Hot Starts - Fact or Fiction?

Distinguishing legitimate hot starts this season and how those players will fare throughout the rest of the year.

The National Hockey League is several days into their 2021 season. It has been several months since we have had this many pro sports available to us and personally, I am soaking it all in. At the time of writing this, most teams have only played a couple of games. That may be too early to make any drastic decisions in your fantasy league, but I aim to provide some insight for you into the hot starts of a handful of players this season, and the likelihood of them continuing throughout 2021.

Here is a look at the early scoring leaderboard as of the end of play on January 16.

Several names that we expect to see on this leaderboard such as McDavid, Draisaitl and Tavares. These are givens. Players that have no reason not to be amongst the NHL scoring leaders and will continue to produce at an elite level barring any injuries or unforeseen circumstances, such as being randomly scratched after being your team’s top scoring defenseman for four straight seasons and an anchor on the power play. The stars of the league are not very fun to investigate because you drafted them so high for a reason. I’m going to take a look at a handful of names on this list and help you to decide if their hot start is fact or fiction.

Travis Konecny:

The first of two Flyers in this article, Konecny has increased his point total in each season he has been in the NHL. So this year he should have more than 61 points, right? On paper, Konecny seems to have the opportunity to match his pace from last season. He is currently slotted on the Flyers first line. Philly is arguably the deepest team this season throughout their lineup. This is likely the reason why Konecny is only averaging a little over 15 minutes of TOI. I see the former Ottawa 67 as the Brendan Gallagher of Philly. A little fewer shots, than Gallagher, but the same type of build and scoring ability to the beloved Habs winger. Currently, Konecny is shooting 50%, which is obviously unsustainable. The success he has seen on only six shots this season is potentially a sign for him to shoot more. Maybe closer to the level Gallagher does, in order to find some more offensive success. I like Konecny this season, maybe not in the top 10, but I can definitely see him being a point-per-game player. Judgement: FACT

Tomas Hertl:

I was a big fan of Hertl this season in drafts. I felt his ADP wasn’t doing him justice after a 74-point season in 2018-19. He was killed by injuries last season but was still productive on a terrible San Jose team. Especially in leagues that do not count plus/minus, Hertl has great potential this season as a top-six forward. Someone has to do the scoring in San Jose and I honestly, don’t think the Sharks have that bad of a top-six. Like Konecny, Hertl too only has six shots so far, but where he stands out more is his TOI. Averaging 21:19 so far this season.


It is likely going to decrease as the year progresses, but I love seeing a team’s top players seeing around 18+ minutes. Hertl is currently playing with Evander Kane and rookie John Leonard. FP is fans of both of those line mates so it only makes sense to be high on Hertl. I like Hertl to surpass the 50-point threshold this year. Anything more is a cherry on top considering where he was drafted. Judgement: FACT

Jeff Petry:

The lone defenseman in the top-10, Petry has taken over as “The Guy” on the Montreal blue line ever since P.K. Subban was traded and Shea Weber struggled to stay healthy. I like Montreal this year in fantasy. They have several underrated forwards such as Nick Suzuki, Tomas Tatar and the already mentioned Brendan Gallagher. The Habs appear to be experimenting with Romanov on the power play, and while it looks very promising, I don’t expect Petry to lose a ton of time because of it. He is still playing around 23 minutes per night and is second on the team in PP time among defenseman. In terms of production for d-men? I like him. In terms of likelihood to remain near the top of the NHL in points? I don’t realistically see that happening. For someone who has never reached the 50-point plateau, I can’t see Petry having a career year in this shortened season. I suspect he will hover around the 35-40 point range, which is great for a d-man in your fantasy league. Judgement: FICTION

Joel Farabee:

Farabee is the reason I wanted to write this article. FP Mike has warned viewers of the YouTube channel about Farabee and I have to agree with him. With such a small sample size of two games, it may be a little unfair to Joel to evaluate him already this season when he has done nothing wrong, but the message I want to stress with a name like Farabee is not to jump the gun and claim him at the expense of a more reliable player that you drafted. I have seen names being thrown around like Bjorkstrand or Burakovsky as options to drop in favour of Farabee. Both of whom I disagree with dropping because of the opportunities they still have this season. Prior to the Couturier injury, Farabee was slotted on the second line with Kevin Hayes and Claude Giroux. Sure, this is a quality second line but when you consider Farabee is trapped behind Travis Konecny on the first line, it doesn’t seem likely for him to see more play time anytime soon. Farabee played 14:12 in the season-opener for Philly. After notching four points in his first game (1G, 3A), he was rewarded with 14:19 of TOI in game 2.

Credit: courierpostonline

An unnoticeable increase proves the chances of Farabee seeing a massive jump in opportunity is very slim. Farabee made the jump to the NHL very quick so clearly the Flyers saw something in him. He has been productive everywhere he has played, hovering around the 1.00 point-per-game in the USHL and at Boston University (NCAA). Too many barriers are keeping me from recommending Farabee for fantasy managers. If Farabee ends up benefitting from injuries or juggling of lines I will reconsider but as of now I'm not going out of my way to acquire him. Judgement: FICTION

Jeff Carter:

Not really much to say on behalf of Carter. Only reason I included him on the list was because I wanted to show all the players tied with four points. The Kings do not have much going for them this season. By the time they are a competitive team, Carter will likely be retired. He is past his prime and playing with two line mates on the second line, who should probably be in a bottom-six role in Blake Lizotte and Andreas Athanasiou. If Carter has a productive season, good on him to do that on a team like the Kings, but he still doesn’t put himself into conversation for a relevant fantasy player on the Kings. Save that role for Kopitar and Doughty. Judgement: FICTION

Thanks for reading another FP Don article. Feel free to let me know your thoughts and let me hear it if I’m wrong! Check us out on YT and Twitter @Fantasy_Puck!

FP Don

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