Just two games were on tap Friday night. The early affair saw Carolina visit Columbus. Both teams were on the tail-end of back-to-backs with travel after CBJ earned an OT victory in Detroit and the Hurricanes took the OT loss versus NYI the night before.
If you were to formulate odds based on the starting netminders, Columbus looked strong. They sat Bobrovsky in the season opener to have him rested for their first home tilt. Meanwhile, the Canes are without Scott Darling for a few weeks and went to recently waiver-acquired Curtis McElhinney.
Just under two minutes into the game bore witness to a moment to remember for one young player. Andrei Svechnikov stripped the puck with a nice poke, turned up ice and fed a nice dish to Jordan Martinook who made no mistake. This is the first of many many points for the young Russian. He's going to be a force in Carolina for years to come.
10 minutes later, CBJ got on the board with a tally from Brandon Dubinsky. After that, the Blue Jackets were stymied by the former Maple Leafs' netminder. McElhinney stopped 31 saves and was named the first star of the game. Sebastion Aho and Michael Ferland each added a goal and an assist as the Hurricanes are now 1-0-1 on the season.
Despite the preseason struggles at centre, Aho looked more comfortable there tonight. He won 50 percent of his faceoffs and controlled play at even-strength. This may not be the true breakout season for the 21-year-old, but he's getting close.
Just because the drafts are over and the season has started doesn't mean you shouldn't be using Dobber's Annual Fantasy Guide. It's continually updated and is a terrific resource to help mine talent in trades and on the wire. Get it here.
The late affair was extra late. After an emotional opening ceremony play got underway at 8 pm PST. You can be assured that the entire eastern seaboard was already snoozing away. EK is going to have a more difficult time racking up the Norris trophies from this side of the continent.
Ah, who am I kidding, that won't slow down Karlsson.
The Sharks came out buzzing. Timo Meier and his new cushy spot on the top line got things going. The 21-year-old deflected a point shot from The Pickle for his first of the year. The former 9th overall selection from 2015 is just itching to break out. He had a supremely quiet 21-goal sophomore campaign in 2017-18 while pumping nearly three shots on net per game. This while skating primarily in the bottom six and seeing under a minute of PP action from the second unit.
I picked him as my darkhorse achiever in the Dobber Panel earlier this week and I'm sticking to it.
Evander Kane tallied his second gorgeous goal of the season. The power forward went snip snip on pretty short side marker. He's looking to earn that hefty paycheque this season. He finished the night with a goal, five shots, and four hits in 18 minutes of action.
Having the likes of Hertl, Couture, Kane, and Labanc coming over against second and third pairings is a scary second wave of attack at evens. Especially with the likelihood of one of Karlsson or Burns on the ice with them at all times. This Sharks team is for real.
The two-goal lead was not long lived though as Anze Kopitar scored to close the first period and Tyler Toffoli tallied just 37 seconds into the second frame. Things stayed that way all the way into overtime where Kevin Labanc ended it.
I don’t know about you, but I like to live dangerously. And that means stacking up linemates sometimes. If done correctly and with a touch of a good fortune, you can run roughshod over your opponents. Of course, often it’s feast or famine. All or nothing. Summit the mountain or tumble down the bunny hill.
With that risk can come a great reward, and there are a few instances of value that make it worthwhile.
The Bruins’ top line has already given us a perfect example of the volatility of the stack. Game one was not pretty. Pastrnak, Bergeron and Marchand failed to hit the scoresheet and ended as a combined minus-six. The very next night the trio combined for two goals, seven points, eight shots, and a plus-seven.
It's all fine and well to load up on teammates during the regular season, but come spring time, the margin for error shrinks substantially. There are two ways to play the game come fantasy playoff time: go out and single and double your way to victory. Or, you’re out there taking big cuts and going deep. Even though I've always appreciated a timely sac bunt, I’ve never been much of a small ball guy.
Loading up a stack on a team with a favourable fantasy playoff schedule is a tactic that I've lived and died by. I'll be doing it again this year with Bergeron and Marchand.
I love chaos.
Travis Hamonic is indeed out for an undisclosed amount of time. He ate a couple of knuckle sandwiches from Erik Gudbranson on Wednesday evening while sticking up for his rookie teammate, Dillon Dube.
The Flames quickly recalled Rasmus Andersson from Stockton. I’ve stated publicly that Andersson is NHL-ready and just needs an opportunity. The 21-year-old posted nine goals and 39 points in 56 AHL games last season. His 0.7 points-per-game output was good for the third most by any U23 AHL defender.
With Adam Fox sent to Carolina at the draft the 2015 second-round pick projects as the team’s top right-hand offensive option moving forward. I can’t be the only one drooling over a potential Välimäki-Andersson pairing down the line.
First, he’ll need to draw into the lineup though as Dalton Prout will get the first look in Hamonic’s absence. It's pretty clear that Prout will be in to face the Canucks and try and take a pound of flesh, but he's unlikely to be a longterm stop gap. Once Andersson does get in, he’s one to watch on the waiver wire to see if he’s given any sustainable power play time.
He's an oft-overlooked asset in keeper leagues.
I'll just leave this here.
Have people begun considering Nikolay Goldobin as more than a potential hot streamer? The former 2014 first round pick is the classic post-hype sleeper who appears to be in a tremendous spot. After years of vaulted projections and underperforming results, the 22-year-old has found quick chemistry with Elias Pettersson on the Canucks’ second line. He’s unlikely to crack the top power play unit which will keep him from truly breaking out. However, being on the receiving end of Pettersson’s feeds means we’re going to see some goals and a sustainably high shooting percentage.
Goldobin has clicked on 18.2 percent of his shots over the course of his 82-game career. If he can maintain he spot on that line, I like him to hover in the mid-teens throughout this season as well. While Vancouver will be bad, he could be a nice fourth forward option off the Canucks for deep leagues.
Thanks for reading and feel free to follow me Twitter @Hockey_Robinson