When the season started I was mostly worried Zdeno Chara (1 SOG, -1) had lingering nerve damage after he’d been fighting the issue over the last season or so. Last year he had difficulty holding a stick towards the end of the year, but all signs looked good in the preseason so I ranked him accordingly. Well, the hand is fine, but the knee? Not so much. Chara suffered ligament damage to his knee yesterday while laying a big hit on NHL scoring leader John Tavares (1 A, 4 SOG, +1) in yesterday’s game. He’ll miss 4-6 weeks at which point they’re going to determine whether or not he needs surgery. Wow, that sounds terrible. They have to wait over a month just to see if the knee is bad enough that Chara needs to go under the knife? Let me just go ahead and call this right now, he needs surgery. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s done for the year, but you can’t just drop him until we know for sure, so stash him on IR and hope for the best. In the meantime this is a big blow to the Bruins and fantasy owners alike. Not only does it hurt his owners, but also Chara serves as the lynchpin to the Bs both offensively and defensively. They haven’t been playing well as a team to start the year and this injury will further erode their ability to step up and deliver. Tuukka Rask’s meh play is likely to continue to a degree, or at least continue more than we would have expected this season with Chara out. I want to say that this is going to give guys like Torey Krug (4 SOG, -1), Dennis Seidenberg (1 SOG, +1), and Dougie Hamilton (1 SOG) a boost in value that will come with an uptick in playing time, especially on the powerplay, but I really don’t think that’s the case here. I think the B’s are poorer without Chara, and the ripple effect will hurt more than it will help. You know, Johnny Boychuk (1 SOG, +1) sure seems like a good option right now, so may—oh right, well played Garth Snow. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey last night:
Niklas Svedberg (L, 35 SV, 3 GA, .921%) – Honestly, Svedberg has looked better than Tuukka Rask has so far. He’s facing more shots and stopping more of them. Svedberg is probably as talented as Rask; he’s just younger and less experienced. I wouldn’t be too shocked to see the B’s move Rask in the next few years if Svedberg pans out.
Milan Lucic (1 G, 2 SOG, +1) – Folks were starting to ask if Lucic was going to start scoring. What a silly question.
Chris Kelly (1 G, 2 SOG, -1) – That’s five games in a row now that Kelly has tallied at least one point. He has seven points in nine games and seems to be jiving nicely with Loui Eriksson (1 A, 4 SOG, -1) and Carl Soderberg (1 A, 4 SOG). I honestly don’t see this continuing, but that line is the best Boston’s had so far this season, so get it while the gettin’s good, y’all!
Antti Niemi (L, 23 SV, 5 GA, .821%) – This crapfest marks back-to-back poor starts for Niemi, he’s allowed nine goals over that span. Cue Alex Stalock and his first real chance at taking the lead in this goalie race. It’s entirely possible that it remains a 1A/1B situation all year, but the scales can tip in either direction at any point. Expect to see Stalock in there for the Sharks’ next tilt.
Sergei Bobrovsky (W, 33 SV, 4 GA, .892%) – Bob didn’t play his best game here but he was able to hold on for a victory while coughing up four goals on 37 shots. To be fair the Sharks have a dangerous offense and while his third period was a bit shaky, I wouldn’t worry.
Ryan Johansen (2 G, 5 SOG, +1) – Who needs preseason reps? Joey don’t need no stinkin’ preason reps! Last night was his second two goal game of the year and he has nine points in six games so far putting him up among the league leaders in points. People were getting on his case for holding out for a deal worth $6 mill per saying he wasn’t worth that yet, he’s well on his way to proving all the haters wrong.
Nick Foligno (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG) – Guess who else has nine points in six games? Fogy! Unfortch there’s absolutely no way he keeps this pace up. That said, he’s scoring and playing on a beast line right now so add him where you can. Fogy is spending most of his time on Joey’s line, so not only is Joey tearing it up himself, he’s making those around him better. Why isn’t he worth $6 mill per again?
Scott Hartnell (4 A, 4 PTS, 2 SOG) – There was a lot of concern about the expected top line for the Jackets being a disaster with injuries and a contract hold out, so naturally it’s one of the best in hockey to start the season. Hartnell has eight points in six games, all helpers. That’s not really his thing, but you’ll take it. I don’t think you’ll see as many PIM out of him this year as you have in year’s past if he sticks with this line and it certainly seems like he will.
Mark Letestu (2 G, 4 SOG, +2) – Mark LeWhoTu? The Jackets might be hot, but I have zero confidence in Letestu scoring more than 30 points this year.
Logan Couture (1 G, 1 A, 5 SOG) – I’m pegging him for a 40-goal season if he stays healthy. 36 more to go!
