When players get interviewed before their first game, they always give the same boring mundane answers. “I’m focused on keeping things simple out there.” “I’m just going to play my game,” etc. They dream of scoring a goal in their first game. Well, Auston Matthews did just that in his first game. And then he did it again. And again, and again. The first overall pick from this year’s draft became the first player in NHL history to score 4 goals in his debut, doing so on 6 shots playing 17:37 against the Senators. And the Leafs still lost! Man, they are horrible. Everyone is going to overreact to this game so I’ll be the one to say that you need to lower expectations. Yes, there will be flashes from Matthews but like any rookie, consistency will come and go. He also won’t get to play a team as hopeless defensively as the Senators are again any time soon. There’s no doubting that Matthews will be a superstar but in the fantasy realm that we live in, don’t think he’s going to be a top 50 player this season or anything outlandish after one game. Here’s what else happened around the league in the first two nights of the season:
Frederik Andersen – 5 goals against on 30 shots in the 5-4 loss. His debut for Toronto was a disaster. Hopefully you avoided this goaltending situation like I said to.
Zach Hyman – Assist and +4 playing with Matthews and the next guy. For deep leagues, he could be an interesting option. At the least, Hyman will be a viable streamer in good matchups.
William Nylander – Two assists, +3, 2 PIM, 3 SOG. I think for the time being I’d hold him in 12’ers and see how he does in the short term.
Morgan Rielly – Assist and two shots playing over 25 minutes. Rielly is clearly must-own with the role he has in Toronto.
Nikita Zaitsev – Three shots playing almost 24 minutes. Zaitsev is right on the fringe right now but by the end of the season, I think he’ll be a clear hold.
Craig Anderson – 34 saves on 38 shots getting the win. Still avoiding him like the plague.
Derick Brassard – Goal and an assist with two shots in his Senators debut. I expect a vanilla season from Brassard where he does nothing that excites you but you have to hold him because he clearly does enough.
Erik Karlsson – Goal and two assists, +3 with 8 SOG. I said it throughout last year, I’ll say it again, Karlsson is the best player in the NHL.
Bobby Ryan – Goal and an assist with three shots. All of the people who think I’m a Bobby Ryan hater (I sort of am) will come out of the woodwork now but there is some concern here. I’m not sure why he only played 14:30 but that number needs to go up if he’s going to reach last year’s totals.
Kyle Turris – Two goals on four shots playing 21:40. This is what I’m talking about. I was higher on Turris because I dismissed his dismal second half. Coming back from that injury was the worst thing he could have done. If he gets 20+ minutes a night on a regular basis, he’ll be a clear top 75 player.
Brian Elliott – 21 saves on 27 shots in the 7-4 loss to the Oilers. What a horrible night for goalies making their team debuts. I know Edmonton plays wide open but Elliott did not look right. We’ll see how he bounces back tonight but I’m not particularly hopeful. Then again, I was already lower on Elliott than everyone besides Matt.
Mikael Backlund – Two assists with three shots. Meh, he’s only a streamer to me and there will probably be guys I choose over him.
Troy Brouwer – Goal on two shots in his Flames debut. There’s the first good streamer call of the season! He’ll probably stay right on the fringe of hold vs. stream all season long.
Johnny Gaudreau – Four shots on goal, -3. Yikes. I expect him to bounce back big time in the second game against the Oilers.
Dennis Wideman – Goal on five shots with 2 PIM. He played almost 24 minutes which is very encouraging. If he’s available in your 12’er, I think I’d grab him to see how things develop.
Dougie Hamilton – Four shots on goal with four PIM. Hitting those stats are nice but it’s frustrating to see that he only played 17:36. That number needs to go up for him to bounce back.
Jordan Eberle – Goal on three shots playing over 19 minutes. The empty netter saved his night but it’s nice to see the minutes there.
Oscar Klefbom – Assist, +1. He got over 6 minutes of power play time last night so he is the Oilers defenseman to own.
Patrick Maroon – Goal on four shots with two PIM. Could be a decent stream throughout the year but I can’t see him producing regularly enough to become a hold in 12’ers.
Connor McDavid – Two goals and an assist with six shots on goal playing 23:27. I could hear Reid going crazy every time he scored! Those minutes are absolutely absurd for a forward. Granted, the Oilers were on the power play a lot last night but there’s a reason why I had him ranked in my top 5. The kid is just that damn good.
