Being the stand alone game on Thursday afternoon, I was watching the Jets-Panthers game in Finland closely. For the first half of the game, Patrik Laine looked awful. He was so bad that he didn’t even get 4 minutes of ice time in the first period. Well, Laine ended up making the natives who came to watch him happy, as he ended up scoring a hat trick on seven shots. That matched his total from the first 12 games of the season. Obviously I wasn’t panicking about Laine, but my hopes that his ice time would take a nice jump this season isn’t looking promising. There’s still plenty of time, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Laine goes on a run where he scored 9 goals in 10 games. His floor is just a bit lower than I hoped because the Jets are so good that Maurice doesn’t have to give him big minutes. I said he would score 50 in the preseason, and the shot rate has jumped to the point where it’s possible if he can get his time on ice back up. Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Jake Virtanen – Two goals on four shots. The former sixth overall pick is showing signs with 5+2 in 14 games. I was a big fan of his in his draft year, but he looked hopeless before this season. It’s still early so I’m not convinced he’s finding his own yet, but Virtanen is only 22. He’s worth monitoring and is a bottom end streamer now.
Brendan Gaunce – Goal and an assist. I thought he’d be a middle sixer, but Gaunce is barely an NHL’er right now. No fantasy value.
Blake Wheeler – Three assists with three shots. Wheeler still is sitting at two goals on the season, but he has 12 assists already and is over three shots per game. The goals are coming.
Dustin Byfuglien – Three assists with five shots. Big Buff doing Big Buff things!
Tyler Seguin – Two assists with two shots. Seguin was in a mini-slump with two points in his previous seven, but he’s still over a point per game on the season while putting on five shots on goal per game. Pretty, pretty, pretty good.
Anton Khudobin – 31 saves on 32 shots in the 2-1 win over Toronto. I’d be willing to stream him in good matchups, and Dallas already said they plan to start him Monday. That said, the game is at Boston which isn’t great. Unless you like the revenge angle, I’d wait for a better spot.
Travis Zajac – Two assists with a shot. It’s incredible that Zajac is still playing huge minutes (21:34 in this one). He’s been good to start, but it’s completely unsustainable. Hard pass.
Marcus Johansson – Goal and an assist. I could see Johansson getting back to streamer status, but we’re not there yet.
Nico Hischier – Two assists with two shots. He’s starting to find some consistency over longer periods of time. It’s great to see because there’s a potential fantasy superstar down the line if Hischier can put it together.
Dylan Larkin – Two assists with two shots and four PIM. Larkin is so damn good. Despite the team being awful, my bold preseason prediction of Larkin topping a point per game looks like it has some legs.
Alex Ovechkin – Two goals on four shots. His name has barely been mentioned in the first month, but Ovechkin already has 10+6 in 11 games with four shots per game. It’s a beautiful thing.
Matt Niskanen – Two assists with two shots. He’s a great option in hits/blocks leagues. For standard 12’ers, I’m passing, although it’s close.
Lars Eller – Two goals on three shots with two PIM. Revenge game! He’s solid in real life but Eller is only usable in deep leagues.
Tomas Tatar – Two assists with three shots. As expected, Tatar has slowed down after a hot start, and the minutes have dropped as a result. He’s back to a middling streamer.
Brendan Gallagher – Two goals on seven shots and two PIM. You loyal readers know that I love me some Gally. Keep rolling him.
Joel Armia – Goal and an assist with four shots. His increased role in Montreal has Armia up to bottom end streamer status.
Phillip Danault – Two assists with two shots. Pass. Just not enough shots.
Jesperi Kotkaniemi – Two goals on four shots. They’ll be the first goals of many in Kotkaniemi’s career, but at this point he’s only relevant in deep leagues and dynasties.
Jack Eichel – Two assists with seven shots and two PIM. The first line for Buffalo was the only one that looked worth a damn on Thursday. Eichel played over 23 minutes as a result, and I hope we see the same on Saturday. Ottawa has no answer for him.
Mark Stone – Two assists with two PIM. Stone just keeps chugging alone right around a point per game like business as usual. He’s going to get paid a huge contract in the offseason, and it’s completely deserved.
Dylan DeMelo – Goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM. Not much to see here unless you’re streaming in super deep leagues for the extra cats.
Thomas Chabot – Two assists with five shots. Chabot looks like a fantasy star already and it’s only going to get better as he gets older and the team adds talent around him. There’s no reason why he can’t be a #1D in the future.
Craig Anderson – 46 saves on 48 shots in the 4-2 win over the Sabres. I still have no faith in him; use him at your own risk.
Pekka Rinne – 42 saves on 43 shots in the 4-1 win over the Lightning. Rinne looked incredible in his return from injury. Start him every game that he plays.
