Ramblings: Kirill the Thrill, Other Debuts, New Linemates and Players To Watch (Jan 15)

Ian Gooding

2021-01-15

Since Thursday was opening night for many teams, we got to see some new faces, familiar faces in new places, and players that might be new to the fantasy radar. Now that I have some real hockey games to write about, let's run it down for you.

Taylor Hall's choice of Buffalo came as a surprise to many. In his Sabres debut, he wasn't able to lead the Sabres past Washington, but he did score a goal and added an assist in 19:30 while playing on a line with Jack Eichel and Tage Thompson.

With linemates like that, the 6-7 Thompson (just 3% owned in Yahoo leagues) might be worth a flier. Remember that he was acquired in the infamous Ryan O'Reilly trade, so the Sabres likely want any kind of return on investment here. Thompson is off to a decent start, recording one assist in Thursday's game.

Of course, this game also featured the Capitals debut of one Zdeno Chara, who played 20 minutes while being paired with Nick Jensen. The 43-year-old Chara did not record a point and did not receive any power-play time either.

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First overall pick Alexis Lafreniere made his Rangers debut, but he was held without a point just as the rest of his team was. Lafreniere finished with 15:21 of icetime, second-unit power-play minutes, and played on a line with Filip Chytil and Julien Gauthier. It's only one game, but the deployment shows that the 19-year-old might need some time before he's a must-start in all leagues.  

Semyon Varlamov continued his impressive play from the playoffs, stopping all 24 shots he faced in earning the shutout. Varlamov isn't making the starting job easy for Ilya Sorokin to grab, at least not right away.

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The Flames handed a pile of money and term to