By Jan Levine, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
This week’s article includes the third center in D.C., Kovy on a roll, a hot Greiss, L.A.’s starting goalie not back “Quickly,” and Jake Allen not getting it done in the Arch City.
First Liners (Risers)
Lars Eller, C, WAS – Eller won’t post big numbers, but he is a center you can plug-and-play in your leagues when he has a four-game week, or an injury replacement is needed. He has two goals and five assists in his last seven games after tallying a career-high 38 points last year. As the team’s third center, he benefits from easier matchups behind Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nicklas Backstrom.
Max Domi, C, MTL – Domi, profiled in the first column of the season, needed a change of scenery. He received one with his trade to the Canadiens for Alex Galchenyuk. That change in location has resulted in a change in Domi’s luck and production. After scoring 52 points as a rookie, Domi notched 38 and 45 the past two seasons. Now a Canadien, Domi tallied his seventh goal in eight games Saturday and tacked on another for good measure Monday. It gives the young pivot 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) in 14 games. He is centering the third line, which may hurt his numbers, but he gets a boost in value since he is on the second power-play unit. He could even move up as long as he remains productive.
Mike Hoffman, LW, FLA – Hoffman extended his point streak to nine games with a power-play goal Friday against the Jets. After starting his tenure in Florida without a point in his first two games as a Panther, Hoffman has been unstoppable. His off-ice issues resulted in a move from Ottawa ultimately to the Sunshine State, providing Florida with another scoring option for its top two lines. Look for Hoffman to continue to be in the middle of the offense for the Panthers, both at even strength and with the man advantage.
Ilya Kovalchuk, RW, LA – Kovalchuk might have needed a bit of time to re-adapt to the NHL game, especially the size of the rinks compared to the KHL. He sure has found his stride lately, notching six points his last three games, to give the Kings’ sniper four goals and seven assists in 13 games. Kovy is a pure goal scorer, and despite the issues in L.A. that resulted in the firing of head coach John Stevens, he should continue to provide consistent offense up front.
Thomas Chabot, D, OTT – Chabot was profiled in the first column of the year, as Erik Karlsson’s trade to San Jose removed Ottawa’s main threat from the blue line. That also created an opportunity for Chabot, who had 25 points in 63 games while averaging 17:31 as a rookie a year ago. With Karlsson gone, Chabot has been on the ice in all situations. He’s seeing a five-minute spike in ice time, including an additional minute-plus with the man-advantage. Chabot has made the most of that additional playing time for the surprising Senators, posting three goals and 13 assists in 13 games.
Thomas Greiss, G, NYI – Greiss continued his recent hot play Saturday, notching a 35-save shutout against the Devils before allowing three goals in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Canadiens on Monday. Robin Lehner’s back injury opened the door for Greiss to see more consistent action. Greiss has made the most of that chance, winning two straight starts in place of Lehner and three overall. Lehner is ready to return, but Greiss likely has earned a bigger share of the goaltending battle, aided by his work under goalie coach Piero Greco.
Frederik Andersen, G, TOR – The absence of Auston Matthews has adversely impacted the Toronto offense, but Andersen continues to play well between the pipes. A 31-save shutout Saturday against the Penguins was the fifth straight game in which Andersen has allowed two goals or less. Andersen, who won 33 and 38 games his first seasons as a Maple Leaf, is now 7-5-0 with a 2.28 GAA and a .924 save percentage.
Others include Jack Eichel, Mikael Backlund, Brock Nelson, Patrice Bergeron, Ryan Johansen, Kyle Turris, Jeff Carter, Sean Monahan, Eric Staal (goal #400 Saturday), Sam Reinhart, Brendan Gallagher, Kevin Labanc, Drake Caggiula, Alex Galchenyuk, Andrei Svechnikov, Oskar Lindblom, Josh Bailey, Dustin Brown, Rickard Rakell, Nikita Kucherov, Jeff Skinner, Mikko Rantanen, Jason Pominville, Elias Lindholm, Alex Tuch, Roman Josi, Matt Niskanen, Drew Doughty, Jamie Oleksiak, Mikko Koskinen, Linus Ullmark, Pekka Rinne (signed two-year extension Saturday) and Antti Raanta.
