Goals were plentiful around the NHL on Thursday night, none more than in Florida where the Panthers went eight ball, corner pocket on the Ducks. The Panthers won 8-3 with Radim Vrbata leading the way. Vrbata netted his seventh career hat trick and his first three goals as a Panther on six shots. That brings him to 9 points in 10 games with elite shots and solid PIM. I wouldn’t expect the PIM to last but the points and shots should be plenty to make him a hold. He’s available in over 50% of leagues right now so grab Vrbata while you can. He’s a clear must own in 12’ers and probably should be owned in 10’ers as well. Let’s take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
Mikael Backlund – Two goal on three shots. Backlund remains firmly in the streamer category although I suspect one or two stretches this year where he’s a short term hold.
Matthew Tkachuk – Two assists with two shots. Excellent start to my biggest breakout who is getting the minutes he deserves. Tkachuk is a plus in all categories right now.
Alex Steen – Goal and three assists with four shots. Steen was pointless in his first three games before exploding in this one. He’s right on the fence between stream and hold; it comes down to whether or not you think the shot rate will bounce back.
Paul Stastny – Goal and an assist with two shots and two PIM. Stastny needs to be owned everywhere with 10 points in 10 games and solid stats in the extra categories.
Brayden Schenn – Two assists. Monster start for Schenn in St. Louis showing off an extra gear than he showed in Philly.
Sergei Bobrovsky – 34 saves on 35 shots in the 5-1 win over the Sabres. Bob has been everything you could have hoped for if you took him in the first couple rounds.
Seth Jones – Goal and an assist with three shots. It’s not flashy but Jones is starting to expand his offensive game. The shot rate has jumped to elite range for a defenseman so if that can be maintained, he should end up as a solid #3 despite poor PIM.
Anton Khudobin – 36 saves on 37 shots in the 2-1 win over the Sharks. His short term value is approaching the end as Tuukka Rask‘s return is imminent.
Dalton Heinen – First two career goals. Congrats to the 22 year old but unless the minutes go up (under 9 in this game), there’s nothing to see here.
Boo Nieves – Three assists with two shots in his first game of the season, second career. You’re my boy, Boo! Nieves seems like more of a depth player at this point which doesn’t do much for his fantasy value. He was a solid goal scorer in college but didn’t light the AHL on fire. It’s not impossible the second round pick turns into something but I’m holding off for now.
Pavel Buchnevich – Two goals, +3 for some #1 streamer success! For this year, Butcher seems destined to be a guy who you stream all the time but can’t break into hold status.
Michael Grabner – Two goals on eight shots, +4. Grabner has been awful to start the year and for now, this game doesn’t do enough to keep him off the streaming radar.
Matt Murray – 30 saves on 31 shots in the 2-1 OT win over the Jets. Murray should start getting his ratios into better shape sooner than later. The good news is that he’s won 7 of his first 8 starts to at least give his owners some great value there.
Phil Kessel – Goal on nine shots. Congrats to the President of The Round Face Club on his 300th career goal! Celebrate it with some Primanti Bros.
Teuvo Teravainen – Goal and two assists. Teravainen is one of those players who makes me think he can be incredible but can’t put it together for more than a couple games in a row. He’s just turned 23 years old so there’s still time but for now, he’s a middling streamer.
Josh Jooris – Two goals on four shots. And there’s your annual Josh Jooris update!
Victor Rask – Goal and an assist. Rask has been absolutely dreadful to start the year and the minutes have plummeted so I’m ignoring him for the time being.
Haydn Fleury – Two assists. He’s useless in fantasy at this point in his career (5 shots in 8 games, low minutes) but at 21 years old, the former 7th overall pick can still be of value in dynasties.
Auston Matthews – Goal and an assist with four shots. Matthews has been excellent across the board outside of PIM.
Jonathan Quick – 40 save shutout in the 4-0 win over the Canadiens. There were a lot of easy shots for Quick to face but nonetheless it’s an impressive shutout. His tactical changes that I discussed on Tuesday’s podcast really seem to be paying off in the early going.
Adrian Kempe – Goal and an assist. I know the Kings are rolling so they’re unlikely to change things but can John Stevens start playing this kid more? That’s 9 points (6+3) in the last five games with less than 15 minutes every game, usually around 12. I’d stream him while he’s hot but I’m expecting Kempe to cool off unless the minutes jump.
Sean Couturier – Goal and two assists with six shots playing over 20 minutes. He’s somehow still available in 50% of leagues so stop reading, go pick him up, and then finish reading the rest of these notes!
Jakub Voracek – Goal and an assist with seven shots and two PIM. Good lord, Voracek is playing out of his mind. This was his first goal but 13 assists and over 3.5 shots per game is outstanding.
Ivan Provorov – Goal and an assist with four shots. It’s not going to be anything great at the end of the year but it should be decent enough across the board to hold for now.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau – Goal and two assists with two shots playing almost 21 minutes. There’s a ton of value in deep leagues or leagues that count hits, blocks, and faceoffs. In standard leagues, Pageau is a bottom-end streamer.
Erik Karlsson – Two assists with two shots and two PIM. How the hell has he won only one Norris Trophy? Blasphemy.
Frans Nielsen – Two goals on four shots with two PIM. Nielsen has gone from a hold on the Islanders two seasons ago to being virtually unusable in fantasy in 18 months. Perhaps Nielsen can build on this but he still doesn’t have an assist on the season, he’s never good in PIM and the shot rate is below average.
