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Fantasy buzz: Bratt leads Devils, all rookies in scoring

Forward has five points in two games playing on top line, power-play unit with Hall

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / NHL.com Senior Fantasy Editor

All season long, NHL.com's fantasy hockey staff will have you covered with daily lineup news, production trends and injury notes from around the League. We will identify how these developments affect fantasy owners in year-long (Yahoo) and daily (DraftKings) formats.

 

MORE FANTASY COVERAGE: Top 100 forward rankings | DFS picks: Oct. 10 | Projected goalies

 

5:30 p.m.
Boeser scratched again for Canucks

Vancouver Canucks right wing Brock Boeser (RW, 12 percent owned) will not play against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday (10 p.m. ET; SNP, SNV, RDS, TSN5). He did not play in their season opener against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday, either.

Many fantasy owners expected the 20-year-old rookie to start the season in a top-six role alongside either center Bo Horvat and left wing Sven Baertschi or veteran forwards Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin, but he's been unable to crack the lineup entirely.

This is a surprising fantasy development considering Boeser had a productive NHL trial late last season with five points (four goals, one assist) and 25 shots on goal in nine games. He also led the Canucks with seven points (four goals, three assists) in five preseason games, adding a plus-5, one power-play goal and 10 SOG.

Fantasy owners of Boeser are being forced to take a wait-and-see approach. If there are better options on the waiver wire who have seen top-six and/or first power-play usage (e.g. Vladislav Namestnikov, Brayden Point, Jakub Vrana, Ryan Hartman, Jesper Bratt), you may want to cut ties with Boeser, who appears to be on the outside looking in on a veteran-heavy roster. But if you have the roster depth and/or flexibility, you can afford to be patient and hope Boeser eventually enters the lineup and plays his way to a regular role. 

 

4 p.m.
Fiala expected back for Predators

Nashville Predators forward Kevin Fiala is likely to return against the Philadelphia Flyers at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; FS-TN, NBCSP).

The 21-year-old did not play in Nashville's 4-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday because of an upper-body injury. He was minus-2 with no points or shots on goal in their season-opening 4-3 loss to the Boston Bruins on Oct. 5. He is projected to play alongside Filip Forsberg and Calle Jarnkork on Nashville's second line.

Fiala (LW/RW, 5 percent owned in Yahoo) is a deep sleeper candidate who's available on the fantasy waiver wire in most formats. He had a strong Stanley Cup Playoff (two goals, one power-play point, 12 shots on goal in five games) prior to a season-ending broken femur. He also led the Predators with five points (three goals, two assists) and 15 SOG in five preseason games.

He's priced at $3,900 in DraftKings, making him a glaring value pick playing among Nashville's top six with likely power-play usage. The Predators are in a bounce-back spot at home against the Flyers, who will be playing in the final game of their season-opening four-game road trip.

 

11:30 a.m.
Bratt making fantasy waves through two games

Of all the first-year players who have burst onto the NHL scene early on this season, New Jersey Devils forward Jesper Bratt quietly sits atop the rookie scoring leaderboard.

Bratt (LW/RW, 16 percent owned in Yahoo) leads all rookies with five points (three goals, two assists) in two games with one power-play point, a plus-4 and three shots on goal. It's still very early, but he's among Yahoo's top 50 overall fantasy assets based on standard-category performance.

Video: Jesper Bratt calls in following the Devils' 6-2 win

The rookie has capitalized on favorable matchups thus far against Colorado Avalanche backup goalie Jonathan Bernier on Saturday and Buffalo Sabres backup Chad Johnson on Monday. It's significant that Bratt is playing on the Devils' top line with Taylor Hall and Pavel Zacha and also seeing 2:55 per game on the power play. He played on a man-advantage unit with Hall, Adam Henrique and rookie defenseman Will Butcher in the absence of Kyle Palmieri (lower body; day to day) on Monday. Palmieri will be a game-time decision against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday.

So, should you add Bratt in a standard, 12-team format? For now, he's definitely worth adding in a deeper format, but that doesn't mean you should cut ties with a proven commodity. The 19-year-old Sweden native has been a pleasant surprise, but it's unclear if he has the staying power to produce 45-50 points. In a shallow league, you can often find players with a fantasy floor in that range.

 

Hellebuyck aces first start of season

The Winnipeg Jets play the fewest back-to-back sets (nine) in the NHL this season, meaning one of their two goaltenders has a chance to emerge as a fantasy commodity. Connor Hellebuyck, who signed a one-year contract to remain with the Jets this offseason, has gained the early edge in this intriguing time-share situation.

Video: WPG@EDM: Hellebuyck stops a number of scoring chances

Hellebuyck, 24, was impressive in his first start of the season, stopping 37 of 39 shots faced in a 5-2 road win against the Edmonton Oilers on Monday. His teammate Steve Mason (25 percent owned in Yahoo) has stumbled out of the gate, allowing 11 goals in two starts with a .831 save percentage.

With a talented offense and leaky defense, Hellebuyck (35 percent owned) had 26 wins and four shutouts in 56 games last season despite a .907 save percentage. He relieved Mason in the Jets opener, allowing two goals on 11 shots faced, but bounced back with a clean slate Monday. If Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov (38 percent owned) has already been added off the waiver wire, Hellebuyck is a nice consolation prize with a more-potent offense in front of him

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