Last year’s point leader for defensemen is off to an even better start this season. John Carlson had a goal and two assists on Monday, bringing his totals to 5/8/+6/6/19/8 through eight games. It was hard to see any upside from last season’s totals, but some shooting percentage luck could have Carlson around 20+50. Add in a quality plus-minus, and there’s a chance that Carlson ends up the #1 defenseman for the season. It’s far from a guarantee, but it’s abundantly clear through three weeks that last season’s big breakout was no fluke. Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Semyon Varlamov – 37 saves on 38 shots in the 4-1 win over the Flyers. Varly has the clear upper hand right now for the Avs goaltending situation. I’d roll with it while that’s the case, and in roto leagues, I’d try to get Grubauer and have both.
Mikko Rantanen – Two goals on three shots. He is going to get paid this offseason, big time. He’s unbelievable.
Gabriel Landeskog – Goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM. Speaking of insane starts, Landeskog’s stat line: 8/4/+12/8/28 in 9 games. Silly.
Petr Mrazek – 20 saves on 21 shots in the 3-1 win over Detroit. This revenge game says more about Detroit than Mrazek. Carolina manhandled the Red Wings, and I’d stream every starting goalie against the Red Wings right now.
Ryan O’Reilly – Goal and two assists with four shots. RoR’s start in St. Louis couldn’t be any better from an individual perspective.
David Perron – Goal and an assist with five shots. Perron’s hot start earned him a place on RoR’s wing. The problem is that he has 14 shots in 8 games. On the other hand, we saw push a point per game last season with a poor shot rate, so perhaps that happens again? Perron probably should be owned, but I don’t love it.
Vince Dunn – Goal and an assist with five shots and two PIM. Dunn has been a personal favorite for a long time, and now he’s getting PP1 time. He’s worth owning everywhere.
Mark Scheifele – Two goals and two assists with five shots. I still can’t believe that ESPN had him ranked outside of the top 50. Then again, they’re basically beta testing their new software throughout their fantasy sports leagues right now. Absolutely hilarious and pathetic on both counts.
Ben Chiarot – Goal and an assist with two shots. And there’s your annual Chiarot update!
Alex Ovechkin – Two goals and two assists with seven shots. Safe to say the Canucks had no chance against the studs of Washington, as Nicklas Backstrom dished three assists and T.J. Oshie had a goal and an assist. You know what to do with these guys. Expert advice!
Jonathan Huberdeau – Two assists with two shots and two PIM. Solid start for Huberdeau across the board.
Mika Zibanejad – Two goals and two assists with five shots and two PIM. Oh, Mika, you’re so fine! The shot rate is insane right now, to the point where 5 goals in 9 games is in line with his career shooting percentage. If I had noticed he was available in almost 50% of leagues, I’d have started the post about him instead of Carlson. Go grab him immediately if he’s available in your league.
Mats Zuccarello – Two goals. Zucc is right on the fringe. I’d somewhat lean hold but I don’t feel great about that. At the least, he’s an elite streamer.
Neal Pionk – Two assists with a shot playing almost 26 minutes. He’s QB’ing the top PP unit which is enough to make him worth considering. It looks to be very AAGNOF so grab him depending on team needs.
Darcy Kuemper – 35 saves on 36 shots in the 4-1 win over Columbus. I wouldn’t be counting on this from Kuemper. I could see using him in the best of matchups, but that’s it.
Christian Fischier – Hat trick on four shots. Fischier has jumped to middling streamer status given that the shot rate is pushing three per game.
Derek Stepan – Three assists. He started off poorly, but Stepan has been receiving huge minutes. He’s only a streamer, but he could switch to a hold sooner than later.
Matthew Tkachuk – Two assists with a shot. He’s been a star this season and he still doesn’t turn 21 for almost two months. The upside is through the roof.
Mikael Backlund – Two assists with a shot. Backlund is better for deep leagues because of his steadiness across the board. For 12’ers, I’d prefer to stream him, but it’s getting closer because the shot rate is approaching elite status.
Jeff Petry – Goal and an assist with three shots and four PIM while being -2 in a 3-2 win. I mention the plus-minus because the story is the same for Petry. Everything will be solid but the plus-minus, so do you want to stomach it?
