Ice Chips: The Season Started Already?
Brandon Dubinksy, a guy Jaromir Jagr once bitched and moaned about having as a linemate, is quickly making people forget that the Rangers had some guy wearing 68 last season. Will he keep it up? I’ll say it right here: Dubinsky will not win the Art Ross trophy. Will he be a good second-line scorer with potential for more? Yes, sir.
On the flipside, new Blueshirt Markus Naslund looked great for a little bit and now he looks lost. Despite his high-profile status, there are other guys that deserve fantasy playing time while Naslund decides if he’s good or crappy.
Injuries already: Daniel Alfredsson (surgery), Jere Lehtinen (day-to-day), Bryan McCabe (up to a few weeks), Jack Johnson (two-to-three months), Jason Arnott (day-to-day). Despite knee surgery, though, Alfredsson might actually be in the lineup as soon as this weekend, possibly even Friday against the Phoenix Coyotes. In the meantime, Dany Heatley is the one wearing Ottawa’s “C,” but the real focus is on Jason Spezza, a player who has wilted in previous situations when his star linemates have been injured. Also note that Nick Foligno will fill in on the top line for any games that Alfredsson misses.
There used to be a joke that you could put a pylon next to Joe Thornton and it’d still get 75 points. Based on last year’s Sharks team, we discovered that that theory wasn’t true. However, when you get a speedy sniper like Devin Setoguchi and a rejuvenated captain in Patrick Marleau, good things happen. Setoguchi has the capability of having his sophomore slump hit at any time, but for now, ride the guy while he’s hot and on the top line.
And before we leave San Jose, Jonathan Cheechoo is showing that he can still score goals when healthy. And he’s taking the right wing spot with Thornton and Marleau on Todd McLellan’s power play unit, though his regular shifts are with young Joe “Don’t Call Me Thornton” Pavelski. (Hey, he was one of my sleeper picks in the 2008-09 RotoRob NHL draft kit!)
Win a game, fire the coach. Blackhawk legend and now ex-coach Denis Savard is off to commiserate with Chicago Cub fans while Joel Quennville steps in behind the bench. Coach Q is notorious for being a tough, defensive-minded leader, and he might pull back the reins on young stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.
Oh, as for Brian Campbell? That bazillion-dollar contract was supposed to help the Hawk power play, not hurt it. Ouch.
Does your fantasy league reward individual goalie performance rather than team performance? If your league emphasizes saves rather than wins, then your MVP might just be Tampa Bay’s Mike Smith. The poor guy’s facing 40+ shots a night, but he’s showing why he gave Marty Turco a run for his money in Dallas. Of course, he’ll collapse from exhaustion by January 1, but it’ll be a good run until then.
Every few years, a European player gets tagged “The Best Player Not in the NHL” and teams get into a stupid bidding war for his services. That happened a few years back (see Dopita, Jiri) and this year’s fad was Fabian Brunstrom, who eventually signed in Dallas. His first game? Just a hat trick.Thursday, however, he was held off the scoresheet and took a -2. Dump the stiff!
Need a goon to get some PIMs on your team? Oh sure, you can look at the usual suspects, but a great under-the-radar guy is Chicago’s Adam Burish, who seems to like swinging his fists at anything that moves.
Paging Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry: There’s been some rumblings that your team actually needs to score to win games. By the way, find out if your buddy Chris Pronger is in a fantasy league based on PIMs. If so, he may have drafted himself because he sure likes taking those dumb penalties and putting his team behind the eight-ball.
This just in: Michael Ryder looks like a serious fantasy asset again now that he’s escaped La Belle Province. With four points and a +1 in his first three games, he won’t last on the wire long (if he’s still there, for that matter).
The Week Ahead
- The winless vs. the unbeaten: San Jose takes on Anaheim down in SoCal on Friday night, and something’s gotta give.
- Are you holding on to Alex Hemsky or Sam Gagner? Then you probably know that the Oilers have only played two games leading into Friday. Don’t worry, they’ve got four games in the upcoming week: home-and-home against an erratic Calgary team, away at an underachieving Chicago squad, and then a stop at Colorado, which finally busted its 2009-09 win cherry Thursday night against the still winless Flyers (yes, RotoRob is pre-heating the oven and has starting climbing in).
- How long until Barry Melrose’s mullet turns completely gray? Tampa Bay looks to get something, anything going against Minnesota and Atlanta. Chances are, the team does better against Atlanta.