We’re just about a week into the season and all of us are riding the steep emotional roller coaster that only small sample sizes can provide.
After a four to two win over Dallas Tim Thomas was the cagey veteran with lots of "gas in the tank". Now, after being chased in a seven to nothing loss versus St.Louis he is a soon-to-be 40 year old that has lost a step.
Steven Stamkos hasn’t scored in two games, registering only four shots. Conversely, James van Riemsdyk already has three goals, five points, and 13 shots on net (editor’s note: Do not trade Stamkos for JVR).
Yes, things are a little silly right now, but in the coming weeks the numbers should start to regain a level of normalcy. There will however be some players who legitimately get off to a fast start that outpaces their career averages (Thomas Vanek and Patrick Marleau in 2012-13). If you are lucky enough to have someone on your team that shoots out of the gate make sure you shop them vigorously to other managers.
In our keeper league last year a fellow poolie nabbed the Blues Vladimir Tarasenko in the late rounds. If you remember Tarasenko started his NHL career incredibly strong – 10 points in his first eight games. Everyone in the league was clamoring to acquire him, throwing offer after offer at the manager. He wouldn’t budge, convinced that Vladmir was, to quote him, "The next Evgeni Malkin". Within six weeks Tarasenko had been dropped to the waiver wire.
Beware of small sample sizes.
Onto today’s daily dosage…
Philadelphia vs. Carolina
Luke Schenn ended the game with 1 goal, 2 shots, 4 hits and 3 blocked shots. The oldest Schenn brother has a reputation as one of the more consistent hitters in the NHL – finishing first among defenceman (3rd in the league) with 187 hits in 47 games last season.
Jeff Skinner had 2 assists and 5 shots to go along with a plus 2 rating. Skinner now has 3 points in Carolina’s first 2 games. Last season he was on pace for an impressive 310 shots; which would put him among the game’s elite. The big question with Jeff is can he stay healthy.
Fantasy line of the game: Surprisingly the fantasy line of the night goes to Carolina’s back-up Anton Khudobin. He made 17 saves on 18 shots, resulting in a .944 goals against average and earning the win. It’s highly unlikely any goalie controversy is brewing in Carolina, given that Ward is such a work horse, but I was a bit surprised to see Anton starting in a non back-to-back situation.
Fantasy bust of the game: It pains me to say it, since I’m a proud supporter of Jacob Voracek, but his fantasy line was less than impressive. He finished with zeros across the board aside form 2 minutes in penalties. He has bounced around the flyers line up a bit, even getting some time on the third line. Going into the season he was projected to be riding shotgun with one of the games premier play-makers in Giroux. My hope is that Flyers coach Peter Laviolette re-establishes last year’s top line in the near future.
Anaheim vs. Winnipeg
This was Teemu Selanne's final game in Winnipeg, he surely was looking to pot at least one but ended the evening with 4 shots and a minus 1 rating. I can't help but wonder if he would have shot his glove in mid air once last time? We'll never know.
Always nice to see a top fantasy pick get going as Corey Perry was able to score the game winner late, adding 3 shots and a hit.
Ducks Goalie Victor Fasth got the win, stopping 15 of 17 shots. Fasth has now started two games, with Hiller starting one last week. This looks to be a classic tandem situation. If you have either of these goalies it will be difficult to crown an official starter.
Fantasy line of the game: Jets captain ANdrew Ladd had 2 goals, 2 shots and 3 hits. Both goals were assisted by line-mate Blake Wheeler - clearly that line is carrying over their production from last year. The only disappointing stat for Ladd owners is that he only saw the fifth most power play time.
Fantasy bust of the game: Ryan Getzlaf had zeros in all offensive categories, but did chip in with 2 shots and 3 hits. He now has only 1 assist through 3 games. It is of course exceedingly early in the season, he'll surely step up the production soon.
Vancouver vs. Calgary
Daniel Sedin had 1 assist and 6 shots, while brother Henrik finished with 1 assist, 2 shots and 2 hits.
Canuck's winger Chris Higgins had an assist and 5 shots on net. The 30 year old had 43 points and 165 shots in 2011-12. He has some underlying fantasy potential as long as he's skating in a top 6 role.
Back-up goaltender Eddie Lack started the game and made 32 of 36 saves in the 5 to 4 win for Vancouver. No, there is not a goalie controversy brewing...
Calgary defenceman Mark Giordano is off to a nice start this season, he had 1 goal, 3 shots and 3 blocked shots. That gives him 4 points in 3 games to go along with 11 shots. He is worth a look if you need an end of the roster defenceman.
Jiri Hudler posted 2 assists in the loss. A nice sleeper in points only leagues where 50 points is a possibility.
Former Avalanche forward David Jones is off to a strong start for Calgary, he now has 2 goals and 2 assists through 3 games. His career high is 27 goals and 45 points for Colorado in 2010-11. Right now he is skating on the de facto first line with Joe Colborne and Curtis Glencross.
Fantasy line of the game: Vancouver centerman Mike Santorelli managed to score 2 goals while also filling the peripheral categories with 2 shots, 2 PIMs and 2 blocked shots. The 27 year old does have a 41 point campaign on his resume from 2010-11, while playing with Florida. Despite the strong line last night, I would hold off on any waiver claims. Santorelli is slotted to play on the third line.
Fantasy bust of the game: Calgary's back up tender Joey McDonald 5 goals on 28 shots, leaving poolies with a save percentage of .821 (although it serves you right for drafting Joey McDonald)
Gustav Nyquist – the Red Wings prospect was one of the final cuts from training camp and is showing that he may be too good for American League hockey. He has one goal and three assists in two games for the Grand Rapids Griffins. He is an injury or two away from a top nine spot in Detroit – a keeper league must.
Eric O’Dell – Was drafted 39th overall by Anaheim in the 2008 entry draft. His four goals in two games lead all AHL scorers. Last season he finished with 55 points in 59 games for the St. John’s Ice Caps, good for 20th in league scoring.
Jake Allen – the St.Louis Blues top prospect has played one game, a strong 41 save effort in a two to one win over San Antnio. Allen suited up for 15 NHL games last year, posting a 2.46 goals against average and .905 save percentage. I would expect him to see some time with the big club sooner rather than later.
Jack Campbell – The 21 year old Dallas Stars prospect was chosen 11th overall in the 2010 entry draft. He had 18 saves in a four to one victory over Chicago. He is likely a couple of years away from NHL action, currently slotted behind starter Kari Lehtonen and back up Dan Ellis on Dallas’ depth chart.