All everyone talked about in the preseason was wondering how bad Vegas was going to be in their expansion year. Sure, it’s only two games, but boy did they have some excitement. On Friday, Dallas was dominating Vegas in their franchise opener but was only up 1-0 in the third. Down goes Ben Bishop which opened up the door for James Neal to give the people of Las Vegas some relief in an awful time. Neal scored two goals in the third period to propel the Golden Knights to victory. To top off the weekend, Neal scored another goal, this time the game winner in overtime, to give Vegas two wins to start the season. Neal is still available in over 40% of leagues and if you are in one of them, grab him. The shot rate is going to be elite along with solid penalty minutes and goals. At least for now, I’m not overly concerned about the top guys on Vegas having bad plus-minuses either. Let’s take a look at what else happened in the first (long) weekend of the NHL season:
Sergei Bobrovsky – 29 save shutout in the 5-0 win over the Islanders. Picking up right where he left off last regular season, Bob looked the part of a Vezina winner in the opener.
Thomas Greiss – 21 saves on 26 shots in 31:50 before being pulled. On the opposite end, Greiss was brutal. I still think he’s better than Halak but Greiss may take the back seat in the short term.
Artemi Panarin – Three assists with a shot in his CBJ debut. As evidenced by my preseason ranking of Panarin, I have next to no concern over his move.
Alexander Wennberg – Two assists with three shots. I’m more excited for the three shots to be honest. We know Wennberg is going to pile up the assists; we need the other stats to increase for him to reach top 100 player status.
Pierre-Luc Dubois – Goal on three shots. Love the upside here if you want to take a shot on somebody.
Oliver Bjorkstrand – Assist with four shots. My man! One of my personal favorites, I would own him in 12’ers.
Brayden Point – Goal and two assists with two shots playing over 18 minutes. Point started on the third line but that line became the second line by the end of the game. He should be owned everywhere after his hot start (more on him later).
Ondrej Palat – Two goals. Palat teeters on the edge of bottom end hold or elite streamer. I lean towards hold right now but it’s super close.
Vladislav Namestnikov – Goal on three shots. He’s playing on the top line right now with Stamkos and Kucherov (one point each) so there’s definitely streaming value here. We’ve seen him bounce around lines before though so I’m hesitant to see anything long term here yet.
Marc-Andre Fleury – 45 saves on 46 shots earning the win. Fleury was amazing in the Vegas opener and should be a ton of volume. It wouldn’t shock me if he ends up starting 70 games. These two games don’t change my belief that Vegas will be bad but if you need volume, he’s there.
Tyler Seguin – Goal on ten shots. The first line is going to feast against these poor teams. I just hope Hitchcock plays them the minutes they deserve.
Cory Schneider – 40 saves on 41 shots in the 4-1 win over the Avalanche. It’s early but Schneider has looked better in the first week than he did at any point last season.
Will Butcher – Three power play assists. There’s some power play upside here but let’s not crown Butcher just yet. He played only 12:45 and didn’t have a shot, hit or blocked shot.
Kyle Palmieri – Two assists with a shot and two PIM before leaving the game with an injury. He missed Monday’s game but it doesn’t sound long term.
Jesper Bratt – Goal and an assist. I was super impressed with Bratt’s game and was even more so on Monday. In a deep league, I would definitely take a flier. In standard leagues, he’s near the top of the streaming radar.
Eric Staal – Goal and an assist with six shots. Everything is positioned for Staal to repeat last year’s season.
Jason Zucker – Goal and an assist with four shots. Zucker is right on the fence between elite streamer and hold; it really depends on what categories you are looking for.
Victor Rask – Goal and an assist with two shots. This game somewhat discouraged me because he played less than 14 minutes. Rask is only a streamer for me.
Elias Lindholm – Two assists with three shots playing almost 24 minutes. Now this guy has me interested! It’s going to be assist heavy but with that volume, I’d grab Lindholm in 12’ers.
Sebastian Aho – Two assists with five shots. Prediction: Aho will be a top 50 player for 2018-19 and come awfully close this year. I regret not ranking him higher like I did with Ehlers last season, even though I didn’t have to in order to draft Aho.
Evander Kane – Two goals and an assist with eight shots. On a team that looked awful this weekend, Kane was the opposite. He really needs to just stay healthy.
Jack Eichel – Goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM. Eichel was much better here than on Monday but I have no worries about him going forward. You guys know how much I like Eich.
John Tavares – Two goals and an assist with four shots. Dude owns Buffalo, it’s scary. It’s just mean after his uncle made himself a legend in Buffalo playing lacrosse. Anyways, we know how good JT is.
Casey Cizikas – Two goals and an assist with five shots. And there’s your annual Cazey Cizikas update!
Josh Bailey – Goal and an assist. I’m still not a big fan since he’s no longer on Taveres’ line but there’s still some value here. Would lean towards streamer at the moment.
Jimmy Howard – 37 saves on 38 shots in the 2-1 SO win over the Senators. Howard was terrific last season but it was an outlier compared to past performance. I’m still expecting a regression here.
