The third week of the fantasy hockey season is over, and league standings are starting to take a little more shape. Hasty drops, reactionary adds, trade offers galore: the season is in full swing at this point, even though it’s early. Last week’s impressions can be found here. As for this past week, here are some takeaways:
Week 3 Fantasy Hockey Impressions
Los Angeles Kings
The Los Angeles Kings are boasting more fantasy-relevant players than most probably imagined heading into the season. Sure, Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, and Drew Doughty were on most radars in certain leagues. But Ilya Kovalchuk, Tyler Toffoli, and Jeff Carter are all contributing pretty nicely. Carter had two points in his most recent game, but he’s been racking up the shots all year. Even Sean Walker is in the top 100 in Yahoo right now. The goalies, though…best to stay away.
Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri is finally starting to gel with his new team. Kadri is up to five points in eight games after a slow start. Making up for lost time, this past week he tallied four of those five points. He also chipped in 10 hits. About half of Yahoo leagues still have him in free agency, so banger-league owners need to act fast.
Tyson Jost busted out for a hat trick against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. Don’t go rush to add him, however; he scored on all three shots he took, which goes against the norm. And for the season he’s shooting over 26 percent, way above his career average. Jost isn’t known for his offence, and Saturday’s game won’t change anything. He’s only logging just over 12 minutes a night. There is no fantasy hockey appeal here.
Adam Henrique had himself a week. The Anaheim Ducks played four games last week, and smart fantasy hockey owners who streamed him were rewarded handsomely. The 29-year-old had four goals and an assist, adding 10 shots. The Ducks play four more games this week and he’s only owned in 26% of Yahoo leagues.
One of the unlikelier Florida Panthers to have a hot week was Brett Connolly. In three games, Connolly fired home his first four goals of the season. Connolly got over 20 minutes of ice time Saturday, even with four minutes in the penalty box. Everyone on the Panthers top-line left the game early. The second line could become the top line for the near future, so Connolly might be a sneaky add for now. He scored 22 goals last year for the Washington Capitals and is eligible at both wing positions. You probably could do worse.
The Arizona Coyotes are finding their stride offensively, and a big reason for that is Nick Schmaltz. It took him a couple of games to get going, but he seems locked in now. Zero points in his first two games, Schmaltz now has a five-game point streak. The Coyotes have won four of those five. Teammate Phil Kessel is looking better, but still not up to the standards we’ve come to expect. Give it time.
New York Rangers/New Jersey Devils
Rookies Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko are not yet the phenoms many fantasy hockey owners hoped for. Hughes did finally get his first NHL goal, exactly one week after Kakko did. But other than that there’s been nothing fantasy-relevant whatsoever. If you’re in a redraft league, cut them loose. You could use those roster spots for streaming. But in keeper and dynasty leagues, just remind yourself better days are ahead.
New Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat isn’t exactly fitting the bill so far in 2019-20. He scored Sunday, giving him two goals this past week, but he still only has three points on the young season. Horvat isn’t generating a ton of shots, nor is he contributing much in the way of hits and blocks. He scored 61 points last season, but at the moment he’s on a 31-point pace. Things will surely get better, so the 24-year-old is a solid buy-low candidate.
Detroit Red Wings
The electric top line for the Detroit Red Wings – Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, and Tyler Bertuzzi – has gone cold. Detroit as a team isn’t scoring much, but that’s because this line isn’t. For Week 3, they combined for only five points. The Wings have managed only one goal in each of their last three. The silver lining is at least one of these guys had a hand in all of them.
In general, just about everyone on the Chicago Blackhawks is having a bad start to the season. No one more so than Jonathan Toews, however. Coming off a career year in which he scored 81 points, Toews only has two this year. Both came in Week 3, but it’s a far cry from what some may have hoped for. Seventy-two percent of Yahoo leagues have him rostered, down six percent this past weekend.
Another superstar hitting a rough patch is Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau. The 26-year-old salvaged a would-be pointless week with an assist Sunday night. His overall numbers are still solid, with eight points in 10 games. Calgary played four games this past week, so this was still a very disappointing effort. Nothing to worry about, though, as he’s had 183 points in the past two seasons combined.
