In my season preview for the Chicago Blackhawks, I projected that Richard Panik would be the new player that slides into the Blackhawks’ top 6. “Panik should get a chance in the top 6 because quite frankly, the Blackhawks don’t have anybody else. He could be a decent streamer but I can’t expect anything more from the 25 year old.” And that’s me quoting me doing what Grey does! In the long term for the season, I still think that’ll be the case, but for now, Panik is must-own. After scoring in the season opener, Panik had an assist on Friday and came back with a hat trick on four shots on Saturday, both against the Predators. He’s getting power play time right now and with 5 points in 3 games, Panik should be held for the time being as he rides the hot streak. Quick, go check your waiver wire to see if he’s available and then come back!… Okay, glad you returned. Here’s what else I saw this weekend around the NHL:
Predators 3, Blackhawks 2 – The Predators were the much better team on Friday dominating possession and drawing penalties. All 3 Preds goals came on the power play. P.K. Subban scored in his Smashville debut and added four shots on goal and four penalty minutes. His partner on the point on the first unit, Roman Josi, had a goal and an assist with five shots. Ryan Johansen dished three assists with two shots while Mike Fisher had 1+1 with 2 SOG and 2 PIM. Good start for the Nashville studs as the others contributed one way or another. Pekka Rinne was decent stopping 22 of 24 shots for the win locking it down for the last 50 minutes. I expect a lot of similar starts from him. For Chicago, it was the secondary guys who did the damage. It was encouraging to see Marian Hossa play 18:35 getting an assist and a shot. If the minutes are there, he should avoid a dropoff despite the age.
Oilers 5, Flames 3 – Man, the Oilers are going to be in slugfests all season long. The four best fantasy players for the Oilers all had multiple points. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl led the way with 2+1 and 1+2 respectively while Jordan Eberle and Milan Lucic each bagged two points. Cam Talbot saved 32 of 35 shots for the win but I’m glad I don’t own him anywhere; the Oilers are a damn mess defensively. The first line for Calgary each got a point while Brian Elliott struggled again. I’m interested to see how he does in a game that isn’t against the Oilers but it’s been an atrocious start in Alberta for Elliott.
Flyers 4, Kings 2 – The first full game in the Jeff Zatkoff era did not go well although it wasn’t really his fault (4 goals on 30 shots but the Kings were outshot and outplayed). Sean Couturier scored twice and should be held on the bottom of standard league rosters. Travis Konecny had two assists and three shots in his debut; he was talked about at length in the most recent podcast but he should be held in the short term to see his role when Brayden Schenn returns. Ivan Provorov also had an assist in his debut. Michal Neuvirth started the opener (deservedly so) and stopped 23 of 25 shots in the win. Drew Doughty had a nice game scoring once on four shots.
Wild 4, Jets 3 – Dustin Byfuglien played an insane 30:35 notching two assists and a shot; if he gets that many minutes he’ll absolutely be a top 5 D. Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler continued their great starts (woo!) with Scheifele tallying 1+1 with 3 SOG and 2 PIM while Wheeler had a goal on four shots with 2 PIM. Patrik Laine joined them on the top line and while he didn’t produce Saturday, I love his chances to pay off my top 100 ranking if he’s playing almost 20 minutes a night. Despite the demotion, Nikolaj Ehlers scored a beautiful goal. While it hurts his value, he should still be held everywhere. The Wild dominated this one leaving Devan Dubnyk with a miserable 14 saves on 17 shots but with a win. I expect a turnaround soon for Dubs. Chris Stewart had a big game with 1+1, 2 SOG and 7 PIM. He’s been a hot schmotato a lot in the past so he’s worth streaming in the short term. The top line of Eric Staal, Zach Parise and Charlie Coyle got on the scoresheet with the former scoring assisted by the other two.
