For today’s post, I’m going to write about one thing for each NHL team about their first two weeks that I think it was worth discussing. This is going to be a long post, so let’s get right to it!
Buffalo Sabres – Life without Jack Eichel is just fine for Jeff Skinner. When the Sabres decided to put Olofsson and Reinhart with Eichel, I was a bit worried Skinner’s production would drop off playing with Johansson and Sobotka. In other words, the Sabres are playing with a dead weight on their second line, but Skinner still has 5+2 in 9 games. Additionally, he has almost five shots per game, an absolutely incredible rate. If anything, I underrated Skinner for this season. A top 50 season is well within reach and I think you’d be able to trade for him for a bit less.
Boston Bruins – Four studs with all the points, nobody else with more than two. Outside of the top line and Krug, they have nothing right now. I’d feel safe dropping Charlie McAvoy and Jake DeBrusk is down to a middling streamer instead of an elite one. Besides the goalies, I wouldn’t want to use anyone else.
Toronto Maple Leafs – Ilya Mikheyev should be held in standard 12’ers. The Russian rookie has looked outstanding and he’s starting to earn Babcock’s trust. With one minute left in their game on Monday, Mikheyev was out there with Matthews and Marner. The shot rate is solid, the points are coming in, and the minutes are going up, so I’m buying right now. No guarantee it holds, but I like what I’m seeing.
Montreal Canadiens – The studs don’t get minutes like studs on other teams do. No forward averages more than 17:51 (Danault). Gallagher, Domi, Drouin, Tatar, and Danault have all had good starts, but I’d like to see these guys push 20 minutes instead. It’s why I don’t feel great about holding anyone besdies Gallagher and Domi, although I’d lean towards keeping Drouin and Tatar right now as well.
Tampa Bay Lightning – I’m concerned with their defenseman. Victor Hedman has 8 SOG in 8 games. Sergachev has 12. Those numbers need to go up drastically for them to pay off their draft positions. Sure, they have 6 assists each, but the shots need to jump or they won’t be getting 10+ goals. Kevin Shattenkirk has looked revitalized, and while I doubt it continues at this level, you were able to draft him late, so I would ride it out.
Florida Panthers – Brett Connolly is playing like an elite streamer with some upside from there. Connolly has 4+3 in 8 games. The shot rate isn’t great which isn’t a great sign, but he also played 20 minutes last game and his season average is still only 15:16. If the minutes are up, do the shots keep going up? He has 11 in his past 3 games after 4 in the first 5 combined. It’s no guarantee, but I could see Connolly becoming a hold.
Detroit Red Wings – Zero worthy streamers. The top line should all be held right now, even though I expect Bertuzzi to be dropped eventually for another streamer. Hronek is on the fence. Andreas Athanasiou has had a rough start and I’d wait to stream him until he gets back on track. Otherwise, this roster has absolutely nothing to work it.
Ottawa Senators – They actually have some deep league options. Vladislav Namestnikov has looked good since his arrival. Nikita Zaitsev has been a monster in hits and blocks leagues, especially in blocks. J.G. Pageau is playing well at the moment. Colin White is piling up assists. Despite the team being terrible, they are giving us some fantasy options.
Washington Capitals – I’m not holding Ilya Samsonov outside of dynasty leagues, but I’d stream him every chance I get. I don’t see Braden Holtby losing his job this season, although I do expect him to be on Seattle for their expansion season. Samsonov is the future, but unless Holtby really bombs, I don’t think he’s the present.
Pittsburgh Penguins – It doesn’t matter who they’re going against or what they cost, the top three Pens are all elite DFS options. Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel, and Kris Letang are getting massive workloads right now with the Pittsburgh depth gutted by injuries. Their ownership has been much lower than I anticipated on a nightly basis so I’ve been stacking them regularly to success.
Carolina Hurricanes – Buy low on Sebastian Aho if you can. He’s too good of a player to struggle for much longer. The shot rate is there and if he was at his normal shooting percentage, he’d be around a 32 goal pace. The assists will come as well, there’s no doubt about it. See if his owner is panicking, and don’t panic if you’re the one with Aho.
New York Islanders – Both goalies are worth owning. It looks like Thomas Greiss and Semyon Varlamov are destined for a time share which gives both of them plenty of opportunity for fantasy success. Greiss and Lehner were both great last season and I expect these two to be great this season.
Columbus Blue Jackets – Alexander Wennberg is returning to fantasy relevance. Yes, the shot rate is still poor, but it’s better than last season. He’s at 2+3 in 9 games, but the important thing is he’s pushing 19 minutes per game. If you’re towards the end of the week and need assists, Wennberg looks like he could be getting back to one of the top streamers.
Philadelphia Flyers – Constant line shuffling makes streaming difficult. Vigneault is trying so many different things early that it’s hard to figure out who to use. Travis Konecny has played his way into being a hold, but Oskar Lindblom, Kevin Hayes, and James van Riemsdyk all are options on a regular basis. The order I prefer to use them depends on who they’re with to start the game.
New Jersey Devils – MacKenzie Blackwood is clearly the superior option to Cory Schneider. I was lowest by a mile with where I ranked Schneids and I have see nothing that makes me think I was wrong. Blackwood was shelled by the Sabres, but has been good otherwise. Schneider has had two mediocre games and two awful games. I wouldn’t even want to use Schneider against Ottawa, where I’d use Blackwood in a decent amount of matchups.
