Former Hobey Baker winner Johnny Gaudreau (Yahoo – 31%, ESPN – 53.4%, CBS – 73%) didn’t start the season off well with no points in his first five games but he has come alive recently with nine points in his last six games, sporting a plus-9 rating on the season to boot! He’s little and he’s young, but you have to remember that this is a guy who put up 80 points in 40 games in his final season at Boston College, so the mighty-mini playmaker has skills to spare and it’s quickly translating into success at the NHL level. I don’t think he keeps this torrid pace up, but the Flames look pretty damn solid, a lot more so than anyone really expected going into the season. He plays on a line with Sean Monahan, another guy you should own and I touch on in this post, and gets time on the top power play unit for the Flames so the chances will keep coming so long as Johnny can keep cashing them in. The word is out on CBS and he’s gaining traction fast in ESPN leagues, but of course Yahoo lags behind at just 31% owned. Why must you plague me so, Yahoo league owners? Do you have an aversion to winning or are nearly 70% of teams abandoned already? Get with the program y’all, add this guy yesterday! What’s that I hear? You didn’t get a chance to cash in on Johnny? Well scope out the rest of these guys, maybe you’ll beat the rush:
Sean Monahan (Yahoo – 31%, ESPN – 88%, CBS – 63%) – 22 goals in your rookie season will leave high expectations for your sophomore year, the year most noted for the dreaded slump o’ the same name. So far there doesn’t seem to be any signs of a slump from Monahan who has 11 points (six goals, five assists) in 16 contests so far this season. He plays on Flames’ second line with Curtis Glencross and David Jones while getting time on both power play units at different times. He’s widely owned in ESPN and CBS, but again, Yahoo lags with a paltry 31%. I drafted him everywhere I could for those delicious goals and you should add him for the same. Go go go!
Josh Harding (Yahoo – 19%, ESPN – 23%, CBS – N/A) – The Wild have quietly moved Harding from N/A to IR so that means he’s worth grabbing and stashing if you have room to do so (I made room). Darcy Kuemper’s stellar play has started to subside a bit after he posted three shutouts in the first month of the season, so as Harding gets ready to return he’ll be worth considering if Kuemps hasn’t maintained a solid line of play between now and then. When is Harding due back? There is still no timetable, but he’s practicing, so it won’t be too long. Get it while the gettin’s good, y’all!
Petr Mrazek (Yahoo – 2%, ESPN – 0.5%, CBS – 9%) – A few days ago Jonas Gustavsson had shoulder surgery that will cost him the next two months and change. As a result the dynamic young tender Petr Mrazek gets called up from the Grand Rapids Griffins to fill the hole. Starter Jimmy Howard has been so good you can’t expect much from Mrazek, but for those in deep leagues where any goalie, starter or backup, is owned, he’s worth adding.
Leo Komarov (Yahoo – 6%, ESPN – 1.2%, CBS – 9%) – Do you need help in the hits department? Because if you do, Komarov is your man. He’s racked up 63 hits so far in just 15 games and they should keep coming. He isn’t a one hit wonder, though. He has 10 points in 15 games (one goal, nine assists), a plus-two rating and 41 faceoff wins to sprinkle in for flavor. Considering he’s likely going to push 250 hits and 40 points this season, you should own him in any hits leagues.
Elias Lindholm (Yahoo – 9%, ESPN – 14.2%, CBS – 27%) – Last season I was all about Lindholm but the Canes are bleh and he didn’t really pan out. That doesn’t mean I’ve given up on him, though, and neither should you. Like Johnny Gaudreau Lindholm started the year with five games o’ garbage, but he’s come alive with seven points in his last five games playing on a line with Riley Nash and Nathan Gerbe. He’s seeing time on the power play, too, and notched two of those seven points with the man advantage too. He could go either way, but he’s so talented I would expect him to break out sooner than later. Do you want to miss out? Then leave him for someone else to grab, otherwise, add him now, now, yesterday.
Riley Nash (Yahoo – 3%, ESPN – 3.2%, CBS – 9%) – Once upon a time Nash was a first round pick for the Oil, but he didn’t pan out in Edmonton. Lucky him. He’s found a home in Carolina, which isn’t much better, but he’s making it worth lately with four points in his last five games playing alongside Elias Lindholm, which is a pretty sexy place to be right now. Overall Nash has eight points in 11 games and while he must just be a guy to stream while he’s hot, he’s hot and he’s scoring, so pick him up already!
Jori Lehtera (Yahoo – 20%, ESPN – 53.2%, CBS – 46%) – The biggest reason I’m buying Lehtera? He plays with Russian phenom Vladimir Tarasenko, who can attribute some of his recent success to the chemistry developing between the two. Jaden Schwartz plays pivot on this line and they’re looking more like the Blues’ primary scoring unit rather than the second line they’re supposed to be. Jori has five points in his last five games (one goal, four assists) and so long as the Tarasenko Express keeps chugging on down the line, the young Finn is worth owning in most leagues.ß
Nick Bonino (Yahoo – 45%, ESPN – 98.9%, CBS – 68%) – He’s widely owned in ESPN and CBS but, shocker, Yahoo leagues lag behind yet again. Last season Bones broke out with 49 points in 77 games for the Ducks, so the ability to rack up the points is absolutely there. Shifting to Vancouver in the offseason might have signaled to some a pending regression, but that doesn’t appear to be the case in the case in the early goings this season. What’s he done lately? How aboot goals in three straight games with 12 points in 15 games so far this year. He’s getting top six minutes on a line with Chris Higgins and a rejuvenated Alexandre Burrows, so the line mates aren’t fantastic, but they could be a lot worse.
