The Sabres got off to a hot start this season despite their top line struggling to get on the scoresheet. On Saturday, they started the turnaround against the Blackhawks, but that game paled in comparison to what they did on Monday. Against the Red Wings, the Sabres scored eight goals, led by their $50 million man, Tage Thompson. Thompson had the game of the early season, scoring three goals, dishing three assists, and putting nine total shots on goal. All it took was two games for Thompson to turn his October into a monster month with 6+6 in nine games with over four shots per game. Granato told him that he needed to start shooting the puck more, and that’s turned into 25 shots in the past three games alone. Obviously he’s not going to keep up that rate, but Thompson could turn into a top 50 player if he pushes his shot rate to over four per game. Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Jeff Skinner – Goal and two assists with four shots. Monday’s goal was Skinner’s 300th, which is quite the total for a 30 year old. He’s right on the fringe depending on team needs, but I’m leaning towards hold again.
Kyle Okposo – Two assists with three shots. He’s a solid streamer as long as he sticks with Thompson and Skinner.
Rasmus Dahlin – Goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM. Dahlin is playing as well as any defenseman in the league right now. My bold prediction that Dahlin ends as a top 5 fantasy defenseman is off to a great start.
Martin Necas – Two assists with four shots and two PIM. Monster start from Necas who has a point in eight of nine games this season. He could smash all of his previous career highs.
Jonathan Quick – 27 saves on 28 shots in the 5-1 win over the Blues. Man, the Blues are a disaster right now. Quick has been a disaster so far. I have him in the desperation tier for now.
Kevin Fiala – Goal and three assists with five shots and two PIM over two games. Moving off the top line hasn’t hurt Fiala at all. As long as he stays on PP1, there’s no concern here.
Carl Grundstrom – Two goals and an assist with six shots and two PIM over two games. Nothing to see here even playing with Fiala.
Gabriel Vilardi – Goal and an assist with two shots on Monday. Vilardi has been terrific. It’s great to see him healthy and thriving. He’s fit perfectly on the first line and while he won’t keep up this place, he’s still an easy hold everywhere.
Igor Shesterkin – 19 save shutout in the 1-0 OT win over Carter Hart and the Flyers. Igor hasn’t been close to last season’s level yet, but his “slow” start is still really damn good. As for Hart, he’s been the best goalie in the league so far, constantly stealing games or points for the Flyers. I’m not sure it’ll last, but the talent is undeniable.
Nikita Kucherov – Goal and two assists with four shots. It was a slow start for Kucherov in the goals department, but now he has a goal in four straight. It was only a matter of time.
Steven Stamkos – Two assists with eight shots. If Stammer keeps up this shot rate and stays healthy, we can be looking at his first 50 goal season in 11 years.
Brayden Point – Goal and an assist with four shots. Very good start from Point who looks the best he has in a while.
Mikhail Sergachev – Goal and an assist with four shots and four PIM. Hedman was out for this game letting Sergachev play on PP1. It won’t last, but I would love to see what Sergachev could do with a top pair role for a full season. As is, he’s still an easy hold, but the ceiling is much lower.
Alex Pietrangelo – Three assists with two PIM. I have no idea why he’s playing on PP1, but it’s a huge win for Pietrangelo’s fantasy value. He has #2 upside, although I think he’s more of a #3.
Jack Eichel – Goal and an assist with two shots. Vegas is getting everything that they hoped for from Eichel this season.
Hampus Lindholm – Goal and three assists with three shots and two PIM. Lindholm was everywhere in this game, capping it with an amazing shot to complete the comeback in OT. He won’t keep up this point pace, especially when McAvoy comes back, but Lindholm has solidified himself as an easy hold again.
Evgeni Malkin – Goal and an assist with four shots. Just stay healthy!
Brock McGinn – Two assists. And there’s your annual McGinn update!
Marc-Andre Fleury – 34 saves on 35 shots in the 4-1 win over the Canadiens. It’s been a nightmare start from Fleury, but at least he’s still getting wins in the meantime. Don’t expect a Vegas type of season from him, but he should get back to being a #2.
Kirill Kaprizov – Two goals on five shots. It feels like Kaprizov is struggling a bit, but he has eight goals. That’s the sign of a true superstar.
Joel Eriksson Ek – Two assists with six shots. JEEK has played his way into being a bottom end hold. The shot rate is excellent and he’s a big factor on the Wild’s first power play unit.
Matt Boldy – Goal and an assist with three shots and two PIM. Excellent start to the season for Boldy, who is taking a lot more shots and being rewarded for it. Everything he is doing looks sustainable.
Ilya Sorokin – 21 saves on 22 shots in the 3-1 win over the Blackhawks. Sorokin looks every bit of the part for being a top 5 goalie this season.