Joe Pavelski (2 G, 6 SOG, +2) – These two biscuits give Pavs eight points in eight games and that sounds aboot right.
Jhonas Enroth (L, 37 SV, 2 GA, .949%) – If your league counts saves as a scoring category for goalies that’s about the only value you’re going to get out of Enroth or any goalie that has the poor fortune of tending the crease for the hapless Sabres. Dude faces nearly 40 a night and to his credit, he’s stopping a lot of them. I’d love to see what Enroth could do on a team with, you know, any defense at all.
Jon Quick (W, 29 SV, 1.000%, SHO) – Like clockwork.
Jeff Carter (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG) – That 70’s Line just won’t quit. Honestly, it’s probably one of the best lines in the NHL, have you seen them out there? The whole line is a must own everywhere.
Anze Kopitar (1 G, 4 SOG) – It’s only seven games into the young season for Igor but this is quickly becoming the worst start to any season of his career. You have to go back to 2010 to find a season where he started nearly as slow and it wasn’t this slow. Hopefully his goal last night was the start of solid streak that gets him back to his career norms. I still have confidence that he’ll have a good season.
Mike Smith (L, 27 SV, 2 GA, .931%) – Oh look, Mike Smith lost another game. Shocking. He looked like a real goalie out there last night pushing away 27 of 29, but alas, the ‘yotes offense couldn’t help him over the hump. In four games so far this season he’s 1-3-0/4.54/.849% and while those numbers are bound to improve to a degree, I wouldn’t count on it being to a large degree.
Darcy Kuemper (W, 26 SV, 1.000%, SHO) – On the other side of the goalie spectrum we find Mr. Darcy who after four games sports a line of 3-1-0/0.50/.980%/3 SHO. Josh Who? Nicklas What? This isn’t sustainable, obviously, but it’s clear that Kuemper should be the starter. Unless he totally falls on his face, he’s going to see a 60 game load this year and be one of the most valuable late round picks (yay me!) or early wire grabs this season.
Charlie Coyle (1 G, 2 SOG, +1) – Coyle is a guy you should keep an eye on. He’s centering a line with Thomas Vanek (1 A, +1) and Mikko Koivu (2 SOG, +1), and while they’re under achieving at the moment, they should start scoring eventually. In the meantime Coyle has three points in five games and after signing a long extension, he’s ready to focus on developing into a real scoring threat for the Wild. His skating leaves something to be desired, but there’s a ton of offensive upside here and he could star to realize it this year. He’s better on the wing than he is playing the pivot, though, as he’s much more likely to pass the puck off than carry it into the zone. Still, at just 22-years old there’s a lot to be excited about here.
Jason Pominville (1 G, 4 SOG, +1) – On the road to another 30-goal season fo’ sho’.
Jonas Hiller (W, 16 SV, 1.000%, SHO) – Remember when I said you should wait until Hiller strings together a few good games and then sell high? We’re there. There is absolutely no way he can sustain this level of play. Last night he needed just 16 saves to notch the shutout, and it came against the Canes, so you have to take it with a grain of salt. You know that, I know that, other peeps in your league may not. Now is the time to move him because his value can’t, and won’t, get much higher than this.
Cam Ward (L, 19 SV, 5 GA, .792%) – Wow, this is getting embarrassing. Do you think Cam is embarrassed? I’m embarrassed for him.
Joe Colborne (2 A, +2) – Colorbones isn’t going to keep this up despit eight points in nine games, they’re all helpers. If the goals dry up, so does his scoring. He centers a line with Jiri Hudler (2 A, + 2) and Sean Monahan, so there will be ups and downs. Don’t rely on him for anything, but he’s worth streaming. Still, they have the makings of a solid second line for the Flames.
Sean Monahan (2 G, 3 SOG, +2) – Ah yes, the painful ups and downs of a talented young scoring forward are very real. Monahan potted his first two goals of the season nine games in, but I’m not worried, he’s still going to notch a 20-goal season and continue to grow into one of the Flames’ top offensive options.
Dennis Wideman (1 G, 1 SOG, +3) – This tally marks four goals in five games. I don’t like Wideman, but he’s scoring, so you know what to do. Just be ready to drop him like next week.
Ryan Miller (W, 31 SV, 1 GA, .969%) – After getting totally hosed by his skaters last game Miller recovered nicely holding the Blues to one goal on 32 shots. His peripherals aren’t great (2.71/.906%) and I don’t really expect them to get a ton better, but they should improve. I figure around 2.50/.910% is what you can expect, but the wins should keep coming.