Maple Leafs 4, Bruins 1 – The Leafs came out hot and took advantage of Anton Khudobin (20 saves on 24 shots) getting the start. Mitch Marner scored his first career goal and added four shots and two PIM; I’d own him everywhere. Tyler Bozak had two assists but only played 13:31; the arrival of the young guys really hurts his value. Frederik Andersen stopped 24 of 25 shots bouncing back form a dreadful opener but I still don’t want anything to do with him. It was a rough night for the Bruins but David Pastrnak managed to score the lone goal on 6 shots after his 4 points in the opener. The full breakout may be on the horizon.
Senators 4, Canadiens 3 (SO) – The fourth line and bottom pair made a difference for Ottawa as Ryan Dzingel (damn I was one game off on streams!) scored 1+1 while Chris Wideman dished two assists. Neither have much value at this point. Zack Smith scored once on three shots playing almost 19 minutes and with him solidifying a spot in the top 6, Smith should be owned in 12’ers. Craig Anderson won his second game stopping 21 of 24 shots but I am still avoiding him. Al Montoya played well again stopping 35 of 38 shots but it sounds like Carey Price will be back very soon. Jeff Petry scored twice on three shots but I still don’t expect much from him. The two Canadiens who I aggressively ranked, Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher, each had an assist.
Lightning 3, Devils 2 – The Devils stormed to a quick 2-0 lead before the Lightning took control. Little stood out of New Jersey outside of P.A. Parenteau getting an assist with four shots but more importantly, he played 16:37. If the minutes are in that range, he’ll be a hold in 12’ers. Everyone in the top 6 for Tampa had a point. Andrei Vasilevskiy held strong after the first 4 minutes stopping 32 of 34 shots total for the win. Vas is a must own because his 25-30 starts are going to be incredibly valuable.
Panthers 4, Red Wings 1 – The Panthers took the lead 1:10 into the game and never looked back dominating the Red Wings outshooting Detroit 37-22. Roberto Luongo had an easy night stopping 21 of 22 shots. The top 4 for Florida, Aleksander Barkov, Jaromir Jagr, Vincent Trocheck and Jussi Jokinen all had a point. The story for Florida is Jonathan Marchessault. In his second game on the first line, Marchessault had 1+2 with 6 shots while being +3 on the night. Yeah, the goal was an empty netter but they all count the same! I put him in my final edition of my top 250 and after this fast start, he’s a clear hold.
Penguins 3, Ducks 2 – Despite the score, this was an excellent goaltending battle. Marc-Andre Fleury saved 34 of 36 shots for his second strong start of the early season. In his first game with the Ducks, Jonathan Bernier stopped 42 of 45 shots in the loss. Ryan Getzlaf dished two assists and added three shots while Corey Perry scored his first of the season. Cam Fowler scored once on three shots; we talked about how you should own Fowler with Hampus Lindholm holding out and the second that Lindholm signs, I’d try to sell high. Phil Kessel scored his first of the year as did Conor Sheary, who has done surprisingly well in Sidney Crosby‘s absence. He’s another guy who snuck into my top 250 and while he’s producing, I’d hold or stream.
Capitals 2, Islanders 1 – Thomas Greiss got his first start of the season and played well in the loss. Mathew Barzal had six penalty minutes in his debut but was scratched again on Sunday. I’d cut him now but I’ll be sure to talk about him on the podcast I record with Reid today that will be up Tuesday. Ryan Strome scored the Isles goal but played only 12:41. I can see streaming him for now but you can’t hold him until the minutes increase. Braden Holtby did his thing stopping 21 of 22 shots. Daniel Winnik scored both goals for the Caps but shouldn’t be owned outside of deep leagues. I also like what I’m seeing from John Carlson who had an assist and six shots.
Sharks 3, Blue Jackets 2 – As expected, the game was lopsided despite the final score. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 35 of 37 Sharks shots but unfortunately it wasn’t enough. Zach Werenski scored a goal on four shots and added two PIM. He should be added everywhere and is another guy we will talk about on the podcast. Mikkel Boedker scored a goal on two shots but I’m a bit worried since he played only 13 minutes. I’m holding for now but I may cut bait soon. Brent Burns was their best player as he did Brent Burns things dishing two assists and adding eight shots and two PIM.
