Being Patient with Brent Burns, Shutouts for Dell and Dubnyk, plus more…
Zero. That’s the number of goals that Brent Burns has this season. When you factor in his seven assists and minus-8, he’s been a relatively replacement-level defenseman, which wasn’t what you bargained for when you drafted him in the first round in a single-season league. His one saving grace has been his shots on goal total (59), which is still second-highest among defensemen and the highest number for any player that is still without a goal.
The next highest shots on goal total for a player without a goal? Erik Johnson, who has 47 shots on goal with no goals. It’s naturally harder for a defenseman to score on a shot than a forward simply because of the shot distance. But Burns is a different animal (both literally and figuratively), having averaged 28 goals over the last two seasons. So the law of averages suggests that those shots eventually have to go in. So stay patient. You shouldn’t be shopping Burns at all. Or maybe buy low from an impatient owner.
Other players in the top-100 in shots with low goal totals, while I’m in there:
Kris Letang: 58 SOG, 1 G
Oscar Klefbom: 54 SOG, 1 G
Justin Faulk: 49 SOG, 1 G
Max Domi: 49 SOG, 1 G
Johnny Boychuk: 49 SOG, 1 G
Colton Parayko: 47 SOG, 1 G
Sebastian Aho: 45 SOG, 0 G
Duncan Keith: 45 SOG, 0 G
Mostly defensemen, I know. But in that group is Aho, who scored 24 goals last season. Domi has never reached 20 goals in his brief career, but he’s been close. Both are in a similar boat to Burns, as are the blueliners listed above. In other words, expect better puck luck going forward.
Aaron Dell had an impressive night, stopping all 41 shots he faced in earning his first shutout of the season. Dell is one of the league’s better backups and is worth adding for a spot start whenever you need one. Since Martin Jones is a workhorse, though, Dell still might not start very often in spite of his impressive play. But continued strong play could provide him with an added percentage of starts.
With two goals on Saturday, Logan Couture is up to 10 goals in just 15 games, although the goals were his first in five games.
If your league counts shorthanded goals, Chris Tierney was the player to own on Saturday. He scored two shorthanded goals, with the second on a penalty shot (which was a very debatable call). Still, what matters to fantasy owners is how it is scored.
Mike Hoffman scored two power-play goals, including the game winner as the Senators swept the two-game series with the Avalanche in Stockholm. Make sure the sharpshooting Hoffman isn’t on your bench at the moment. Although the goals were his first in five games, Hoffman is now on a career-high eight-game point streak in which he has recorded 11 points. Hoffman amassed nearly seven minutes of power-play time on a Sens’ first-unit power play that also includes Derick Brassard, Mark Stone, Erik Karlsson, and the newly acquired Matt Duchene.
Speaking of Stone, he is on another mini-run with goals in four consecutive games. He has been fantasy gold with 12 goals and a plus-15 in just 16 games, a goal total that places him fourth in the NHL. Obviously he will cool off, but his first 30-goal season is well within reach. And I might be underestimating at this point.
Because you’re wondering about Duchene, he failed to record a point in the two-game series against his now-former team. But a good sign that he is clicking with his new teammates is that he fired eight shots on goal on Saturday. I mentioned Duchene as a possible sell-high (believe it or not) in my most recent Finding Fantasy Value column for Sportsnet. To find out why, you’ll just have to click on the link.
Mitch Marner was my buy-low player this week in that same column. He was recently reunited with James van Riemsdyk and it seems to be paying off for both. Marner scored a goal and added an assist on Saturday to give him seven points over his last five games. JVR also had a goal and an assist to give him three goals in the home-and-home series with Boston and four goals over his past four games.
With an assist against Toronto on Saturday, Torey Krug now has a seven-game point streak. Hopefully you didn’t bail on him after he scored just two goals over his first eight games. There are two different sides to the argument that he can keep this up. On one hand, only two of his ten points entering Saturday’s game were on the power play, and he receives first-unit power play minutes. On the other hand, he had taken only 20 shots in 14 games entering Saturday, so goals may be harder to come by if he continues to shoot at that pace.
Rick Nash scored two goals while taking five shots on goal in the Rangers’ 4-2 afternoon win over Edmonton on Saturday. Nash, who didn’t exactly bust out of the gate (one goal and no assists in his first 11 games), now has four goals over his last four games. Those who drafted him (hopefully in the later rounds as opposed to the earlier rounds) are starting to see him click with linemates Mats Zuccarello and Kevin Hayes.
