The day has come! The NHL Season starts today! I’ll be waiting for daily notes until Friday since there are only four games tonight, but for this post I’m going to write about one thing I’m looking at closely for each team. Yes, some teams don’t start until Friday, but we’re covering all 31 of them here. Let’s get to it!
Boston Bruins- Can Karson Kuhlman look like he belongs in the top six? Kuhlman is getting first crack with DeBrusk and Krejci. If he sticks, we’re looking at a quality streaming option. If not, Heinen or someone else will go into the top six.
Buffalo Sabres – Can Victor Oloffson get off to a hot start on the first line? I’ve talked about him plenty lately, but you can’t ask for a better spot as a rookie than with Eichel and Reinhart.
Detroit Red Wings – Who is running the first power play unit? I was hoping for Filip Hronek, but it could be Dennis Cholowski. It won’t automatically make either guy a hold, but it’s a big boost.
Florida Panthers – How does Quenneville distribute the minutes? Boughner used to give the top guys massive minutes, will that continue? It could hurt a guy like Vincent Trocheck, but I doubt it.
Montreal Canadiens – Will Nick Suzuki stick with the team? I like him plenty long term and they seem intent on trying him on the second line to open the season. Perhaps he earns streamer status quickly? I also want to see how Jesperi Kotkaniemi looks in the early part of the season.
Ottawa Senators – How does the first line look? Was Stone the only reason the first line was dominate last season, or is Brady Tkachuk capable of driving play already? There’s not much to see here but if that line can hold up against other top lines, that bodes extremely well for the team’s future.
Tampa Bay Lightning – How does Patrick Maroon fit into the first power play unit? He won’t get a ton of time at even strength, but Maroon could work his way into being a hold if he gets the power play time and adds penalty minutes. He’s my favorite streamer to open the season.
Toronto Maple Leafs – What is the minutes distribution between the two power play units? Last season, it was fairly even, but it looks like Babcock is loading up the first unit this season. This is critical for Andreas Johnsson and Tyson Barrie‘s value on both sides of the spectrum.
Carolina Hurricanes – Same question as Toronto. It looks like Brind’Amour is balancing out their PP units which I’ve never been a fan of. A Svechnikov-Teravainen-Nino-Aho-Dougie power play would be outstanding but we’re getting nothing close to that. Since I’m high on a lot of Carolina players, I’ll be watching this closely.
Columbus Blue Jackets – Will Alexandre Texier lock into the first line? Also, will he get power play time? I am never sure what Torts is going to do with young guys and I have no clue with Texier, but I’m buying stock now just in case it clicks.
New Jersey Devils – How do the goalies look? I would rather gamble on MacKenzie Blackwood than Cory Schneider but it looks like Schneider will be the 1A to Blackwood’s 1B. Seeing how the Devils look defensively along with how the goalies look will go a long way between the Devils being a playoff contender or not.
New York Islanders – What defenseman is going to step up? Is it Devon Toews? Ryan Pulock? Even Nick Leddy? Maybe it won’t be any of them, but I feel like someone will emerge to be a bottom end hold.
New York Rangers – How are the blue line minutes distributed? After Trouba, it’s a big question mark. I’m hoping for Tony DeAngelo to get 20+ minutes and for Adam Fox to earn a decent role quickly.
Philadelphia Flyers – Can Shayne Gostisbehere and/or Ivan Provorov bounce back? Obviously the upside is higher with Ghost Bear, but Provorov did score 17 goals two seasons ago. I’m starting to get a little bullish on Gostisbehere straightening things out again with Hagg on the third pair and mostly on PP1, but time will tell.
Pittsburgh Penguins – Does Patric Hornqvist play PP1 and on the first line? He looked rough at times last season, but you can’t ask for a better situation than playing with Crosby. Makes for a nice DFS play early.
Washington Capitals – Who will play with Carlson? It looks to be Jonas Siegenthaler which won’t do us fantasy players much good. Side note, Richard Panik is on PP1 until Kuz comes back making him a nice deep league streamer.
Chicago Blackhawks – Will Alex Nylander actually play with Toews and Kane? I have my doubts that Toews and Kane play together to begin with, but that’s a big leap of faith on Nylander. If he does, then we’re talking elite streamer with hold potential.
Colorado Avalanche – Can Nazem Kadri bounce back like I think he will? His shot rate dropped drastically last season but I still think there’s a 30 goal, 250 shot guy in Kadri, especially being on the first power play unit. How he gels with Burakovsky and Jost will be huge for Colorado’s outlook.
Dallas Stars – Is Alexander Radulov really not going to be on PP1? I get having him on the second line instead of Pavelski, but it seems insane that he wouldn’t be on the first power play unit. I like Hintz, but he’s no Radulov. I have no long term doubts but it could hurt him early.
Minnesota Wild – How balanced are the forward minutes? I have little to no idea how Boudreau plans to use these guys and who will be with who. They’re another team where the power play minutes distribution will be telling.
Nashville Predators – How good can Forsberg-Duchene-Granlund be? That’s a lot of offensive firepower. Granlund is coming off a bad season by his standards, Forsberg dealt with injuries, and Duchene was great in Ottawa but struggled in Columbus. If these guys can click, we could see huge offensive totals.
St. Louis Blues – Can Robert Thomas make a big jump already? I love him long term, but it’s hard to say if the jump happens this year or down the line. It looks like he’ll get the power play time but who knows about even strength.
Winnipeg Jets – Can Andrew Copp keep up? Bryan Little is out so Copp is getting first crack at 2C in the meantime. His performance will impact Laine and Connor more than boost his own value. Also, who plays the most on the blue line besides Morrissey?
Anaheim Ducks – Will Maxime Comtois keep a roster spot for the season? There’s a ton of upside here and he’s starting the season with Getzlaf making him an interesting early streamer.
Arizona Coyotes – Can Derek Stepan be the pivot between Kessel and Keller? Both players are great offensively and brutal defensively at this point in their careers. If they want to be a net positive to the team, Stepan will have to be very good defensively. Playing with those two, he should work his way back to elite streamer status at the least.
Calgary Flames – Um, nothing? I feel like we know who the Flames are at this point top to bottom. I guess how David Rittich looks?
Edmonton Oilers – Who plays with McDavid and can they do anything? These wingers are an embarrassment and I can’t bet on any of them to perform. I guess James Neal could bounce back but I wouldn’t hold your breath.
Los Angeles Kings – Can they get anything from the second line? Ilya Kovalchuk and Jeff Carter fell off hard last season while Adrian Kempe didn’t take a step forward. They’ll need this group to perform at a top six level if they have any chance of hanging around the playoff picture.
San Jose Sharks – How many more minutes do the top six players receive? With Pavelski gone, we could see small increases in some cases or a big jump for someone like Kevin Labanc. Their first game against Vegas will be very interesting to see how the Sharks match up, especially without Kane for three games.
Vancouver Canucks – What defensemen are on which power play unit? They have flip-flopped a bunch in the preseason so it’s hard to say whether Alex Edler or Quinn Hughes will be on the first PP unit. Same goes with Bo Horvat as the Canucks may balance out their units more than I had hoped.
Vegas Golden Knights – Will Cody Glass stick with Stone and Patches? The former first round pick played with those two in Vegas’ last preseason game. There’s a chance for Glass to contend for the Calder if he plays there all season. He’s a great spec add in deeper leagues and is worth streaming early to see if he can run with that role.
That’s all for now guys. I’ll be back on Friday with actual notes on regular season games! As always, feel free to ask any questions, leave any comments, or give any suggestions below. Thanks for reading, and good luck to your teams!