Don’t forget about Hellebuyck, the next Predators’ defenseman, plus more…
Happy Friday the 13th! Hopefully you are one of the select few (such as myself) that actually consider 13 to be a lucky number.
Several Lightning players had a nice night against Pittsburgh on Thursday. Steven Stamkos scored his first goal since November 15. Nikita Kucherov scored a goal and added an assist. Slater Koekkoek scored two goals. Chris Kunitz even recorded an assist against his former team. But the major contributor for the Bolts was Alex Killorn, who recorded four assists, two of which were on the power play. Killorn has a goal and six assists in just four games mainly playing on a line with Tyler Johnson. He’s only 5 percent owned in Yahoo leagues.
In case you’re wondering how the third man on the Stamkos/Kucherov line performed, Vladislav Namestnikov recorded an assist on the power play while delivering six hits. He’s still unowned in two-thirds of Yahoo leagues. I mentioned Namestnikov in my first offering of the season for Sportsnet, which is called Finding Fantasy Value. Go ahead and check it out. You might agree with my observations. Or you might not.
A few Panthers had solid games on Thursday. Roberto Luongo stopped 37 of 39 shots to earn his first win of the season (and the 454th of his career, tying him with Curtis Joseph for fourth on the all-time list). Aaron Ekblad scored a goal and added an assist with a plus-3.
Two former first-round picks that have become afterthoughts in fantasy leagues have clicked together on a secondary scoring line for the Panthers. Nick Bjugstad and Jared McCann each scored a goal and added an assist. Both have two goals and two assists in three games. I’d want to see more before recommending either, but it’s worth mentioning nonetheless.
Even though the Blues were handed their first loss of the season, Alex Pietrangelo was still able to assist on both goals and take seven shots on goal. In case there’s any doubt which defenseman runs the St. Louis power play, Pietrangelo logged 6:12 of power-play time, while the next-highest defenseman (Colton Parayko) logged 1:53.
Brayden Schenn didn’t record a point on Thursday, but he took nine shots on goal. Even when he doesn’t score for your multicategory team, he’s still providing something.
The Montreal Canadiens have waived veteran Mark Streit after he played just two games, not scoring a point and going minus-2. This news could mean that Victor Mete will stay with the Canadiens this season and not return to the London Knights of the OHL. Mete seems to be thriving as Shea Weber’s new defense partner, so it doesn’t seem to make sense to take him out of the lineup.
Because of injuries to Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi, Samuel Girard has not only stepped into the Predators’ lineup, but he’s also stepped into a top-4 role for the moment. Given 21:25 in icetime in just his second NHL game, Girard scored his first NHL goal and added an assist while being given significant (3:45) power-play time.
Girard fits the profile of a power-play specialist with his combination of size (5’10”, 160 lbs.) and offensive prowess (over a point per game over his last two seasons in the QMJHL). Once Josi and eventually Ellis return, the Predators’ defense will be too loaded for Girard to be an impact player this season. You know that the Predators won’t rush this kid so that his defensive game is in order. But he is certainly a name to remember for keeper leagues, since he represents the next wave of that factory of defensemen in Nashville.
Girard is the eighth-ranked Preds prospect at Dobber Prospects (view his profile here).
Chris Stewart scored two goals in the Wild’s 5-2 win over Chicago. But in case you were thinking of adding him, just don’t.
Fun fact on Jason Pominville:
Jason Pominville had 2 multigoal games last season in 78 games for the Wild. He has 2 already for the #Sabres this season in just 4 games.
— Buffalo Sabres Stats (@SabresStats) October 13, 2017
If you remember Pominville’s hot run in January and February (24 points in 23 games), you’ll realize that he isn’t yet dead when it comes to fantasy purposes. And guess what? He’s playing on a line with none other than Jack Eichel.
Antti Raanta left Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury. Louis Domingue took over, allowing three goals on 23 shots in what turned out to be a 4-2 loss for the Coyotes.
In spite of the loss, Clayton Keller scored his second and third goals of the season while taking five shots on goal. Playing on a line with Max Domi and Derek Stepan, Keller looks primed to have a solid rookie campaign. He’s still unowned in about two-thirds of Yahoo leagues.
With two more assists on Thursday, Mike Green is up to six assists in just three games.
Hopefully you took Adam’s advice in last week’s Looking Ahead and targeted Martin Frk this week. With his power-play goal on Thursday, Frk now has three goals in four games. Icetime is a concern, though, as Frk only played 11 minutes in this game and has yet to crack the 15-minute mark in any game. But there’s opportunity for more on a team like the Wings.
This story happened close to where I live and involves a player that I own on multiple rosters, so I think it’s worth mentioning. I know fishing isn’t the most strenuous activity out there, so I’m assuming Dustin Byfuglien’s injury that kept him out of Thursday’s game against Vancouver isn’t all that serious. He may return on Saturday.
This is one massive sturgeon, though.
— Sturgeon Slayers (@SturgeonSlayers) October 10, 2017
In Byfuglien’s absence, Josh Morrissey was taking on significant power-play minutes again. Morrissey opened the scoring for the Jets while taking on 20 minutes of icetime.
Steve Mason struggled mightily in the Jets’ first two games of the season, posting an abysmal 6.53 GAA and .831 SV%. So Connor Hellebuyck has been brought in to settle things down. So far he has, posting back-to-back road victories in Edmonton and Vancouver, allowing two goals while stopping a minimum of 30 shots in each start.
Even though the Jets signed Mason to a significant free-agent deal, I said that Hellebuyck would make a great buy low. And even though the season is barely a week old, I’ll double down on my words. This is going to be a goaltending controversy at the very least. And if you think Mason is still “the guy”, then Yahoo owners at large also disagree with you. Hellboy is owned in 38 percent of Yahoo leagues, while Mason is owned in just 23 percent. Expect Paul Maurice to continue to ride the hot hand, as he’s probably a goner if this Jets team with all its promise doesn’t get off the ground this season.
Either way, whoever plays in net for the Jets on any given night will be busy. The Jets have allowed at least 31 shots in each of their four games.
Between his hat trick on Monday against Edmonton and his empty-net goal on Thursday against Vancouver, Nikolaj Ehlers now has four goals in his last two games.
Hurray! Brock Boeser made his long-awaited 2017-18 debut, which his owners should take as a positive. He was thrust onto the first-unit power play along with the Sedins and Thomas Vanek, recording an assist on Daniel Sedin’s first-period power-play goal. But if he is somehow healthy scratched for the next game, it might be because Travis Green was dwelling on his minus-2 in this game.
Watching part of this game, I thought I saw a lot of Michael Del Zotto. Apparently I was right, as he totaled 27:46 of icetime in this game, including over 11 minutes in the third period alone, which can be at least partially attributed to Alex Edler leaving the game with a lower-body injury. With over 24 minutes in MDZ’s previous game, I guess the Canucks plan to use him a lot.
For more fantasy hockey information, follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.
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