A look around the league to see which players are getting better (or worse) assignments than we anticipated. Part 2 coming tomorrow.
Let's take a look around the league and some interesting developments in the first few games of the season.
The rest of the teams will be up in a day or two.
It's not a bad strategy to target whoever is playing with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. Well so far this year that's Kyle Palmieri. He has two points in three games and is playing about 14 minutes per game and getting some time on PP #2.
Dougie Hamilton is getting a ton of playing time. Over 18 minutes per so far and a juicy 3:19 on the PP. There's a good chance he can keep his hot start (three points in his last two games) going if those minutes continue
I'm getting the feeling many are not expecting much from Christian Ehrhoff. He played at a 40 point pace last year and has three points in four games so far. The most intriguing thing is that he has a big time 5:06 / game on the PP so far, which leads the Sabres.
Still hard to believe that Cody Hodgson is a #1 center this year, but it's actually happening. He's also getting nice minutes on the 1st PP unit. He has three goals in four games to show for it.
The Canes have already tried Zach Boychuk, Drayson Bowman and most recently Jiri Tlusty on L1 with Alexander Semin and Eric Staal. Keep an eye on this situation, whoever ends up sticking on this line could put up some handy numbers.
The Canes must love Semin as they are giving him tons of PP time, he leads the team with 5:39/game.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Ryan Johansen is only the #3 center (although he's playing with Vinny Prospal and Matt Calvert so it could be worse) but he's also getting minutes on the 1st PP unit. He has the fourth most PP TOI/gm on the club. Only a single assist to show for it so far but I'm hopeful he takes a big step forward this year.
Detroit Red Wings
You likely already know this but Damien Brunner won a job on L1 with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, although in the last game it was Brunner, Zetterberg and Johan Franzen. Brunner is getting lots of minutes (including 4:29/game on the PP) and has two goals so far. Lots to love here.
Raphael Diaz has five points in just three games. He has the second most PP TOI on the team and with the P.K. Subban contract situation going downhill, Diaz becomes a great target on your waiver wire.
New Jersey Devils
Dainius Zubrus has been playing the majority of the time on the Ilya Kovalchuk / Travis Zajac line. He has only one assist so far this season but he's a good guy to keep an eye on. If he can stay on this line and find some chemistry maybe he can get back to the 50-60 point pace he showed earlier in his career
New York Islanders.
Kyle Okposo and Brad Boyes were battling it out for the #1 RW job and the chance to play with John Tavares. Looks like Okposo has won the job at ES and Boyes has won the job on the PP. Okposo has 1+1=2 and Boyes has 1+2=3 so far.
For some bizarre reason Frans Nielsen is getting more PP TOI than Tavares.
Chris Kunitz may get out-shined by his superstar teammates but he's playing with Crosby at even strength and is the fifth man on their high powered 1st PP unit (Malkin, Crosby, Neal and Letang being the others).
Zack Kassian is playing with the Sedins at ES and a bit on the PP. That's a great place for the young power forward to be in. He has three goals in his last three games. Hopefully he doesn't get hurt.
Jordan Schroeder has the fifth most PP time per game on the team and the most of all non-Sedin forwards. He hasn't done much in the AHL so I wouldn't expect much from him.
Adam Oates is really leaning on his big dogs early as Mike Green and Alex Ovechkin are 1st and 2nd in PP TOI / game in the entire league. The results aren't there yet for Ovechkin as he has only one point. If you can pry him away from a panicked owner it might be a good idea.
Wojtek Wolski is playing with Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. You really can't ask for more. He's played at or above a 50 point pace a few different times in his career. It's possible he does it again this year.
John Carlson is only 10th on the team in PP TOI. Nine of the top 10 are forwards so I'm expecting Carlson's time with the man advantage to increase as Oates mixes things up looking for that first win.
Olli Jokinen leads all Jets forwards in PP TOI and has Blake Wheeler and Evander Kane on his wings at both ES and PP. He has no points so far but I think he makes a good buy low candidate.