Kyle Turris – Goal and an assist with three shots. Turris has played his way right onto the fringe. I have no problem holding if you need the cats he provides.
Ryan Johansen – Two assists with a shot. Johansen is getting all of the assists right now.
Calle Jarnkrok – Goal and an assist. The minutes are nice, but Jarnkrok is nothing more than a bottom end streamer.
Alex Tuch – Goal and an assist with six shots. Tuch looks fantastic since returning from injury. He now has three goals and two assists with 25 shots in 5 games. He should be owned everywhere right now.
Tyler Bozak – Goal and an assist. Don’t care about Bozak outside of deep leagues with faceoffs included.
Oskar Sundqvist – Two goals. And there’s your annual Sundqvist update!
Robert Thomas – Two assists. Thomas is an elite prospect that should definitely be on your radar in dynasties. He’s not getting any minutes right now, so he’s irrelevant in redrafts.
Sheldon Dries – Goal and an assist. I have to be honest, I had no idea Colorado even had him on their roster. Moving on…
Colin Wilson – Goal and an assist. After a nice start, Wilson fell off a cliff going pointless in eight straight. Leave him on the wire for now.
Alexander Kerfoot – Two assists with a shot. Nice player in real life, but nothing more than a bottom end streamer in fantasy until the shot rate jumps.
Mark Giordano – Goal and two assists with seven shots. I was wrong on Giordano; Peters taking over as coach has completely reinvigorated him. I don’t see why he can’t stay a #2D for the rest of the season.
Matthew Tkachuk – Three assists with two shots. As President of the Matthew Tkachuk Fan Club, I’ll let you know that there’s still room to join.
Mikael Backlund – Goal and an assist with two shots and two PIM. As far as most underrated players in the league goes, Backlund deserves to be in the discussion. For fantasy purposes, he’s a middling streamer.
Sean Monahan – Goal and an assist with two shots. No slowing him down right now.
Drake Caggiula – Two goals on four shots. He played on the first line for parts of the game and scored on the first shift of the second period. Caggiula is either a middling streamer or irrelevant depending on if he’s with McJesus.
Tobias Rieder – Two assists with a shot. I have said over the last week that Rieder needs to put some games together to be considered, and this was his third two assist game in the past five. That said, he still doesn’t have a goal and the shot rate is well below average for a forward, so Rieder remains bottom end at best.
Mikko Koskinen – 40 save shutout in the 4-0 win over Chicago. Koskinen barely played in the NHL before going to Finland and the KHL for close to a decade where he played at an elite level. He’s 30 years old now, and looks to be getting limited starts as Talbot’s backup. There’s some upside here, but it’ll take a Talbot slump or injury to have any chance of seeing it.
Brett Howden – Goal and an assist with five shots. Howden, a key part in the McDonagh/Miller trade, looks good in his rookie season. The shot rate isn’t there right now (16 in 13 games) to be anything more than a bottom end streamer, but the minutes are there for him to have a late season impact. In dynasties, he’s a nice player who should end up a second liner.
Ryan Getzlaf – Two assists with three shots. I am loving these big shot totals that Getzlaf is putting up lately as much as the assists.
Rickard Rakell – Goal and an assist with three shots. If you can try and buy low since Rakell has only three goals to this point, do it. It’s only a matter of time.
Nolan Patrick – Two assists with a shot. If only he’d shoot the damn puck. Five shots in his last seven games and twelve in ten games on the season isn’t going to cut it.
Oskar Lindblom – Goal and an assist with two shots. Two Oskars in one post, what is going on!? Nothing really to see here.
Ilya Kovalchuk – Goal and an assist with two shots. He’s starting to find his groove again, especially on the power play. He’ll be just fine going forward.
Jeff Carter – Goal and an assist with three shots. Slow start to the season for Carter but I’m still holding tight. The shots and minutes are there for things to get back to his usual.
Jonathan Quick – Out indefinitely. Use Jack Campbell (26 saves on 30 shots Thursday) at your own risk because the Kings are a damn mess defensively. They have to be the slowest team in the league and I’m not sure it’s even close.
Anthony Duclair – Goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM. Duclair looks damn good when I watch CBJ but the minutes aren’t there right now to be anything more than a middling streamer.
Sergei Bobrovsky – 44 saves on 45 shots in the 3-1 win over San Jose. Sergei, my man! Maybe Torts can cut out the bullshit now and get him the workload he deserves. The buy low window is about to be slammed shut, so if you can make a move for Bob, do it immediately.
That’s all for now guys. I’ll be back on Monday recapping the weekend’s action. Look for Sven’s Buy/Sell/Hold piece to drop in the afternoon today. As always, feel free to ask any questions or leave any comments below (just a heads up, it may take me a bit to get to them today, but I promise I will answer all questions as soon as I can). Thanks for reading, take care!