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Fantasy All-Access: Another NHL season underway

by Matt Sitkoff

The new fantasy season has just begun and owners already are overloaded with big decisions. On Saturday we saw all 30 teams play on the same night for the sixth time in League history.

In the 919 minutes played there were 86 goals scored (5.73 per game), with 25 of those goals being scored on the man-advantage. There were 911 shots on goal (60.7 per game), 465 penalty minutes (31.0 per game), 767 hits (51.1 per game) and 910 faceoffs (60.7 per game).


Montreal Canadiens defenseman, Andrei Markov led all scorers with three points. Carolina Hurricanes forward Jiri Tlusty had a hat trick and his teammate, Jay Harrison, tied the Colorado Avalanche’s Erik Johnson for the most penalty minutes with 17.


Adam Henrique, New Jersey Devils (owned in 22 percent of Yahoo Leagues) -- The surprising offensive juggernaut of the first five days of the season has been the Devils, with 11 goals in two games. They have been led by the line of Henrique, Michael Ryder and Ryane Clowe, who have combined for nine points. Henrique, who scored a career-high 25 goals last season, has three points in two games and we expect the scoring to continue in the Devils' three games this week, at the Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals, and home against the San Jose Sharks.

Sami Vatanen, Anaheim Ducks (owned in 18 percent of Yahoo Leagues) – The Ducks have scored three power-play goals this season and Vatanen has assisted on two of them. Despite having top players Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf on the team, it's Vatanen, 23, that is leading the team with 9:17 of total power-play ice time. Anaheim has four games this week, at the Buffalo Sabres and Philadelphia Flyers, and home against the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues. With Buffalo and Philadelphia having trouble stopping pucks recently, you should pick up this offensive defenseman now.

Darcy Kuemper
Goalie - MIN
RECORD: 2-0-0
GAA: 0.00 | SVP: 1.000
Darcy Kuemper, Minnesota Wild (owned in 58 percent of Yahoo Leagues) The biggest question for the Wild and fantasy owners was answered in a big way by Kuemper when he stopped all 46 shots he faced in two games against the Avalanche. Kuemper became the youngest goaltender in NHL history to post shutouts in his team’s first two games in a season. Minnesota has a slow week, with games at the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings, but they will be two big tests for the 24-year-old. It looks like he is ready for the challenge, though, and should now be owned in 100 percent of leagues.


Four games this week – The schedule needs to play a big part in your fantasy decisions. Take a look at the teams who have four games scheduled to gain an early advantage in roster decisions. Besides the Ducks, the Boston Bruins, Avalanche, Sharks, Calgary Flames and Sabres play four times this week too. Keep an eye out each week for the teams with four or more games scheduled for waiver wire additions.

Johnny Boychuk
Defense - NYI
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 4 | PTS: 5
SOG: 3 | +/-: 1
Islanders dominate Hurricanes – The most added forward and defenseman play on Long Island. New York Islanders forward Brock Nelson saw his Yahoo League ownership rise to 27 percent and Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk now is owned in 59 percent of Yahoo leagues. That is what happens when you combine for 11 points, including seven points on the power play, in two games. Buyers should beware, though, as that production came against the Hurricanes. Nelson is a better long term fantasy option than Boychuk, whose career-high in points is 23.


Andre Burakovsky, Washington Capitals Washington rookie Evgeny Kuznetsov was seen as a Calder Trophy candidate this season, and he still may turn out to be, but it's been Burakovsky, the 23rd pick of the 2013 NHL Draft stealing some of the early headlines. Burakovsky won the preseason battle for the Capitals' second-line center spot and has responded with three points in his first two NHL games. The 19-year-old is coming off a season of 41 goals and 87 points in 57 games with the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League, and has shown so far that he could last beyond the nine-game tryout. Although he has struggled to win faceoffs (4-19, 21.0 percent), he is seeing time on the second power play.


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