Jesse Puljujarvi – Goal on two shots. It won’t get talked about at all because of Matthews but props to Puljujarvi for finding the back of the net in his NHL debut.
Kris Russell – Two assists and a shot. Still want nothing to do with him unless your league counts blocked shots.
Cam Talbot – 37 saves on 41 shots getting the win. Man, the Oilers play incredibly wide open which won’t be good for Talbot’s numbers.
Jonathan Quick – 14 saves on 15 shots before getting pulled with 4 seconds left in the first period due to injury. It did not look good and the early reports are that it could be a while. Grab Jeff Zatkoff (15 saves on 16 shots) where you can because the Kings are excellent defensively and Quick well, isn’t that great anyways.
Tyler Toffoli – Goal on five shots. Absolutely sniped 1:22 into the game on the power play. There’s no denying the kid can shoot, I just question whether the other fantasy categories come in strong enough to pay off his lofty ADP.
Martin Jones – 21 saves on 22 shots in the 2-1 win. The Sharks really clamped down on the Kings and gave them little room offensively. Jones is going to get a ton of starts barring the Sharks trading for a capable backup so a top 5 season could be on the horizon.
Logan Couture – Goal and an assist with two shots and two PIM. Bills Mafia! Just a matter of staying healthy; if he does 60 points and 250 SOG should be in the bag.
Brent Burns – Goal on two shots. Only two shots!? He’ll probably get nine on Saturday against Columbus now.
Joonas Donskoi – Assist with three shots on goal. Right on the fringe of holding in 12’ers, Donskoi is a great streamer where available.
Joe Pavelski – Assist with four shots and two penalty minutes. Sharks really rolled 4 lines game one (all 18 skaters played at least 10 minutes) so I’m not discouraged by Pavelski playing 16:44. That number will be closer to 19 when all is said and done.
Richard Panik – Goal on two shots. He played on the second line and scored on the power play so Panik will be a top end streamer in the short term.
Corey Crawford – 29 saves on 32 shots in the 5-2 to the Blues. The Blues dominated this game; it was far from Crawford’s fault. Tonight is also a brutal matchup for him so don’t panic if Crawford has another rough outing.
Brendan Gallagher – Two goals. I loved what I saw from him in this game and am glad I am the highest on Fantasy Pros. Gally really just needs to stay healthy and he’ll definitely deliver.
Andrew Shaw – Goal on four shots with ten penalty minutes. God, I hate this troll; few things are as scummy as a slewfoot and this asshole finds the need to slewfoot someone as a 4-1 game ends. Can you see the steam coming from my head? Anyways, I’m still not a fan for 12’ers, he doesn’t have the role right now.
Al Montoya – 30 saves on 31 shots in the 4-1 win over Buffalo. Streamer success! We don’t know if Price will be healthy for Saturday but Montoya looks to be worthy of streaming in the majority of his starts.
Evander Kane – Three shots on goal before a brutal injury. Kane was taken to the hospital on a stretcher so he’s going to be out a while. Horrible for my favorite team and horrible in fantasy because I have the highest on Kane by a mile.
Sam Reinhart – Assist and three shots playing 21 minutes. Another guy I’m the highest on, Rhino played 21 minutes with how thin the Sabres roster is right now. If for some reason he’s available in your league, grab him.
Rasmus Ristolainen – Assist and five shots. Picking up where he left off last season.
Casey Cizikas – Two assists and a shot. And there’s your annual Cizikas update!
Anthony Beauvillier – Assist, shot and two PIM. Only played 11 minutes but in deep leagues he needs to be owned. If the role increases, he can become a stream.
Pavel Buchnevich – Assist with three shots and two PIM. Streamer success! I love the Butcher in dynasties and for now, he’ll be a favorite streamer of mine. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he’s a hold by the end of the season.
Chris Kreider – Goal and an assist with seven shots and two PIM. I will not buy into Chris Kreider. I will not buy into Chris Kreider. I will not buy into…
Brandon Pirri – Goal and an assist with two shots. Pirri is on the 4th line but the first power play unit so if you’re in deep leagues, he’s a quality amount for PPP. I expect the minutes to increase in time.
Mika Zibanejad – Two assists with three shots in his Rangers debut. I think his trade for Derick Brassard is going to be a win-win. He’s a clear hold in even 10’ers.
Mats Zuccarello – Goal on two shots. Norwegian Hobbit starting where he left off last season.
