The Los Angeles Kings are starting to look a little unbalanced. Anze Kopitar (1 SOG) has just three points in eight games. You can never really rely on Dustin Brown (2 SOG) for points and Justin Williams (1 A, 3 SOG) has just two points in eight games. Marian Gaborik did his thing and immediately got hurt and he’s still not back. Slava Voynov is suspended indefinitely due to alleged domestic violence issues at home. Despite all that, the Kings are 6-1-1 and sit atop their division. Why? How? That’s 70s Line, that’s how. Jeff Cater (1 G, 3 A, 1 SOG), Tyler Toffoli (1 G, 3 A, 2 SOG), and Tanner Pearson (2 G, 3 SOG, +2) continue to light it up and have carried the Kings so far this season. When I say carried, I mean they pick up the team plane and walk it from city to city on road trips, carry everyone’s bags off the plane and to the hotel, then dress everyone for the game and then win it basically by themselves with a dash of stellar goaltending from Jon Quick (W, 22 SV, 2 GA, .917%). But seriously, this line has accounted for 16 of 21 goals scored by the Kings this season. That’s 76% of the team’s total offense. They combined for 10 points last night and 33 points (16 G, 17A) and a plus-32 rating over the last seven games. That’s obviously not sustainable for the Kings and this torrid pace has to slow for That 70s Line, especially for Pearson and Toffoli, both of whom are more likely to finish around 50 points rather than the 90+ they’re on pace for. If ever there was a time to sell high, this is it. You can probably flip any guy on this line for a King’s ransom, so try floating some offers out there and see what you can get. You never know, you might end up with a killer package in return and when the other shoe drops and this line comes back down to earth, you’ll be laughing all the way to a playoff berth. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in fantasy hockey this weekend:
Sergei Bobrovsky (L, 22 SV, 5 GA, .815%) – Over the last three games the Jackets and Bob have faced the Sharks, Kings and Ducks. That’s some heady competition and he really hasn’t stood tall in any of the matchups save the 5-4 W against the Sharks last Thursday. So far much of his solid work has come against teams like the Flames, Rangers, Sabres and Sens. That’s not exactly the elite, the elite are the teams that just stomped him in consecutive games. If he doesn’t improve against the big boys soon, he might not be an automatic start moving forward.
Henrik Sedin (1 G, 3 SOG) – That 70’s Line isn’t the only line tearing up the NHL right now. The Sedins/Radim Vrbata (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG) line has 31 points in their first eight games and unlike the dropoff I expect That 70’s line to suffer, I think the Sedins can keep cranking with Vrbata on their win all season long. Lets be honest, the problem here wasn’t the Sedins last year, though they did look lost out there sometimes, it was one of coaching. Yes, we’re all looking at you, John Tortorella.
Nick Bonino (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG) – That makes seven points in eight games so far this season for Bones and that’s a bit of a surprise for me. I thought he would actually go the other way moving from the offense rich Ducks to a seemingly offensively lost team like the Canucks. Like I said in the Sedin/Vrbata note, the Canucks have licked that lack o’ consistent offense problem and Bonino is one of the guys benefiting most from the revival. He’s spending most of his time on a line with Chris Higgins (2 A, 2 SOG, +2) and Alexandre Burrows (2 SOG, +1) so I wouldn’t go too excited, but they do tend to make up the core of Vancouver’s second powerplay unit, so that’s a plus for Bones. Still, I figure the scoring slows sooner than later.
Frederik Andersen (L, 33 SV, 4 GA, .892%) – Speaking of automatic starts, it took seven starts but it finally happened, Freddy lost one. He was roughed up in this one too, but I don’t think it changes anything in terms of his value or in his position as starter. Despite allowing four goals on 37 shots last night to the Sharks he still sports a beautiful 6-1-0/1.70/.940 season line. I doubt he’ll relinquish the starter’s job to John Gibson this season.
Antti Niemi (W, 33 SV, 1 GA, .971%) – Niemi bounced back in this one after coughing up nine goals in his previous two starts. It was a solid showing for Niemi and timely too considering Alex Stalock (L, 13 SV, 2 GA, .876%) was unable to shut down the hapless Sabres on Saturday night. This situation remains about as clear as mud. Both goalies are valuable, but Niemi might be the one to break the back and forth by starting the Sharks’ next game.
Patrick Marleau (2 A, 5 SOG, +2) – You’d think it would be a moral imperative to tell others about the location of the fountain of youth if you knew where it was. Then again, perhaps it’s best that we don’t know.
Tommy Wingles (1 G, 10 SOG, +1) – I’m skeptical about Pickles, I really don’t see the scoring continuing. That being said, dude fired 10 shots on goal last night and that brings his season total to 38 in just 10 games. Firing that many biscuits a game is going to net you a goal or three and considering he’s playing a lot of his time with Logan Couture (2 A, 2 SOG, +2) this season, he could be in line to beat his career-best 38 points from last season.
Matt Beleskey (1 G, 5 SOG, 10 PIM) – A real nice game here from Beleskey, but his value has taken a dive since he moved to the third line. That’s really where he should be and Devante Smith-Pelly (1 SOG) has moved up along side Ryan Getzlaf (3 SOG) and Corey Perry (4 SOG, -1).
