HEADS UP... we updated our 2010/11 Fantasy Scouting Report Monday so if you have a late draft this weekend then this is some of the freshest fantasy hockey draft advice, projections & cheatsheets that you can find.
Big fantasy night for Evander Kane as he had two goals, four PIMs and seven sogs... he's not going to do that every night but what was really encouraging was the 18 minutes of ice-time that new coach Craig Ramsay gave him as last year Kane averaged less than 14 mpg with barely any PP time. We like Kane for a breakout this year (right around 50 points) and he's off to a flying start.
Also with the Thrashers... Ramsay gave the vote of confidence to dman Zach Bogosian as he led the team in ice-time with 25:09 and manned the #1 PP unit with Enstrom (over Byfuglien). People seem to be down on this kid after a sophomore season where he didn't show much progress (23 points) but this kid's only 20 and he's gonna be a good one, so don't sleep on him.
Reason #3460 why the pre-season is meaningless... you know how many panties were in bunches about where Bobby Ryan was going to play, #2C or 2nd line LW??? So where did he play last night?... back in his regular spot on LW on the 1st line.
We've been talking about a little known Devils dman Matt Taormina the past few days, some people probably wondered if we'd lost it... well he started the year playing 21:38 last night which was the most of any dman on the team and also led the team in PP time (just 1:09). He looks like a real favourite of coach John MacLean's so he's definitely worth keeping an eye on. We have him ranked at #134 in our fantasy prospect rankings but that was assuming that he was a few years away.
Pavel Datsyuk had the Gordie Howe Hat-Trick as he dropped the gloves with Corey Perry last night and even got a couple of healthy shots in... that's what we like to see from the 4-time Lady Byng winner.
Pascal Leclaire got the opening night start for the Sens and was solid by all accounts stopping 34 of 36 in the loss... so he has the early lead over Brian Elliott in the race for playing time but his next injury is likely right around the corner.
FYI Cory Schneider owners... don't be alarmed if you see him demoted a few times this year (it already happened once) as the Canucks are real tight against the cap and they get relief for any days he's not with team, so they'll probably have him on a plane between Vancouver & the Peg on off days quite a bit this year.
Speaking of Winnipeg, Cody Hodgson is on his way there after the Canucks demoted him. If he's healthy and plays the way he can then we don't think he'll be there long.
Tampa has announced that Mike Smith is their opening night starter... they also said earlier that both goalies would get their chances to prove themselves early in the season but Smith looks to have the slight edge right now.