Three up, three down: Connor Hellebuyck taking over in Winnipeg

Connor Hellebuyck spoke with the media following the Winnipeg Jets’ 2-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes.

Welcome to the fantasy hockey stock market. Each week we will look at three players trending up and three players trending down.

Three Up

Brandon Saad – LW – Blackhawks – 6 Goals, 2 Assists, 26 Shots, 6 Games
Saad has always been an elite scorer at 5-on-5, tied with Nicklas Backstrom and Jeff Carter for 15th in 5-on-5 points over the past three seasons. He is once again a terror, reuniting with Jonathan Toews, but now Saad is also being utilized on the Chicago Blackhawks’ top-power play unit. The result is the potential for a 70-point breakout. At the very least, Saad looks primed to score 60 points for the first time in his career.

Will Butcher – D – Devils – 0 Goals, 8 Assists, 4 Shots, 5 Games
The rookie defenceman chose to join the New Jersey Devils because of the opportunity that would be afforded to him. While Butcher is only skating 15:44 per game, over four of those minutes are coming with the man advantage. Five of Butcher’s eight points have come on the power play. He’ll surely slow down but you can’t afford to miss out on Butcher’s early rush of scoring at the shallow defence position.

Connor Hellebuyck – G – Jets – 3 Wins, 0 Losses, 7 Goals Against, 4 Games
We noted last week that Steve Mason was trending down. Hellebuyck has since jumped into the starting role with three straight wins. It would not be a surprise if these two went back and forth all season but Hellebuyck now has the hammer. He is only a season removed from putting up great numbers as a rookie and boasts immense potential as a starter. Hellebuyck is worth taking for a spin as your No. 3 goaltender.

Three Down

Joe Thornton – C – Sharks – 0 Goals, 1 Assist, 6 Shots, 4 Games
The Sharks’ top players have been absent through the first few games, continuing a downward trend for Thornton coming off a bad season. His minutes are down nearly a minute as he ages into a secondary role. Thornton still has potential and will produce on the power play but he never shoots so you can ill-afford to keep him on the roster when he isn’t racking up assists.

Kyle Okposo – RW – Sabres – 0 Goals, 0 Assists, 11 Shots, 4 Games
Coming off of some scary concussion woes there were serious questions regarding Okposo entering this season. Still, he was a top-line player skating big minutes on a lethal Sabres power play. That Sabres top line has been useless thus far and Okposo has ceded his spot on the power play to the more productive options like Evander Kane and Jason Pominville. Okposo has also missed time due to illness. As a backend roster player, Okposo can be jettisoned for a more productive option until he rights the ship.

Jakob Silfverberg – RW – Ducks – 0 Goals, 1 Assist, 19 Shots, 6 Games
Silfverberg is a perennial curiosity for fantasy owners but he has yet to emerge as anything more. He piles up shot totals and boasts a release that looks like it should lead to a lot of success yet Silfverberg has never shot better than last season’s 10.1 per cent. With Ryan Kesler out, Silfverberg has spent way too many shifts with Antoine Vermette as his centreman. Even if you are hopeful about Silfverberg’s chances, the Ducks play just once this week giving him little opportunity to produce for your squad.

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Steve Laidlaw is the Managing Editor of DobberHockey. Follow him on Twitter @SteveLaidlaw.

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