Magus Paajarvi may make for a solid one-year buy low candidate right now - zero points in five games. He has played pretty good, and he looked terrific in the preseason.
My weekly column - 'Delivering the Sauce' - is now posted over at the Canucks Army.
I wanted to extend a congrats out to Gates Imbeau, who has been hired by Fantrax to write a weekly column. Gates put his time in (and then some) over on the forums, writing game reports, helping others out, and he then progressed into writing our monthly top 100 roto players list (and put together a superb PDF package with tons of content). Great work doesn't go unnoticed.
To any of you who have helped me out with my interest in the opening gig at the Province newspaper in Vancouver, thank you very much. I have managed to build some awesome relationships through this site and my other writing endeavors, and the amount of feedback and responses I received has been overwhelming and really quite amazing.
The Kurtenbloggers were hired away by NBC to do some writing there. They covered the Canucks for the Province and TEAM 1040 radio station and took a satirical/fan point of view with their work. My passion is hockey, and writing has developed into one as well. I'm hopeful that whatever I do in the future can combine both of them (like I am able to do each day for this site).
The consistency and accuracy of the band-aid boys list is amazing – not even the end of October, and Connolly, Hemsky, Havlat, and DiPietro are all injured already. More on the list (as well as some honourable mentions) right here.
The Luongo/fan situation in Vancouver has the potential to get toxic. At this point, he needs to play near flawlessly to earn any sort of accolade. As a poolie, now is a huge buy low opportunity. He’s locked in for another decade and going nowhere. The slow starts are a common trend – it only seems worse this season because the playoff collapse is still so fresh in our memories.
Every time I see Burmistrov play, I come away more and more impressed. Incredibly smart player who competes very hard, and he has magic hands. Could really take off once Winnipeg’s other young talents begin to emerge.
The Leafs are a ton of fun to watch. Phil Kessel is absolutely scorching right now - opposing defensemen are so careful not to give him any gap, yet he still finds a way to get open. Lupul is getting his looks, and Jake Gardiner was great last night. The mobility of him and Liles on the back end has already made Toronto a much, much better team.
Matt Frattin may have zero points, but if he keeps playing like he has the production will come. He forced his way on to the second line and even scored the shootout winner.
The Leafs used David Steckel as a specialist on the PP and at the end of the game last night - he was a beast on the draw and possession is everything in those important situations. No fantasy upside, but an interesting tactic that worked out well for them.
There really should be an award for the best agent of the year. Cam Barker getting over $2 million per from the Oilers? A great read on the not-so-surprising struggles of the defenseman picked immediately after Malkin and Ovechkin in 2004.
Who would be some other contenders? Four years for Ed Jovanovski? $2.25 million for Marco Sturm? It is still very early.
Rumours are circulating that the Flames are entertaining the idea of shopping Rene Bourque. Bourque would be a great fit on a contending team looking to add some scoring and grit in the forward group. He has the skill and offensive ability to score 25 goals, and he competes really hard and plays a few different roles for the Flames. Not really sure why the team would trade him, unless they slide out of contention.
Justin Goldman weighs in on Halak – perhaps he isn’t as good as we all thought he was after the 2010 playoff magic? I trust Justin 100% with goaltending related issues, and I’d agree with him here. I was wrong on Halak last season (more so because I thought the Blues would be a lot better than they were), and he isn’t looking a whole lot better this season.
The Flyers have called up Brayden Schenn – four goals and four assists in four AHL games is a decent start to the season. They also sent down Zac Rinaldo for salary cap reasons. Tough for Rinaldo and those who own him for his PIM abilities, as he was looking pretty good and earned some praise from Flyers fans and coaches. Jody Shelley is now back on the roster after serving his suspension.
I’m interested to see where Schenn slides in on the forward group – Couturier has looked really solid in his two-way role, and playing a young offensive player in a limited fourth line role isn’t really the best long-term move.
Buffalo’s first line looks great (Vanek with Adams and Pominville), the second line looks pretty good (Roy with Stafford and Gerbe – Gerbe in particular has been really good), and the third line has been inconsistent (Ennis with Leino and Boyes). Lots of talent, and it will take some time to find the best possible combos.