Nick Foligno (Yahoo – 58%, ESPN – 100%, CBS – 82%) – I hesitate to put a guy on this list that’s so widely owned, but Yahoo leagues force me to. Why on earth isn’t his ownership at 80%+ across the board? ESPN and CBS owners seem to get it, but Yahoo? Not so much. Let me break it down for you; Foggy has six points (four goals, two assists) over his last five games. Not good enough? How about 15 points in 13 games so far (seven goals, eight assists) with a plus-2 rating on the injury decimated Blue Jackets. You’re still not convinced, eh? Well, he slots in next to Ryan Johansen on their top line and top power play unit, so what else do you need to know? Add him while he’s scoring, it may not last, but you’ll hate yourself if it does and you didn’t pull the trigger because you’re waiting for some schmo on your roster to get his act together.
Steve Downie (Yahoo – 23%, ESPN – 23.8%, CBS – 30%) – Downie used to be the premier scoring goon in the NHL but injuries and inconsistent play have let him and his owners down for a few seasons now. He landed with the high octane Pens this year, and is there a Pens forward not worth owning? Sure, but there aren’t many. Downie has three points in his last five games and seven points in 13 games overall this season. That’s not so great until you see the 54 PIM and 18 hits that go with those seven points. Dude even sports three power play points. Milan Lucic or Wayne Simmonds he is not, but he’s a poor man’s either one o’ those guys, so if you need PIM and don’t want goose eggs in the score column for the trouble, here’s your guy.
Bradyen Schenn (Yahoo – 33%, ESPN – 54.7%, CBS – 65%) – I’m not entirely sure what people were expecting from Schenn this year, but so far he’s more than lived up to my reasonable expectations with ten points (four goals, six assists) in 14 games with seven points in his last eight games. Not only that, he sports 21 hits, a plus-3 rating, nine PIM and a couple power play points. Considering his ADP he’s absolutely been worth the pick and he’d be worth adding, too.
Simon Despres (Yahoo – 15%, ESPN – 2.2%, CBS – 35%) – A little known name around the fantasy hockey world, Despres has five points in 13 games so far this season and a plus-six rating over that span. Project that out over 82 games and he’d have 32 points, that’s not bad at all considering he’s getting just under 14 minutes o’ TOI per game so far. I doubt he’ll hit the 30-point marker, but 15-20 points is totally doable. More to the point here, he’s racking up hits (39), blocks (20) and PIM (38) like whoa in limited time, so he’s worth an add in deep leagues that count those categories.
Brian Boyle (Yahoo – 4%, ESPN – 3.9%, CBS – 9%) – Boyle is and always will be a grinder, but he finds ways to score and has eight points in 15 games so far while averaging just over 13 minutes a game. A few years ago Boyle was racking up over 200 hits a season and while those days are gone you can expect around 130-150 to go with his 40-ish points and 60-70 PIM. In the deepest o’ leagues this translates to real value especially considering the price tag, which is zero for you math majors.
Alec Martinez (Yahoo – 17%, ESPN – 29.6%, CBS – 41%) – The Kings D is getting rocked by injuries, so much so that when Robyn Regehr went down last week the Kings could only dress five defenseman because they were $150 bucks short on cap space needed to call someone up and replace him. This means guys like Martinez are getting heavy minutes and hey, wouldn’t you know it, he’s doing something with those minutes! The three-helper game last night helps make my case here, that gives him five points in his last five games and puts him on track to break the 30-point marker this season, one I think he can reach. The Kings D won’t always be so thin, but while it is, Martinez is absolutely worth adding.
Blake Comeau (Yahoo – 4% ESPN – 1.2%, CBS – 21%) – I’ve mentioned Comeau a few times and this will likely be my last. No, he’s not going to win you your league, but he’s absolutely worth owning while he a) gets top six minutes on the Pens and b) spends his top six minutes with Evgeni Malkin. The fact that he has eight points in 13 games and is on pace for 50 overall attest to just that, wouldn’t you say? I would. In fact, I just did! In the deepest of leagues he should be owned, and maybe in some shallower pools as well.
Brandon Sutter (Yahoo – 5%, ESPN – 6.9%, CBS – 16%) – Man, those Pens forwards are almost all worth a look, aren’t they? Yes, they are. Here’s Sutter with his own eight points in 13 games so far, putting him on pace for 50 points as well. I don’t think it’s likely that either Comeau or Sutter hit that mark, but Sutter has scored 20 goals in a season in the past and he’s currently on pace for 25 goals this year, so it’s possible there’s some value to be had here.