With the first month of the NHL season officially in the books, fantasy owners are starting to see trends among their players and free agents. Fantasy owners also have a better understanding of “Who is for real” and “Who is just pretending”. Last week, we reviewed players on Crashing the Net like Ryan Callahan, Jeff Skinner, and Justin Williams.
Derick Brassard – C, Columbus Blue Jackets (15% Yahoo! / 45% CBS)
After starting the season with just one point over his first six games, Brassard found himself on the top line for the Blue Jackets with Rick Nash, and Jakub Voracek. Over his last seven games, Brassard has recorded a point in each game and has currently three goals in his past five games. After scoring just nine goals last season for Columbus, the move to the top line has really helped not only Brassard, but Nash and Voracek have responded nicely as well. He’s finding plenty of playing time on the power play for the Jackets and has recorded three power play goals thus far. It also appears that he’s shooting the puck a lot more this season and with Columbus seeing a lot of production from this line, you can bet that coach Scott Arniel doesn’t plan on breaking them up any time soon.
Logan Couture – C, San Jose Sharks (4% Yahoo! / 26% CBS)
With Sharks’ captain Joe Thornton serving a two-game suspension, Couture found himself on the top line this weekend beside wingers Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau and found instant success with the group. He recorded two points in his first game with the top line and will once again play on this line against the Anaheim Ducks this week. With Thornton schedule to return late in the week, Couture will lose his top spot, but I fully expect him to see an increase in ice time going forward. He’s averaged under fifteen minutes per game of ice time this season so far and makes an especially great acquisition if you play in deep leagues that allow keepers.
Wojtek Wolski – LW, Phoenix Coyotes (41% Yahoo! / 74% CBS)
With the injury to Shane Doan, Wolski will find himself on the ice a lot more. After a slow start to the season that found Wojtek in the press box to start the year, the Yotes will hope that Wolski can step his game up. The Coyotes play four times this week, so this will the perfect opportunity to see Wolski can do. Although he has just one goal this season, he has recorded four points over his last five games.
Mathieu Garon – G, Columbus Blue Jackets (23% Yahoo! / 21% CBS)
After starting the season as backup to Steve Mason, Garon appears to be the number one guy in Columbus given his recent play. Mason hasn’t been the same netminder we saw during his Calder Trophy season, posting a 4-4 record with a 3.30 GAA, making him a risk for fantasy managers. Garon, a 32-year old veteran, continues to play well this season, posting a 4-1-0 record with a 1.28 GAA and a .951 SV%. Garon has received the last four starts for Columbus and has recorded two shutouts in his last three starts. Mason owners should certainly own Garon as a handcuff with other fantasy owners taking a shot on Garon while he’s currently playing lights out. Garon makes a nice addition for fantasy owners who have struggled with a Tuukka Rask or Nikolai Khabibulin. Fantasy owners should also be cautioned that Garon is on a short-leash and if he hits hard times, he could return to the bench.
Jarret Stoll – C, Los Angeles Kings (36% Yahoo! / 56% CBS)
Although Stoll isn’t known for his scoring ability, he’s still apart of a team that scores a ton and has been receiving the fourth most amount of ice time on the power play for the Kings this season. Not only is Stoll seeing plenty of ice team, he currently sits at 0.92 points per game, so you know he’ll plenty of opportunites during the season. Stoll is currently playing between wingers Justin Williams and Ryan Smyth, who have both started out the season strong. This line for the Kings has generated a lot of the scoring for the team this season, with Stoll collecting eleven points over his first twelve games. Another stat to like about Stoll is his ability to win faceoffs. If you’re in a league like mine, points are awarded for these type of things and can help you where you fall short in other categories. For the season, Stoll currently ranks 12th in the league with 130 faceoffs won.
Alex Pietrangelo – D, St. Louis Blues (13% Yahoo! / 45% CBS)
This former first round pick is making the most of his opportunities due to the slew of injuries to the Blues this season. After seeing less than twenty minutes of ice time during his first six games, the young defenseman has seen over twenty-four minutes of ice time over his last four games including an extended look on the powerplay. His past has proven he’s capable of playing on the power play, as he collected a total of nine goals in the OHL last season with four being on the power play. More impressively, he collected 29 points during 25 OHL games and finished the year with a plus-minus rating of plus-20. This season through ten games, he has a plus-7 rating.
Milan Hejduk – RW, Colorado Avalanche (49% Yahoo! / 76% CBS)
This Hejduk pickup is more for folks who play in Yahoo! fantasy leagues, as he’s probably taken in CBS leagues. Hejduk is currently on the second line with winger David Jones and center Matt Duchene, but has found heavy time on the power play this season, making him very valuable playing next to winger Chris Stewart. Milan has collected seven points over his last five games and is currently second on the team in points with 14. Be sure pick him up if he’s out there.
Others to Monitor
Pascal Dupuis – W, Pittsburgh Penguins
Much like Chris Kunitz, playing on the same like with Sidney Crosby should boost your fantasy value. Dupuis is currently owned in less than 10% of fantasy leagues, so it’s still early enough not to rush out for him. The major factor for Dupuis is his lack of power play ice time for the Pens. This makes him a major turnoff for fantasy owners.
Niclas Bergfors – RW, Atlanta Thrashers
After failing to record a goal over his first five games to start the season, Bergfors has scored in four goals in his last six games. But with the recent success, Bergfors still carries some concern for fantasy owners looking to pick him up. He’s missed some time this season as a healthy scratch due to his play and is usually on the ice for less than fifteen minutes a game. Bergfors is one to monitor, but see if better options are still available.