Blues 3, Rangers 2 – The Rangers dominated the game but Carter Hutton stole the show in his Blues debut saving 33 of 35 shots. He’ll be a quality streamer every time he starts. Paul Stastny scored 1+1 playing over 23 minutes which is incredible. If those minutes are there, he could push the top 100 again. Vladimir Tarasenko also had 1+1 with 4 SOG which is no surprise. Chris Kreider had a second consecutive terrific game with a goal, assist and seven shots. I’m still skeptical. On the other hand, I love his center Mika Zibanejad who also had a goal and an assist. Maybe they bring out the best of each other but I feel much better about Zibanejad producing all season.
Blachawks 5, Predators 3 – The Predators either need to trade for a backup goalie or hope they get good Pekka Rinne this year because Marek Mazanec was a mess in his debut allowing 5 goals on 27 shots. This team is too loaded offensively and defensively to let goaltending ruin the season. Nobody had a multi-point game for the Predators in this one. Besides Panik, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook each had two points. Scott Darling showed his quality saving 33 of 36 Predators shots for the win.
Avalanche 6, Stars 5 – Well, the first game in the Jared Bednar Era didn’t disappoint. There are going to be a lot of players worth talking about in this one. Hat tricks always get priority in my posts so Joe Colborne gets the first mention. He had a decent debut for Colorado scoring three goals on four shots. He’s on the third line for now so I’m not grabbing him yet but it’s worth monitoring. Tyson Barrie scored 1+1 and added 2 PIM playing 21:45. He’ll be a solid #3 worst case this year. Nathan MacKinnon also had a goal and an assist. It was disappointing to see he only played 16:01 but that’ll go up in the future; every Avs player had at least 11:48 of ice time which won’t continue. Mikhail Grigorenko had a power play assist and five shots on goal; the key to his success will be his willingness to shoot the puck. In deep leagues, he’s worth the flier. Semyon Varlamov got the win but 23 saves on 28 shots isn’t what anyone’s looking for. Antti Niemi was a disaster allowing 5 goals on 20 shots in less than half a game before being pulled. Tyler Seguin was a monster scoring two goals and adding an assist with three shots. Jamie Benn had 1+1 while Patrick Eaves stuck on the first line and first power play unit and dished two assists in 18 minutes. Eaves is a clear must-own for me at this point above all of the other guys mentioned in this article. Devin Shore had a goal and an assist with two shots but his value is minimal right now and will be near zero when Cody Eakin returns. Brett Ritchie is more interesting who had his own 1+1 night. In the right matchups, I’d look to stream him.
Coyotes 4, Flyers 3 (OT) – Howl for the Desert Dogs! They really rode their big guys huge minutes in their opener and it paid off. Martin Hanzal had 1+1 with 7 SOG; he’s still available in the vast majority of leagues and is must-own in my mind. Yes, he’s an injury risk but Hanzal is close to a top 100 player on a per-game basis. Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored the game winner playing 31:46 in the win. Alex Goligoski had an assist in his Coyotes debut with three shots playing 25 minutes. Radim Vrbata is a guy I’m very intrigued by. Last season was a disaster but a return to the Desert could bring a bounce back. He had an assist with four SOG and two PIM playing almost 19 minutes. It’s something I’m watching for the next couple Coyotes games. Jakob Chychrun had an assist and a shot in his debut but he played only 12 minutes. Jakub Voracek lost his damn mind after OEL scored the winner getting a couple misconducts totaling 22 PIM. Congrats to his owners for winning PIM for the week. Konecny had an assist with three shots and two PIM continuing his strong start. Wayne Simmonds got on the board with a goal, three shots and two PIM. Steve Mason did not play as well as his teammate did in the opener allowing 4 goals on 35 shots.
Canucks 2, Flames 1 (SO) – Man, the Flames are a mess. Their only goal came when the Canucks scored on their own empty net when they pulled the goalie on a delayed penalty. Unfortunately for Ryan Miller owners you don’t get the shutout but still, 25 saves with 0 goals against will do. Daniel Sedin scored a goal on six shots after a dominating shift with 1:34 of straight offensive zone time resulted in the goal. Chad Johnson, not Ochocinco, saved 30 of 31 shots in the loss; there’s a chance he can work this into a time share if Elliott struggles in the short term.
