(Ed Note: We love fantasy hockey, even if Rick DiPietro is fracking killing us right now. So does Scotty from The 2 Man Advantage, a Puck Daddy fantasy hockey contributor who would like to tell you about some players to watch and trends to keep an eye on. Enjoy.)
By Scotty from 2MA
Sergei Kostitsyn (Montreal Canadiens, LW). Everyone went for Andrei Kostitsyn this year because he did something last year and would be playing with Tomas Plekanec and Alexei Kovalev on Montreal's top line. I got news for you: Brother Sergei might perform equally as well or better playing alongside talented winger Alex Tanguay and Latendresse. Five points in three games is a good start. Out of the rest of my picks here, he should stay decent for the whole year. If he is available, grab him.
Being that there is not much else going for this team other than a broken-down was-been of Bryan McCabe, look for someone to take the reins regardless. He hit fantasy owners' filters last year at some point, as did the Kostitsyn brothers. Maybe David will enhance his performance this year. With skill and the opportunity to play comes domination, especially on the waiver wire.
Anti Miettinen (Minnesota Wild, RW). Four points in two games. Again, similar story to Booth. Anti played in Dallas last season, with Ribeiro and Morrow for a bit when Jere Lehtinen got hurt. However, he played on a lower line for much of the season. He had his moments, however never had a breakout with good volume to support the move.
Notice a good classic breakout in Amazon's has-been chart here?
Aaron Voros/Brandon Dubinsky (New York Rangers, forwards) - UPGRADE to strong buy from buy. For some reason, these two guys are gellin' like Dr. Scholl's. Dubinsky is a very talented player and I think his production continues at a slightly reduced pace through the course of the season. Voros, whom I have met at length, does indeed have something to prove to the Rangers organization. I see continued positives from him, whether it is fights, goals or a good plus/minus. I don't like to fight trends too often, and with many teams matching up their strong D-men against Naslund, Gomer and Dru, I think this line with Nick Zherdev will be free to terrorize and contribute to what looks like a very strong Blueshirt season. Both guys with seven points and 10 PIMs to start. It's not hindsight, but if they are available...you know what to do.
Joni Pitkanen (Carolina Hurricanes, D). Three points in three games. This guy used to be a 40 point/80 PIM man in Philly. If he starts hot and you need D, grab him; he is probably still available. Playing on the power-play with those Carolina forwards is great potential. He takes PIMs and shoots the puck; not much more you can ask for.
Shea Weber (Nashville Predators, D). Two goals in three games. Never been a big fan for some reason, but he can shoot rockets from the point on the power-play and he is the keystone up top in Nashville. Their power-play isn't bad with Dumont and Arnott, so he is a last resort but is a decent choice. Remember, the top man on a powerplay will get a lot of points, or at least puts himself in the position to get a lot of points; that is always where you want your money. This will show you what I mean. Notice how Shea switches with Zidlicky so he can open up, being that his shot is better? This is where he dominates.
Ron Hainsey (Atlanta Thrashers, D). Four points in 3 games. Yes! Sneaky Ronny Hainsey is always at the bottom of my power pouch but he is still there. He is what I like to call the ‘bullet' in a team's breakout or power-play set-up. Rafalski does it, Scotty Niedermayer does it. These are the guys that kick it into gear and take the puck from one end to the other and set everything up. They can slow it down in the neutral zone or fly into the zone, do a Gretzky curl and set the play up. It's an amazing thing to watch because of how difficult it is to do with four or five other guys looking to eat you and the black biscuit you have. He and Matty Schneider will be good on the power-play point, but the plus/minus will undoubtedly suffer. What a cool flowing name he has.
Notes: Paul Kariya - Brad Boyes - Andy MacDonald has potential to be the best line in hockey this season, points wise. Their plus/minuses will be poopy, but these guys can play. Playmakers, passers and scorers makes for a dangerous combo. ... The Cheechoo train continues to add coal to the furnace, and looks to be well into the Rockies before winter. ... The Islanders barely have a defense now. I am such a salty Isles fan.