The fantasy rookies are making a huge impact as Tomas Hertl of the San Jose Sharks goes between his legs and Sean Monahan of the Calgary Flames just keeps going streaking with points to lead early fantasy surprises.
With the Flames only having two games scheduled this week, including a head-to-head matchup of these two rookies on Saturday, Calgary will have more time to decide whether to send the No. 6 pick in the 2013 NHL Draft back to juniors or keep him on the roster. The whole fantasy world awaits general manager Jay Feaster's big decision.
WAIVER WIRE WATCH
Jakob Silfverberg, Anaheim Ducks (owned in 38 percent of Yahoo leagues) -- The return of Bobby Ryan to Anaheim was also a chance for the guy he was traded for to show off against his former team. Although Ryan was the one that filled up the score sheet, it is the 23-year-old Silfverberg that needs to be noticed for his play this season. Looking at their head-to-head stats it's been pretty even. Each has five points, Silfverberg has four goals to Ryan's three, and Silfverberg is playing almost as many minutes as the three-time 30-goal scorer he was traded for (79:16 to 85:20 total time on ice). Playing on a line with the ageless wonder, Teemu Selanne, and on the second power-play unit makes the Swedish forward a dangerous player. The Ducks have a great fantasy schedule this week, playing on Wednesday (@CGY), Friday (PHX) and Sunday (DAL), accounting for three of the seven games scheduled those days.
Jonas Brodin, Minnesota Wild (owned in 17 percent of Yahoo leagues) -- It is now time to recognize the 2012-13 NHL All-Rookie Team member as a viable fantasy option. The 20-year-old Brodin, who led rookies in time on ice per game (23:12) last season already has as many goals this season (two) as he had all of last season in 45 games. He also is getting more power-play time, (2:28 per game this season, compared to 1:18 last season) and has matched his power-play point output from last season already in 5 games. The Wild have four games scheduled this week, all on the road (@BUF, @TOR, @TBL, @FLA), and Brodin will continue his rise to being a must-own in all fantasy formats.
Jacob Markstrom, Florida Panthers (owned in 23 percent of Yahoo leagues) -- It's hard to feel comfortable with any Panthers goalie, as the team is only averaging 2.17 goals while giving up 4.00 in six games this season. Even worse, they are only averaging 27.2 shots while allowing 31.2. With that in mind it is hard to believe in any Panthers goalie, but as Tim Thomas nurses a groin injury the cat prowling the net is the 6-foot-6 Markstrom, and he can help your fantasy squad. The 23-year-old gave up six goals in a bad start against the high-scoring Tampa Bay Lightning, but followed that up with two good performances vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins (36-save win) and Los Angeles Kings (26-save loss). With three games this week (@NSH, BOS, MIN) against teams ranked in the middle and back end of the League in goals against, if Thomas isn't ready to return Markstrom is set up to help your team in goals-against average and save percentage; just hope you get wins somewhere else.
Slow starts -- Players that were counted on to be big producers are having slow starts and fantasy owners are worried about them brining their team down. Carolina Hurricanes center Eric Staal was selected on average at 12.9 overall in Yahoo leagues and has only three points in six games this season and a minus-5 rating. Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux was taken on average with an overall pick of 15.8 in Yahoo leagues and has only one assist to his name and a minus-3 on a team struggling to score goals. Our advice if you own these superstar players is stay patient, for they will start to produce and if you do not own these guys try to acquire them from frustrated fantasy owners. Though, if you have a fringe player that you selected in the middle rounds that you thought was going to be a big sleeper for you and is struggling, it might be time to give up on that hope and move on to someone producing early.
Scoring from the back line -- Some familiar names (P.K. Subban and Dustin Byfuglien) and not-so-familiar names (Jason Garrison and Mark Giordano) are at the top of the defensive scoring list, but here at the All-Access we are also keeping tabs on which defensive units have been the most successful in filling up the score sheet. The team that has paced the League so far is the Vancouver Canucks, who have 17 points from defensemen. Garrison led the way with six points, but most surprising is the waiver claim from the Chicago Blackhawks, Ryan Stanton, chipping in three points. Tied for the least productive blue line are the New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres with only three points apiece. Individual stats are most important to a fantasy owner, but don't underestimate systems and coaching philosophies to help push your decisions on picking one player over the other.
Alex Chiasson -- On Saturday in Minnesota, something crazy happened: Alex Chiasson did not score a goal for the first time in a game this season. The 38th pick in the 2009 draft became only the seventh player in the NHL's modern era (since 1943) to score nine or more goals in his first 10 NHL games, as the Boston University product has nine goals (and 12 points) in 11 career games. Very surprising with all the early success is that his percentage being owned in Yahoo leagues (13 percent) is lower than his career shooting percentage of 37.5 (nine goals on 24 shots). Playing over 20 shifts a game and obvious chemistry with the "Wizard," Ray Whitney, should put this prospect on your fantasy radar.
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