Yesterday I preached the virtue of patience, as in have some and don’t give up on guys after two or three games. There is no buy or sell high right now, at least not for the sane, because we’ve only just begun to rumble this season and the chips need to fall before we make the right calls. Next up on the “Don’t freak out, freaks!” front is Carey Price (L, 19 SV, 4 GA, .826 SV%) who has been struggling out of the gate so far this season. He coughed up 4 goals on 23 shots before getting yanked in the second in favor of Dustin Tokarski yesterday. Toker promptly gave up 3 more goals on 18 shots, so Price owners shouldn’t feel too bad. I don’t think anything went right for the Habs last night, honestly. Steven Stamkos victimized Price first on a nearly impossible angle shot for his first goal, then potted one on a break away after Victor Hedman hit him tape-to-tape on a sweet stretch pass and again for a third time on a booming slapper from the top of the circle on the man advantage. So take Stammer out of the game and Price only gives up one goal! That’s good, right?! Price isn’t typically a slow starter so 10 goals allowed in his first three games is a bit unnerving, but there’s not much you can do if you own him other than ride this out. He’s just too good to keep being this mediocre for long. I won’t recommend adding Toker as a handcuff quite yet, but I might have had he come in and done well in relief. He didn’t, so I won’t and I expect Price will get the next start for the Habs. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey last night:
Steven Stamkos (3 G, 12 SOG, +1) – Came alive with a hatty helping the Bolts batter Carey Price and the Habs all night long. He was particularly effective pouring 12 shots on goal after taking just seven combined in his first two games. Fun fact! His 12 shots matched the entire Sabres’ team shot total from last night. Yikes.
Victor Hedman (1 G, 3 A, 4 SOG) – That’s goals in all three games this season with seven points total over that span. Not to mention 5 PPP, 10 SOG, 4 hits, 5 blocks, 2 PIM and a partridge in a mothereffin’ pear tree. If I asked Victor to the prom, do you think he’d say yes?
Ondrej Palat (1 G, 1 SOG, +2) – Palat gets his first goal of the season and seems to be spending the bulk of his time on the top line with Stamkos and Ryan Callahan for now. I like Palat this season and if he can stick with that line he can easily top 50 points on the year. Everyone expects Jonathan Drouin to take this slot, but I see no reason why the rookie would displace Palat permanently, especially if the current trio develops good chemistry before Drouin returns from his injury.
Ryan Callahan (1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG) – Cally now has two goals in three games and he should keep putting the biscuit in the basket all season. On the upside, and way upside, he could score 30 goals. I seriously doubt it, but when Stamkos is running wild all eyes are on him so Cally is going to get room to work. He also spends a ton of time in front of the net, so there should be plenty of rebound opportunities for him to stuff home.
Ben Bishop (W, 16 SV, 1 GA, .941 SV%) – Big Ben hasn’t really been tested yet save that 32 save performance against the Sens on Saturday. Here he only faced 17 shots stopping 16 of them while the Bolts completely destroyed the Habs 7-1 last night. The 17 shots were mostly scattered as the Habs had no answer for what looks like a deadly Bolts offense. I’m sure Bishop will be fine, but I’ll feel better when I see him string together some starts like this against better teams.
Reto Berra (W, 27 SV, 1 GA, .964 SV%) – Honestly, Berra looks like the better of the two tenders in Colorado right now. He isn’t, but it looks that way so far. He’s a worthwhile handcuff for Varly owners to stash if they have room.
Clarke MacArthur (1 G, 3 SOG) – Mac gets his first goal of the season and I’d expect about 19 more. A repeat of last year’s 20+ goals and 50+ points isn’t out of the question, but I have little confidence in the Sens.
Jamie McGinn (1 G, 3 SOG, +1) – McGinn was a minus-4 and nada else until this game, but that’s to be expected. Not that he’ll be a minus every game, but he’s not going to give you much offensive output and is destined for bottom-six minutes. This goal was soft, too. Svedberg should have had it.
Danny Briere (1 G, 4 SOG, +1) – Tiny Tim has been past it for years and was mostly brought in as a veteran presence to help settle the kids down a bit. He was in the right place at the right time for this goal, but don’t expect much more than 30-40 points from him this year and that might be generous.
