Ryan Hartman, he of a 31-point career high, is off to a fantastic start with nine goals and a 59-point full-season pace. On Sunday he was moved to center a line with Mats Zuccarello and Kevin Fiala (and at times Kirill Kaprizov). That's a pretty sweet reward for his productive start. He even saw PP time.
But, as you've probably figured, it's not at all sustainable. Neither the goals nor the points. He's a 9% shooter and he's currently going at a 14.8% clip. His shot volume is way up (3.4/game vs. career best of 2.2/game), and ditto for his ice time (17:09 ATOI), which will help push him to career highs. But those career highs will be in the high 30s or perhaps even 40 – not 59. His 12.6 5on5 S% also indicates that his point totals are three or four too high. Now 27, if he can end the season with 20 goals and 40 points (both career bests), then I'd look at that as a stepping stone that may see him potentially becoming a steady 45-point player. A guy that can be a threat from the third line, see secondary PP time, and sub in when needed in the top six.
Kevin Fiala responded to being put in the doghouse Saturday with a bigger game Sunday. He posted two points and fired five shots on goal. On Saturday he coughed up the puck on a couple of occasions and was planted on the bench for much of the third period – getting completely pulled off the power play. His slow starts are starting to become notorious. Last season he had 14 points in the first 28 games. Then he had 26 in 22 to finish. In 2019-20 he had eight points in 17 games to start, and then 46 in 47 after that! I have Fiala in two of my three leagues, and would love nothing more than for him to figure it out and start things off in Game 1 instead of Game 20. Hopefully the two points Sunday kickstarts something.
Don't look now but Alex Goligoski is fantasy relevant again. His ice time is down, his PP time is about flat, but his numbers have spiked. Puck luck has definitely played a role (11.9 5on5 S%), but he's been piling on the points. With two more Sunday he had six in his last three games (and plus-5) and 12 in his last 13. He normally partners with Jared Spurgeon, but Spurgeon is sidelined day-to-day (LBI) so on Sunday he was with Jon Merrill. Goligoski took Spurgeon's PP time on Sunday, and he picked up a PPPt.
Tampa Bay plays with such a short bench that I wonder if their starts really start to slow down in the second half. I guess Nikita Kucherov returning would help, but this is a team that isn't nearly as deep as in years past. On Sunday they had five forwards see 12:16 or less ice time – in a game that included five minutes of OT. That meant Anthony Cirelli saw 24:31 and Alex Killorn 2:25
In the case of Cire