Jake Allen (L, 19 SV, 3 GA, .864%) – He is a rookie after all. The line looks worse than the game was, but Allen was definitely on his heels as the Canucks kept scoring. He let in one bad goal, but overall he looked good. His skaters did him no favors last night. Brian Elliot will likely get the next start or two.
Kevin Shattenkirk (1 G, 3 SOG, -2) – Six points in six games after tallying his first goal of the season. Now if he could lend some of those points to Alex Pietrangelo (-2, 2 SOG), we’d be all set.
Antti Raanta (L, 24 SV, 3 GA, .889%) – Raanta looked great blanking the Flyers in his first game and he didn’t look bad losing to James Neal last night, either. Whatever the case he’s going to go back to starting once a week or so when Corey Crawford is healthy again, which should be soon.
Pekka Rinne (W, 30 SV, 2 GA, .938%) – I guess the hip is fine. Much love, Pekka! My doubts were never personal.
James Neal (3 G, 6 SOG, +1) – Even after this hatty I’m still not a huge fan of Neal. That makes goals in two straight bringing his season line to 5 G, 0 A, minus-1 and bleh.
Filip Forsberg (2 A, 2 SOG, +2) – Apparently the missing ingredient in Neal’s secret sauce was a dash of Filip with a cup o’ Forsberg helpers. That’s seven points in seven games so far and he’s now the pivot for the Preds’ top line. I know I wasn’t very high on the preseason hype, but I’m buying in now.
Andrew Shaw (1 G, 4 SOG, +1) – Shaw is being used as the pivot for so many line combos it’s a bit dizzying. The consistent theme is that he’s playing with killer wingers regardless of where he slots in. Lots of peeps that made the foolish err of drafting Brad Richards would do well to drop him for Shaw. Don’t own Richards? Add Shaw anyway. His career goals-per-game pace puts him on pace for 20-goals a year, and I’d buy that for a dollar!
Jimmy Howard (W, 23 SV, 3 GA, .885%) – Howie didn’t look as bad as his line and still won. You can give him a pass here because Pens, but man alive, why is it that when I draft this bastard he bombs and when I don’t, he excels? Everyone who owns Howie can thank me for avoiding him like the plague this year.
Thomas Greiss (L, 27 SV, 4 GA, .871%) – You can probably chock this one up to both rust and facing a Wings team starting to hit their stride early in the season. Whatever the case he isn’t going to get much work this season with Marc-Andre Fleury healthy and doing his thing.
Justin Abdelkader (1 G, 3 SOG, +2) – I’ve been impressed by Abs this season, he looks good out there getting solid TOI on what I suppose you’d call the Wings’ top line with Henrik Zetterberg and Gustav Nyqvist (3 SOG, +1). He has five points in six games, 23 hits, 17 shots on goal, a plus-three rating and the burning desire for you to pick him up.
Henrik Zetterberg (1 G, 2 A, 2 SOG) – That back of his is doing juuuust fine.
Niklas Kronwall (2 G, 1 A, 3 SOG) – One of Kronwalls goals was absolutely sick, a real nice deke as he pushed into the slot and a nasty wrister to pot it behind Thomas Greiss. That gives him six points in seven games so far this season and you can expect another 45 or more moving forward. He’s a beast.
Pascal Dupuis (1 G, 4 SOG) – It’s good to see Duper score a goal after that scary and potentially nasty play where he took a puck to the back of his neck. I’m not a huge fan of Duper this year, be he plays for the Pens, so points to be had here for sure.
Chris Kunitz (1 G, 1 SOG, +1) – He has six points in six games, one of the best spots in the league playing with Sidney Crosby (5 SOG) and Patrik Hornqvist (4 SOG) and he’s likely on his way to his second consecutive 30-goal season, but over the last three games most of the shots on goal from this line aren’t coming from Kunitz. You can’t score if you don’t shoot. It will be interesting to see how the shot distribution plays out on this line, because if he’s only take one or two shots a game, there is no 30-goal season in the works here.
Olli Maatta (1 G, 2 SOG, -1) – That’s Olli’s first tally of the year and his first points since opening night when he had three helpers. I think Maatta has all the tools to be a great offensive defenseman, but I don’t think he blows up this year.
Chad Johnson (W, 30 SV, 2 GA, .938%) – Johnson looked better in this game than Jaroslav Halak has looked in any game this season, really. Halak is still the number one, but Johnson could be in line for more work if he keeps this up.
Kyle Okposo (1 G, 5 SOG, +1) – Okie keeps on rolling. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him finish with a point-per-game, but there’s probably going to be a cold spell in there that limits him to around 70-75 points. Still, that’s baller for his ADP.