I’m going to forego an update to the Puck Propaganda Power Rankings this week due to the small sample size of games and instead do a little fantasy hockey recap on points of interest during the first weekend of NHL action. In the future these weekly updates on fantasy hockey will likely be handled by one of our contributors, but as they’re currently tied up in some additional Manifest Destiny articles, I figured who better to step in than The Dictator himself? On that note, let’s take a look at who stood out over the weekend.
To trade or not to trade?
Thomas Vanek – 1 GP, 2 G, 3 A, +1, 3 PPP, 9 SOG
Sure, he’s one of the top LW’s in the league, fantasy or otherwise, but there is no way he’s coming close to continuing this stat line. Even the 9 shots stat is way out there for him. It’s possible he finally listened to every fan at First Niagara Center (“shoot the puck, idiot!”), so maybe he’ll eclipse his career average of 2.78 shots per game, but don’t count on it. Still, this could turn out to be a career year for Vanek, as he’s right in the middle of the usual prime years range. Trade him if you can get a foolish Buffalo fan to overpay, otherwise enjoy the show until Lindy Ruff starts shuffling lines again.
Jaromir Jagr – 2 GP, 2 G, 2 A, +1, 2 PIM, 2 PPP, 6 SOG
It’s likely most of you that do own Jagr drafted him in the later rounds, so congrats. But now that it looks like he’ll perform to your expectations, or better, do you trade him? Tough call. Assuming Jamie Benn gets signed soon, he may stick around the point per game mark all season long. However, that deal should have been done days ago, so it’s not a good sign that there still doesn’t appear to be any traction towards one. Can the old guys keep the Stars chugging along without him?
Brad Richards – 2 GP, 1 G, 2 A, +1, 4 PIM, 1 PPP, 6 SOG
The Rangers offense generated next to nothing against Boston and was only marginally better against Pittsburgh. Despite this, Richards still has 3 points and is starting to build a tiny bit of chemistry with Rick Nash. Once the offense gets things straightened out he should be able to sustain this output. However, a short season doesn’t give teams much time to gel, so you may be better off trading him while his stats still look good.
Keep him. Period.
Marian Hossa – 2 GP, 4 G, 1 A, +3, 6 PIM, 1 PPP, 9 SOG
He certainly won’t score 96 goals this season, but 30+ isn’t out of the question. He’s also a +/- beast due to his strong even-strength play and will likely get more points on the power play as the season progress. Sure, there are health concerns, but in a short season you’ve got to cross your fingers and hope for the best.
Erik Karlsson – 1 GP, 1 G, 2 A, +2, 1 PPP, 6 SOG
Was amazing last year, possibly even better in the SM-liiga during the lockout, and now he’s picking things up right where he left them off in the NHL. He’ll once again be close to a point per game or better and may even have a better +/- this time around. He doesn’t help much in the auxiliary stats such as PIM, BkS, and Hits, but don’t let that sway you into a trade.
Teemu Selanne – 1 GP, 2 G, 2 A, +1, 4 PIM, 3 PPP, 5 SOG
The ageless wonder is always relevant when it comes to fantasy hockey and this season is no different. Goals and PPP are all but guaranteed in bunches, while a solid SOG total should also be a certainty. His +/- might not be impressive if the Ducks don’t improve on last season, but it won’t be excessively bad even if they do suck.
Goodbye and good riddance!
Alex Kovalev – 1 GP, 1 G, 2 A, +2, 2 PIM, 1 PPP, 3 SOG
He looked good on a line with Jonathan Huberdeau and Peter Mueller, but that’s a dangerous combination to rely on; one is a rookie that could slump at any moment, while the other is almost as injury prone as Rick DiPietro. However, Kovalev is notoriously streaky, so ride him while he’s hot and then dump him via trade at the first sign of weakness.
Radim Vrbata – 2 GP, 2 G, 1 A, -2, 4 PIM, 2 PPP, 5 SOG
He’s not going to come close to matching last season’s scoring output and his +/- will be much, much worse as well considering the Coyotes will be lucky to finish out of the Pacific Division basement. While we’re on the subject, if you were fool enough to draft any Phoenix players (in non-keeper leagues), trade or drop all of them ASAP.
Ben Scrivens – 1 GP, 1 W, 1.00 GAA, .955 SV%
The Leafs are not going to be good this year and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Still, there are plenty of Toronto homers floating around in fantasy leagues, so if you happen to have Scrivens for some God awful reason, start praising him up on the message boards and you’re bound to sucker someone in to trading for him at top 15 starter value.