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Fantasy Hockey Gauntlet - Week One: Alec Martinez, Jiri Tlusty, and Tomas Plekanec

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Troy Langefeld runs the fantasy hockey gauntlet during week one of the NHL season!

Alec Martinez (27) headlines my top pickups of the week and is seen here with two other considerations in Tyler Toffoli (73) and Tanner Pearson (70) - Photo Credit
Alec Martinez (27) headlines my top pickups of the week and is seen here with two other considerations in Tyler Toffoli (73) and Tanner Pearson (70) - Photo Credit
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

First of all, Happy belated (Canadian) Thanksgiving! Or as my friend is now saying: many delicious pies to you (we'll see if that catches on)! The regular season has finally begun and we're already about almost halfway through the first matchup week! This article might have been more helpful at the beginning of the matchup week, but I wanted to have a little bit of regular season data before I started writing about the regular season. For the rest of the year, I'll have an article ready for you to read every Monday before the week's games start. I hope you're looking forward to it, because I am!

I assume that each of you have drafted a team by now, but if you haven't, Yahoo! has left registration open late. Go to Yahoo! Fantasy Hockey and join a league now! You can prepare for the season by reading my Fake Teams 2014 Fantasy Hockey Draft Kit.

Week One (October 8-19):

7 Game Week: Boston, Calgary
6 Game Week: Anaheim, Buffalo, Colorado, Los Angeles, Montreal, New York Rangers, San Jose, Toronto
4 Game Week: Arizona, Carolina, Chicago, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Vancouver
All other teams at 5 games

Or probably more relevant at this point...

4 Games Remaining this Week: Calgary, San Jose
2 Games Remaining this Week: Arizona, Carolina, Chicago, Florida, Minnesota, Montreal, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Vancouver, Winnipeg
All other teams at 3 games

Waiver Pickups:

Tomas Plekanec - C - MON (50% owned): Though typically not a consistent or prevalent goal scorer, Plekanec is on a bit of a tear to start the season as evident by his first star of the week last week. His .250 shooting percentage is a little excessive so you know it won't continue that way, but he's worth the add and riding out the mini hot streak if another risk player on your roster isn't performing. He should certainly be owned in more than 50% of leagues. When the hot streak ends, he's still a borderline bench player in standard leagues as he'll score a decent amount of points.

Contributes in goals (during hot streak), assists, plus/minus, and shots
Can hurt you in penalty minutes

Tyler Bozak - C - TOR (48%): Again, not a consistent performer, but he plays on the top line with Phil Kessel and the Maple Leafs and has three goals in the first three games. His .500 shooting percentage won't continue of course, he's another borderline player once his hot streak ends that actually reminds me a lot of Plekanec from a fantasy standpoint.

Contributes in goals (during hot streak), assists, and powerplay points
Can hurt you in plus/minus and penalty minutes

Brock Nelson - C - NYI (32%): Nelson and the second line of the Islanders have put up quite the first couple games. Nelson shot .750 on his way to six points in two games. He was nothing to write home about last year, but he's getting more opportunity this year on an improving team. He's worth a look again while the second line is clicking, but I can't endorse him for more than a plug and play right now.

Contributes in goals (during hot streak), assists (during hot streak), and powerplay points (during hot streak)
Can hurt you in plus/minus, penalty minutes, and shots

Tanner Pearson - LW - LA (5%) and Tyler Toffoli - RW - LA (24%): While Pearson and Toffoli both play on the second line for the Kings, they're worth keeping an eye on. A deeper play right now or a plug and play, they are currently playing with Jeff Carter on the second line and are coming off of a strong postseason where they had twelve and fourteen points in twenty-four games. They're currently continuing their strong play with a point a game so far.

Contributes in goals, assists, and plus/minus
Can hurt you in penalty minutes and shots

Brandon Sutter - C - PIT (4%): Sutter is more of a speculative add right now, but is currently sporting a goal a game while centering the second line with Evgeny Malkin. Beau Bennett isn't necessarily a big threat, but I wouldn't be surprised if they move Malkin back to center and Sutter back to the third line shut down role that he had last year. While he's with Malkin and the powerful Penguins he's worth keeping an eye on.

Contributes in goals and plus/minus
Can hurt you in penalty minutes, powerplay points, and shots

Olli Maatta - D - PIT (40%): I'll admit that Maatta has some obstacles in front of him with Kris Letang, Christian Ehrhoff, and Paul Martin all on the blue line with the Penguins. The good news is that there are some injury risks there and he can easily rise in the ranks quickly. Keep an eye on him and watch for when Letang gets hurt. He had three assists in the first game, but I think it was a bit of a one off as he's averaging about seventeen minutes a game with only about thirty seconds of powerplay time per game. Don't add him now in standard leagues, but watch him.