Nikita Kucherov – Goal and an assist with seven shots and two PIM. I guess ranking him highest out of everyone at #3 overall wasn’t high enough! Kucherov and Steven Stamkos (G, 4 SOG) became the 7th pair of teammates to open up the season with 11 game point streaks. Absolutely incredible.
Chris Wagner – Two assists with six shots and two PIM. Wagner has 2+3 in his last four games which is one of the most unlikely things I’ve seen to start the year. Don’t worry, something crazier is coming up later (spoiler alert!).
Vincent Trocheck – Goal and two assists with two shots. Excellent start for Trocheck who is at a point per game with over three shots per. He seems to have developed some chemistry with Vrbata which gives him a good chance to set a new career high in points(54).
Aleksander Barkov – Goal and two assists with two shots. Was it really necessary for Barkov to play over 20 minutes in a game that Florida rolled in? Ease the workload a little bit Boughner. Good for us fantasy owners though.
Evgeny Dadonov – Two goals on four shots. Dadonov is also at a point per game showing that he’s having no problem transitioning back to the NHL.
Jonathan Huberdeau – Two assists. He’s not far off the Tampa duo has Huberdeau has a point in all but one game to open the season. Usually when a team scores 8 goals, the depth comes through, but that wasn’t the case for Florida. Their big guns had 7 goals with Owen Tippett, their first round pick from this year, scoring the other.
Josh Bailey – Three assists with a shot (of Bailey’s). That’s a five game point streak for Bailey but boy, the shots are dreadful. I’m fine with streaming him if you need the assists but he’s a true AAGNOF right now.
Johnny Boychuk – Two assists with five shots and two PIM. I usually like Boychuk as a bottom end option in fantasy because of the shot rate but these were his first two points of the season. I’d hold in deep leagues but would look elsewhere in 12’ers.
Nick Leddy – Goal and an assist with eight shots. Leddy, like his partner, has started slow but I’m still holding on to him.
Mathew Barzal – Goal and an assist playing almost 17 minutes. We’re starting to see some signs from Barzal with 5 points in the last 5 games. I’d stream him while the minutes are up. For dynasties, Reid and I still love him.
Eric Staal – Goal and an assist with four shots. If your league includes short handed points and you own Staal, congrats on winning the week in that category since both of Staal’s points came on the man disadvantage.
Jared Spurgeon – Two assists with three shots. Spurgeon is extremely underrated in real life and while he’s not at that level in fantasy, he’s still worth owning.
Marcus Foligno – Goal and an assist with two shots. Foligno has been solid to start the year with 5 points in 7 games but the shot rate sucks. In deep leagues, Foligno should definitely be owned for the hits but the minutes are already starting to go down with the team getting healthier.
Alexander Radulov – Goal and two assists with four shots playing almost 21 minutes. Not a great start for Radulov but he hasn’t been bad either. Look for him to start a hot streak soon enough.
Jamie Benn – Two goals on four shots. If it wasn’t for the Tampa guys lighting the world on fire, people would be talking about Benn right now. He has 7 goals in the last 7 games with 13 points in his first 10 games with 8 PIM and 35 SOG. Six category stud once again.
Leon Draisaitl – Three assists with a shot playing a whopping 23:50 in his second game back from injury. I think he’s just fine.
Milan Lucic – Two assists. Meh, Lucic is okay for what he is but it’s very generic.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Two goals. I watched this game extensively and RNH looked great. That said, he’s only a streamer right now.
Darnell Nurse – Two assists, two shots, two PIM. The shot rate and PIM are great firmly putting him in play in deep leagues given great hits and blocks. Standard leagues, I’m still passing. The crazy thing is that Nurse is still only 22 years old so I’m still not giving up on him long term.
Sven Baertschi – Two goals and an assist with four shots. Baertschi is hotter than a pistol right now with 8 points in his last 7 games. At the least, you need to be streaming him while he’s on fire.
Brock Boeser – Three assists with four shots. I spent time talking up Boeser on the last podcast and then he has his first career three point game. He needs to be owned everywhere right now.
Bo Horvat – Goal and an assist with two shots. Dr. Bo is out here cutting up the opposition! It hasn’t been anything otherworldly but Horvat should still be held.
Derek Dorsett – Goal and an assist with two shots. Okay, this is the biggest surprise to me. How in the f*** does Derek Dorsett have six goals already? I never thought I would say this but he’s firmly in play right now given that he already has a whopping 44 PIM. Nothing like playing at a 50 goal, 350 PIM pace to start the year. There’s a good chance Dorsett doesn’t score 6 goals the rest of the season but you might as well ride him while he’s hot if you need the PIM, especially if your league includes hits.
Sven Andrighetto (15.3%) – He’s had a solid start to the season with 6 points in 9 games and I’m still expecting the shoe to drop on Vegas sooner than later. Regardless, Colorado should find their way on the score sheet a few times giving Andrighetto a great opportunity for a point.
Drew Stafford (4.1%) – Stafford has 3 goals and an assist in five games and is playing on the top line with Hall and Hischier. The Devils play Ottawa, who will be on the second of a back-to-back, so you really can’t find much better spots than this one for Stafford to produce.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau (6.5%) – I know I said he’s a bottom end streamer above but I’m still using him tonight. The Devils have Kinkaid in net, Pageau is coming off a big game where he played over 20 minutes, and he’s getting power play time. I’ll take my chances.
That’s all for now guys. I’ll be back Monday recapping all of the weekend’s action. As always, feel free to ask any questions or leave any comments below. Thanks for reading, take care!