Semyon Varlamov (L, 26 SV, 2 GA, .929%) – It wasn’t a bad game for Varly, he just didn’t have much luck. He’s looked pretty shaky so far this season and honestly, I’m not a big fan of his this year. I don’t think he’ll be bad per se, just not nearly as good as he was last year. Have you seen the Avs’ possession game this year? They’re allowing an average of 34.1 shots per game. That’s hot garbage with a side of old socks. I’m good with not owning any Avs goalies this year.
Ondrej Pavelec (W, 22 SV, 1 GA, .957%) – Pavs hasn’t been half bad so far. I wouldn’t want to own him, but his season line of 3-4-0/2.45/.906 is respectable. It could go either way as the season progresses and it’s almost certainly going to go the wrong way.
Bryan Little (1 G, 3 SOG, +2) – That’s points in three games for the Jets’ workhorse and more could be coming. I’d like to see a few more shots on goal, but at just 26 years old and entering his prime Little has the potential to match his 64 point performance from last season, and even inch past it.
Andrew Ladd (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG) – Ladd has definitely found some chemistry with Bryan Little and he also sports a three game scoring streak with two more points last night. The duo spends the majority of their time with Michael Frolik (1 A, 1 SOG, +1) which is pretty yawnstipating, but the Ladd/Little connection could keep clicking for now.
Craig Anderson (L, 43 SV, 2 GA, .956%) – I’ll give credit where credit is due, Anderson held up well against a Hawks onslaught that fired 45 shots his way. I’d say the Senators offense failed Anderson, but then there’d have to be an offense to speak of to have failed in the first place, eh?
Milan Michalek (1 G, 4 SOG, +1) – Lady and Gentlemen, the Senators’ offense!
Bobby Ryan (2 SOG) – Hey, Bobby Ryan played? I hardly noticed.
Scott Darling (W, 32 SV, 1 GA, .970%) – I wouldn’t go rushing to add Darling in deep leagues because he’s not going to last long on big ice. Antti Raanta can’t play every game while Corey Crawford nurses his UBI, so Darling got the call and played well in his NHL debut. That said, dude has been on 13 teams including the Hawks since 2010, so, yeah.
Brent Seabrook (1 G, 3 SOG) – It’s good to see Seabiscuit getting a goal here, he doesn’t pot many and is probably only good for another four or five this season. His real value is found in leagues that count hits and blocks, where he has contributed 14 of each so far this season.
Jonathan Toews (1 G, 3 SOG, +1) – A decent game for Toews that brings his season total to six points in eight games, which isn’t bad, but it isn’t great either. I sometimes wonder if Toews is truly a point-per-game player or not, and lately I’ve been leaning to not. He has the ability to reach those numbers, but his team is so stacked I think it might hold him back at bit. He remains an elite option, but still, sometimes I wonder.
Ryan Miller (W, 20 SV, 2 GA, .909%) – That’s about on par with what you can expect from Miller this year. Good wins, mostly decent peripherals.
Chad Johnson (W, 26 SV, 5 GA, .839%) – That’s two starts in a row for Johnson over Jaroslav Halak and it might get worse for Jaro as the season goes. Despite allowing 5 goals on 31 shots to the Stars he held on for the W for the second straight game after defeating Boston 3-2 last week. I would imagine Halak gets the next start, but Johnson is definitely making a strong play for a 1A/1B situation at worst, and at best challenging for the starting gig.
Jason Spezza (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG, -4) – You’d have to figure that Stars Head Coach Lindy Ruff will have to break the Spezz, Tyler Seguin (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG, -3) and Jamie Benn (1 A, 2 SOG, -4) trio on the top line, but in the meantime, I’m enjoying the windfall o’ points it’s bringing. That’s 10 points over his last five games and he shows no signs of slowing at all. That said, those plus/minus ratings are terrible. Me thinks they might be a defensive liability.
Brock Nelson (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG) – After a torrid start that saw him put up seven points in his first three games Nelson has just three points in his last five. I think that’s probably more in line with what you should expect from him this season.
Damon Severson (1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG) – That’s seven points in eight games and I don’t see it continuing, but hey, points are points. Stream him like a eagle in outer space.
Ray Emery (W, 35 SV, 2 GA, .946%) – Emery has never been able to handle a starter’s load so don’t expect him to pick up the pieces for Steve Mason and run away with the gig. They’re both bleh and I wouldn’t own either with your team.
Mike Smith (W, 23 SV, 1 GA, .958%) – Hey, that’s two good games in a row for Smith! Though this one came against the Cats, so it doesn’t really count. He’s still garbage. Not as a person, mind you, I’m not here to make those kinds of judgments. But lets face it, as a goalie? So garbagey.
Evgeni Nabokov (L 4 SV, 4 GA, .500%) – Speaking of garbage, Nabby lasted just one period giving up four goals on eight shots. Ben Bishop (11 SV, 3 GA, .786%) came in and promptly allowed another three goals. It was a bad night for the Bolts, but this kind of game has to be expected out of the aging Nabby. Bishop should be fine.