I’ve long been a fan of Juuse Saros saying that he’s the best goaltending prospect in hockey. His time to be a #1 is coming sooner than later, but for the short term, it’s his crease in Nashville. Pekka Rinne is on injured reserve meaning he will miss at least the next three games, and that opens the door for Saros. He came in relief for Rinne in a 3-3 game and didn’t allow a goal on nine shots, before posting a 31 save shutout in the 3-0 win over the Oilers. He’s available in over 80% of leagues and quite frankly, I don’t understand it. Goaltending is awful around the league right now, so pretty much every fantasy team could use him as their G3. That said, Saros should be a #1 option when he starts, so go grab him immediately. He’s going to get plenty of starts this year even when Rinne is back, so Saros can make a huge difference for you. Let’s take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Vincent Trocheck – Goal and two assists with four shots and two PIM. I’d argue that Trocheck is a top 25 fantasy player, if not top 20. He played an absurd 26 minutes in this game and hits all of the categories extremely well. Look for Trocheck to continue to be a monster going forward.
Jonathan Huberdeau – Goal and two assists with six shots. It was a slow start to the year for Huberdeau but don’t worry, the points are coming. The shot rate has started off strongly as well.
Evgenii Dadonov – Goal and an assist with three shots. Very strong start to the year for Dadonov. All of these Florida guys just need to play more games as the Panthers have played the fewest games in the league.
Lars Eller – Three assists with two shots. There’s some value here in deep leagues but nothing for normal 12’ers.
Brett Connolly – Goal and an assist. Bottom end stream when he’s playing with the big guns, irrelevant when he’s not.
Evgeny Kuznetsov – Two assists with two shots and four PIM. Kuznetsov has moved himself into the superstar category. There’s a great chance he gives back top 15 forward value this year, if not better.
Jakub Vrana – Goal and an assist with two PIM. He’s worth streaming solely because of the upside but Vrana is far from a hold.
Devan Dubnyk – 33 saves on 34 shots in the 3-1 win over the Stars. He’s playing as well as any goalie in the league to open the season. Dubnyk is sitting at a .944 sv%.
Zach Parise – Goal and an assist with five shots. I’m still having a tough time buying into it, but maybe he’s the guy who has a resurgence under Boudreau this year? He’s worth owning right now to ride the hot wave and see what happens.
Ryan Suter – Goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM. It won’t be exciting but at the end of the year, we know that Suter is going to give solid value.
Alexander Radulov – Missed Friday’s game with an undisclosed injury. It doesn’t sound serious but it’s obviously worth monitoring.
Kyle Turris – Two assists. Solid streamer but I’m not holding Turris right now. The shot rate needs to climb back up for that to be in consideration.
Ryan Ellis – Two assists with two shots. The shots are below two a game after they were over 2.5 last season, so hopefully Ellis gets back to that level. Everything else is off to a strong start.
Filip Forsberg – Goal and an assist with three shots. Great start to the year for Forsberg as he looks primed to have his first point per game season. I’d bet on a new career high in goals as well (33).
Kevin Fiala – Goal and an assist with three shots. He started off horribly, but I’d still stream Fiala and think he can turn into a hold at some point this season.
Elias Lindholm – Goal and an assist with two shots. Lindholm has thrived on the top line in Calgary and needs to be held at this point.
Mark Giordano – Two assists with four shots. Excellent start to the season for Giordano as he’s rolling across the board. My worries about life with Dougie appear to be overplayed.
Philipp Grubauer – 42 saves on 43 shots in the 3-1 win over the Hurricanes. I am a huge believer in Grubauer and still believe that he ends up being the starter this season, and at the least a full split. If you need goaltending upside, it’s Saros or Grubauer.
Nathan MacKinnon – Goal and two assists with five shots and two PIM. What a machine. He has a point in every game this season, and his statline is completely absurd: 8+6/+7/10 PIM/39 SOG in 8 games. Wowza.
Gabriel Landeskog – Two goals on five shots. This Avs top line is pushing Boston’s for the crown as the league’s best. Landeskog looks like the guy we hoped for after his rookie season. He’s still only 26 and with MacKinnon playing as well as anyone in the league, there’s a real chance that Landeskog gives up a top 30-40 season.
Jakub Voracek – Goal and two assists with two shots. He’s been inconsistent, but a few big games have Voracek’s overall numbers looking great with 11 points in 8 games and almost three shots per.