The best third line in hockey could very well be Bickell-Bolland-Frolik in Chicago. They dominated last year in the postseason for a few games after Bolland returned to the lineup, and they’ve been the driving force in Chicago early this season. All three have fantasy value, to varying degrees.
I was wrong regarding Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, believing he wasn’t ready due to a lack of size and strength. Those two traits are pretty well irrelevant when a player is as smart and hockey strong as Nugent-Hopkins. Ennis and Pat Kane both excelled in the NHL while weighing well below 180 pounds.
With the term hockey strong, I’m referring to the ability of a player to stay on his skates, use positioning to control the puck and win puck battles. Nugent-Hopkins is such a smart player and he uses his agility and awareness to get into positions that allow him to keep the puck, and he’s going to force a lot of opposing defensemen into taking penalties.
Caught some of the LA/St. Louis game from Tuesday night. Really, really impressed with Slava Voynov on the LA back end. He’s playing in Doughty’s absence – and likely would have made the team if Doughty hadn’t signed at the 11th hour. Smart defenseman who makes a great first pass – there is some offensive upside there.
Simon Gagne looked fantastic. Could have had six goals – he was all over the ice. Injury risk, but good move if you managed to scoop him up later on in a one-year league.
Gates Imbeau with his weekly Studs and Duds:
The Avalanche are getting some good unsung production, starting with David Jones. Having scored four goals this week, if healthy, Jones should have no problem putting in 30 goals this season (career high is 27). If I was a betting man, I would bet over that mark.
In the assist department, Ryan O’Reilly has five and Ryan Wilson has four. Keep an eye on Wilson. While his career NHL high is only 21 points, he had a stellar junior career posting 269 points in 316 games. Do not be surprised if his numbers hit close to 40 come April.
With 14 points, the most productive line this week was John Tavares flanked by Matt Moulson and P.A Parenteau. The trio first found great chemistry together last year, finishing fifth in line production with 91 points.
Over the last three games, JT has spent 86.59% of his time at even strength with these familiar line mates. Those hoping for the dream line up of Tavares and Okposo will have to be patient, because this line doesn’t need any fixing.
Thanks to a stellar week by Vokoun, Washington is flying high. Leading the team in points is Backstrom with six, however it is Dennis Wideman that has my attention. Clocking in at a point per game, Wideman looks like his old 50 point self again. Owners soured on him in Florida, but those days are long gone. Expect a nice return this season.
HM – With seven points in three games during week two, Kessel continues to build on his league lead. Sitting at twelve points, life is great in Leafs land. Lost in the shuffle may be the eight points put up by Lupul (four this week). Might as well ride him while he’s hot.
100th W? Please hold.
Carey Price must like the number 99! One win away from notching his 100th with the Habs, Price couldn’t get it done in three attempts this week. Mind you, his buddy Halak ain’t doing the best either!
Worry not though, Price still has another 67-plus starts. He might as well front load those losses…
Walls of Ruins
The Sens are breaking down early with three losses and 16 goals against this week. That definitely stings. While it is too early to write off any team, things aren’t looking too bright in Ottawa.
With both Carter and Wisniewski out, the Blue Jackets continue to fall. Columbus is now the only winless team in the NHL and last in the standings. Dekanich owners must be itching to see him suit up as Steve Mason just is not getting it done.
Marc-Andre Bergeron – with six points last week, Bergeron leads Tampa Bay’s blue liners.
Brian Campbell – While Campbell loses appeal due to his team and contract, five points this week and seven on the season may have poolies feeling hungry.
P.A Parenteau – Continually getting left out of depth chart conversations, Parenteau keeps working hard and putting up numbers. Five points this week.
Brandon Prust – With a 29 point, 160 PIM season last year, Prust gets on the board early. Three points and four PIM in two games this week , he may have value in some deeper leagues.
Good scrap from the other night - Bieksa with the hugging taunt, Dubinsky with the scoreboard point. Good move by each:
The Jets know it's coming, but they still can't stop it: