As a change of pace from the usual daily notes, I want to highlight ten different things that have stood out to me in the early going, whether it’s good, bad, or something we need to monitor going forward. I’m going to get my first hold/stream list out in the next week or two, but I want some things to take shape more than they currently are. Let’s get right to it!
1) Who is going to be the third wheel in Colorado with MacKinnon and Rantanen?
It started off with Jonathan Drouin, then it was Valeri Nichushkin, and for the last two periods on Thursday, it was Tomas Tatar. Tatar did get an assist with that line in the third period. My assumption is that Tatar is going to start Saturday’s game on the first line, but it seems very fluid. If Tatar sticks there, he’s going to be a hold. He has a long history of performing well at even strength in the regular season, let alone with those two superstars. Nichushkin is a hold for me either way, where Drouin’s level of streaming depends on who he is with. He had an incredible pass that led to a goal that was overturned by offsides.
2) Is Seth Jarvis having the post-hype breakout after a sophomore slump?
Despite Aho’s absence the last two games, Jarvis has been on fire with four goals and an assist. There’s a few things that point to Jarvis being a hold in all formats with the upside to break out in a big way. One, the minutes are through the roof. He’s averaging close to 20 minutes per game, a 20% boost. Two, he’s getting real power play time. Jarvis already has 3 PPG this season, which is more than he had in the first two seasons of his career combined. Three, nobody denies Jarvis’ talent. He was a top pick for a reason, and we saw what he was capable as a 19 year old rookie. Not everyone’s development is a straight progression, and Jarvis is making last season look like a hiccup more than what’s to come. He needs to be held everywhere right now because there’s a chance Jarvis is a game changer.
3) Is the Dylan Larkin – Alex DeBrincat connection really this good?
The Red Wings are piling up goals so far, and most of them are coming from the top line. DeBrincat had 5+3 while Larkin has 1+5 in four games. Larkin has also been extremely unlucky, having only one goal on 5.5 shots per game. I don’t want to say Larkin’s career has been disappointing, but he looked on the verge of stardom in the 2018-19 season. DeBrincat might have been the guy to unlock it. In other words, if you have these guys, definitely do not sell high. NoHo Hank has the Red Wings playing a very entertaining style, at least so far.
4) Will the Ducks give us a line that is valuable in all formats?
Nobody denies the talent of Troy Terry and Trevor Zegras, but neither have been slam dunk holds at all times the last two seasons because of how poor they were at even strength. Leo Carlsson was the surprise second pick in the draft, but it’s more of people loving Fantilli than a knock on Carlsson. In his NHL debut against one of the Cup favorites in Dallas, Carlsson scored a goal, finishing +2 with Terry and Zegras. This line could be amazing long term, but I think it has the chance to be this season. Even though Anaheim should be terrible, this line could pile up points and still be good at even strength. The Ducks are about to go on a long road trip starting next Tuesday. Let’s see how many minutes these guys get and whether or not they stay together.
5) Is Winnipeg this bad defensively?
The Panthers game that Winnipeg won is misleading, as Florida scored two goals with the goalie pulled. They also had the better of the Flames game in the opener. You can argue that they did on Thursday as well against Vegas. Regardless, they’ve been a sieve defensively so far. Add in that Hellebuyck hasn’t played well and they’ve already allowed 19 goals in four games. Am I panicking? No, but I do have some concern. After Saturday, they have three games in a row where they’re arguably favorites to win. Can they limit the high danger chances? If not, then it could get ugly for Hellebuyck owners. I wouldn’t necessarily sell him as Bowness should clean it up, but perhaps the roster is simply lacking too much.
6) Are we really doing the Jack Campbell experiment again?
I get that the Oilers are trying to salvage their five year commitment to Campbell. At the same time, he was a dumpster fire last season and Stuart Skinner had a very respectable .913 save percentage in 48 games. Campbell was shellacked in their opener before having a big game against the Predators. Then, he got another start and was lit up by the Flyers. I know Skinner had a bad start, but what are we doing here? I have to think Skinner gets the start on Saturday against the Jets, and if have him in fantasy, I would really be hoping for a quality start. Otherwise, Woodcroft will keep giving Campbell a longer leash. Like with Hellebuyck, I’m not panicking about Skinner, but it is concerning.
7) Are we streaming every goalie that starts against the Sharks? Is it worth streaming anyone on the Sharks, let alone holding a player?
On one hand, the Sharks opened their season with Vegas, Colorado, Carolina, and Boston. That’s the four division winners from last season and many of the betting favorites to win the Cup this season. On the other hand, they have six goals in four games, all of which were at home. Now, they have five straight road games. It’s extremely ugly at the moment, and my assumption is that I would stream literally anybody against the Sharks. For example, if Matt Tomkins, a career minor leaguer, starts for Tampa next week against the Sharks, he’s an easy stream. I can’t imagine passing on streaming a goalie against the Sharks, and at the same time, I can’t really imagine streaming anybody, even Tomas Hertl. Let’s see if they do anything on this road trip with the slight step down in competition.
8) Could Washington be in the same boat as the Sharks?
It’s only three games, but boy, it’s an ugly three games. They were blown out by the Pens and Sens, sandwiched by Darcy Kuemper standing on his head against the Flames. The more concerning thing is that they have three goals in three games if you don’t count the goal they’re credited for winning the shootout against the Flames. I want to see how they look in their next four games against Montreal, Toronto, New Jersey, and the Wild. There’s a chance that streaming every goalie against the Capitals is also a play.
9) Is Sean Durzi going to be a hold in all formats?
The Durzi trade went a bit under the radar, and with Chychrun + Gostisbehere out of the picture, the path is there for Durzi to break out. Loyal Razzballers know I’m bullish on Arizona this season, and there’s a chance Durzi blows up. After posting 1.5 shots per game in L.A., Durzi is averaging three in the early going. He has always piled up blocks, and now the minutes are through the roof. If he’s available in your league, I would grab Durzi now, as he could end up being a #3 in 12’ers.
10) Will the Flyers be respectable defensively?
Yes, the Flyers will be bad despite their 3-1 start. However, there is a path to them being a decent defensive team instead of somebody we target streamers against. Sean Couturier‘s return does them wonders, and Torts teams usually punch above their weight defensively. If that happens, Carter Hart can play his way back into being a solid #2. I wrote in my preseason goaltending rankings that the upside is there, and he’s off to a strong start against some prolific offensive teams. The schedule doesn’t ease up much through the end of the month so I’m looking forward to seeing how they hold up.
That’s all for now guys. I’ll be back on Monday recapping the action from the weekend. As always, feel free to ask any questions, leave any comments, or give any suggestions below. Thanks for reading, take care!