David Backes – Two goals and an assist with three shots and two PIM in his Bruins debut. He was +5 and it wasn’t even the best on his team in a 6-3 win! The first line was absurd last night and I think we’ll see a pattern this year; top lines are going to kill the Blue Jackets.
Brad Marchand – Two goals, three assists, +5, seven shots. Apparently he had no problem without Patrice Bergeron.
David Pastrnak – 2+2 with 8 SOG and +6. I was high on Pastrnak again so it’s nice to get some early dividends. He’ll be a slam dunk top 100 player sooner than later.
Zdeno Chara – Assist, +5. I’m still not a fan of him this year without the PP1 time.
Nick Foligno – Two assists, zero shots. Still not a fan although I’d hold him to see if he’s a hot schmotato.
Seth Jones – Goal and an assist with two shots. Nice start for Jones; hopefully Torts lets him get active in the offensive zone.
Zach Werenski – Assist with five shots. If your last defenseman in a 12’er was mediocre (odds are they are), I’d drop them for Werenski. He’s getting big minutes, he’s getting power play time and there’s a ton of talent here.
Mike Green – Two assists with a shot and two PIM. The encouraging sign is that Green played almost 22 minutes. He’s in a nice position to bounce back this year if he stays healthy.
Dylan Larkin – Assist with four shots on goal. I’m driving the bandwagon and there’s still room for you guys to hop on!
Frans Nielsen – Goal and an assist with two shots being -2. Nielsen is incredibly boring but at the end of the year, he’ll provide enough value to hold him.
Thomas Vanek – Two goals on five shots. Another guy in prime position for a bounce back, Vanek found his normal spot in front of the net on the power play and got the board quickly before an even strength tally later in the first period. He’s incredibly streaky so I’d look to play him on Saturday if he’s available despite the poor matchup.
Jonathan Drouin – Goal and an assist with five shots playing almost 19 minutes. I’m more encouraged by the shots and TOI than the two points to be honest. If he’s getting those type of minutes, Drouin will push the top 50 overall.
Victor Hedman – Two assists with three shots. Both assists were on the power play; he’s on the first unit right now which adds a ton of value to an already strong player.
Alex Killorn – Goal and an assist with three shots. Streamer success to complete the streamer hat trick! It was a high scoring day but nice to go 3 for 3. I’m holding Killorn now while he’s on the second line.
Cedric Paquette – Goal and an assist with three shots. It’s not quite an annual update but don’t expect to hear about Paquette for a while.
Cory Schneider – 32 saves on 34 shots in the 2-1 OT loss to the Panthers. Sadly, this is more of the same for Schneider. He’s as good as any goalie in the league, if the wins come he’ll push towards being the #1 fantasy goalie.
Yohann Auvitu – Assist with two shots. Here’s a guy who I would run to pick up in deep leagues and watching for standard. He was the best defenseman in the Swedish League last season; now he’s in the Devils lineup and getting first power play time already.
P.A. Parenteau – Goal on three shots with two PIM. He played only 11 minutes but that number is surely going to increase once he settles in. He’ll be on the first line in no time.
Pavel Zacha – Assist with two shots. Solid debut that will get overlooked because of how many players went off in their first NHL game the last two nights.
Roberto Luongo – 23 saves on 24 shots in the win. He’s not going to get many better matchups than the Devils at home but it’s good to see him take advantage of it. Luongo is a must start every time out.
Aleksander Barkov – Goal and an assist with four shots playing 21 minutes. If he contributed in penalty minutes, he’d push the top 25 this year. I still love him and have him in my top 50 (highest on FantasyPros).
Jonathan Marchessault – Goal on two shots playing over 19 minutes. Elite streamer bordering on a hold if he gets that amount of time.
Nicklas Backstrom – Two assists and five shots. He’s another guy where I’m more encouraged by the shots than the points. If he gets to even 200 shots, he’ll push the top 25 instead of being around 50th where I had him.
Andre Burakovsky – Two goals playing 18:30. Love it; he needs to be owned everywhere. If the minutes are there, the goals will be.
Braden Holtby – 28 saves on 30 shots losing in a shootout. No win but a quality game to start the season nonetheless.
Marc-Andre Fleury – 39 saves on 41 shots in the win. Excellent display for the Flower who will play virtually every game until Matt Murray returns.
Evgeni Malkin – Goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM. It’s a huge if but if Geno stays healthy, he’ll be a monster.
Charlie Coyle – Goal on his only shot with two PIM. I’m the highest on Coyle being 32 spots above ADP. Assuming he sticks on the first line, a 25+25 season or better is in the cards.