Contributes in goals (with more opportunity), assists, and plus/minus
Can hurt you in penalty minutes, powerplay points, and shots

Antoine Roussel - LW - DAL (21%): I don't like endorsing penalty minute guys, but Roussel is contributing points (for now) while chipping in his customary sin bin minutes. I don't expect the points to continue, but the penalty minutes will keeping piling in. The hard part with the penalty minute guys is that their penalty minutes come in large chunks with fights and misconducts and are rather hard to predict. If you need to add some grit to your team though, he's a solid bet to help, if only significantly in the one category.

Contributes in penalty minutes
Can hurt you in everything else

Jiri Tlusty - LW - CAR (9%): Tlusty has found himself on the top line with Eric Staal and Alexander Semin and has thrived to the tune of three goals, one assist, and three powerplay points while averaging three shots in two games. There's a good chance he stay's on this line and he's had success there in the past.

Contributes in goals and powerplay points
Can hurt you in plus/minus and penalty minutes

Brendan Gallagher - RW - MON (26%): When one thinks of high volume shooters in Montreal, they typically think of Max Pacioretty, not Gallagher. They happen to play on the same line, but it happens to be Gallagher leading the line in shots this year with thirteen in four games. As most people who know me can attest, shots is the statistic that I pay the most attention to as it (I believe, but really should do some actual analysis) is most highly correlated to each of the other statistics. It's rare that I don't lead my league in shots and it's also rare that don't do well in fantasy hockey. The points aren't there yet, but this first line center in Montreal had a sneaky 20/20 campaign last year with 200+ shots. Pretty good for waiver wire fodder.

Contributes in goals and shots
Can hurt you in powerplay points

Alec Martinez - D - LA (10%): Martinez seems to be the number two powerplay option on the point behind Drew Doughty for the Kings this year. In his two and a half powerplay minutes per game he has fired an average of three shots at the net. This currently puts him ahead of Slava Voynov and Jake Muzzin in my books and makes him a decent fourth option on the fantasy blue line.The points aren't there yet, but if he stays in that powerplay capacity, they will follow suit shortly.

Contributes in goals, plus/minus, powerplay points, shots
Can hurt you in penalty minutes

Unfortunately there aren't any widely available goalies out there who I'm endorsing right now. Niklas Backstrom (42%) should be watched, but Kuemper has the reins with his back to back shutouts (mind you, 62% ownership for Kuemper is ridiculous, this should be far higher). Robin Lehner (35%), Jake Allen (35%), Alex Stalock (31%), and Martin Jones (15%) also should all be watched for various reasons, but don't make the add in standard leagues until we see something justifiable. They are ownable if there is a specific strategy that they play into; I own Allen in a couple leagues to preserve GAA and SV% while getting just a few extra starts rather than target quantity of starts.

I'd like to also provide weekly trade targets here, but unfortunately the season is too fresh for any real panic to have set into opposing owners yet. You can try to pry Evander Kane and his recent injury away from an owner, or Jonathan Drouin and the unknown timetable he's in, or Nathan MacKinnon and his (and the Avalanche's) gross under achieving so far by playing the sophomore slump card but it's going to be rather difficult to get owners to bite this early on.

Hopefully there is enough here to help you through the week, but if not, here is a preview towards next week.

Week Two (October 20-26) Preview:

4 Game Week: Chicago, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Vancouver
2 Game Week: Florida, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Montreal, New York Rangers, St. Louis
All other teams at 3 games

My NHL Schedule:

Attached you can find a full Microsoft Excel NHL schedule by team for the season with calculations to show games per week, games remaining, games on each night of the week, back to back games, etc.: 2014-15 NHL Schedule . This would have been quite helpful before drafting to see off nights, back to back games, etc., but I didn't get the idea to do this until later on and it simply wasn't ready on time. Next year it'll be a part of the draft kit. I have conveniently updated the spreadsheet to auto-update itself by taking the actual date and time to determine the games remaining. Therefore, there should be no updating necessary for you or I unless I make edits to the spreadsheet - and I'll let you know when I do of course. The one thing I ask of you is that you do not take my schedule and use it for your own personal gains. Please do not sell it, you can direct people here to find it, but do not sell it.

In the spreadsheet, the time will default to your computer settings time which may or may not work in association with the game times which are all shown in EST. The formula in cell C2 of the Summary tab shows =NOW()-TODAY()+TIME(2,0,0). The +TIME(2,0,0) is how I switched from MST (as I live in Calgary) to EST. If PST is your time zone, you'll want to change it to +TIME(3,0,0), CST will want +TIME(1,0,0), EST will want +TIME(0,0,0), and AST will want -TIME(1,0,0). This will align your time with the game times shown and update the spreadsheet accordingly. You'll just have to be aware that everything you're viewing in the spreadsheet will be in EST. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

I'm new to the twitterverse, but I'd love to hear your feedback and questions. Follow me on Twitter @HockeyGauntlet for more of my thoughts and all of your fantasy hockey needs.