Top 10 Way-Too-Early Observations

Tom Collins

2021-10-18

We’re less than a week into the season, but it’s never too early to have a look at who is getting opportunities and who is struggling early in the season.

It may seem utterly unfair to judge the players now. After all, we’re dealing with an extremely small sample size. Six teams have played just one game, and no one has reached even four games yet.

While nothing is carved in stone, this small sample might show the start of trends that will endure all season. Last year, for example, how long were you willing to wait on Carter Verhaeghe? If you didn’t pick him up shortly after his hot start, you missed out on a productive player who was more than likely available early on. On the flip side, the history of many fantasy leagues is littered with two-game studs that never did much after that small breakthrough.

Below are 10 takeaways from the first six days of action, and things can change quickly. Even if you don’t take any action yet, these are the types of things you should be keeping in mind.

10. Braden Holtby starting in Dallas

I know many fantasy general managers stayed away from Dallas goaltending just because there were too many options. The team already had Ben Bishop, Anton Khudobin and Jake Oettinger. It was a head-scratcher when they signed Holtby in the offseason. However, with Bishop injured, Holtby has started the first two games for Dallas and has looked good even though he is winless. He is still available in 70 per cent of Yahoo leagues but is a must pickup.

9. Jesperi Kotkaniemi on the top line, kind of

It’s been a bit of a weird start for the former Montreal Canadien and current Carolina Hurricane. Through two games, his ice time is down about two-and-a-half minutes a night from last year, and his power-play time has dropped more than a full minute per game. However, when he does get on the ice, his most frequent linemate is Sebastien Aho. With Kotkaniemi not producing (zero points, three shots, two hits and two blocked shots), it will be interesting to see how long the revenge offer sheet experiment lasts.

8. Jacob Peterson getting a shot

There are a lot of rookies that are getting plenty of ink early this season, but let’s focus on Peterson who is largely unnoticed. In a one-year league, you want to grab a rookie that is getting ice time and opportunity. Thanks to an upper-body injury to