Jake Allen – 17 saves on 19 shots against Chicago, then 19 saves on 21 shots against Minnesota, both wins. The save percentage isn’t great but it will fix itself in time.
Paul Stastny – Goal and two assists on Wednesday, assist and two PIM Thursday playing over 22 minutes. I did not see these minutes coming from Stastny on a back to back. If the minutes remain even close to this, a rebound will happen.
Kevin Shattenkirk – Goal and two assists with five shots over two games. Another guy who just needs to stay healthy.
Vladimir Tarasenko – Two goals and an assist with nine shots over two games. Clear top 10 player in my mind.
Nail Yakupov – Goal and an assist with three shots on Thursday. He only played 8:30 but I’m interested to see if Yak can carve out a bigger role for himself.
Cam Ward – 21 saves on 26 shots losing 5-4 in OT. The Canes were winning 4-1 in the 3rd while they were on the power play only to piss the game away. Man, the Canes would be a real threat if they had a real goalie. They have nobody to blame by themselves resigned Ward. I want nothing to do with him in fantasy.
Lee Stempniak – Goal and an assist with three shots. Should be a top end streamer like last season.
Jeff Skinner – Goal and an assist with five shots. Reid and I are both big fans as we talked about on the more recent podcast.
Tobias Enstrom – Two assists. Toby was underrated for years but his refusal to shoot the puck puts him off my radar.
Patrik Laine – 1+1 with 2 SOG sparking the comeback. Hey, it’s not Matthews’ debut but it’ll work. I still expect him to be the best rookie this year and long term when it comes to fantasy.
Mathieu Perreault – Goal on four shots. Please stay healthy!
Mark Scheifele – Game winning goal in OT on three shots with two PIM. Go Mark Go!
Blake Wheeler – Shorthanded goal and two assists with four shots and two PIM being +3. How can somebody not love Wheeler? Dude is amazing.
Connor Hellebuyck – 23 saves on 27 shots stealing a win. It wasn’t a great opening game but to be fair, the team was a mess in front of him for the first 45 minutes. I’m not quite to the point where I would play him every start but it’s not far off.
John Gibson – 16 saves on 20 shots in the 4-2 loss to Dallas. On one hand, at Dallas is a brutal start, as bad as it gets. On the other, the goals were all from depth players with only Jamie Benn getting an assist among the notables. Just throw this game away and feel confident in rolling Gibson next time out.
Andrew Cogliano – Two goals on five shots with two PIM. He has some value in deep leagues but isn’t close to 12’er worthy.
Ryan Getzlaf – Ten shots on goal playing over 24 minutes. Please keep shooting!
Adam Cracknell – Goal and an assist with two shots. Okay then…
Patrick Eaves – Assist playing on the first line. Elite streamer while that stays the case bordering on a hold.
Stephen Johns – Goal on four shots. Should be owned in deep leagues and all leagues that include hits as a category.
Antoine Roussel – Goal and an assist with two shots. Well, he didn’t get you the PIM you expect but two points will do. Nice call by Reid on the podcast.
Antti Niemi – 33 saves on 35 shots in the win. Great start but I still have no faith in either Stars goalie to put up quality numbers outside of wins.
With only three games on the docket, options are more limited than usual. Here’s what I’m looking at:
Troy Brouwer (15.0%) – Going back to the well already. Brouwer scored in his Flames debut and I think he gets back on the scoresheet tonight.
Kris Versteeg (3.0%) – I expect him to remain on the first line tonight in a rematch of The Battle of Alberta. Now that they’re at home, I think the Flames come out on top and expect at least a point from Versteeg.
Kevin Fiala (0.9%) – The former first round pick is getting another chance with the big club. It looks like he’s going to play on the first line tonight so I’ll take advantage of that opportunity going against a Blackhawks team that was dominated by the Blues in their opener.
Man, that was quite the first set of daily notes, I’m pushing 3500 words! Time to wrap everything up. First off, the podcast has been consistently increasing in listens and I have you guys to thank for that. The newest one went up in the afternoon yesterday so if you missed it, you can find that here. Please take a couple minutes to give us 5 stars or even better, a positive review on iTunes with it.
Also, be on the lookout for Matt’s next post which should go up in the afternoon today. I’ll be back on Monday recapping all of the weekend’s action. As always, please ask any questions or leave any comments that you have in the comments section below and I’ll do my best to answer them in a timely manner. Have a great weekend everyone, take care!