The season is now about a month old and it gives us a decent sample size to project the outlook of teams and players for the foreseeable future. Thankfully, some squads have done a stellar job of being consistent in 2013. Consistently bad, that is.
The Philadelphia Flyers, Buffalo Sabres, and Edmonton Oilers are in a heated battle for dead last and that compelling race should continue for most of the season. Buffalo has only managed two wins, Edmonton can’t get it together with an abundance of young talent, and the Flyers have scored more than two goals in a game just once all year. However, if the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft were to be decided by the winner of a three goalie brouhaha between the teams, I like the Flyers’ chances.
Luckily in fantasy hockey we’re more concerned about individual success, so let’s look at who excelled and who stumbled from last week.
Chris Kunitz – LW – 97% Owned
Now it’s extremely possible that a lamppost would have a productive week playing on a line with Sidney Crosby, but let’s give some props to Chris Kunitz here as well. Kunitz has to put on his equipment and tie up his skates all on his own. Seriously though, Kunitz put up some impressive numbers in the past seven days scoring four goals on 16 shots, and adding 11 hits. Let’s give him some credit for taking advantage of the opportunity to play with the best player in the world and capitalizing on it.
The Runners Up
Derek Stepan – C – 70% Owned
Stepan has taken advantage of the absence of Rick Nash and Ryan Callahan recently, as have several other Rangers. Mats Zuccarello and Chris Kreider could have easily made this list as well, but Stepan’s three goals and two assists to go along with 17 shots really stood out. As long as Nash and Callahan remain sidelined with injuries, other Rangers will have opportunities to step up.
Jason Chimera – LW – 5% Owned
Much like some of the aforementioned Rangers, Jason Chimera has stepped up with Alex Ovechkin out because of an upper-body injury. Chimera notched two goals and four helpers this week, while going plus-3. At only 5% owned, there is a good chance he will be available in your league and might be worth a pickup in the short-term. Just expect don’t expect him to keep up this pace forever.
David Legwand – C – 5% Owned
Watching the Preds offense is one of my favourite things to do if there isn’t paint drying somewhere to look at. It sounds crazy to acknowledge something a Nashville Predator did offensively, but David Legwand had himself an impressive week with three goals and two assists. Nashville is going to need all the help they can get while Pekka Rinne recovers from a hip issue.
Honorable Mentions: Mats Zuccarello, Chris Kreider, Joel Ward, Sidney Crosby, Henrik Lundqvist, Ben Bishop, Roberto Luongo, Alex Killorn, Patrick Sharp, Anze Kopitar, Daniel Sedin, Alex Pietrangelo, Erik Karlsson.
The LVP (Least Valuable Player)
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – C – 85% Owned
A big reason the Edmonton Oilers have lost five straight games is because some of their young offensive producers have gone dry. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had a particularly rough week as he was held pointless and went minus-3. What’s worse for Nugent-Hopkins owners is that he got absolutely destroyed in the face-off circle as well. RNH lost 29-of-46 draws and hurt fantasy hockey enthusiasts in multiple areas.
Not Last But Certainly Least
Jordan Eberle – RW – 98% Owned
Jordan Eberle gave Nugent-Hopkins a run for his money last week going pointless, as well as posting a minus-4 rating. In fact, Eberle has now failed to record a point in five straight games and has been a minus-9 during that stretch. This Oilers squad has long been projected to finally turn a corner, but they better have a look at their GPS because it looks like they’re going the wrong way.
Marian Gaborik – RW – 95% Owned
Speaking of going in the wrong direction, after posting a three-game point streak Marian Gaborik was held pointless last week in three contests. Prior to this stretch Gaborik hadn’t been held without a point for more than a game before finding the score sheet again, so there is some cause for some concern. Gaborik also failed to record a shot on goal for the first time all year against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.
Sergei Bobrovsky – G – 96% Owned
Many people feared Sergei Bobrovsky would come crashing down to earth this season after that miraculous campaign he strung together last year, and while he hasn’t been terrible in 2013-14, last week was one he would like to forget. Bobrovsky had save percentages of .875 and .769 in two starts over the past seven days. The Blue Jackets netminder ultimately conceded seven goals on 45 shots in the two outings, but on the bright side, his name is still fun to say.
Dishonorable Mentions: Claude Giroux, Patrick Marleau, Brandon Dubinsky, Alex Burrows, Erik Johnson, Jack Johnson.