Travis Sanheim – Two assists. He might turn into an option down the line, but Sanheim has 7 shots on goal in 8 games and doesn’t receive the minute necessary to be valuable, even in deep leagues because of poor hits and blocks.
Ivan Provorov – Two assists with three shots. It’s been a dreadful start for Provorov but I’m giving him a little bit more time to see if he can turn things around.
Jeff Skinner – Hat trick and two PIM. I said this last Monday about Skinner: “One, if you own him, do not panic and hold onto him. Two, if you don’t, you might be able to buy low, and I think it’s a great opportunity to get a 3 time 30 goal scorer on the relative cheap.” Well, he had four goals this weekend, so that buy low opportunity is out the window.
Jack Eichel – Three assists with five shots. He has 4+ shots in every game this season but on, which he registered three shots on goal in. The goals are going to come and the assists are piling up.
Jason Pominville – Goal and two assists with three shots. He’s playing with Eichel and Skinner right now making Poms a viable streaming candidate.
Linus Ullmark – 19 saves on 20 shots in the 5-1 win over the Kings. He’s allowed one goal total in two starts this season, and with the Sabres saying in the preseason that they want to give Ullmark ~30 starts, look for him to get some more action in the coming weeks.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Three assists with three shots. A lot of people were asking about OEL in the comments section, but I hope you held onto him.
Clayton Keller – Two goals on four shots. Keller played over 23 minutes in this game, so hopefully Tocchet keeps rolling him going forward. There’s no reason why Keller shouldn’t be getting big minutes.
Jacob Trouba – Three assists. It hasn’t been a great start for Trouba, but defense is so bad around the league that I’m still holding on.
Tyler Myers – Goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM. These were his first points of the season, and I don’t see the PIM staying high like this. They’ll be quality, but this is an absurd number.
Josh Morrissey – Goal and an assist with three shots. I’ve long been a fan of Morrissey and he’s finally putting it together offensively. Now, the shots are still poor, and probably will remain that way, but the points should be fairly good, so it’s your call to make.
Kyle Connor – Two assists with a shot. Strong start across the board for Connor.
Paul Byron – Goal and an assist with two shots. I expect a fallback to reality sooner than later.
Mark Stone – Two goals and an assist with four shots. If the Sens can’t extend him, they should trade Stone sooner than later to maximize their return. He can make a huge difference in a Cup run for whatever team adds him.
Matt Duchene – Goal and an assist with three shots. Same story as Stone, except Stone is a better player than Duchene.
Jake Allen – 22 saves on 23 shots in the 4-1 win over the Maple Leafs. The Blues did an amazing job shutting down the Leafs in this game. Even with this game, Allen’s numbers are awful and as I’ve said many times before in this space, I simply don’t think he’s good.
David Perron – Two assists. His role is much smaller than in Vegas last season, so at this point he’s a middling streamer.
Ryan O’Reilly – Goal and an assist with two shots. RoR has had a nice start to the season for the Blues with 1+6 in 7 games. He even has six PIM, that’s a whole season’s worth for him!
Dennis Cholowski – Goal and an assist with five shots. If your league doesn’t have plus-minus, or if you simply don’t care about it, Cholowski is worth owning right now. Down the line, I see a valuable fantasy asset that should be owned in dynasty leagues, but for now in 12’ers, it depends if you want to stomach a near-certain poor plus-minus.
Dylan Larkin – Goal and an assist with three shots. Excellent start for Larkin outside of plus-minus.
Gustav Nyqvist – Goal and an assist with three shots. Same story as the guys above him. I’m okay with streaming Nyqvist but it’ll take a trade for hold consideration.
Frans Nielsen – Two assists with a shot. Couldn’t care less about Nielsen at this point in his career.
Keith Yandle – Goal and an assist with three shots. Five game point streak for Yandle who has started off the season incredibly well. Hopefully he maintains this shot rate.
Nick Bjugstad – Goal and an assist with two shots and two PIM. Streamer at this point.
Aleksander Barkov – Two assists with two shots. Strong start for Barkov right at his normal paces.
Corey Crawford – 37 saves on 38 shots in the 4-1 win over Columbus. If you had any trepidation about getting Crawford back into your lineup, that should be eliminated with this start.
Patrick Kane – Two goals and an assist with four shots. Amazing start for Kane with 7+5 in 8 games with well over five shots per game.