Craig Anderson – 29 saves on 30 shots in the loss. Unlike Howard, we have seen Anderson have multiple big seasons. Anderson should be a solid #2.
Dion Phaneuf – Goal on six shots. Definitely a must-own while Erik Karlsson is out although he could be back any game now.
Matt Murray – 26 save shutout in the 4-0 win over the Predators. No surprise that Murray got back on track.
Bryan Rust – Two assists with two shots playing on the top line. We’ve seen multiple guys succeed in this role so I don’t mind picking him up to see how it goes.
Olli Maatta – Goal and an assist with three shots. I’ll need to see a bit more before I will consider him in standard leagues.
Mats Zuccarello – Goal and three assists with two shots and two PIM. He has only two shots through three games which is frustrating but nobody can complain with five points.
Marc Staal – Goal and an assist. And that’s your annual Marc Staal update!
Kevin Shattenkirk – Goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM playing over 25 minutes. There’s a decent chance Shattenkirk can be a top 5 defenseman this year.
Chris Kreider – Two assists with two shots. Strong start to the year by Kreider; here’s to hoping he maintains last year’s consistency.
Zach Hyman – Two goals on four shots. I’m not going to go through everyone on Toronto as they scored eight goals with nobody having more than two points. One of the notables was Hyman who has stuck on the top line for now. Stream him.
Nikita Zaitsev – Goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM. I think he’s done enough to be a hold in 12’ers.
Alex Ovechkin – Four goals on eight shots. Is seven goals in two games good? Asking for a friend.
Evgeny Kuznetsov – Four assists. Sure, some shots would be nice, but feeding the beast while he’s on fire seems like a great play. Kuznetsov has more points than he did half way through November last season.
Nicklas Backstrom – Two assists with a shot. No Ovechkin at even strength hasn’t hurt Backstrom in the early going.
Braden Holtby – 38 saves on 39 shots in the 6-1 win over the Canadiens. And that’s why he’s the #1 fantasy goalie on the planet. Not a bad day for the stars on Washington.
Steven Stamkos – Two points like his other linemates Nikita Kucherov and Namestnikov. With how Kucherov developed last season, this line could do serious business if Stamkos can stay on the ice.
Brayden Point – Goal and an assist with two shots and two PIM. And to think that’s tied for the fewest amount of points Point has had in a game this year!
Evgeny Dadonov – Goal and an assist with two shots. I’m still all in on Dadonov as his spot on the first line appears to be secure.
Nick Bjugstad – 1+1 with 3 SOG. Problem is that he played only 11:32. I’m okay with streaming him but there’s others I prefer.
Aleksander Barkov – Two assists with a shot and four PIM. That’s half a season worth of penalty minutes!
Jared McCann – Goal and an assist with six shots. I like McCann a decent amount for dynasties but until he gets more minutes (8:26), he doesn’t have much value.
Alex Pietrangelo – Two assists with three shots playing over 27 minutes. I’ll be sure to talk with Reid about him on the next podcast since he’s all in on Pietrangelo.
Brayden Schenn – Two assists with two shots. Things have started off nicely for Schenn in St. Louis.
Jaden Schwartz – Goal and an assist with two shots. His chemistry with Schenn looks great which has me excited for both of them, especially when they get a better RW (Steen?) to fill their line.
Jake Allen – 38 saves on 40 shots in the 4-2 win over the Stars. It’s all about finding any sort of consistency for Allen.
Patrick Kane – Goal and an assist with six shots. Doesn’t matter who he’s with, Kane is going to score at least a point per game.
Brandon Saad – Goal and an assist with five shots. Hasn’t missed a beat with Jonathan Toews (1+1) after being apart for two years
Corey Crawford – 32 saves on 33 shots in the 5-1 win over the Blue Jackets. Nice start to the year for Crawford allowing only one goal against Pittsburgh and Columbus.
Nate Schmidt – Goal and an assist with three shots. Schmidt played 25 minutes after playing only 15 in the opener so for now, Gallant is going to play the guys playing best additional minutes. I like Schimdt but I’m not sure the role is there yet.
Antti Raanta – 40 saves on 42 shots in his Arizona debut losing 2-1 in OT. He was 1:12 away from a shutout only to end up losing. As someone who ended up with Raanta as a third goalie in a bunch of places, I’m excited to see how he does as a full-time starter.
T.J. Brodie – Two goals and two assists with five shots playing almost 26 minutes. Generally not a big fan of Brodie for fantasy due to the lack of assists. He’s an AAGNOF through and through.
Johnny Gaudreau – Goal and three assists with three shots. Here’ssssss Johnny! That’s almost more points than he had last October. I’m interested to see if Jagr moves onto their line when he’s finally ready to go.
Kris Russell – Goal and an assist with two shots. And no blocked shots! What the hell is going on here? Russell has tons of value in solely blocked shots and brings literally nothing else.
Bo Horvat – Two goals. Dr. Bo is already cutting up defenses left and right! Get on the bandwagon while there’s room.
Jacob Markstrom – 33 saves on 35 shots in the 3-2 win over the Oilers. Very impressed with Markstrom in the Canucks opener. I see him like Fleury in that the wins will end up poor but the save percentage could be decent. Markstrom is closer to the “desperate for starts” side of things.
