Patience is a virtue, that’s what they always said. Who are they? They don’t matter. What matters is the idea. As I’ve grown and aged like a fine wine I’ve discovered that patience is indeed a virtue. It doesn’t really matter what aspect of life you want to touch on, being patient is going to help you get where you want to go, and get what you want to get. So what do you need to achieve fantasy hockey glory? Say it with me now class, patience! Yes ladies, you need to relax and be patient. Every season some guys start slow. Every season some guys start hot. Every season the guys who started hot but had no business doing so, by and large, slow down or just stop scoring. Every season the guys who started slow but had no business doing so, by and large, start scoring. I’m fielding a lot of questions about whether or not to trade Nathan MacKinnon away for pennies on the dollar. Brock Nelson seems to be the guy everyone is willing to add and they don’t care who they drop to get him and Valeri Nishushkin is actually getting dropped after just two games. Two games, people. Are you kidding? Nelson has no track record, Nishushkin is playing sick and MacKinnon? You want to call what MacKinnon is doing a slow start already? You cray! If you want to throw away your fantasy season before it starts make those knee jerk moves now. If you want to win, sit tight and wait at least a few more games to see how the cookie crumbles. And for the record, no don’t trade MacKinnon. No, don’t drop Nuke for whatever wire fodder had a decent two game start and no, Nelson isn’t going to be the next big thing. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey this weekend:
Alex Ovechkin (2 G, 7 SOG, +1) – Ovi gets on the board potting two behind Rask. He looked good in this one and should give you the 50 goals you expect. That plus/minus though, eh, my hopes aren’t high.
Tuukka Rask (L, 17 SV, 4 GA, .810 SV%) – Tuukka took it on the chin in this one coughing up four goals on just 21 shots. To be fair it was his third game in four nights, so he could do for a rest in the next game. Look for talented rookie Niklas Svedberg to get his first NHL action when the B’s lace ‘em up next. Tuukka will be fine.
Braden Holtby (W, 29 SV, 1.000 SV%, SHO) – Speaking of being fine, Holtby has looked fantastic in his first two starts. He posted a shutout against the Bruins on Saturday stopping 29 shots and looked good doing it. Holtby had some confidence issues because of the rotating goalie madness in Washington over the last few seasons, but if he’s locked in and confident that the starting job is his (it is) he should be one of the more valuable tenders in the league this year.
Darcy Kuemper (W, 30 SV, 1.000 SV%, SHO) – Josh Who? Darcy decided that the Avs would get no love over two games and he started his season with back-to-back shutouts. The Avs looked sluggish in both games, but there’s a lot of talent in their top six and they got shut the H down by the Wild D and Kuemper. Backstrom is going to get some starts here and there, but Kuemper is looking like the run away starter so far.
Semyon Varlamov (L, 31 SV, 2 GA, .939 SV%) – Varly looked better in this one than he did in the season opener, but not by a ton. It could be a very bumpy ride for his owners this year.
Sidney Crosby (1 G, 2 A, 4 SOG) – Ho hum. He only six points in two games. Sid’s really losing it. Sell high before it’s too late!
Brandon Saad (3 A, 4 SOG, +2, 2 PIM) – Saadly this 3-helper game came against the hapless Sabres, so I wouldn’t get too excited. Still, Saad is in for a solid 25 goal, 50 point campaign.
Cam Atkinson (2 G, 5 SOG, +2) – Atkinson is getting top six minutes this year and he has the ability to give you 20/20 for 40 points, but not much more. There is definitely some upside here but he’s one of dem hobbitses (5’8″ 165lbs) and the only way the little guys succeed is through ridiculous conditioning. If Atkinson is up on his, he could top 40 points; if not, nope.
Evgeni Malkin (1 G, 2 A, 3 SOG) – Geno didn’t look great in the season opener but he returned to form in this one for sure. There is bound to be a tiny bit of rust after he missed most of camp to an injury, but he probably shook it off in this game. Expect some injury time to limit him as ever, but when healthy there are few better options.
Patrik Hornqvist (1 G, 1 A, 9 SOG) – Horny now has four points in his first two games with a plus-three rating and 13 shots on goal. Sounds like he’s getting a bit more ice to work with this year, eh? He’s a must own errywhere, of course.
Tyler Bozak (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG) – He scored a goal on two shots in the previous contest, too. Bozo should be solid when healthy and playing the pivot for Phil Kessel and JVR, but he’s not going to score a ton of goals taking two shots a game. Still, he should be good for 20 goals and around 60 point this season.
Jonathan Bernier (L, 36 SV, 5 GA, .878%) – Bozak might look okay, but Bernier looks like wet garbage so far. In two starts and one relief appearance he has allowed 10 freakin’ goals. His GAA sits at 4.52, his SV% at .882 and it’s in no small part due to the fact that the Leafs are a horrible possession team. In his second game Bernier faced 41 shots, in his first game he faced 32. It’s going to be a long year for his owners.
