What’s the worst spot for a goaltender to start right now? Probably against Toronto on the road. Well, Matt Murray had that exact spot on Thursday, and did the exact opposite of what most expected. In a game where Toronto’s expected goal total was pushing 4, Murray stopped all 38 shots he faced, shutting out the powerhouse Maple Leafs 3-0. Murray’s upside is undeniable; it’s just a matter of keeping him on the ice and the defense in front of him not being a total mess. For now, expect the Pens to give him the vast majority of the starts, meaning you can safely cut Casey DeSmith. The Penguins schedule is fairly soft over the next couple of weeks, so feel safe rolling Murray. Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Mike Reilly – Goal and an assist. And there’s your biannual Mike Reilly update!
Tomas Tatar – Assist with three shots. Continued streamer success! Keep using him while he’s hotter than a pistol.
Carey Price – 23 saves on 25 shots in the 3-2 win over the Blues. I’d be more inclined to sell off Price off his hot start than trying to trade for him. I still have zero faith in the Montreal blue line.
Neal Pionk – Three assists with a shot. In deep leagues, I’m a fan of Pionk right now. Top power play time, blocks are good, etc. I think he’ll be 12’er relevant in the next year or two, but for now, he’s waiver wire fodder in shallower leagues.
Chris Kreider – Goal and an assist with six shots, as did his linemate Mika Zibanejad. Kreider has had a very strong start, while Zibanejad has 31 SOG in 7 games meaning the goals are coming. Both should be owned in all but the shallowest of leagues.
John Carlson – Goal and two assists with five shots. Carlson has started the season on fire and I don’t see why another monster season can’t be in the cards. I’m not saying he’ll top last season’s 68 points, but it’s not impossible.
Alex Ovechkin – Two goals on six shots. All your goals and shots are belong to Ovechkin!
Nicklas Backstrom – Two assists with four shots. Will the shots top two per game? If they do, then Backstrom will be a top 25-50 player. If not, then he’ll be a top 50-75 player. Simple as that. That Caps PP looks great even by their standards.
Patrice Bergeron – Goal and an assist with seven shots and two PIM. Everyone knows that Bergeron is amazing but it still feels like he doesn’t get his due. He’s started the year with 6+7, +5, 4 PIM, and 21 SOG in 6 games. Absolutely insane.
Michael Frolik – Two goals with three shots. He’s been a streamer in the past, but his minutes will need to be more consistent for Frolik to have a chance to get back to that level.
Mikael Backlund – Two assists with three shots and two PIM. Backlund is better in real life than fantasy, but the minutes are high enough to be a middling streamer at worst.
Michael Stone – Two assists with a shot and two PIM. There used to be a time where Stone was fantasy relevant. That time is not now.
Matthew Tkachuk – Goal and an assist with two shots. Dude is a machine at 20 years old. It’s only going to get better.
Ryan Kesler – Two goals on three shots. Even more streamer success! Boy am I hot with the streamer calls. Still not a big Kesler fan but he’s a strong streamer at the least given his usage under Carlyle.
John Gibson – 34 saves on 35 shots in the 4-1 win over the Islanders. If I’m starting to build a team from scratch and I get to pick any goalie in the league, I’m probably taking Gibson. He’s so damn good.
Mikko Rantanen – Goal and three assists with three shots. It’s early but Rantanen has been outstanding. He has a point in every single game and leads the league in assists. The shots are over 2.5 per game as well. My top 35 ranking of Rantanen projected a boost in shot rate and it’s happened in the early going. There’s a chance he gives us a top 20 season for forwards.
Gabriel Landeskog – Hat trick on five shots. The Kog! It’s crazy that he’s still only 25 years old. Landeskog is crushing all of the categories in the early going showing that he has even more upside than originally projected.
Nathan MacKinnon – Three assists with five shots and two PIM. The kid does it all; I feel better about ranking him third overall every day.
Ian Cole – Two assists with two PIM. Couldn’t care less about Cole for fantasy.
Taylor Hall – Goal and two assists with two shots. This was his first goal despite the Devils starting off 4-0, but he’s been crushing across the board. Like MacKinnon, I feel great about projecting last season as closer to the norm than a fluke.
Nico Hischier – Goal and an assist with three shots. It feels like it’s only a matter of time before Hischier has a massive offensive explosion.
Evgeni Malkin – Two goals and an assist with four shots. Kris Letang had a goal and an assist with six shots. Just stay healthy fellas!
