Ramblings: Fast Starting Oilers, Kakko’s First Goal, Lehner/Raanta Season Debuts (Oct 13)

by Ian Gooding on October 13, 2019
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Fast Starting Oilers, Kakko’s First Goal, Lehner/Raanta Season Debuts (Oct 13)


Leon Draisaitl scored two goals and added an assist on Saturday, which gives him points in all five of his games played (all Oilers’ come-from-behind wins). As of this writing, Connor McDavid (12 points) and Draisaitl (11 points) were 1-2 in league scoring.

Oscar Klefbom continued his fast start, scoring his first goal of the season and adding an assist. Klefbom now has points in four consecutive games with seven points on the season. He’s seen an early-season spike in value, as he has grabbed first-unit power-play duties on what has been a very effective power play (41.2 PP%). Unfortunately for Darnell Nurse owners, this power-play arrangement isn’t going to change while things are rolling.

No, James Neal did not score on Saturday, meaning that his three-game goal streak ended. Neal scored seven goals over that stretch.

For the Rangers, Kaapo Kakko scored his first NHL goal and point, which should be his first of many. So far Kakko has been on a line with Ryan Strome and Chris Kreider and playing on the second-unit power play. If that arrangement continues, expect good but not great numbers from Kakko in his rookie season.

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The Ottawa Senators have added numerous “placeholder” players for what is a rebuilding season. The latest was Vladislav Namestnikov, who was acquired from the Rangers on Monday. So far the trade has looked great for the Sens, as Namestnikov scored two third-period goals and added an assist with a plus-3 while skating 21:47 in a 4-2 win over Tampa. Namestnikov also recorded an assist in his Ottawa debut on Thursday. Given the icetime, Namestnikov might carve himself a regular role in Ottawa.

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Dustin Brown filled roto statsheets on Saturday, scoring a goal and adding two assists while taking six shots on goal and four hits in 20 minutes of icetime in the Kings’ 7-4 win over Nashville. The Kings probably won’t have a ton of fantasy relevant players this season, yet Brown should be owned in multicategory leagues that count hits. Brown has taken a minimum of 150 hits every season since his NHL career started in 2007-08. Brown has also rebounded scoring-wise over the last two seasons, so his scoring numbers should be okay while he skates on the Kings’ top line with Anze Kopitar.

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Saturday might have seemed a little late for Robin Lehner to make his Blackhawks’ debut, but the Hawks were only playing their third game of the season. In that debut, Lehner stopped 30 of 33 shots he faced in the Hawks’ 3-2 overtime loss to Winnipeg. It’s still early, but it’s looking like Lehner is at best in a timeshare situation with longtime starter Corey Crawford. However, Crawford’s concussion history necessitated the signing of another established goalie.

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Only one shutout on Saturday, this one belonging to Tuukka Rask. The Bruins’ goalie stopped all 31 shots he faced to pick up the goose egg against New Jersey.

By the way, with all the Devils’ improvements this offseason, they have yet to score a power-play goal in five games this season.

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Brendan Gallagher scored a goal and added two assists while firing seven shots in the Canadiens’ 6-3 win over St. Louis. This is already the second game this season in which Gallagher has taken seven shots. Only five players took more SOG than Gallagher last season (302). His high shot totals are a major reason that he has posted back-to-back 30-goal seasons. Needless to say, he’s a must-own in leagues that count shots.

Eventually Jordan Binnington would need to hit reality. Saturday marked the first time that Binnington has allowed five goals in a regular-season game.

Need a player that can provide some scoring along with plenty of hits? Sammy Blais might be the guy you’re looking for. With a goal on Saturday, Blais is now up to three goals and five points in five games. He also leads the league with 26 hits. Better yet, he’s been getting icetime with Ryan O’Reilly and David Perron. He’s already been scooped up in 38 percent of Yahoo leagues, but his recent scoring and hits totals should make him a must-own in bangers leagues by now.