Brock Nelson – Goal and an assist with five shots. Nelson is getting massive minutes right now, a clear step up with Lambert. It makes me very bullish on his chances of setting a new career high in points.
Roope Hintz – Two goals and an assist with four shots. The shot rate needs to take a jump up, but the points have been excellent from Hintz. The Dallas PP finally looks to be getting back on track.
Jason Robertson – Goal and two assists with six shots. Dallas’ top line certainly belongs in the discussion for the best line in the league. It’s not quite there, but it’s one of the best going.
Jamie Benn – Two assists with seven shots. Benn is a fine streamer as long as he stays on the first power play unit, but his days of being a clear hold are over.
Miro Heiskanen – Two assists with four shots. Nice to see Heiskanen back in the lineup and producing right away. I still think we see his best offensive season by a mile this year.
Oliver Bjorkstrand – Two assists with two shots. Bjorkstrand cooled off after a strong start, but the shot rate is still elite. I’m more in the elite streamer category unless you’re desperate for shots.
Tyler Toffoli – Goal and an assist with four shots. The Flames shuffled their lines, which resulted in Toffoli ending up on the second line, but he’s still with Elias Lindholm (2A). While the start has been disappointing, I’m still holding both without hesitation and expect a turnaround sooner than later.
Filip Forsberg – Goal and two assists with two shots. The top players did all the damage for Nashville, as Matt Duchene, Roman Josi, and Mikael Granlund all had two assists. The problem was that they were no match for Edmonton’s top guys. Nashville is off to a slow start, but I fully expect the top three guys to be stars, while Granlund should be a decent streamer for assists and PPP.
Leon Draisaitl – Goal and four assists with three shots. Connor McDavid had two goals and two assists with eight shots, while Evander Kane had a hat trick on eight shots. In his last nine games against the Predators, Draisaitl has 22 points. Is that good? McDavid looks like a man on a mission this year to score all of the goals. Kane is taking full advantage of playing with these two superstars and performing like a fantasy superstar once again.
Yegor Sharangovich – Goal and an assist with three shots. He’s a middling streamer while he’s with Jack Hughes (1+1, eight shots).
Bo Horvat – Two goals on five shots. Dr. Bo quietly is up to eight goals as he continues to cut up the competition.
J.T. Miller – Two assists. Miller is going to be good regardless, but his shot rate has to tick back up if he wants to come close to being as valuable as he was last season.
Clayton Keller – Goal and an assist with four shots. Keller is above a point per game, but the shot rate is below two per game and the plus-minus is dreadful. Moreso than almost every player, his value is greatly determined by your league format.
Karel Vejmelka – 41 saves on 42 shots in the 3-1 win over the Panthers. Vejmelka has these type of games seemingly once a month. The overall numbers are going to be very ugly, but if you play DFS and mass enter, he’s worth a dart throw because he’s always going to be incredibly low owned and can break a slate.
Adam Henrique – Two goals on four shots. Check out Henrique’s second goal because I didn’t think he had a move like that in his repertoire. He had one point before this game, so it’ll take a good stretch of hockey for Henrique to get back on the streaming radar.
Kevin Shattenkirk – Two assists with two shots and ten PIM. With Jamie Drysdale out for 4-6 months, perhaps Shattenkirk can get back to being 12’er relevant. He’s piling up PIM at the least.
Troy Terry – Two assists with seven shots. Terry is proving that last season wasn’t a fluke at all.
Erik Karlsson – Hat trick and an assist with five shots and two PIM. Oh my. Karlsson’s first career hat trick brings him up to eight goals already. It’s outstanding to see him healthy again and being a dominant force.
Tomas Hertl – Two assists. Hertl is on the fringe right now. I’m not liking his shot rate trend.
Timo Meier – Two goals on nine shots. One of the goals was shot by Silfverberg into his own net, but they count the same! Meier was due for some good fortune with the brutal shooting luck he had in October.
Alexander Barabanov – Two assists with three shots. Barabanov’s shot rate is so poor that he’s only a bottom end streamer.
Three Point Challenge: We’re going to transition to using the current Top 10 scorers in points. There’s going to be a bunch of ties so it’ll be more than 10 players, but it also will give more options for better players who have started slow. For now, you can’t select Draisaitl, McDavid, Pastrnak, Panarin, Bratt, Kucherov, Necas, M. Tkachuk, Robertson, Kaprizov, Zibanejad, Vilardi, or Fiala. We’ll be doing Thursday’s games. I’m going to go with Barkov against the Sharks.
That’s all for now guys. I’ll be back on Friday recapping the action from the next two nights. As always, feel free to ask any questions, leave any comments, or give any suggestions below. Thanks for reading, take care!