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If he's only going to play 12 minutes per game -- with a quarter of it on the power play -- then his lack of a foot game isn't going to be much of a factor. It's doubtful he can keep up a 33 percent shooting percentage, but Yakupov is locked in with Matt Duchene on a line and could very well keep up a relevant pace for points. With only three four-game slates on tap for NHL teams, it's a lighter week for hockey.
With the exception of the Anaheim Ducks and their one game, there aren't really any squads to avoid. The forecaster chart needs statistics to eat to get stronger. The more data it has to consume, the stronger its evaluations become. Right now, with minimal data to input, the forecaster is still living off its prehibernation stores from last winter. So take the ratings with a grain of salt to begin the season, as the numbers being generated still rely on last season's data.
Once we get about three weeks in, we have enough fresh data to remove last season's numbers from the calculations. In the notes -- team, goalie and player -- below, the focus every week will be mainly on players that are available for potential use. Ownership below 50 percent of ESPN leagues is a good generalized cutoff. I'll try to also include players below 10 percent ownership whenever possible to cater to deeper formats.
Larkin isn't the only Red Wing available and off to a great start. Mike Green is now averaging two assists per game through four contests and is still available in one-third of leagues, Anthony Mantha has been keeping pace with his linemate Larkin and is available in more than 40 percent of leagues, and rookie Martin Frk has two power play goals among his four points this season. The Wings hit the ice four times next week with a day off between each game and three of the contests at home.
Don't forget that the Jimmy Howard is also available in almost 50 percent of leagues. So long as Scott Hartnell gets to plant in front of the opposing crease with the top power play unit for the Predators, it's not unreasonable to expect continued modest production. Factor in his penalty minutes and, baby, you got a fantasy-relevant stew going. The Preds face the Avalanche, Flyers and New York Rangers next week, which should give Hartnell more opportunities for scraps -- both in the rebound and fisticuffs sense of the word.
Also, if Roman Josi isn't healed up by next week, toss Samuel Girard into your lineup. The rookie has three points in two games with Josi out of action and is seeing plenty of power play time in his stead.
There are more exciting options at the moment for the Bolts, including Alex Killorn coming off a four-assist night, but now is the time to invest in Vladislav Namestnikov for long-term returns. Few players get to spend ice time with two bonafide superstars on a nightly basis -- both on and off the power play -- and Namestnikov's four points in four games are no accident. Though three of them are on the road, the Lightning have a four-game week on tap.
Besides, there aren't that many potential assets to get excited about on the Canucks until we see some kind of consistent scoring. That said, monitor a potential Canucks debut for Derrick Pouliot , who projects as their best offensive defenseman, but has yet to play this season.
Alexander Edler was hurt on Thursday and could provide an opening. You could convince me that benching even Corey Perry was an acceptable move in weekly leagues. Semyon Varlamov , G, Colorado Avalanche. If you roster John Gibson one game or Devan Dubnyk two games back-to-back and are worried about your starts next week -- and missed the early season boat on Jimmy Howard or Marc-Andre Fleury -- consider Varlamov to pad out your stats for the week.
With games against the Predators and St. Louis Blues on deck, it's not a great matchup on paper for the Avalanche, but neither was a set of games with the Bruins earlier this week, and Varlamov won both games with a shutout to boot. Connor Hellebuyck , G, Winnipeg Jets. As I said on Monday , if the Hellebuyck did well against the Edmonton Oilers , this crease would be his for a while.
Even if you don't want Hellebuyck right away for your squad, you can comfortably cut loose Steve Mason. Neither goaltender has much fantasy value in a time-share. Never forget that Jack Eichel is the catalyst here.
As hot as Evander Kane has been, it's Eichel that is making things happen for him. Girgensons replaced Kane alongside Eichel and promptly picked up two assists. Kane with Eichel has four goals, two assists and 26 shots on goal in three games.
Kane without Eichel has zero points and one shot on goal in one game. Don't drop Kane, but find a way to ride Girgensons for the short term. Part of my eulogy might one day read, "He really liked reminding us of how good Chris Stewart was during the lockout-shortened campaign.
If you can make mid-week pickups, why not add Stewart for the weekend? The result has been four goals and a helper in three games. Radim Vrbata and Nick Bjugstad should make some early season watch lists.
Vrbata has three assists, 13 shots on goal and was shifted to the top line in place of Evgeni Dadonov during Thursday's game. Bjugstad has been a no-show for two injury-riddled campaigns following his goal breakout in He certainly looks healthy now, scoring two goals and two assists through three games. If you insist on trying to take advantage of the Canucks four-game schedule, Bo Horvat rostered in Boeser made his season debut Thursday skating with Horvat at even strength and with the Sedin twins on the power play.
Zaitsev sports a healthy plus-7 rating to go with five points in four games. He's not shooting enough to keep up the goals five shots , but he could wind up with some fantasy relevance as a No. Tyson Barrie , like many of the Avalanche players, looks rejuvenated early in the season. He's back to playing big minutes and leading the way on the power play. Barrie has fired 17 shots on goal through four games and has three points.
Scoop him up before it's too late. The lines for the Pittsburgh Penguins keep juggling, but keep an eye on Bryan Rust. Seemingly interchangeable with Conor Sheary for a wing spot with Sidney Crosby , Rust has seven points to Sheary's three to show for his efforts. This is all complicated by the return of Patric Hornqvist , who also saw some time with Crosby on Thursday.
It's starting to sound like Patrice Bergeron 's injury could last a while. It may be wise to lower expectations for David Pastrnak and, to a lesser extent, Brad Marchand for a bit of time. The Bruins only have two games next week, so it's not unfathomable to start someone else over them in weekly formats. Jordan Eberle can ride the pine for your team next week, too. The early results don't show much chemistry for Eberle and John Tavares.
Ottawa Senators fantasy preview for Stone among best even-strength point producers last season; Tkachuk eyes top-line role as rookie. Fantasy forward point projections for McDavid tops list again; Tavares should reach 90 points for first time; Pettersson highest-scoring rookie. Fantasy defenseman point projections for Karlsson leads position despite uncertainty; Provorov, McAvoy should take next step; Dahlin can exceed 40 for improved Sabres. Fantasy first line rankings for O'Reilly will get chance to center Tarasenko; Sabres rise into top 15 with Skinner.
Fantasy second line rankings for Fantasy center top 50 rankings for Monahan, Carter among bargains; Tavares, O'Reilly gain value from moves, boost new teammates; Pettersson, Mittelstadt impact rookies. Fantasy right wing top 50 rankings for Reinhart, Konecny potential top-line steals; Hornqvist bargain after hits addition; Svechnikov should make immediate impact with Hurricanes.
Fantasy breakout candidates for Provorov, Grubauer, Nugent-Hopkins have higher ceilings ahead of expanded roles. Fantasy rookies to watch in Dahlin, Svechnikov, Pettersson among first-year players with significant value. Brady Tkachuk gains short-term value after signing with Senators; Matthew Tkachuk seeking third straight top finish with Flames.
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