Jonathan Drouin – Goal and an assist with three shots. He’s on fire with seven points in his last five games. I still see Drouin as a streamer, but if you want to hold him while he’s hot, that’s fine.
Max Domi – Two assists with three shots and two PIM. Same story as Drouin above.
Tuukka Rask – 38 saves on 39 shots in the 4-1 win over the Sens. Nice to see Rask get back on track in a game that he faced high shot volume. He’ll be fine going forward.
David Pastrnak – Two goals and two assists with five shots. At this rate, he’ll be a first round pick in drafts next season.
Patrice Bergeron – Goal and two assists with two shots. Another player who is having an insane start, Bergeron has 16 points in 9 games with over 3 shots per game.
David Krejci – Goal and an assist with three shots. It’ll be assist heavy, but Krejci is on the top PP unit, so you can certainly justify a hold if you’re in need of those categories.
Brent Burns – Goal and two assists with three shots. He’s really starting to get rolling with 10 points over his last 6 games. Brent Burns doing Brent Burns things!
Logan Couture – Two assists with three shots. Same story as Burns, with 10 points over his last 8 games, including 7 in the last 3.
Evander Kane – Two assists with a shot and two PIM. Kane has been spectacular to open the season with a point per game, 25 PIM and 38 SOG.
Tomas Hertl – Goal and an assist with five shots. Seven points over the last four for Hertl solidifying him as a hold.
Timo Meier – Goal and an assist with three shots. Six game point streak for Meier as the former ninth overall pick is starting to come into his own. I prefer to hold him because it’s only going to get better. Huge favorite of mine for dynasties.
Viktor Arvidsson – Two goals and an assist with three shots and two PIM. The first line of the Predators dominated this game, but the Sharks scored two PP goals and another short handed. Ryan Johansen and Filip Forsberg also had two points each as this line is playing among the league’s best. Johansen’s shot rate is back over two per game which is massive for his future outlook.
Corey Crawford – 24 saves on 25 shots in the 3-1 win over the Ducks. Nice, easy win against this mess of a Ducks team. Crawford has been great since returning.
Brandon Saad – Two goals on seven shots. The goals were on special teams, but Saad looked much better going back on Kane’s wing. I’d look to stream him in the short term and see what develops.
Jason Spezza – Goal and an assist with two PIM. He’s a middling streamer at best until the minutes increase.
John Klingberg – Goal and an assist with two shots. Great start for Klingberg as he’s at a point per game and the shot rate is better than ever.
Devin Shore – Two assists with a shot. Six shots in eight games makes Shore irrelevant.
Tyler Pitlick – Goal on three shots. I highlighted Pitlick because Seguin and Benn were asked by Montgomery who they wanted to play with them with Radulov being out and they both said Pitlick. He delivered, and makes for a great streamer until Radulov returns.
Patric Hornqvist – Two goals and an assist with five shots. Hornqvist was off to a rough start with one point in six games before this explosion. I know this isn’t what you want to hear as a Hornqvist owner, but you can really go either way with him. I’m fine with cutting him, fine with giving him a little more time.
Matt Cullen – Two assists with three shots. Couldn’t care less.
Sidney Crosby – Two goals on five shots. He was also goal less going into this game, but McDavid brought out the best of Crosby. Look for him to get on a tear sooner than later.
Phil Kessel – Two assists with a shot. Only two shots per game is very unlike Kessel, but the points have still been there. Look for a shooting binge in the short term.
Jamie Oleksiak – Two goals with seven PIM. I like Oleksiak in deep leagues for the big PIM/hits/blocks combo.
Kris Russell – Two assists with a shot. Russell is absolutely atrocious at hockey, the end.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Two assists with three shots. Life is good for RNH playing with Connor McDavid (1+1, 8 SOG). Side note, McDavid played almost 29 minutes in this game. Absolutely insane.
Alex Chiasson – Two goals. Chiasson is now shooting 100% on the season. Sustainable!
Leon Draisaitl – Two goals on three shots. I’m not sure what is going on with Draisaitl. Eleven shots in seven games isn’t going to cut it. Now, eight points in seven games is obviously great, but that shot rate really needs to jump if he’s going to be a top 50 player.
That’s all for now guys. I’ll be back on Friday with my next set of notes. Be sure to leave any questions, comments, or suggestions below. Thanks for reading, take care!