Before the season started I was not a big fan of Roberto Luongo (W, 32 SV, 1 GA, .970%). I mean, I like Lu and think he’s a stellar tender, but I figured his chances of a solid year with the Cats were somewhat slim. I mean honestly, it’s the Cats. Yes, they are chock full of young talent, but they’d been garbage for so long and their defense so porous that I expected Lu to return to his old stomping ground and face about the same volume of shots he did in days gone by. An aging goalie returning to face a montain of shots on a young team doesn’t exactly sound like a recipe for success, now does it? Well, apparently I was wrong. Since their opening night implosion against the Devils the Cats have really pulled themselves together and have been playing some seriously solid 5-on-5 defense. Their forwards are back-checking like whoa and in general they’re able to disrupt some of the better offenses in the game. Dare I say I’m even impressed? Oh, I dare. I’m impressed. Flordia currently sits at 14th in the league in shots against per game allowing 30 a night and Lu is more than enough goalie to handle that kind of workload and put up solid numbers doing it. With that said this endorsement comes with a word of caution. Florida is indeed very young and while they are currently seventh overall in goals against per game allowing just two a tilt they’re second to last in goals per game with 1.5 per, 23rd on the power play and 28th on the Penalty Kill. Those numbers do not bode well for Lu getting many wins. If the defense holds up his peripherals should range from solid to sparkling despite the lack of wins, so, I guess it really is like he’s back to his old tricks in South Florida, eh? So I was kind of right, anyway. Just the wrong kind of right. Right? Hmn. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey last night:
Mike Smith (L, 24 SV, 2 GA, .923%) – Only Smith can go up against a team that scores just 1.5 goals per game and cough up two. If this were any other team he’d have given up four. I don’t know why anyone is bothering to hold on to hope here, Smith is just bad.
Scott Darling (W, 28 SV, 4 GA, .875%) – It was all too good to be true for Darling who, after starting with back-to-back solid starts allowing just one goal a game, was sent back down to the AHL today. Antti Raanta will remain Corey Crawford’s backup as Crawdad returns to action this weekend. Feel free to drop him if you own him, the show is over for now.
Craig Anderson (L, 35 SV, 4 GA, .897%) – So can we just declare Robin Lehner the starter now or what? How about now? No…? Now? Come on, Ottawa! Get with the program.
Marian Hossa (1 G, 1 A, 5 SOG) – Hoss joins an elite club with these two points, no not the mile high club. These two points were points 999 and 1,000 for his career. It seems both appropriate and bittersweet that he did this in Ottawa, the city he called home for the first seven years of his stellar NHL career. Five points in 10 games so far is too low for him, even at 35, so expect an uptick in scoring sooner than later. That said, expect an injury, too.
Bobby Ryan (1 G, 3 SOG) – It doesn’t seem to matter if he scores 35 goals or 25 goals, he’s going to match that shiz with the same amount of assists. That’s the bummer, because when he scored 30-plus goals a season you could count on at least 60 points or so. Now? Eh.
Mika Zibanejad (1 G, 5 SOG) – I didn’t really expect much out of Zahmadinejad this season, but just one point in his first nine games is even worse than I expected. He could hit 40 points this season, but will he? Sure seems like he won’t at the moment, anyway.
Clarke MacArthur (1 G, 4 SOG) – Mac now has three goals in his last two games, five on the season and eight points in nine games. It’s almost as if he doesn’t play for the Senators!
Niklas Svedberg (W, 13 SV, 2 GA, .867%) – Not only did Sveds face just 15 shots, they were 15 shots from the Sabres, so who cares? Sabres, you turrible!
Jhonas Enroth (L, 34 SV, 3 GA, .919%) – All things considered his season line of 1-5-1/3.10/.915 could be a lot worse. Still, you shouldn’t own him.