New York Rangers – The first line is all they have. Zibanejad, Trouba, and Panarin have been great. Otherwise, there’s not much. Quinn is trying everything to get a second line going but hasn’t found any success. The problem is that they have nobody who belongs as a second line center on their team. I’m giving Kappo Kakko and Chris Kreider a little more time, but we need to see some signs of progress sooner than later.
Colorado Avalanche – Let’s pray that Mikko Rantanen won’t be out indefinitely. His injury looked horrible but there hasn’t been a prognosis yet. In his absence, Joonas Donskoi went up to the first line, but I’m not convinced that he’ll actually stick there. Andre Burakovsky did go onto the first power play unit which would instantly make him a hold given his early success. Whoever goes on the first line will be an elite streamer at the least.
St. Louis Blues – They are who we thought they were. Their top forwards have produced as expected. Binnington’s numbers are fine. Pietrangelo is back on track. Nobody else has emerged though. I wouldn’t look to stream anyone on their team right now.
Winnipeg Jets – Neal Pionk is right on the fringe of holding. He’s getting so many minutes right now that he’s stumbled into 6 points in 10 games. It’s not going to be exciting unless Morrissey goes down, but Pionk should be decent enough to consider holding.
Nashville Predators – A defensive team is now offensive. Their games have been much more open than in the past leading to difficulty for their goaltending. However, it makes me feel better about their skaters as a whole going forward. I count seven easy holds and two more quality streamers.
Chicago Blackhawks – Dominik Kubalik has me extremely intrigued. The former seventh round pick looks great in his current role on the third line. He has 25 SOG in 6 games with 2+1. My hope is that he gets a chance on the first line with Toews and DeBrincat on top of maintaining his spot on PP2. If that happens, I’m streaming him everywhere because I could see him turning into a hold with his willingness to shoot.
Dallas Stars – I’m buying Dallas stock. I just can’t believe that their studs won’t get back on track. They started slow last season and while it’s even slower this year, there’s too much talent for them to struggle.
Minnesota Wild – I feel good about holding one player on this team at the moment. Matt Dumba is an easy hold for me, but after that, I’m not feeling great about any of these guys. I’m probably holding Ryan Suter even though he’s boring, and Jason Zucker is close, but this team is a disaster.
Edmonton Oilers – I have no faith in either goalie, but both are easy starts at the moment. Ride the hot schmotatos while you can. The schedule has been very soft in the early going but it doesn’t get harder for a little bit. Mike Smith and Mikko Koskinen should be streamed until they cool off.
Anaheim Ducks – The team looks like it’ll actually score some goals. They’re right in the middle of the pack in goals, although they are only 4.5% on the power play so far. I’m all in on Rickard Rakell bouncing back but he shouldn’t be the only one.
Vegas Golden Knights – Hold the top five forwards, Theodore and Fleury. Stream Stastny or Glass depending on who is on the second line. This team is very straight-forward. Also, when Fleury isn’t playing, pick players on the opposition in DFS. Subban and Dansk are awful.
Calgary Flames – Mikael Backlund is the only streamer on the roster. Frolik, Bennett, Brodie, and Hanifin are all giving nothing offensively right now. The Flames are a true studs and duds team.
Vancouver Canucks – Be patient with Quinn Hughes. Four points in eight games isn’t setting the world on fire, but he’s been great generating offense. The best is yet to come.
Arizona Coyotes – Full of streamers, lacking holds. Besides Kessel, Keller, and OEL, I’m not holding anyone besides Kuemper. However, I would use all of the following guys as streamers: Schmaltz, Garland, Soderberg, Stepan, Dvorak.
San Jose Sharks – Kevin Labanc breaks out very soon. The shot rate is much improved and the points have been decent since Kane returned from suspension. I love the way that line is playing so I think Labanc, who is available in over 40% of leagues, becomes an easy hold soon.
Los Angeles Kings – On a team lacking upside, Sean Walker might be a Guy. He’s gotten better offensively every season dating back to college and his speed is noticeable on most shifts. If he gets a spot on the second power play (why isn’t he over Martinez, come on Todd), Walker could work his way into being a hold.
Three Point Challenge: For those who aren’t familiar, for each Tuesday and Thursday of the season, you can make a pick in the comments section. That player needs to get 3+ points for you to win. You cannot take a player in the top 10 in points in the league. For the first month to six weeks of the season, we will use last season’s top 10 in points. That means no McDavid, Kucherov, Kane, Draisaitl, Crosby, Marchand, Gaudreau, MacKinnon, Stamkos, or Barkov. Feel free to make your pick any time before 7 PM EST on Tuesday night. Aurelius is on top with 2 correct picks, with Fungazi and Matt on the board with one each. For Tuesday, I am going to take Dylan Larkin against the Canucks.
That’s all for now guys. Be sure to check out Sven’s massive prospect post here. He’s doing some amazing work that everyone should check out. As always, feel free to ask any questions, leave any comments, or give any suggestions below. I’ll be back tomorrow recapping tonight’s action. Thanks for reading, take care!