Now that we are a few games into the regular season, it is much easier to get a read on what is happening in Calgary and what kind of impact new coach Mike Keenan is having.
In September there were some very key questions being asked by fantasy poolies – now we have some answers.
1. What does this mean for Kristian Huselius?
The top two players on this team in terms of power play ice time are Dion Phaneuf and Jarome Iginla. That is to be expected, as the latter is the heart and soul of the team (and the offense), while the former is the quarterback. The third player on the list is Huselius, meaning Keenan has full confidence in him and is showing it by throwing him out there in key situations. Huselius had 77 points last season and there was some concern that being reunited with the man who supposedly gave up on him and shipped him out of Florida would be a detriment to his numbers. Clearly that’s not the case. He’ll flirt with 85 this season.
2. Who is the No.1 center?
Judging by seven goals and 11 points in eight games, it’s safe to say Daymond Langkow held onto the job. There was some debate surrounding the position in training camp because Matthew Lombardi got a long look there, too. Lombardi’s five points aren’t too shabby and his 17:52 of ice time per game is mere seconds behind Langkow, but it’s Langkow who is being used on the power play far more. That’s all poolies care about.
3. Can Adrian Aucoin bounce back now that he is back with Iron Mike?
So far, so good. The injury-prone 34-year-old has four points in eight games with 13 penalty minutes and is plus-4. Those are above-average fantasy numbers for a rearguard. He also plays 22:03 per game and three minutes per game on the power play. The problem is Aucoin’s groin problems over the past two seasons have been so severe he could go down at any moment. Ride him on a temporary basis, because he is certainly back – but just know that you could lose him as early as next game.
4. Will Keenan be trigger-happy with his goalies (i.e. will the backups see a lot of action)?
No. Miikka Kiprusoff has played every minute this season. Nobody has even noticed the two goalies who were competing to be the backup – Brent Krahn and Curtis McElhinney – are both hurt...
Injuries, from a fantasy league perspective: With Atlanta goaltender Kari Lehtonen sustaining a serious-looking groin injury, pick up rookie Ondrej Pavelec. A potential franchise goalie, the 20-year-old will soon steal the starting job from Johan Hedberg, who is stumbling. Pavelec has a shot at putting up some nice numbers while Lehtonen heals…With Sheldon Souray on the shelf with a shoulder injury, Denis Grebeshkov played over four minutes on the power play for Edmonton. He is worth a flyer…
Farm Report: After dominating an NHL training camp, Colorado prospect T.J. Hensick is having a miserable time adapting to the American League. The diminutive center has two goals and no assists in seven games so far for the Lake Erie Monsters. He is also minus-4. Needless to say, don’t expect a call-up soon.
(this article was originally published at the Hockey News on October 22)
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