Week 1 | Fantasy Hockey Bulls/Bears, Adds/Drops and Hot/Cold

NHL Hockey is finally back, that means it’s time to start talking some Fantasy Hockey! Who’s hot, who’s not? Which players stock is rising, which is falling? Most importantly, who is worth adding before your competition catches on?

Bulls/Bears:

Stock up:

AP Photo/ Jeffrey T. Barnes

Sammy Blais: LW/RW – 20% Yahoo / 4.5% ESPN

2 goals, 1 assist, 4SOG, 12 hits, 14:45ATOI through 2 games played. Yes, only 2 games! Blais looks like he is going to be a banger diamond in the rough.

Kevin Shattenkirk: D – 36% Yahoo / 34.7% ESPN

2 goals, 1 assist, 1 PPG, team leading 11SOG, top pairing/2nd PP minutes @ 22:16ATOI through 3 games, adding in 3 hits and 4 blocks.

Point per game Shattenkirk is surely unsustainable, but something close to a bounceback is surely doable.

Jakub Vrana: LW – 21% Yahoo/ 54.6% ESPN

2 goals, 1 assist, 9 SOG, 1 block with 16:46ATOI through 3. Definitely the hot hand, and chemistry with Eller is there, Kuznetsov is slated to return on the 3rd line. There’s no doubt in my mind Kuzy will regain his top 6 spot, and that could spell an uptick for Vrana.

Victor Olofsson: LW/RW – 21% Yahoo/ 54.6% ESPN

2 goals, 1 assist, 2PPP, 6 SOG, 1 hit, 18:19ATOI, top line, top power play with Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart. Goaloffson is skyrocketing in ownership, strike before the iron gets hot, and you may already be too late. Out of three of the “Newbies” (Cody Glass, Alex Nylander and Victor Olofsson) who are in primo position to succeed, I believe Olaf is the most trustworthy. To hear more on that take check out the Five Hole Fantasy Hockey Podcast where we dig into these newbies.

Blake Coleman: LW/RW – 43% Yahoo/ 6.1% ESPN

2 goals, 1 assist (seems to be a trend here), 4PIM, 6SOG, 5 hits, 15:08ATOI. Top 6 in New Jersey, with no Power Play time. He does see some Penalty Kill time, and threw his hat into the goal of the year race.

Stock Down:

The Canadian Press / Sean Kilpatrick

Tyler Johnson: LW/RW – 31% Yahoo/ 52.2% ESPN

After centering Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov in Tampa Bay’s season debut, he’s been since relegated to the third line. Behind Stamkos and Anthony Cirelli in the depth chart. Still getting top PP time, and a goal against a stingy Carolina team, all is not lost. If TyJo is available, keep an eye on him this week. Tampa only plays 2 games, and they are on heavy game nights.

Neal Pionk: D – 12% Yahoo/ 17.8% ESPN

Well, it looked promising for Pionk. For one game at least. One never wants a player to get hurt, but with Josh Morrissey being a late scratch in Sunday’s game against the Islanders, Neal Pionk looked to be the guy getting a boost in value. Josh Morrissey is practicing again, and will be in for Tuesday’s game against the Penguins.

Mackenzie Blackwood: G – 34% Yahoo/ 6.7% ESPN

Ouch. .800sv% through 2(ish) games. 2GA on 9 SOG after taking over for Schneider who left the game with leg cramps and is projected to start Wednesday against the Flyers. Blackwood was then absolutely tragic against Buffalo in a Murphy’s Law game giving up 7 goals on 36 shots.

Adds/Drops

AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

Adds:

Brandon Tanev: LW/RW – 10% Yahoo/ 9.6% ESPN

With Malkin’s soft-tissue injury to his leg that will keep him out a month, there will be expectations to keep depth scoring alive in Pittsburgh. Jared McCann (6% Yahoo/ 3.3% ESPN) is another name worth noting here, as he will be centering the 2nd line of Alex Galchenyuk and Brandon Tanev and has 2 goals, 1 assist, 5SOG and 5 Hits. His 3 points came from the “All you can score buffet” on Elvis Merzlikins, but nonetheless, a name worth mentioning. OK, back to Tanev! He will play 4 games next week, 2 against the cripples defense of Winnipeg, and then one against Anaheim, and another against Minnesota. If that’s not a plum week of matchups I don’t know what is. Tanev hits, has great deployment as of now, and has an easy week ahead. This leads me right into:

Alex Galchenyuk: C/LW – 42% Yahoo/ 53.4% ESPN

If you can fade banger stats, and are looking for pure offensive potential, Galchenyuk is your guy. Slated to take Malkin’s spot on the top power play, for the foreseeable future, and a 4 game week against weaker opponents… that sounds like a recipe for success to me.

