Not even ten games in and players with track records are being dropped in many leagues. I am not immune to the impatience of slow starts by some proven players, but I am very reluctant to drop a player who is an established performer. There may come a time to cut your losses, but that time isn't now. It's been said that the NHL season is not a sprint, but a marathon. Where you are in the standings right now is irrelevant as long as you are in first place at the END of the season. This week, we'll go on a whirlwind tour of the Eastern Conference.
The team has bolted out of the gates, losing only once in regulation (to Ottawa) in six contests to start the season. Leading the way with seven goals is of course Ilya Kovalchuk. He, Enstrom, Kozlov, Little and White are receiving the lion's share of power play ice time. Peverley is tied with Kovalchuk for the team lead in points with eight and Enstrom has been steady, recording a point in all the Thrasher wins, but none in the two losses. Ondrej Pavelec has started five of the six games, recording a 2.37 goals-against-average and a stellar 0.930 save percentage. Atlanta has the second best power play in the league.
Savard has seven points in seven games, but will miss the next four to six weeks due to a foot injury. Bergeron is outpointing Krejci so far this year – six to three in eight matches, but with Krejci coming back from injury sooner than expected that shouldn't have been a surprise. Chara leads the team with 20 penalty minutes. The problem for Boston is that heading into last night's game, they had the 22nd ranked power play and 27th ranked penalty kill.
Ryan Miller has been exceptional this season with a goals-against-average of 1.66 and a save percentage of 0.942. Although towering Tyler Myers has five points in seven games, Chris Butler leads the team in ice time and was receiving the fourth most power play ice time, 4:06 compared to Myers (2:57). Clarke MacArthur is tied with Connolly and Roy as the teams leading scorer with six points. Vanek scored a goal in his return to action last night.
The Hurricanes were tied for 25th in the league for goals scored per game, averaging only 2.12 goals per contest. Only the woeful Nashville (The Preds two goals last night actually increased their average!), Montreal and Toronto score less goals per game. Cam Ward is good (2.47, 0.922) but he's not God. Jussi Jokinen is the teams leading scorer with six points. Eric Staal doubled his season output with a two points last night and he leads the team in shots on goal with 33. Maybe he misses Erik Cole's presence in the line up? Pitkanen is back and had two assists in last night's game. Corvo has only three points even though he is averaging nearly six minutes a game on the power play. Matt Cullen is getting over five minutes a game with the man advantage.
Frolik has taken over the team lead in scoring with five points in seven games. Weiss, Reinprecht and Olesz (who had two points last night, but less than 13 minutes of ice time), all have four points. Horton, Booth and Stillman have been death for fantasy owners, although I hope you dressed Horton for last night's game as he had 16 minutes in penalties! Booth and Olesz lead the team in shots on goal with 26 each. The sole bright spot fantasy-wise has to be Dm