third period to propel the Golden Knights to victory. To top off the weekend, Neal scored another goal, this time the game winner in overtime, to give Vegas two wins to start the season. Neal is still available in over 40% of leagues and if you are in one of them, grab him. The shot rate is going to be elite along with solid penalty minutes and goals. At least for now, I’m not overly concerned about the top guys on Vegas having bad plus-minuses either. Let’s take a look at what else happened in the first (long) weekend of the NHL season:Please, blog, may I have some more?
What looked like an amazing weekend for Mark Stone turned for the worst at the last minute. Stone had one of the biggest games of the year on Saturday scoring a goal and four assists with five shots in the 6-3 win over the Maple Leafs. Stone followed that up by scoring a goal and taking a penalty against the Jets on Sunday before a hit to the head from Jacob Trouba knocked him out of the game. As if a hit to the head wasn’t concerning enough, Stone has already had a concussion in the preseason, an injury that caused him to become a value in drafts. Stone has been terrific this season with 22 goals and 25 assists through 56 games but now, his fantasy owners are in a tough spot as are the Senators who were decimated by injuries over the weekend. Look for some news to come out later today on Stone’s status but here’s to hoping it’s nothing serious like another concussion. Let’s take a look at what else happened around the league this weekend:Please, blog, may I have some more?
To start the season, the Pittsburgh Penguins were a mess. They were sitting in the middle of their division, their studs were extremely struggling and the defense was lost without Kris Letang. The Penguins fired their coach, Letang sparked the entire team and the rest is history. Maybe the Penguins need to fire their coach every season, it’s worked twice now! Sorry, Mike Sullivan. Anyways, the Penguins have a handful of superstars worry of a top pick in drafts, a few middling players and the unknown between the pipes. Let’s take a look at the defending champion’s roster:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Say the title five times fast, you won’t! Alliteration aside, Ben Bishop brought an end to the Blackhawks 12 game winning streak on Thursday, stopping 17 of 18 shots to extend the Lightning’s winning streak to 7. Despite all of their struggles, the Lightning are only one point out of first place in the Atlantic and they have Bishop to thank. He’s top 10 in the league in goals against, save percentage and wins, including 2nd in the leagues in goals against average. He hasn’t been mentioned as a Vezina candidate but he has earned the right to be in the conversation. Here’s what else I saw the last two nights around the league:Please, blog, may I have some more?
If you’re a frequent reader of my articles, then you know the player I streamed the most this year has been Vladislav Namestnikov. Well, I’m not streaming him anymore because he’s terrible. Kidding! That’s because he’s a clear hold now. He’s centering the first line in Tampa (Steven Stamkos is playing RW) and he’s coming off a hat trick on five shots in the 5-4 win over the Penguins Friday night. He only had one shot in Sunday’s game but still, the role we look to stream him in looks secured now. Names (I’m sticking with that nickname, thanks commenters!) now has 23 points in 44 games and that’s with being shuffled throughout the lineup and with little PP time (he has 4 PPP). There’s no guarantee that he lasts in this role all season but now, he’s must own in 12’ers. Here’s what else I saw around the league this weekend:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Welcome back to the Defenseman portion of Assume the Position. We’ll be taking a look at D-men that can help you, primarily in deeper leagues. Sneaky free agent pickups and buy low candidates that you should be targeting in trades.Please, blog, may I have some more?
On Wednesday, one of my streamers for the day was Beau Bennett with his recent promotion to the first line. Well, Beau knows! Bennett buried two goals on six shots in the Penguins win over the Oilers. He’s available in almost all leagues and I’d look to stream him again tonight against the Kings. He has a ton of upside that he’s shown in flashes in the past and if this role sticks, this streamer could turn into somebody you keep on your roster for the rest of the season. Here’s what else I saw the last two nights:Please, blog, may I have some more?
At this point, it’s no surprise when Jamie Benn has a big night. You almost expect it against Carolina even though he was pointless in the previous three games. Well, it happened on Tuesday with Benn scoring his league leading 19th goal on his only shot of the game with three assists. He’s now on a 120 point pace for the year with 39 points in 28 games; I don’t know if it’s crazier that he’s on that pace or that he’s not leading the league in points (more on that later). Bottom line is that last year’s Art Ross winner is proving that it was no fluke. Here’s what else I saw on a busy Tuesday night:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Last season, Roman Josi took the leap into the elite fantasy defenseman tier. Amazingly, he’s on pace to top last season’s total after his recent hot streak with 6 points in the last 4 games. This was capped off by a 2 goal effort on four shots with five PIM against the Bruins on Monday to push the Predators to victory. He also had a +8 Corsi in the game. Josi is now on a pace for a 20+40 season with a bunch of more penalty minutes than he’s had in the past. He’s firmly in the top 10 now for defenseman for the rest of the season. Here’s what I saw in the late night Sunday games and the three Monday games:Please, blog, may I have some more?
While I’ve talked about the Flames being a major disappointment in this space multiple times this year, Johnny Gaudreau certainly doesn’t belong in that category. The young gun is keeping a point per game this season and he had his best game to date on Friday, scoring a hat trick, adding an assist with five shots and two PIM in the 5-4 OT win against the Bruins. The shots are a little lower than you’d like for Gaudreau to reach true superstar status but he’s probably pushing the top 25 overall at this point. Not bad for a fifth round pick who most thought was too small to make it in the league. Here’s what else I saw on a busy weekend:Please, blog, may I have some more?