Brad Marchand (2 G, 1 A, 4 SOG) – Two goals and an assist snap a three game gold spell for Marchand and a generally lackluster start to his season. Most of the Bruins are starting off slow, but injuries are also hammering them, so there’s that. Right now Marchand is on pace to score 40 points, that’s way too low, he should end up around 60 despite limping out of the gate.
Cory Schneider (W, 24 SV, 1 GA, .960%) – The Pens handed Cory and the Devils their collective asses the other day so it was a nice respite to face the Jets and Cory came through with flying colors. He’s had a few bad games here and there against tough opponents so I wouldn’t worry too much, he should be fine.
Ondrej Pavelec (L, 27 SV, 1 GA, .964%) – It must be tough to allow just one goal and still take the loss, but that’s what Pavs suffered through last night against the Devils. He’s alternated good starts and bad over the past six allowing four goals against the Flames, Bolts and three against the Isles and holding the Avs, Devils and Canes to just one goal a piece. Eventually those one goal games will fade away, but you better believe the three and four goal games will keep on coming. You might want to sell high while his GAA is as tight as it is (2.34).
Blake Wheeler (1 G, 5 SOG, +1) – Wheels has just three points since his opening night bombing of the ‘yotes to the tune of two goals and a helper. That’s not good at all. He looks fine out there mostly; he just needs his line mates to get with the program. Evander Kane (3 SOG) is back from his knee injury and the Jets are tempting fate and putting him back on a line Mark Scheifele (1 SOG) playing the pivot so hopefully for their owners they click and get rolling.
Michael Ryder (1 G, 1 SOG, +1) – To put Wheeler’s slow start in perspective, Ryder now has six points in 10 games on the season after this goal. When you’re matching Mike Ryder in production you’re failing both yourself and your team. Get it together, Wheels!
Marc-Andre Fleury (W, 36 SV, 1.000%, SHO) – With two shutouts in the last five days Fleury’s season line is looking pretty damn fantastic at 6-2-0/2.13/.926 and he’s doing this against solid competition like the Kings, Preds, Isles and Ducks. Yes, the Isles offense is good enough to get counted in with the Kings and Ducks. Their defense, that’s another story. I digress, Fleury isn’t this good and his numbers are bound to regress a bit. Jon Quick he is not.
Martin Jones (L, 20 SV, 3 GA, .870%) – After an 18 day break Jones gets the call and promptly loses to the Pens. Jones might be one of the better backups in the league, but we’ll never know it so long as Jon Quick continues to dominate, which he will. I doubt Jones sees more than 20 starts unless Quick gets hurt again.
Chris Kunitz (2 G, 1 A, 2 SOG) – I never realized that Kuntiz is 35. Would you have guessed that if I asked you how old he was? In just his tenth year in the league he’s established himself as the guy I consistently doubt that consistently performs and I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. The moment I get on board, it will. So for those of you who own him I’ll keep the hate alive so he keeps scoring for you. He could repeat last season’s numbers if he keeps it up. Ah hell, there it is. Sorry y’all!
Kris Letang (1 G, 5 SOG) – There’s something about calling him “Kristopher” that makes me cranky. I think it has to do with my dislike of Pierre McGuire and his nonsense. That has nothing to do with fantasy hockey, but is there a more annoying guy in sports than McGuire? I doubt it. As for Letang, this tally was his first of the year and now sports a season line of 1 G, 5 A, -4, 6 PIM, and that’s just not good enough from a guy expected to be a top 15 defenseman despite the medical problems last year. On the upside that’s points in consecutive games, so we’ll see if he can build on it and get some momentum going in the right direction. I still have faith.
Ben Bishop (W, 24 SV, 3 GA, .889%) – Three straight starts, three straight games with three goals allowed. He hasn’t allowed more than three goals in any game so far, so I think he’s fine, but I’d like to see him break this trend sooner than later.
Ray Emery (L, 28 SV, 4 GA, .875%) – See, now, I recommend people pick him up off the wire if they need goalie help because of how bad Steve Mason has been, and he goes and does this. I don’t expect Emery to keep up his solid play to star the year and I don’t expect Mason to recover from his terrible play, either. Own a Philly goalie? You cray.
Valtteri Filppula (3 A, 1 SOG, +1) – Even now people suggest Flip as a guy to drop for some schmohawk on the wire who scored yesterday and I really can’t fathom why. After last night’s three-helper game he now has 10 points in 11 games with six of those points coming on the power play. He plays with Stamkos on the top line and top power play unit, so why exactly are you so eager to drop him?
Steven Stamkos (2 G, 1 A, 7 SOG) – A typical game for Stammer as he moves over the point-per-game pace marker with 12 points in 11 games so far this season. Those 11 points are of course buoyed by 8 delicious goals, which should keep flowing all season long. His minus-2 rating is a bit of a concern, but with Ryan Callahan returning from injury hopefully that number will start to move in the right direction. It kind of has to considering how many goals he’ll score, but then I think of Alex Ovechkin last season and I start to worry a bit.
Wayne Simmonds (1 G, 2 SOG, +1) – After a three game stretch where he scored seven of his eight points on the season he went cold posting goose eggs in five straight before breaking the ice with a goal last night. He’s still rocking a plus-7 rating with 33 shots on goal, but man where are the PIM? Simmonds is a beast and he’ll get it together, so don’t go doing something foolish like selling him for pennies on the dollar or dropping him outright, as has been reported in some leagues. Why can’t I be in those leagues?
Mikael Raffl (1 G, 4 SOG, +2) – Raffl won the raffle when he was penciled in on the top line with Claude Giroux (2 A, 4 SOG, +1) and Jakub Voracek (1 G, 1 A, 6 SOG) and the goals keep on coming. Last night’s marker makes four goals in his three games with at least a goal in each contest. He’s getting space to work and making teams pay. Like I said in yesterday’s waiver wire watch post, he’s worth owing everywhere so long as he’s on that line.
Jake Allen (W, 24 SV, 1.000%, SHO) – In a battle between rookie tenders Allen out played the Ducks’ John Gibson (27 SV, 2 GA, .931%) and if you just looked at the numbers you’d think he just barely edged Allen out, but that isn’t the case here. Consider that the Ducks are basically healthy and the Blues are anything but. If Brian Elliott stumbles a bit, Allen will be right there to pick up the pieces and might run away with the starting gig in the process. That’s for later in the year, but at least for now Allen is making the case for a more even time-share.
Alex Steen (1 G, 2 SOG, +1) – Who else is left to score for the Blues at this point save Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko? Cripe.
Darcy Kuemper (W, 25 SV, 3 GA, .893%) – It wasn’t pretty, but this game was a hell of a lot better than his third period against the Rangers the other day. Kuemper remains the start for the Wild and I doubt that changes anytime soon. I doubt even Josh Harding will unseat him unless Harding comes out really, really strong. He’s capable of it, but I’m still putting good money on Kuemps.
Antti Niemi (L, 43 SV, 3 GA, .935%) – With his third straight start over Alex Stalock it’s starting to look pretty clear who has won the number one gig in San Jose. That said, Stalock will still get his starts and I imagine he’ll get the call in the Sharks’ next tilt this weekend. If he plays poorly Niemi should take the reigns for the foreseeable future as the starter.
Tommy Wingels (1 G, 4 SOG, -1) – So long as he plays on the top line with Logan Couture (4 SOG, -1) and the immortal Patrick Marleau (5 SOG, -1) he’s going to keep getting room to work, so he should be owned everywhere. He’s on pace for over 300 shots with a career best 11% shooting percentage, so you have to expect those numbers will come down to earth and along with it his scoring. I’d say 55-60 points is the ceiling, but I might have been too quick to dismiss him earlier. If he drops off this line, expect the scoring to drop off with it.
