Flyers, Senators Offensive Explosions, plus more...
Lots of games with lots happening on Saturday, so there are more quick takes than deep dives in this installment of the Ramblings.
Because of the injury to Erik Haula, the Vegas Golden Knights were finally able to recall Vadim Shipachyov from the AHL. Shipachyov has missed only four games, so you shouldn’t have to adjust your projections that much for him. With only three games on Sunday, Shipachyov makes a great gamble in deeper leagues. There have probably already been a number of owners that have dropped him, so at 31 percent Yahoo ownership there’s a good chance that he’s available in yours.
Also earlier in the day, the Capitals placed Matt Niskanen on LTIR with an upper-body injury. The Capitals probably could have used him, as they found themselves on the wrong end of an 8-2 score in Philly. Alex Ovechkin was held without a point and was tagged with a minus-4, but at least he salvaged something for multicategory fantasy league owners with six shots on goal.
This was a game for the Flyers’ top line of Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, and Jakub Voracek, who combined for 10 points. Giroux scored two goals and added two assists, Couturier scored two goals and an assist, while Voracek chipped in three assists. For those who think Giroux is on the decline, he has seven points (3g-4a) in five games, with points in all but one of those games.
Should this line stick, then Couturier’s fantasy value receives a boost. Couturier’s real-life game has far surpassed his fantasy game, as he has never reached 40 points over his six-year NHL career. With six points and a plus-8 in five games, he’s off to a nice start. He’s only owned in 11 percent of Yahoo leagues, which I think is partially due to the fact that he is only C-eligible. I'd add him only for as long as he sticks on that line, though.
It’s time for the overreaction portion of the Ramblings, which happens to be included in the Leafs/Habs section (quelle surprise!) Much of the drama in Montreal this week surrounded the status of Alex Galchenyuk, whose demotion to the fourth line and mysterious flu refueled the rumor mill. Galchenyuk put some of that angst to rest with a first-period power-play goal, his first point of the season. Still, he was on a line with Jacob de la Rose and Ales Hemsky for much of this game, which isn’t really going to help him build on his one goal.
With the score 2-2 after the first period, it looked like another one of those games for both Carey Price and Frederik Andersen. Price owners are worried that he’s no longer elite, while Andersen owners wonder if he’s even worth starting right now. Price should be able to right the ship, which he usually does when he hits a rough patch. As for Andersen, he will need to be better if the Leafs are to be one of the league’s top-level teams. But don’t bail on him, as he got off to a slow October last season as well before settling things down in November.
Time for some Auston Matthews highlights:
OMFG, the catch and the snipe, Auston Matthews. pic.twitter.com/ZfoNDVvuAc
— Stephen Laidlaw (@SteveLaidlaw) October 15, 2017
Will Butcher added another two assists on Saturday (one on the power play) to give him eight assists in five games. Not only has his free ageny signing paid off, but he has also entered the record book early in his career.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) October 15, 2017
Not a lot of offense in the Tampa Bay/St. Louis game, but Nikita Kucherov scored again. He has goals in each of his first five games. The return of Steven Stamkos hasn’t hurt Kucherov at all. In fact, combining the two has been beneficial for both. Stamkos has turned into more of a playmaker though (just one goal to six assists). It will be interesting to see if Stamkos is reinvented as a player if he and Kucherov continue to stick together.
Dustin Byfuglien returned to the Jets’ lineup on Saturday from his injury and fishing trip, recording an assist and a plus-2.
Nikolaj Ehlers has five goals and two assists in his last three games, including his goal and assist on Saturday. Maybe that’s the thank-you gift to the Jets for the extension he signed at the start of the season.
With two goals on Saturday, Jonathan Huberdeau has points in all four games this season (five points overall). Linemate Evgenii Dadonov also has five points in four games.
Sidney Crosby scored two goals on Saturday, which gives him points in five of six games this season.
Gordie Howe hat trick alert: Tyler Seguin scored a goal, added an assist, and earned a five-minute major fighting Patrik Nemeth in the third period.
With his overtime winner, Brandon Saad has six goals and two assists in six games. And with three assists on Saturday, Artemi Panarin has a goal and six assists in five games. So far the offseason trade is a win-win.
With another goal on Saturday, Filip Forsberg has five goals in five games. Last season he didn’t score his fifth goal of the season until just before Christmas.
There have been thoughts that the Senators overachieved on their postseason run last season and that they would miss the playoffs this season. Or that Guy Boucher’s coaching style would limit the upside of the Sens’ scorers. Then of course, there’s no Erik Karlsson to ignite the offense. No problem. The Sens have gone 3-for-3 on their western Canada road trip (outscoring teams 15-3), which included a 6-1 slaughter of the Oilers in Edmonton on Saturday.
Kyle Turris and Mike Hoffman each scored two goals and added an assist. Turris, who is on a contract year, feasted on the road trip with his second consecutive three-point game. Hoffman, meanwhile, has three goals in his past two games after failing to record a point over his first three games. When Hoffman is hitting the spot where mom hides the cookies, you know he’ll be fine.
— NHL (@NHL) October 15, 2017
After posting a shutout on opening night against the Flames, Cam Talbot has an .836 SV% over his last three games, which include being pulled against the Canucks and Senators. I can’t pin this all on Talbot though, as I’ve seen the Oilers give up a lot of high-danger scoring chances for a team that has aspirations of winning its division. Maybe their defense isn’t as stable as we thought, which won’t be good news for Talbot owners. But again, it’s still early.
If Kailer Yamamoto is to get into the Oilers’ lineup and stay there, he at least tried to do his part on Saturday. The 2017 first-round pick recorded an assist while taking six shots on goal, giving him ten shots over his last two games.
With Alex Edler expected to be sidelined for the next 4-6 weeks, Derrick Pouliot made his Canucks’ debut, recording an assist while earning 3:03 of power-play time and 17:42 overall. If that seems like a lot of power-play time, the Canucks had seven power plays in the game and couldn’t convert on a single one. I mean, Michael Del Zotto received over six minutes on the power play. The Sedins played over eight minutes with the man advantage, which was half their icetime!
When Calgary is mentioned as having one of the league’s top defenses, there’s something to that. Four of the Flames’ five goals were scored by defensemen: Dougie Hamilton with two, and Mark Giordano and Travis Hamonic with one each. Offense from the defense.
In his third game as a Calgary Flame, Jaromir Jagr recorded his first point (an assist) as a Calgary Flame.
Dustin Brown has four goals already. Maybe we shouldn’t take that seriously, but it’s worth mentioning that he’s playing on a line with Anze Kopitar, who appears to be back to form this season. Kopi has six points and a plus-5 over his last three games. Kopitar owners might not feel too reassured that his linemates are Brown and the unknown Alex Iaffallo, but a bounceback to at least 60 points seems like a fair projection.
It was Thomas Greiss’ turn in net on Saturday, stopping 40 of 41 shots to earn the win against the Sharks. With the Isles right back at it today against the Kings, Jaroslav Halak will probably start because it’s his turn and it’s the second of back-to-backs. But you’ll want to check Goalie Post to be sure.
For more fantasy hockey information, follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.
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