Gustav Nyquist, RW, DET – Nyqvist has very quietly notched a point in four straight games and is up to 12 in 14 games. One of the most consistent season-to-season producers in the league, Nyquist has ranged from 40-to-54 points annually for five years running, but he always seems to leave you wanting more. Skating in the top six and on the power play, maybe this will be the year that Nyqvist puts it all together.
Alex Goligoski, D, ARI – Goligoski extended his point streak to four with three assists Friday, a streak that was broken Monday. In this span, Goligoski has notched all seven of his points for the season. Goligoski tallied at least 35 points the last five years but was saddled with a minus-31 rating last year in Arizona. With better talent on the ice, look for Goligoski to improve his rating while likely finishing in the same range point-wise, making him worth a look in almost all formats.
Training Room (Injuries)
Jonathan Quick, G, LA – Quick, who missed most of the 2016-17 season with a groin injury suffered in the first game of the season, will be sidelined indefinitely after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus Wednesday. Off to an unsightly a 0-3-1 record with a 4.55 GAA and an .845 save percentage, Quick will now be forced to watch Jack Campbell try and keep Los Angeles afloat in the Western Conference.
Others include Ryan Getzlaf (upper-body, missed Sunday’s game), Brett Howden (head/jaw, injured Sunday, day-to-day), Victor Arvidsson (lower-body, missed consecutive games), Max Pacioretty (upper body, remains out but traveling with team), Ondrej Palat (lower-body, sat Saturday and Sunday), Tomas Hertl (shoulder to head Saturday), Brady Tkachuk (leg, could return to the lineup sometime this week), Alexander Radulov (lower body, undergoing “better treatment”), Charlie McAvoy (injured on hit against Edmonton on October 18, not yet on ice), Victor Hedman (upper body, has missed five straight games), Josh Manson (upper-body, missed consecutive games) and Brian Elliott (undisclosed, left Sunday’s practice).
Fourth Liners/Press Boxers (Fallers)
Artturi Lehkonen, LW, MTL – Lehkonen’s early-season struggles mirror the difficulties he had last season. After scoring 18 goals in 73 games as rookie in 2016-17 and raising expectations for future production, Lehkonen lit the lamp only five times his first 51 contests last year. He rebounded to tally seven goals over his final 15 games to finish with a 7.3 shooting percentage. After scoring a goal on opening night, he had yet to bulge the net until Monday, and his dwindling ice time may be a pretty good sign that coach Claude Julien’s next step could be to make Lehkonen a healthy scratch.
Shayne Gostisbehere, D, PHI – Gostisbehere exploded on the scene as a rookie, tallying 17 goals and 29 assists. After regressing offensively and defensively with just 39 points and enduring long stretches on the bench in his second year, the Philly blueliner rebounded to notch 13 goals and 52 assists last year. Gostisbehere is in the middle of a rough patch, posting just a single assist over his last eight games. Of course, after I wrote this, he rebounded with a goal and an assist Monday, so maybe he is back on the right track.
Jake Allen, G, STL – As an Allen owner, it pains me to keep including him on this side of the ledger. That said, his early season play leaves me little choice. After stopping 40 of 45 shots in a 5-1 loss Saturday, Allen has a 3.99 GAA and .879 save percentage, continuing the slide in his annual ratios that began after his 2014-15 campaign. The only saving grace for Allen is that Chad Johnson hasn’t played well enough to take the job. St. Louis also doesn’t view Ville Husso as being ready yet. That said, a chance could come sooner rather than later if Allen continues to struggle.
Others include Scott Laughton, Warren Foegele, Nick Schmaltz, Jake DeBrusk, Calvin de Haan, John Moore, Alex Pietrangelo, Keith Kinkaid, Braden Holtby, Cam Talbot (cut in playing time) and Sergei Bobrovsky.
Timo Meier, LW, SJ – Meier has been a revelation the first part of the season, scoring 11 times on just 46 shots. That 23.9 shooting percentage is why he lands on this side of the column. I fully expect Meier to pot at least 30 goals based on his line placement, both at even strength and with the man advantage. Yet, to expect the San Jose winger to maintain this rate of shooting success is unreasonable. Only move Meier if you are filling multiple needs or for an upper-tier blueliner/goalie, but kicking the tires while he’s scoring so often might not be a bad idea.