Every Sunday this season, we’ll share 20 Fantasy Thoughts from the writers at Dobber Hockey. These thoughts are curated from the past week’s “Daily Ramblings” on DobberHockey.com.
1. Carolina’s line of Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen and Elias Lindholm is probably the “sexiest” but for my money the most intriguing line on the Hurricanes is the one featuring Jeff Skinner, Victor Rask and Lee Stempniak. The latter trio combined for three goals despite being primarily used on the second power-play unit. This is Skinner’s chance to reignite his career and his fantasy value.
2. Aleksander Barkov is enjoying an excellent start and everyone is calling for his superstar emergence this season. I don’t question the talent. I just wonder if he can stay healthy enough to push 70-plus points.
3. Everyone wants to know what to do with Ivan Provorov (who got his first NHL assist). He has been paired with Mark Streit on an intriguing pairing. Talented as he is, I maintain Provorov won’t be fantasy relevant unless Shayne Gostisbehere gets hurt.
4. Chris Kreider looked awesome, scoring a goal, adding an assist and piling up seven shots on goal, plus four hits. He’s a multi-category dreamboat and maybe this is the year he finally puts enough offence on the board to be must-own in all formats. This is his fourth full season, which means it’s breakout time. After essentially back-to-back 45-point seasons, it’s time for Kreider to threaten for 60. We’ll see if he gets enough ice time to get there. He also needs to be more consistent than in the past.
5. I am interested in what Michael Frolik and Mikael Backlund are putting together as depth scorers. The two have clicked for points in each of the first two games, which continues the chemistry that they flashed last season. Backlund scored 32 points in 45 games over the second half of last season, a 58-point pace. I doubt 58 is in play for Backlund but perhaps 50 is attainable.
6. Andre Burakovsky probably doesn’t see enough PP usage to be a consistent fantasy option but when he’s hot, he can score with the best of them.
7. Drool worthy, the Predators’ top line: Kevin Fiala, Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen. They barely used Forsberg and Johansen together last season so while they were experimenting with this during the pre-season, I wasn’t certain they would link up and it was enough to steer me away from pursuing a Forsberg-Johansen tandem in all my pools. Seems like a mistake on my part. Really good spot for Fiala. He should only have value in keepers, daily fantasy and deep one-year leagues.
8. David Pastrnak only played 15:11 and 14:19, respectively, through the first two games of the season. He’s still a must-own player in all formats given his top-line assignment, but does his power-play role remain when Patrice Bergeron is healthy?
9. I am happy to enjoy Zach Werenski as an undervalued daily fantasy option for the next few weeks but it remains to be seen if he can clear the 50-point bar I hold my defencemen to in shallower daily starts leagues. If he can continue to produce shots at a high rate, I’ll be more interested even at a more reasonable scoring pace of 35-40 points because at least he offers the nightly shot production.
10. Jonathan Marchessault registered a goal and two assists Saturday to follow up his goal on opening night. He is a must-add skater. He had a game-high six shots against Detroit and is receiving significant minutes alongside Barkov and Jaromir Jagr.
11. Nick Ritchie played 21:14, which was even more than Ryan Kesler. It is only a matter of time before Ritchie pads the scoresheet with more than peripheral contributions. He registered six hits and four penalty minutes Saturday.
12. The Jonathan Quick situation is an example of why having two capable starters is good insurance. I could see Ryan Miller coming available once the Canucks appear out of it this season but that could take until Christmas.
13. Alexander Radulov looked really good skating on the second line with Artturi Lehkonen and Tomas Plekanec. This line doesn’t have the upside (or power play minutes) of the top group but they’ll see enough to have flashes of production and value in deeper settings.
14. Yohann Auvitu notched an assist in his NHL debut. He was a pre-season star leading the Devils in scoring and is a seasoned pro coming off a year in which he led the Finnish League in defenceman scoring. There is pedigree and opportunity here. He led all Devils defencemen in power-play time last night. Auvitu doesn’t meet my bar for blue-line production on a nightly basis but again, I don’t mind him as a cheap daily fantasy option until he gets more recognition and thus more expensive.
15. Connor McDavid goes a long way, but sticking with the theme, the Oilers aren’t likely to be involved in many low-scoring games. Still, the real draw here is McDavid.
16. Nathan Beaulieu received 22:46 of ice time and notched his first assist of the season. The key for him is the hefty ice time, and if he consistently plays above 20 minutes, he’ll produce offence. Remember, he only saw 17:46 in the opener. It’s also worth noting, Beaulieu still hasn’t registered a shot on goal.
17. Two points for Ryan Dzingel, but he’s going to need more than 9:03 of ice time to be a fantasy asset in most settings.
19. Rickard Rakell will likely centre the second line with Corey Perry on his wing but this is a team with a lot of options. Remember, Rakell was used quite frequently as the left-winger alongside Ryan Getzlaf and Perry. My big question is whether or not Rakell will skate with those two on the top PP unit. Right now it’s Jakob Silfverberg in that spot. One of Rakell or Silfverberg has a shot at a 60-point season if he clicks.
20. I’m not sure Brandon Pirri will be entirely relevant but he’s a threat for double-digit power-play points if you need a category filler.