Jeff Carter: C – 6% Yahoo/ 41% ESPN

Listed as a center but playing the right wing, he could be dual eligible soon. Following the 4 game week targets, Carter is playing with Ilya Kovalchuk (LW/RW) who is also worth a look at 6% in yahoo, and 3.2% in ESPN. Both players haven’t blown the doors down offensively despite a very high scoring game against Edmonton, but have 4 games, and both have top power play deployment.

Cody Glass – C – 17% Yahoo/ 9.4% ESPN

The Shiny new toy in Las Vegas! Scored a goal in his debut and everyone rushed to the waiver wire to claim him. He is centering Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty but with center being so deep, and just showing a flash in one game isn’t enough for me to drop anyone I just drafted for a center with pretty linemates. Yet.

Drops:

Alex Nylander: LW/RW – 25% Yahoo/ 8% ESPN

Alex Nylander only lasted 2 and a half periods before they swapped in Drake Caggiula. Then Caggiula was swapped for Brandon Saad 3 minutes later. Nylander is too much risk, for too little reward for me. This one I have to let marinate.

NO ONE ELSE! IT’S TOO EARLY TO BE DROPPING ANYONE!

Hot/Cold Streaks:

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Hot! Hot! Hot!

Mika Zibanejad:

A couple of 4 point nights for Mad-Lad Zibanejad. The top line of Buchnevich, Panarin and Ziba looks unstoppable.

Auston Matthews:

5 goals already, on 16 shots over 3 games. Matchups against OTT, CBJ and MTL played a big part in that no doubt. Pump the brakes on a 60 goal season, but we maybe staring down the barrel of a Rocket Richard year.

Anthony Mantha:

Another line that looks unstoppable. Mantha, Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi (LW/RW – 43% Yahoo/ 57.9 ESPN) are on fire. Bertuzzi should be owned everywhere, this whole line should be.

Roope Hintz:

46% in Yahoo, 23.1% in ESPN. This C/LW is playing over 17 minutes a night, slated on the top PP, and has everyone who called him their “sleeper/breakout” (which was everyone) feeling pretty smart right about now. Throws his body around pretty good too, 3 hits so far this year, and 87 hits through 58 games last year.

Cold:

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

David Pastrnak:

No points, 2PIM, and 3 shots through 3 games. The entirety of the “Best Line in Hockey” (Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak) has combined for 2 points so far. These are 3 players who either paced for or scored 100 points each last year. While they haven’t been paying immediate dividends, don’t panic. You should however knock on the door of your local Patrnak owner and get a pulse if you can get him via trade.

Kappo Kakko/ Jack Hughes:

Both players have no points, 3 shots, and no peripheral stats. Buchnevich is playing well, so it looks as if Kakko is stapled to line 2 for now. the Devils are also trying Hughes on line 3 going into the game against Philly. Given the price you paid for them in your drafts, likely having to reach a bit, I highly suggest sitting tight. It’s too early to throw in the towel on most players.

Kevin Labanc:

Speaking of throwing in the towel too early, Kevin Labanc is one of Yahoo’s most dropped players this week! What gives?! Patience is key! He is now projected to be on the top line with Logan Couture and Timo Meier, so either chill out, OR RUN TO THE WIRE AND SNAG HIM! Yeah, it’s a slow start, but hell! It’s only a few games into the season! He took a team friendly on year deal to bet on himself, I will be wildly surprised if he disappoints this year.


That’s it for the first edition of This/That for Fantasy Hockey, thanks for reading. I hope it was informative, to dive deeper into any of this, definitely check out the Five Hole Fantasy Hockey Podcast, follow that link to our Linktree and climb the tree to your favorite podcatcher. You can also follow me on Twitter @FHFHockey and lay any questions you have on me. Be sure to also follow @Hockey_OTH on Twitter too and get over to the Overtime Heroics forums to discuss this article and many others!

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