Robin Lehner (W, 38 SV, 2 GA, .950%) – Well, well! Look what happens when a real goaltender is given a start in Ottawa. Lehner faced 40 shots and pushed 38 of them away for a hard fought OT victory over the Bolts on Saturday. No goalie can withstand the pounding of 40 shots a night and do well and whoever is in the crease for the Sens is going to take a beating, so tread carefully here.
Victor Hedman (1 G, 3 SOG, 2 PIM) – Mancrush officially activated!
Jimmy Howard (L, 23 SV, 3 GA, .885 SV%) – Howie didn’t get much of a test in his first game against the B’s facing just 17 shots, but he did get the win so I was left with a “I have no idea how this tastes…” taste in my mouth. That taste soured a bit after he coughed up 3 on 26 shots to the Ducks for the loss. To be fair he was hung out to dry on the deciding goal; Getzlaf kinda hooked Kronwall and Kronwall totally blew his assignment allowing Getz room to work which led to a sweet goal on the backhand. I’m undecided on Howie so far.
Federik Andersen (W, 27 SV, 2 GA, .931 SV%) – Showed that he’s very likely going to be the outright starter for the Ducks this year with a solid first game. He stopped 27 of 29 for the win and should get the next start against the Sabres tonight. When asked about Andersen’s performance and whether Gibson will see the crease anytime soon, Bruce Boudreau had this insight to offer “I expect that from him, he’s a good goalie.” Thanks, Bruce! That clears everything up.
Mike Cammalleri (1 G, 3 SOG, +1) – I said last week that when the goals flow from this source they floooow like whoa, so he’s worth owning while he’s hot but don’t expect it to last.
Martin Havlat (1 G, 2 SOG, 2 PIM) – Speaking of don’t expect it to last, here’s Havlat with his first goal of the season. T-minus 5, 4, 3, 2… injured and out for the season!
Roberto Luongo (L, 9 SV, 5 GA, .643 SV%) – I warned peeps not to buy in on Lu this season for a lot of reasons but the first two are the most important; He’s old and he plays for the Cats. Do we need to examine this situation further to know to stay away? Don’t just stay away, run away. Fast.
Cory Schneider (W, 28 SV, 1 GA, .966 SV%) – He coughed up four goals in his first game against the Flyers but managed to hold on for the win. In this one he settled into the form you can expect and shut down the Cats hard. Granted, it’s the Cats so it’s not that great of an accomplishment, but it was a good game for Schneider nonetheless.
Jiri Tlusty (3 G, 5 SOG) – Lusty managed a hatty and ended up even at plus/minus, so what does that tell you? It should tell you that the Canes are looking pretty rough so far and you can expect shiz ratings from Canes guys this year. There’s almost no chance he keeps this up. I’m not feeling the lust.
Vladimir Tarasenko (1 G, 5 SOG, +1) – Vlady has nine shots on goal in his first two games and potted his first goal o’ the season in a 4-1 drubbing of the Flames on Saturday. I don’t expect he’ll hit 30 goals this year, but if he takes a big step forward he has the ability to reach that mark. Yes, he’s playing on the third line now, no it doesn’t really hurt his value. He’ll get top six minutes this season and chances on the man advantage.
Jonas Hiller (L, 35 SV, 4 GA, .897 SV%) – Hiller looked shaky again and unsurprisingly lost again. Sandwiched between Hiller’s two bleh starts was a very solid Karri Ramo start, so I’d expect to see Ramo in net when the Flames face the Preds on Tuesday. As for Hiller moving forward, I’m not a fan.
Brian Elliot (W, 23 SV, 1 GA, .958 SV%) – Elliot has looked pretty solid in two games so far but no one expected anything else from him at this point. The real question is what he’ll do when he’s past 40+ starts on the season and reaches into uncharted territory. I’m still concerned he’ll tire and stumble, but we’ll see. Jake Allen remains a smart handcuff if you have the room.
Duncan Keith (1 G, 5 SOG) – Say what? I had to read that line twice. Then I looked a few centimeters below it and saw he scored a goal in his first game, too. He currently has 2 goals and 1 assist in two games so far this season. Keith has more goals than assists. Everything I thought I knew about life was a lie!
Viktor Fasth (L, 39 SV, 4 GA, .907 SV%) – The man faced 43 shots and let in 4 of ‘em. That’s brutal. Not the goals allowed, the shots faced. The Oilers have looked even worse this season on defense than they did last year if that’s possible and whoever is in goal for the Oil is going to get completely peppered every game. If you own Fasth or Ben Scrivens I have no advice for you. All I can do is hold you while you sob quietly in the shower.
Radim Vrbata (1 G, 1 A, 5 SOG) – Vrbata looked good again for the Canucks and potted his second goal of the season against a hapless Oilers squad. Vrbata sort of flew under everyone’s radar this offseason (including mine) but he could easily be worth 60 points and 25 goals this year.
Alex Stalock (W, 30 SV, 1.000 SV%, SHO) – The Sharks are the first team in league history to start the season with back-to-back shutouts from two different goalies. Well, this helps clear up the goalie situation in San Jose, eh? Like I said last week, nothing changes here. 1A/1B, both have solid value.
Wayne Simmonds (2 G, 6 SOG) – I love Simmonds this year. I drafted him where I could, but it wasn’t easy because the word is beyond out on him. He’s worth owning everywhere, but in hits leagues his value is sky high. The goal scoring will slow, but not enough to keep him from topping 30 this year.
Tomas Plekanec (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG) – All right this is getting a bit ridiculous. Plex has goals in all three games this season including a two-goal game. This is not a start I saw coming. He seems to be generating some very solid chemistry with Alex Galchenyuk and Jiri Sekac, so this could keep up for a bit. When I say it could keep up I don’t mean he’ll score a goal every game, but he could exceed the 20G/50PTS threshold this year.
Alex Galchenyuk (1 G, 4 SOG, +2) – Like I said just above this blurb, he and Plekanec seem to be clicking and the points be a flowin’. Get in while the gettin’s good, y’all!
Cory Conacher (1 G, 2 SOG) – Lots of folks were getting pretty excited about Conacher playing with John Tavares and Kyle Okposo, but it sure seems like Brock Nelson is the guy on his way to solidifying that slot. For now Nelson seems to slot in with Ryan Strome and Mikhail Grabovski and that’s clearly working, but I’m still not a Conacher believer.
Brock Nelson (1 G, 1 A, 1 SOG) – This game comes after a 2 G, 2 A season opener last Friday. Don’t get overly excited here both games came against the hapless Canes and Cam Ward. I mean honestly, it’s Cam Ward. Lets see what happens when Nelson faces teams with real goaltending and, uh, defense. There isn’t much chance Nelson keeps this up though it could earn him a chance to play on the top line with JT and Okie.
John Tavares (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG) – JT feasted on the Canes as well with a 3-helper night to start the season followed by this game. 5 points in 2 games sounds about right for a guy who should finish in the top 5 for points this year. I worry about that plus/minus though.
Pekka Rinne (W, 17 SV, 1 GA, .944 SV%) – This was another game where Pekka wasn’t really tested as he pushed away 17 of 18 for the win against the Stars on Saturday. That Preds D is looking pretty solid this year and that may help prop up Rinne if he’s shaky, so that’s good. I really would love to see him get tested so I can pass proper judgment on him, though.
Roman Josi (1 G, 2 SOG, +4) – Roman is one of my favorites under the radar-ish guys on D this year. I was able to draft him pretty much everywhere and often in later rounds, so games like this please me. He could easily take a step forward and push 50 points with double-digit goals by season’s end.
Anders Lindback (W, 29 SV, 3 GA, .906 SV%) – I’m not a huge fan of Lindy, but this’ll do. There are far better backups to hold but with Kari Lehtonen’s injury history he could end up with a larger workload if Kari goes down. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Stars pull Martin Brodeur out of retirement before they hand over the day-to-day tender duties to Lindy.
Paul Gaustad (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG) – Gaustad has no earthly business putting up these kind of points, so don’t expect it to last. He does win his fair share o’ faceoffs, though. So there’s some value to be had here in the right leagues.
Rick Nash (1 G, 1 SOG, +1) – Nashty only took one shot but he made it count stretching his goal-scoring streak to three games. That’s about all the Rangers had. Nash could easily pot 40 this year. He looks fantastic.
Sergei Bobrovsky (W, 24 SV, 2 GA, .923 SV%) – Bobs looked Vezinaish again and rolled to a 5-2 victory over the Rangers. I don’t think I ranked him high enough in the preseason to be completely honest.
Henrik Lundqvist (L, 18 SV, 6 GA, .750 SV%) – Wow, he looked horrible here and was understandably pulled in the second. Don’t panic though, Hank usually starts slow, do you remember the shizstorm Rangers fans were whipping up at the start of last season? How did that turn out for the Rangers by season’s end? Yeah, he’ll be fine.
Martin Jones (W, 29 SV, 1 GA, .967 SV%) – Apparently the Kings can’t win with Quick in net? Nah.
Anze Kopitar (1 G, 3 SOG) – Igor gets his first points as the Kings collectively wake up in their third game. I’m not sure if they’re still drunk on booze and success of last season, but I’m glad someone told them that the 2014-15 season started.
Lee Stempniak (1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG) – Stem won’t keep this up, count on that.