Frederik Andersen (W, 11 SV, 1 GA, .917 SV%) – Apparently the Sabres feel like they shouldn’t hog all the shots, so they took 12 and allowed 44, how generous! Andersen didn’t have to work hard for this one but that makes back-to-back solid efforts for Andersen to one horrible showing by John Gibson. I expect we’ll see Gibsy back in there for another try today when the Ducks take on the Flyers tonight, but my money is on Andersen earning and keeping the starting gig for most of the season.
Niklas Svedberg (L, 28 SV, 2 GA, .933 SV%) – The stellar rookie waited patiently to get his chance and played a good game despite losing to the Avs 2-1 yesterday. Svedberg looked solid all game. The first goal he gave up to Jamie McGinn and it was absolutely one that he should have stopped, but you know, rookie. Svedberg held fort until literally the last second of the game when Danny Briere was left all alone in front of the net to stuff home a rebound that Svedsy made a solid try to stop, but was basically hung out to dry on a botched defensive assignment. All in all it was a good game for the kid, but don’t expect him to get more than 15-20 starts this year as the B’s look to ride to victory on the back of Tuukka Rask most nights.
Loui Eriksson (1 G, 2 SOG) – Loui is just two years removed from three consecutive 70-point seasons. Remember that? I do. He’s not going to return to that form at 29-years-old, but he’s absolutely a threat to top 50 points and be a solid fantasy asset all season. Hopefully more sheltered minutes will keep him healthy and he seems to be developing some solid chemistry with slick Swedish pivot Carl Soderberg, so there’s that.
William Karlsson (2 G, 6 SOG, +2) – Willy isn’t related to Erik but you wouldn’t know it by his performance last night. I wouldn’t get too excited about this rookie because a) he’s not really a goal scorer, b) he’s small and needs to bulk up and c) this was a game against the Sabres where the Ducks outshot them by a staggering 44-12 margin. I could have scored two goals in this one. On his first goal Karlsson had about 24 years to settle the puck down while standing alone in the slot and then blasted it home. His second goal came on a rebound that was stuffed home, but kudos to the kid for crashing the net. Either way, it’s not like he was dazzling out there so much as the Sabres were just awful.
Corey Perry (1 G, 4 SOG, 2 PIM) – Goals ‘n bows, y’all. Goals ‘n bows.
Ryan Kesler (1 G, 6 SOG, +1) – Kesler has looked great for the Ducks so far tallying points in all three games with five points overall. Kes is spending most of his time on a line with Matt Beleskey and Devante Smithpelly so far, but his time on the top powerplay unit is what really skyrockets his value. Three of his five points have come on the man advantage. On a side note, how is Devante Smithpelly a real name? It sounds like an alias that Andy Dwyer would come up with.
Matt Beleskey (1 G, 2 SOG, +1) – Speaking of Beleskey, he had his second straight solid game with a goal. This is another young Duck that’s not worth getting too excited about, though. He had a decent rookie campaign with the Ducks last season putting up 9 G, 15 A for 24 points in 55 games. At the moment he’s had some chances on the top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, so he’s worth streaming while he’s getting time on that line, but don’t expect this to continue for long.
Tyler Ennis (1 G, 2 SOG, +1) – Ennis is actually pretty good, but of course his team is just terrible. He’s potted goals in each of his last two games, but only took four shots doing it. That’s just not sustainable. On a decent team he has the skill to put up 50-60 points, but here? 50 is the ceiling. If I owned anyone on the Sabres it’d be him or Matt Moulson, but I don’t own either and you probably shouldn’t either outside of deep leagues.
Michal Neuvirth (L, 39 SV, 5 GA, .886 SV%) – I feel bad for Neuvirth, he goes from being stuck behind a logjam o’ tenders in Washington to getting a shot to contend for a starting gig, but in Buffalo. The good here is Neuvirth stopped 39 shots, nice! Sadly he faced 44, aw. I wouldn’t own either Sabres goalie with your team.
Roberto Luongo (L, 22 SV, 1 GA, .957 SV%) – Even when Lu puts a good game in he gets no love from his squad. It’s a lose-lose here for Luongo and his owners. The Cats will either cough up 40 shots and Lu will stop 36-37 of them or they won’t score when he gets a reasonable workload to handle in a given game. Like I said before, don’t walk away from Lu, run.
Craig Anderson (W, 30 SV, 1.000%, SHO) – Come on, it was Florida. It barely counts.