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Ilya Mikheyev might not be a top-6 forward for the Leafs, but he is making a solid first impression anyway. With a goal and an assist on Saturday, the rookie is now up to five points (2g-3a) in six games, which ties him with Victor Olofsson and Cale Makar in rookie scoring. After spending the past four seasons in the KHL, Mikheyev is already a fan favorite in Toronto for his love of soup (I know, nothing to do with fantasy). For more on Mikheyev, check out his Dobber Prospects profile.

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I made Erik Haula a late addition to yesterday’s Ramblings because I had just noticed that he had scored three goals over his first four games. Well, make that four goals in five games. Haula scored again on Saturday, assisted by new Canes’ linemates Ryan Dzingel and Martin Necas. For more on Haula, click the link.

I also mentioned Dougie Hamilton, who scored again on Saturday while taking five shots. Hamilton now has goals in four consecutive games and is up to a plus-7 this season. He’s also second in scoring among defensemen with eight points (4g-4a), only trailing the player I’ve listed in the next paragraph. I have to submit the October edition of the Roto Rankings – maybe I’ll need to bump him up a little?

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Your current scoring leader among defensemen is John Carlson, who scored a goal and added an assist with a plus-2 on Saturday. Carlson now has multiple points in three consecutive games, which gives him 10 points (2g-8a) in just six games. So far Carlson has justified his selection as a top-5 pick among defensemen in Yahoo leagues.

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The Penguins scored seven goals on Saturday. Does that mean the usual suspects led the way? No, it was actually a rookie named Sean Lafferty, who scored a goal and added two assists with a plus-3. The three points were Lafferty’s first three points of his NHL career after he was recently called up because of the injuries to Evgeni Malkin and Nick Bjugstad. For more on Lafferty, check out his Dobber Prospects profile.  

In a losing cause, Jared Spurgeon scored a goal and added two assists in 23 minutes of icetime. The recently signed Spurgeon had been held without a point over his first three games of the season while his plus-minus plummeted to a minus-8.

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Antti Raanta has the potential to be a top value own as a fantasy goalie, yet his recent injury history makes you wonder if it is all worth it. Regardless, Raanta made his first start since late November, stopping 29 of 32 shots he faced in an eventual 3-2 overtime loss to Colorado. Darcy Kuemper played well in Raanta’s absence, so it would make sense for the Coyotes to allow Kuemper to be a part of a timeshare to keep Raanta from suffering another injury due to overwork. Despite the loss, this start was a positive for Raanta, who will look to remain healthy while solidifying his solid career ratios (2.35 GAA, .920 SV%).

In his 1000th NHL game, Phil Kessel was held without a point. So far in four games, Kessel has yet to score his first goal as a member of the Arizona Coyotes and has been held to just one assist. Is anyone out there convinced that he will be able to reach the same level of production in Arizona that he did in Pittsburgh? Anyone? (Tumbleweeds.)

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After starting the season on the top line with Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser, Micheal Ferland has fallen into a third-line role with zero power-play time. Ferland’s icetime dipped yet again on Saturday, this time to just 10:31. Forward lines change all the time, but he appears to be droppable in any leagues that don’t count hits. At least Ferland had four of those on Saturday, which gives him nine over his past two games.

With a power-play assist on Saturday, Travis Konecny now has points in all three of his games played. He’s off to a fast start with six points over those three games. Konecny may not reach his full potential until he is on the Flyers’ first-unit power play, but he is on pace for a breakout anyway in his fourth season.

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Fun night in Vegas: Ryan Reaves had a higher number of shots on goal (3) than hits (2) on Saturday. He also scored a goal and was a plus-3. I added him into my starting lineup in one of my leagues and he certainly helped my team, but not in the way I expected.

David Rittich struggled on Saturday, allowing six goals on 30 shots in the loss to Vegas. Since the Flames are on back-to-backs this weekend, Dobber favorite Cam Talbot is expected to make his Flames’ debut today (Sunday) against San Jose. For other starting goalie info, check out Goalie Post.

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For more fantasy hockey information, or to reach out to me directly, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.