Brent Seabrook – Two assists with a shot. He sucks, plain and simple.
Seth Jones – Looks to be returning Tuesday, so get him back in your lineup.
Charlie Coyle – Goal and an assist with two shots and four PIM. Coyle has fallen off after his breakout in 2016-17. At this point, he’s a bottom end streamer.
Anton Stralman – Goal and an assist. Might be the best example of a player who is really good in reality but awful for fantasy.
J.T. Miller – Goal and an assist with two shots. He has 8 points in 7 games despite being jerked around the lineup. Hold tight and hope that the shot rate gets back to last year’s level in Tampa.
Yanni Gourde – Goal and an assist with three shots. Gourde is picking up right where he left off last season’s with 4+4 in 8 games. Hold tight.
Mattias Ekholm – Two assists with a shot. He’ll stumble into enough points playing on this team, and I’d probably hold him just for the plus-minus boost and decent enough contributions elsewhere. Also, if one of the defensemen in front of him get hurt, he’s an automatic must-own, so you get that built-in upside.
Jacob Markstrom – 30 saves on 31 shots in the 2-1 OT win over the Bruins. The Canucks are the surprise of the first three weeks, sitting at 5-3 despite only two home games and an absolutely brutal schedule. That said, I expect the regression fairies to come out soon enough making Markstrom a desperation play.
Jonathan Marchessault – Goal and an assist with eight shots. I think we can eliminate any doubt that Marchessault was a fluke. I ranked him as a top 25 forward and I see no reason to change that expectation.
Marc-Andre Fleury – 17 saves on 18 shots in the 3-1 win over the Ducks. This says more about the Ducks than Vegas. Wow, are the Ducks terrible right now. If they weren’t getting great goaltending, they’d be among the league’s worst teams. They’ve getting manhandled at even strength every game, making the opposing goalie an elite play every night until things change.
Tomas Hertl – Three assists with two shots. Strong start to the season for Hertl. He didn’t practice on Sunday, but it doesn’t appear to be anything serious.
Logan Couture – Goal and an assist with three shots. Couture has killed it to start the season and while he won’t continue to shoot 22%, he’s in a great spot to have a huge season.
Joonas Donskoi – Goal and an assist. Middling to elite streamer, but I can’t hold until the power play time improves, which seems unlikely to happen.
Martin Jones – 24 saves on 25 shots in the 4-1 win over the Isles. I know it’s early, but it looks to be another season where Jones has an elite GAA but the save percentage is average at best. That’s what keeps him as a bottom end #1 instead of entering elite status.
Brayden Point – Goal and an assist with four shots. Great start for Point as he’s crushing every category across the board.
J.T. Miller – Two assists with three shots. Same story as above.
Victor Hedman – Goal and an assist with three shots. Slow start for Hedman but it’s only a matter of time until he starts rolling.
Nikita Kucherov – Goal and an assist with four shots and two PIM. The shot rate has dropped quite a bit in the early going but it’ll turn. He has at least one point in five straight.
Jan Rutta – Two assists with a shot. I would not be expecting anything out of Rutta.
David Rittich – 44 saves on 45 shots in the 4-1 win over the Rangers. The Rangers took it to Calgary but Rittich saved the day. He’s had two strong starts and didn’t give up a goal in another relief appearance, so I’d stream Rittich in all but the worst matchups when he starts.
Johnny Gaudreau – Two goals on four shots. 5+7 in 8 games with over three shots per. That’ll play.
Garnet Hathaway – Two goals with two PIM. Care, I have none.
Kyle Okposo – Goal and an assist with two shots. He’s getting the power play time, but his even strength time is plummeting and deservedly so. He looked fine this weekend against two slow teams in L.A. and Anaheim, but anyone with speed causes him issues. Don’t use him outside of deep leagues.
Sam Reinhart – Two assists with three shots. He still doesn’t have a goal but like Skinner, I think it’s going to turn. If you need to cut him, I’m okay with it, but I lean towards being patient.
Brandon Montour – Two assists with two shots. Montour has had a rough start to the year; I’m more likely to cut him for somebody with upside than hold on.
That’s all for now guys; this bad boy is over 2500 words. I’ll be back Wednesday recapping the action from Monday and Tuesday. As always, feel free to ask any questions or leave any comments below. Thanks for reading, take care!