Sean Couturier – Goal and an assist with two shots. Keep using him while he centers the first line.
Ivan Provorov – Same line as Couts. Big fan long term, still only a bottom end hold for now.
Anze Kopitar – Two goals and an assist with five shots. If only he had real wingers, Kopitar would be unstoppable. I still expect a bounce back from last year’s disaster.
Dustin Brown – Goal and an assist with three shots. The fact that he’s playing 18 minutes a game is just sad. The fact that he scored two points shows how absurdly good Kopitar is.
Jonathan Quick – 24 saves on 25 shots in the 4-1 win over the Sharks. He’s been rolling in the early going but this team still scares me.
Henrik Lundqvist – 34 save shutout in the 2-0 win over the Canadiens. Back to basics for the King who could see a lot of action given that Ondrej Pavelec is a dumpster fire and is now Hank’s backup.
Mika Zibanejad – Goal on four shots. Amazing start for Zibanejad who has 4 goals and 15 shots through 3 games. He’s primed for a full breakout.
Semyon Varlamov – 29 save shutout in the 4-0 win over the Bruins. Varlamov has been a monster in the early going this year. We’ve seen Varlamov be really good in the past so if he’s available in your league and you need some goaltending help, I don’t mind picking up Varlamov as a lottery ticket.
Sven Andrighetto – Goal and an assist. Decent streamer with the minutes he’s receiving.
Nail Yakupov – Two goals on four shots. If the minutes increase, there could be something here, but for now leave Yakupov on the waiver wire.
Vladimir Tarasenko – Two goals on four shots with two PIM. I feel like Tarasenko has become the superstar who doesn’t get enough recognition for how good he really is. Solid start with 3+1 in 3 games.
Thomas Greiss – 33 saves on 35 shots in the 3-2 SO loss to the Blues. Despite the loss, it was encouraging that Greiss bounced back from his opening night disaster.
Marcus Johansson – Two goals and an assist. You can go either way with Johansson. The points should be solid but they have to be in order for him to remain a hold.
Jesper Bratt – Two goals and an assist. Bratt is a former sixth round pick who has played his way onto the roster and already on the first line with Palmieri out. Like I said earlier, I’m not rushing to grab him in 12’ers but definitely in 16’ers and deeper.
Taylor Hall – Two assists with three shots. Very nice start to the season with three assists and ten shots in two games.
Evander Kane – Two goals on seven shots. Hotter than a pistol!
Jan Rutta – Goal and an assist with two PIM. So I don’t know what to make out of Rutta. On one hand, Rutta is a 27 year old rookie. He does have a point in every game this year but Chicago also has 18 goals in those games. With defensemen being so bad, I wouldn’t mind gambling on him.
Richard Panik – Goal and an assist with two shots and two PIM. Panik is a firm streamer.
Connor Brown – Goal and an assist with two shots. He played almost 18 minutes but he’s a bottom end streamer for me.
T.J. Oshie – Two goals and an assist with four shots. Not much to say about Oshie, the new look second line for Washington seems to be doing just fine.
Nicklas Backstrom – Goal and two assists. See Oshie, T.J.
Nikita Kucherov – Goal and an assist with five shots playing over 25 minutes. It’s scary how good he is; I still don’t think people realize it.
Alex Killorn – Goal and an assist with two shots. Great streamer but still not enough to hold.
Brayden Point – Goal and an assist with three shots. All your points are belong to Point! Ride him while he’s on fire.
Connor Hellebuyck – 33 saves on 35 shots in the 5-2 win over the Oilers. Can the Jets stop the bullshit and just go with him? Mason is a disaster.
Nikolaj Ehlers – Hat trick and an assist with six shots. Ehlers is another guy that kept falling in drafts and I could not understand why. He’s 21 years old and just had 64 points!
Blake Wheeler – Three assists with two shots. Mr. Consistency being just that to start the year.
Mark Scheifele – Goal and two assists. He’s started the season with a goal in every game which is encouraging. I really hope the shot rate reaches another level because if it does, Scheifele will be a top 15 player.
Mike Smith – 43 save shutout in the 2-0 win over the Ducks. This is the high upside Smith carries. He’s going to be a frequent choice of mine in DFS for that reason. Just in case he’s available in your league, go grab him immediately.
Oliver Bjorkstrand (5.4%) – Carolina isn’t the greatest matchup but since I think he should be held in standard 12’ers, Bjorkstrand is clearly a great stream in my mind. Consider Dubois in this game as well.
Thomas Vanek (14.5%) – I like the Canucks tonight in this spot against the Senators. Vanek didn’t receive a ton of minutes in their opener but the offensive upside is still here.
Elias Lindholm (10.5) – Again, not a great spot, but no reason why Lindholm is available in 89.5% of leagues. With the type of minutes he’s receiving, you can use him in any matchup.
That’s all for now guys; I hope over 2900 words is enough! I’ll be back tomorrow recapping all of Tuesday’s action. As always, feel free to ask any questions or leave any comments below. Thanks for reading, take care!