Islanders 3, Ducks 2 (OT) – Not a good start to the season going winless in their first three games. It would have been pointless if Getzlaf didn’t tie it with 1 minute left. They were sad Bruce Boudreau didn’t bring them a title but Randy Carlyle might not bring them the playoffs. Cam Fowler and Ryan Getzlaf both had 1+1 continuing their great starts. Josh Bailey scored a goal on four shots playing a whopping 23:30. I’d stream him in their next game to see if the minutes are real. Brock Nelson scored a goal on three shots and added two PIM to extend his point streak. Cal Clutterbuck tallied two assists with two shots and four penalty minutes but he’s not a real fantasy asset. Jaroslav Halak had a solid start stopping 24 of 26 shots.
Sabres 6, Oilers 2 – Man, the Oilers were a dumpster fire in this one. Cam Talbot gave up 6 goals on 23 shots in 49:56; he had to come back in after Jonas Gustavsson relieved him because the Monster was injured. Talbot even gave up a goal on a dump in from center ice! The cheap shots were really bad late in the third with the Sabres running away; it left me pretty disgusted with the Oilers. Anyways, Kyle Okposo‘s Sabres debut was terrific with a goal and an assist. Ryan O’Reilly set a career high with 4 points getting 2+2. Rasmus Ristolainen recorded three assists with two shots while Brian Gionta even scored two goals. Matt Moulson scored a power play goal for the second straight game and is worth grabbing in deep leagues in case he bounces back. Sam Reinhart only ended up with an assist and one shot but his passing is at an elite level right now. Robin Lehner bounced back from a disappointing opener with a strong 31 save performance.
Canucks 4, Hurricanes 3 (OT) – Good lord, the Canes pissed away their second consecutive three goal lead to open the season. Eddie Lack looked good for the first half of the game not allowing a goal. Then he gave up four in the second half including OT leading to a total of 27 saves on 31 shots. Both goalies in Carolina are a mess and you should stay away. Justin Faulk scored a goal and an assist with three shots; I’m expecting a big season. Victor Rask scored a goal from Lee Stempniak; Stemp is right on the fringe of hold versus streamer but for now, I’m holding. Teuvo Teravainen scored a power play goal but with only 11 minutes of playing time, I’m not holding. It’s amazing that the Canucks scored four goals with nothing from the first line; we saw a glimpse of the future that I don’t expect to see much this year. Markus Granlund scored a goal and an assist, Brandon Sutter scored the game winner, Bo Horvat found the back of the net as did Ben Hutton while Brendan Gaunce tallied an assist. Hutton is fringe if you need a defenseman for the bottom of your roster; Horvat and Sutter are streamers and the other two aren’t relevant enough for me at this point.
Nick Bonino (12.5%) – He’s on the point right now on the deadly Penguins first power play unit. The minutes are through the roof right now and the shots have been there; with how open the Avalanche played in their first game, I’d be very surprised if Bonino doesn’t get a point or more.
Pavel Buchnevich (8.9%) – His linemates are on fire right now and if they stay that way, The Butcher is going to join in on the fun. He has one point so far but the minutes are solid and I expect a strong game from the Rangers with the Sharks in town. EDIT: Buchnevich is out tonight with back spasms.
Zack Smith (11.2%) – The Senators are playing wide open right now and the Red Wings are a mess defensively. Smith has a point in each game so far and there’s a chance he gives you a nice PIM boost to start the week as well (80 last season).
Another 3000 word post to start the season! Man, things are getting lengthy early. As mentioned above, Reid and I are recording a podcast later today that will go up Tuesday morning. With only four games on the slate tonight, I’m not sure if I will do daily notes tomorrow as well or save them for combining with Tuesday’s games for Wednesday morning. As of now, I’m leaning towards podcast only; if I decide to do that, then I will post Tuesday’s streamers in the podcast post. As always, feel free to ask any questions or leave any comments below. Take care!