Claude Giroux – Two assists with five shots. Great start for Giroux. He’s well over a point per game again, but almost as importantly, the shot rate is through the roof. That will give him a chance to give back his second round value.
Travis Konecny – Goal and an assist with three shots. I see Konecny as more of a top streamer than a hold in 12’ers. The inconsistent role on both the power play and even strength gives him a bump down.
Cam Atkinson – Two goals, both assisted by Artemi Panarin. These two make beautiful magic together, and I hope Panarin stays in the C-Bus so it continues.
Andrei Vasilevskiy – 29 saves on 30 shots in the 3-1 win over Detroit. Sure, Vasilevskiy is really good, but can we talk about how bad Detroit is? Good grief, they have about 4 players that I would want on my NHL team. They’re the early front runner in the Jack Hughes sweepstakes.
Dustin Byfuglien – Goal and two assists with three shots. Good to see Big Buff back in the lineup doing Big Buff things!
Bryan Little – Goal and an assist. Despite the great role, Little is more of a middling streamer than anything else. The shots are below average, the PIM are bad, and he doesn’t produce as much as you’d expect given that he’s in the Winnipeg top six.
Nikolaj Ehlers – Two assists with a shot. I’ve received a ton of questions in the comments section about Ehlers’ slow start. Bottom line is that I’m biased because I’ve been a huge fan for years, but his talent level is too higher for it to continue. If he was dropped in your league, grab him now. If you own him, ride it out. The good times are coming.
Connor Hellebuyck – 26 saves on 27 shots in the 4-1 win over the Canucks. Nice to see Hellboy get back on track against an inferior opponent.
Antti Raanta – 33 saves on 34 shots in the 4-1 win over the Blackhawks. Revenge game! I remain fully on board of the Raanta bandwagon. In fact, I’m driving the train.
Vinnie Hinostroza -Two goals. More revenge games! He’s a bottom end streamer at best.
Clayton Keller – Goal and an assist with two PIM. It’s been a slow start for the wunderkind, much like the Arizona offense as a whole, but I have little doubt that the points are coming sooner than later.
Corey Crawford – 27 saves on 30 shots taking the loss in his return. Great to see Crawford back on the ice in an NHL game. Get him off your IR and into your lineups ASAP.
Connor McDavid – Two assists with two shots playing almost 25 minutes. Congrats to the Oilers, they finally scored a goal this season that McDavid didn’t get a point on!
Mathew Barzal – Two assists with a shot and two PIM. He took advantage of Anze Kopitar being out of the lineup. It’s not serious for Kopitar so don’t sweat that. For Barzal, the assists are coming in strong to open the season, but the shot rate is dreadful. Seven shots in six games isn’t going to cut it, so he needs to get well above two per game if he’s going to pay off where most had him in the preseason.
The Islanders scored seven goals, and outside of Barzal, nobody with even the smallest fantasy relevance had two points. Andrew Ladd and Valtteri Filppula each had three points. If it was 2014, I would care, but not now. So did Scott Mayfield and I never cared about him. Leo Komarov and Casey Cizikas each had two points and I couldn’t care less about either of them as well. Outliers happen and this firmly falls into that category.
Drew Doughty – Two assists with a shot. Slow start for Doughty who is inconsistent from year to year. This is why I am generally down on him, because his name value always inflates his value. Right now, he’s given some assists, but he’s been awful everywhere else.
Logan Couture – Hat trick on six shots. Couture tore it up against the team from the city whose NFL team he roots for. Bills Mafia represent! Anyways, Couture has been fine in the early going. The shot rate is up over the last week so hopefully it continues.
Brent Burns – Two assists with two shots. After a rough start, Burns has six assists in his last four games and has a plus rating in each game. Dude is a beast.
Evander Kane – Two assists with five shots. Revenge game! Kane is always criminally undervalued by fantasy players, experts included. I feel like I’m the only one who has him ranked in the top 50 and he always gives back that value. He has a chance to smash that this year on a better Sharks team.
Martin Jones – 24 saves on 25 shots in the 5-1 win over the Sabres. Not a big Jones fan, but he’s steady enough to be a low end #1 or high end #2.
That’s all for now guys. I’ll add streamers into this post in the morning once I wake up and have a chance to look at things. As always, feel free to ask any questions, leave any comments, or make any suggestions below. I’ll be back on Monday recapping all of the weekend’s action. Thanks for reading, take care!