Kyle Brodziak (2 G, 4 SOG, +2) – He isn’t worth owning, but the name is so rife with punnery I can’t even stand it. Brofessor Kyle! He’s Ambrodexterous! He’s been really broactive out there! I don’t trust that he’ll keep scoring at all, so for now he’ll have to go on brobation! Okay, I’ll stop. Chill, Bro.
Mikko Koivu (1 G, 9 SOG, +1) – Wait, Mikko is still active and playing? That’s news to me, bro.
Marc-Andre Cliche (1 G, 2 SOG, +1) – I know the “bro” stuff gets old quick, so I’ll stop. You might say it’s a bit of a *puts pinky to the corner of his mouth* Cliché? I can’t help myself. Someone get this guy an accent for that e!
Semyon Varlamov (W, 40 SV, 1.000%, SHO) – Two games, two stellar starts from Varly and he’s faced 91 shots over that span. There’s no way he can sustain this level of play getting that much work every night. The Avs really need to get it together.
Chad Johnson (L, 18 SV, 5 GA, .783%) – Jaroslav Halak has been less than fantastic to start the season so the Isles turned to Chad Johnson and he promptly stank up the joint allowing 10 goals over his last two games. The Isles defense is suspect at best, but Johnson has no excuse coughing up five goals on 23 shots. Honestly, I wouldn’t own either of these guys right now. The Isles offense is incredible, but the other end? Bleh.
Nathan MacKinnon (2 G, 4 SOG, +1) – Speaking of the Avs getting their act together, he’s MacKinnon getting his act together. No Avs players are going to have very pretty plus/minus ratings while they allow 91 shots in two games, but you have to figure that MacKinnon is going to get going sooner than later. That said, he is just 19 years old, so lets not forget that. He could very well finish the season around 50 points, and even though you’d be all “Aw bro, WTF?! That’s hot garbage relative to his ADP!” and you’d be right, it would still be a successful sophomore campaign for a young player like Mac.
Erik Johnson (1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG) – In his last four games Johnson has five points, a plus-four rating, one SHP, one PPP and 13 SOG. That’s what I call getting it together.
Alex Galchenyuk (1 G, 2 SOG, +1) – After starting the season with seven points in seven games he went on a bit of a cold streak for three games, but this marker stops that, uh, cold. Hmn. Anyway, he’s not going to finish the season at a point-per-game pace, so this is expected. With 11 points in eight games so far he’s on pace for about 60 for the season, and I’d say give or take five points, that’s spot on.
Max Pacioretty (1 G, 2 SOG, +1) – Clearly Max is a Razzball reader as he’s rocking a nice even season line of 4 G, 4 A, +8, 10 PIM in 11 games so far, as per my requests for the last season and change. The goals will come, worry not.
Ryan Miller (W, 23 SV, 2 GA, .920%) – With each passing game my confidence in Miller grows. Since getting hosed by his teammates and allowing five goals in 20 minutes of play to the Stars last week he’s allowed just six goals total in his next four starts winning all four games.
Carey Price (L, 27 SV, 3 GA, .900%) – Any concerns you had about Price after he started the season allowing 14 goals in his first four games should be put to bed, even with this loss to the Canucks. Since that nasty stretch Price allowed just five goals in his next four games until last night, so its all system’s go.
Nick Bonino (1 G, 5 SOG, +1) – I did not expect Bones to match Pacioretty to start the season, but here we are. With last night’s goal he’s at 4 G, 4 A in 11 games so far. I’d say he’s playing over his head here and you should expect a regression to the mean sooner than later.
Daniel Sedin (1 G, 2 SOG, -1) – It seemed as if the days of 80 points a season were gone, and if it seemed that way, it’s because that’s true those days are indeed gone. Still, the Sedin line is really rolling with Radim Vrbata (2 SOG, -1), but he too is due for a bit of a regression. I don’t think it will be very dramatic, though. Vrbata has never had the kind of talent to play with as he does now and the same can be said for the Sedins.