Sven back with another article, breaking down Week 1 of the fantasy hockey season. We will probably pump out an article like this once or twice a week to recap some standout players! It is far too early to look at Buy/Sell/Hold, but here’s what you should know so far:
No surprises in Vegas as their top line of Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty and Chandler Stephenson combined for eight points in their season opener against Seattle. We found out yesterday that Patches will be out for about six weeks, so that changes things. Depending on their lines, I can see Evgenii Dadonov or Nolan Patrick getting a huge boost. Stephenson is right on the cusp of being owned in all formats, he just needs to shoot the puck more. 4 blocks and 20:20 TOI is amazing for a first game, but let’s be wary of sample size.
For whatever reason, the Rangers started Alexander Georgiev for their season opener and the Caps had a field day. Evgeny Kuznetsov paced the attack with three assists while Alex Ovechkin was Alex Ovechkin. Nicklas Backstrom was recently transferred to LTIR, making Kuz a very decent play while he’s out.
Third-overall pick Mason McTavish had a dream NHL start with 1+1 in 14:40 TOI for the Ducks. The TOI remained the same Friday night in their loss to Minnesota, so keep an eye out for him in leagues where you need a rookie.
Both Nazem Kadri and Bowen Byram had 1+1 in Colorado’s season opener. Depending on league size, I think both players should be owned. Kadri has always had a reliable shot rate but was incredibly unlucky last season, and Byram has some hit and shot upside in depth leagues.
Thatcher Demko has looked sharp in his first two games of the season, going 1-1 with 30+ saves in both games. Rookie sniper Vasily Podkolzin scored his first NHL goal Friday night in Philly, as he looks to build some chemistry alongside Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller. Petey got his first of the year Friday as well, and Miller is up to three assists already.
The Buffalo Sabres won their season opener with a 5-1 pumping of Montreal. I’m not holding my breath on anyone on this team, but Victor Olofsson should be owned in all formats. 1+1 with both coming on the PP.
Aaron Ekblad with two goals in Florida’s season opener. Kris Letang has four assists in two games. No surprise for either of these guys.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi has been talked about for the past couple weeks. We won’t get into all that, but he reminded us that he’s a good Copper Cliff, Ontario boy and he’s good at hockey. FOUR rips on the best goalie in the NHL who hasn’t quite looked like himself. That being said Tampa stormed back from down 6-3 to take this one in OT. Victor Hedman and Nikita Kucherov with four points each, shocker.
Anze Kopitar turned back the clock with a 3+2 night against Vegas. Keep an eye out on former KHLer Vladimir Tkachev. Two primary PPAs in last night’s game but in only 15:00 TOI.
Oliver Bjorkstrand somehow went 2+2 in only 12:58 TOI in a win over the Yotes. I’m not putting too much stock into the TOI as it was a blowout, coach Larsen probably just rolled all four lines. Bjorkstrand should have a very productive season, but this will be the only game Columbus scores 8 goals ever again this year.
The reunited top line of Andrei Svechnikov, Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen combined for six points in a win over the Isles. I’m expecting big things from Svech this year and I’m excited that Rod the Bod is going to fully utilize him.
It was officially the Jack Hughes show Friday night against the Blackhawks, fitting that he did it against his idol Patrick Kane. Two goals including a highlight reel OT winner. Hughes is primed to have a monster season.
The isles had no answer for Sam Bennett Saturday night. Three goals, six shots, three hits. We told you to jump on him!!
Three games in and Pittsburgh is somehow getting it done, even with Bryan Rust now on the IR. Danton Heinen is an absolute sell-high if you have been streaming him, while I anticipate Jeff Carter will continue to be relevant at least until Malkin comes off the IR in a couple months.
Elvis Merzlikins hasn’t been tested much yet, but he looks dialled in and ready to back up his promise of winning a Vezina to honour his friend and former teammate Matiss Kivlenieks. I would absolutely pick him up if he’s somehow available, but be wary in leagues where losses are penalized.
Lastly, Volume I of the Battle of Alberta was the Connor McDavid show. Jesse Puljujarvi had a goal, six shots and 20:02 TOI in Edmonton’s season opening win, and picked up another three points against Calgary. If he is somehow available in your 12-teamer, pick him up!!!
That’s all for Week 1 with just one game taking place Sunday. Let me know if you guys like this type of content, and as always feel free to ask any questions in the Discord!