In his first NHL game this season, Jesse Puljujarvi scored his first goal of the season, but just his second in 29 career NHL games. Puljujarvi was placed in a decent situation in this game on a line with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Milan Lucic, which allowed him to take five shots on goal. The Oilers have recently been rumored to be shopping for a winger, yet it’s easy to forget that their fourth overall pick from last season happens to be a winger. Obviously it’s not a good idea to rush the 19 year old if he’s not ready. But Anton Slepyshev being placed on IR creates a roster spot for Puljujarvi, so let’s see if can take advantage of the NHL opportunity.
Brock McGinn scored two goals on Saturday and now has goals in three consecutive games. He’s been playing on a line with Justin Williams and Derek Ryan, who pushed up a nice breakout pass to McGinn on his backhand goal. The backhand was my favorite shot for some reason when I was a kid. Probably because I could lift it higher than I could any other shot. So yeah, I love this goal.
— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) November 12, 2017
Alex DeBrincat is starting to heat up. With two goals and an assist and a plus-2 on Saturday, he has four goals and six points over his last six games. He put up three 100-point seasons at the OHL level, so you’ll want to secure him if you can in a keeper league at least. DeBrincat isn’t receiving huge even-strength minutes, but he is seeing some power-play time. He also has the wheels to be trusted in 3-on-3 overtime, where he assisted on Brandon Saad’s game-winning goal. Look at the move by DeBrincat on that goal.
Blackhawks game winner.
DeBrincat to Saad to the back of the net. pic.twitter.com/WmmF9VRWah
— Blackhawks Breakdown (@HawksBreakdown) November 12, 2017
Another game, another win for Charlie Lindgren. On Saturday he stopped 34 of 35 shots in the Habs’ 2-1 overtime win over Buffalo. That’s his third win in four games while filling in for Carey Price. Even if Price returns next week, Lindgren could stick around on the big club now that regular backup Al Montoya is sidelined indefinitely with a concussion.
Max Pacioretty scored that overtime winner and added an assist on Andrew Shaw’s power-play goal. Those in multicategory leagues will be more impressed with the fact that Pacioretty fired nine shots on goal in this game and has 16 shots over his last two games. Not surprisingly, Pacioretty leads the entire league with 85 shots on goal.
Kyle Turris’ Nashville debut was an impressive one. The newest Predator scored a goal and added an assist in 21 minutes of icetime in a shootout win against Pittsburgh. As expected, Turris centered the second line between Kevin Fiala and Craig Smith. One downside to owning Turris is that he wasn’t on the first-unit power play in this game and doesn’t project to be going forward. Still, it’s an encouraging debut nonetheless if you own Turris.
That game didn’t turn out well for Tristan Jarry, who allowed four goals on 28 shots and couldn’t win in the shootout. Jarry was making just his second start this season and third career start. So far he has yet to earn an NHL win. The Penguins are noted for having been terrible during the second game of back-to-backs this season, so you may want to be cautious if picking up Jarry for a spot start.
It was just one goal, but that’s all that was needed. Jason Zucker’s goal was the difference in the Wild’s 1-0 win over Philadelphia. When injuries hit the Minnesota forward lines earlier this season, I predicted that Zucker would be a player to own. He has been just that recently with six goals and a plus-4 over his last three games. One downside to Zucker, though: his shooting percentage stands at nearly 20 percent at the moment (nine goals on 46 shots). So now that the Wild are a little healthier save for Zach Parise, it would be better to try to sell Zucker stock than to buy it at the moment.
Devan Dubnyk is a classic example of why we should be patient with our goalies in October. After struggling over the first month of the season (3.03 GAA, .905 SV%), Dubnyk has posted back-to-back shutouts, including the 32-save effort against the Flyers. Dubnyk stopped 41 shots just two nights earlier against the Canadiens. His season numbers (6-6-1, 2.55 GAA, .920 SV%) are still relatively average, but at least they’re trending in the right direction.
With an empty-net goal on Saturday, Patrik Laine now has goals in five consecutive games. No assists, just a goal in each game.
There aren’t many owners that have been patient enough to hang onto Steve Mason, now that he has just 10 percent ownership in Yahoo leagues. But those that have and started him on Saturday finally received his first win of the season. Mason stopped 29 of 30 shots in earning the win over Arizona. Over his last three games dating back to October 27, Mason has a 1.56 goals-against average and .958 save percentage. With Connor Hellebuyck struggling a little in November (3.50 GAA, .899 SV%), Mason could recoup more goaltending starts at least in the short term.
Lest we forget.
For more fantasy hockey information, follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.
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