Your fantasy hockey review of the hot and cold teams in the Eastern Conference.
The first month of a new NHL season can be a very bizarre time for fantasy owners. The results are often skewed and need time to correct themselves. While this is happening many of us are kept up at night wondering how long it will take for our underperforming stars to get going. We’re also faced with situations where we have to make decisions whether or not to sell high on an early-season surprise or if the production rate is due to continue. While most of these anomalies return to normal fairly quickly, there are always new trends that will play a significant role in how the 2015-16 campaign plays out.
Today we will analyze teams in the East that started better than expected and three teams off to cold starts. We will look at what has stood out so far and how this impacts the fantasy landscape.
Florida Panthers – The Panthers’s solid start has been headlined by the ageless Jaromir Jagr. The 43-year-old has seven points through five games and ranks among the leaders in the NHL scoring race. Since being acquired at least season’s trade deadline, Jagr has developed some amazing chemistry with youngsters Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov. Obviously Jagr will not continue at this pace for the full year but you should consider his age a red flag over the long haul even though he keeps himself in great shape. Any slow-down from Jagr will impact Huberdeau and Barkov accordingly.
Another interesting story is goaltender Roberto Luongo’s great start. Usually slow out of the gate, Luongo’s peripherals (1.77, .948) have been excellent despite a 2-2 record. Looking back to last year his stat line was excellent (2.35, .921) but the lack of a high win total kept him outside of the elite class. If the Panthers are able to take a step forward as a team, Luongo could be a formidable fantasy goalie this year.
Montreal Canadiens – Much has been made of the storied franchise’s first ever 6-0 start. The most impressive part is how the team has turned things around in the shots department. After finishing fourth in the NHL last year despi