Welcome to another week of the Wild West column. During the last week we have had goalie injuries, superstars returning, and some incredible goals from human highlight reel Connor McDavid. Let’s assume you know all of that and jump right in to some players.
Potential Streaming Pickups:
No teams in the west play four times during the upcoming week, which is usually a benefit when streaming a player. Obviously the idea being that if you are looking to add a guy that might produce at a lower point per game pace than the ones you drafted, getting that extra game can certainly help make up for it. This week then, by necessity we are featuring some high risk/high reward candidates.
Over in Winnipeg Bryan Little has been showing some strong shooting with 17 shots over his last fives games, though it has not translated into goals or assists. He has been suiting up with Kyle Connor and Mathieu Perreault, which is certainly a downgrade from Patrik Laine, but his high shot counts and time with the second power play unit could provide a mid-week boost with two games back to back on Thursday-Friday.
Elias Petterson’s first few weeks were the stuff of, “I-want-the-guy-who-is-playing-with-Pettersson” good. Enter Nikolay Goldobin. With Pettersson injured Goldobin’s production when to zero in a hurry, but good news, Petterson is back. Also on their line on Saturday? Brock Boeser. There is definitely some points-by-osmosis potential here with three games early in the week.
Last week’s recommendation:
So that great recommendation of Zach Parise from the first week didn’t translate as well to the second week. Kailer Yamamoto tore up the league with zero goals, one assist, one power play point, and three shots in four games (though this is written while his last game is still on progress). Dominik Kahun was slightly more brilliant with zero goals, two assists, one power play point, and five shots in four games.
Don’t look now but something in St. Louis agrees with Ryan O’Reilly. There was a shake up in lines and it seems to be doing wonders for his scoring. Who would have thought that it would take moving Vladimir Tarasenko off his line to make it happen? The line doing the damage is O’Reilly, David Perron, and Zach Sanford. O’Reilly leads the pack with 10 points in his last five games, while Perron has seven in five, and Sanford five in three. Likely the points will slow, but it has allowed the killer trio from 2017-18 Tarasenko, Brayden Schenn, and Jaden Schwartz to be reunited, which will hopefully pay some dividends for the Blues.
Drop or Not:
James Neal: If you grabbed the Dobber Guide this fall you already know that I recommended Elias Lindholm over James Neal in Calgary. So far that is looking good, though there is a lot of season left to play. Neal has two goals, one assists and 26 shots over his 11 games so far, and only one point in his last seven.
At 31 I was worried about him going into the season. Well, not really worried as I wasn’t planning on drafting him. His time on ice and shot generation numbers have been slipping for several years and he is now down to almost 15 minutes of ice time and under 2.5 shots per game for the first time in his career. On the plus side he is still getting some power play time, but unfortunately that power play time has not been helping him as he still has a no power play points on the season.
The long and the short of it is I don’t own, nor am I planning on owning Neal in pretty much any format. He likely will improve on the 22 point pace he is currently on, so if a 40ish point, 15-20 goal player is valuable in your league sure hang tight, otherwise feel free to cut bait.
Thanks for reading.