There are several key veterans in the Western Conference who have been facing a lot of scrutiny for their slow, unproductive starts. Some of them are your prototypical buy-low type of player, while others should not be touched with a 10-foot pole. Read on…
In San Jose, Patrick Marleau has been lethargic to open the season, posting a measly three goals and four assists through the Sharks first 18 games. The Sharks offense has sputtered a bit this season, which is surprising considering their personnel. Marleau is too young to be declining, so he is bound to turn it around at some point. He has not been seeing eye-to-eye with coach Ron Wilson lately, but the chance that the Sharks deal their captain is virtually none. Try and grab him, as his stock cannot get much lower than what it is right now.
Markus Naslund is off to another slow start in Vancouver, on pace for only 20 goals. He has been in a steady decline the past five seasons, and looks to be continuing that trend. He is not a buy-low candidate, as it looks like his offensive skills have seriously eroded. Take him for what he is, a 20-25 goal scorer who should put up 60 points, which is a far cry from his days as a dazzling 40-goal sniper.
Calgary goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff has been inconsistent this season, his first under iron-fist coach Mike Keenan. Kiprusoff recently signed a long-term extension with the Flames, which in theory should remove that as a distraction from his on-ice play. He is a notoriously slow starter, and will pick his level of play up as the season goes on. However, Calgary’s defense outside of super-stud Dion Phaneuf has been spotty this season, so Kiprusoff has his work cut out for him. Expect elite play, but the numbers should take a bit of a hit.
Angus’ Prime Cut in the West from October 31st to November 13th, 2007
The third Prime Cut award recipient is long overdue, and could have won it either of the two previous times. He is leading the NHL in points, and is showing no signs of relinquishing that title. He is arguably the best two-way forward in the Western Conference, playing on the top line of the top team. From a fantasy standpoint, HenrikZetterberg's torrid start presents quite the conundrum for many fantasy GM's. Should you sell high on Zetterberg? Is he going to keep up his extremely high level of production? Every so often, there is a player who takes the step from star to superstar, like Todd Bertuzzi back in 2002-2003. Zetterberg will be in tough to continue his 130-point pace, but do not expect him to slow down if he remains healthy. This will not be the last time Zetterberg is up for this award, so expect to see his name often. King Henrik's reign over Hockeytown has officially begun.