Carter Hutton put together an insane week. The veteran pitched two shutouts last week against the Dallas Stars and Los Angeles Kings. Against the Kings, he had to make 47 saves. That’s only the 19th time in the past 30 years that has happened. The Buffalo Sabres are stymying just about everyone right now, and Hutton owners couldn’t be more pleased. To date, his record is perfect, 5-0-0, with a 1.39 goals-against-average and a .953 save percentage. Basically, he’s doing this year what most thought he’d do last year.
Other shutouts this week belonged to Petr Mrazek, MacKenzie Blackwood, Marc-Andre Fleury, Alex Stalock, Carey Price, Mike Smith, and Connor Hellebuyck. The latter two traded shutouts Sunday night in a scoreless game, with the Winnipeg Jets winning the shootout. As bad as the New Jersey Devils have been on defence, Blackwood’s shutout is probably not something to get overly excited about. Stalock has been playing better than Devan Dubnyk, however, so keep an eye on that platoon. Fleury started the week off getting blasted for five goals against the Nashville Predators but ended the week with two wins and a shutout.
The Arizona Coyotes goalie tandem is off to a strong start. Antti Raanta got one start this week and played well. Albeit it was against the Ottawa Senators, but he still stopped 34 of 36 shots en route to a win. Darcy Kuemper looks nigh unbeatable, and with more goal support early on he’d be among the league’s best. Still, he’s sitting at 3-2-0 with a 1.62 goals-against-average and .949 save percentage.
Jacob Markstrom attended a family matter early in the week, thus making only one start on Sunday (a very good one, at that), while Thatcher Demko manned the net in the other three games for the Vancouver Canucks. Demko played superbly. He won two of his three starts and allowed only five goals in total. The only goal he allowed Saturday was a power-play goal. The 23-year-old may have very well earned himself more playing time moving forward. At the very least, the Canucks know they have a capable backup who’s already looking like one of the best in that regard.
On the flip side, these upper-tier goalies are struggling somewhat to start the season: Sergei Bobrovsky, Jordan Binnington, Andrei Vasilevskiy, and Braden Holtby. None of these guys are real worries at this point, with the exception of maybe Holtby. Ilya Samsonov is a rookie but looks like a veteran so far. His numbers make Holtby look like the rookie – Samsonov is 3-1-0 with a 1.84 goals-against-average and .933 save percentage. The good news for Binnington owners is Jake Allen is his backup. Bobrovsky and Vasilevskiy are still elite fantasy hockey options.
Philadelphia Flyers goalie Carter Hart played exceptionally the week prior to this one, but it was a complete reversal this time. It was mentioned he’ll likely stumble, and stumble he did. In two starts, Hart allowed seven goals. The ugly news is he only faced a total of 29 shots. His goals-against-average is still respectable, but his save percentage is now below .900.
Schedule Highlights (Oct. 21-27)
Here are the most and least games by teams this week. If your league locks lineups weekly, consider sitting all but the very best players who will only play twice. For streaming purposes, focus on the four-game guys, or at least guys who play off-nights. Heavy nights are Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Off-nights are Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays.
Anaheim, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Ottawa, Philadelphia, San Jose, St. Louis, Toronto, Vegas.
All four of Ottawa’s games are on off-nights. Golden streamer potential here. Take a look at Vladislav Namestnikov in points leagues and Nikita Zaitsev in bangers.
Carolina, Montreal, Tampa Bay, Vancouver, Winnipeg.
Carolina and Montreal have both their games on heavy nights, so look elsewhere for streaming options for the week.
New Jersey. Not that there’s anyone worth playing right now anyway.
The Highlight of the Week
No, he’s not even a little bit fantasy-relevant, but Sonny Milano scored a beauty nonetheless. Check it out:
SONNY MILANO, BETWEEN THE LEGS! ??? pic.twitter.com/vAYYBLNMfL
— NHL (@NHL) October 17, 2019