While the Razzball Hockey committee of one didn’t love the Patrick Marleau contract, we did like Marleau for this season in fantasy. Like the majority of his teammates, his season debut went extremely well. Marleau scored twice in his first game as a Maple Leaf registering five shots on goal. His linemates were inconsistent but whether he’s with Matthews or Kadri, it doesn’t really matter. Marleau scored 27 goals last season and I don’t see why he can’t get back to that number. Despite ranking him as a top 150 player, he’s still available in over 50% of ESPN leagues, so grab him now. Here’s what else happened around the NHL on opening night, which included plenty of guys worthy of the lede but I’m not deleting this one haha:
James van Riemsdyk – Goal and two assists with six shots. The minutes were really low (12:08) and while it’s not overly concerning because the game was a blowout, it’s always my one worry with JVR. He’s still going to produce plenty but I feel like he’d be pushing a top 50 player if Babcock would play him 18 minutes a night instead of 15.
Auston Matthews – Goal and two assists. Only one shot on goal but I don’t think his fantasy owners are going to care.
Tyler Bozak – Two assists. Meh. No shots on goal and won’t give you much outside of assists and faceoff wins if your league includes that. AAGNOF!
Nazem Kadri – Goal and an assist with four shots and two PIM finishing +2. A little bit of everything from Nazem the Dream opening night. He’s always underowned in DFS making him a solid option there on top of being a borderline top 50 player for season-long leagues.
Mitch Marner – Goal and an assist with two shots. As you can see, all of the top guys on Toronto had quite a night.
Frederik Andersen – 37 saves on 39 shots in the 7-2 win over the Jets. Andersen was terrific in the early going with the Jets getting three early power plays. The shots were 15-5 Winnipeg before Toronto scored their first goal and ran rickshaw from there. Andersen was in my tier of elite #2’s who could turn into #1’s. If you were fortunate enough to get him as your 2, be very happy.
Mark Scheifele – Goal on four shots. Please keep shooting the puck Mark.
Dustin Byfuglien – Assist with five shots and two PIM. Big Buff doing Big Buff things!
Mathieu Perreault – Goal on two shots. With Kyle Connor sent down to Manitoba for reasons unknown. Perreault’s spot in the top six is locked in for now. He’s either the best streamer possible or a bottom end hold depending on how often you can stream in your league.
Steve Mason – 15 saves on 20 shots in 40:36 before getting pulled in his Jets debut. Buzz, your girlfriend, woof. Mason looked almost as bad as his stat line looks. I wouldn’t feel confident playing him if he gets one of the next two starts (at Calgary and at Edmonton) but I’m not cutting him yet either.
Alex Pietrangelo – Two goals on eight shots with two PIM. I liked Pietrangelo a lot putting him in my top 100 but Reid was blowing me up during this game saying he could be the fifth best defenseman this year. I’m not going that far but top ten is certainly in play.
Paul Stastny – Goal and an assist with four shots. He played almost 21 minutes which is encouraging. It’s mostly a matter of staying healthy with Stastny. He could be a bottom end hold if he does just that.
Vladimir Sobotka – Two assists. Solid streamer but the shot rate keeps him from being a hold.
Brayden Schenn – Goal and an assist with four shots and two PIM in his Blues debut. Great start for Schenn who has plenty of upside due to potential for even strength improvement.
Jaden Schwartz – Two assists with three shots. Here’s to hoping he can stay healthy.
Sidney Crosby – Goal and an assist with two shots and four shots playing 23:39. Not much else to say about Crosby, we know he’s ridiculous.
Evgeni Malkin – Two assists with three shots. Just stay healthy!
Jake Guentzel – Two assists with two PIM playing over 22 minutes. Guentzel played on the first PP unit with Patric Hornqvist out so he’s a top 50 player at the moment.
Bryan Rust – Two assists. He played with Malkin for the majority of the game with Hornqvist out which makes him a solid streamer in the short term.
Greg McKegg – Assist with a shot. For those in deep leagues, McKegg is the third line center at the moment giving him some value, especially in faceoff leagues.
Mike Smith – 42 saves on 44 shots in the 3-0 loss to the Oilers. Excellent debut for Calgary by Smith; if only his team showed up in front of him. Very encouraged for Smith’s season long potential despite the Flames losing handily.
Cam Talbot – 26 save shutout. Easy game for Talbot who picks up right where he left off last year.
Connor McDavid – Hat trick on seven shots. He appears to be elite at the hockey game.
Leon Draisaitl – Two assists with five shots playing on McDavid’s wing. If that sticks, it obviously helps Draisaitl’s upside. Considering how that line won the game for the Oilers, it should stick for the foreseeable future.
Wayne Simmonds – Hat trick. The Flyers power play remains outstanding and Simmonds is a big part of it. Love the big start.
Jakub Voracek – Three assists with two shots. Like the rest of the top Flyers, we know who good they’ll be on the power play. Whether they hit their ceilings will depend on how they do at even strength.
Shayne Gostisbehere – Three assists with a shot. It must be a massive relieve to Gostisbehere to start extremely well after how poorly the opening two months well last season.
Sean Couturier – Assist with six shots. Streamer success!
Kevin Labanc – Two goals on five shots with six penalty minutes. Labanc looked great on the first line but I have to imagine the three minor penalties are going to put him in the doghouse. He’s a bottom end streamer while he’s playing with the Joes.
Jason Pominville (18.1%) – He’s opening the season with Eichel and Kane so take advantage of Pominville in his return to Buffalo.
Pavel Buchnevich (8.3%) – Use as many Rangers as you can get your hands on against the Avalanche. I’ll go with the Butcher who is opening on the first line and PP1.
Alex Iafallo – This is a super deep league call but Iafallo looks like he’s going to open the year on Kopitar’s wing. The Kings get the Flyers, who are on the second of a back to back coming off a big win in the opener, so it’s a nice spot for the Kings to take advantage. Michael Cammalleri is a better option for standard leagues but for deep leagues, look at Iafallo.
That’s all for now guys. I’ll be back tomorrow recapping all of Thursday’s action. As always, feel free to ask any questions or leave any comments below. Thanks for reading, take care!