Early trends. What to trust, what to watch out for.
We are just shy of a week into the 2015-2016 NHL season and every team not named the Washington Capitals has played at least two games. Some players have emerged from the rest of the pack in one or more categories. Among these players are contenders and pretenders.
Here 10 things to keep in mind at this point in the season.
1. The Pittsburgh Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets are both winless. These are two teams who are projected to be playoff teams.
2. Jonathan Quick has allowed 9 goals in 2 games. Sergei Bobrovsky has allowed 12 in 3 games. This is a great time to target them in trades. They probably won't be Vezina winners this year but they will both finish in the top 7 so if their owner is weary (foolishly) buy low.
3. Pittsburgh and Anaheim Ducks have each scored 1 goal in 2 games. In the last 3 years they have never finished in the bottom third in scoring. Look for players like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry to find their scoring touch very soon.
4. Oscar Lindberg - if you want to ride the hot hand, I'm on board. He is doing very well in his third line but this trend will not continue. This is a 22 goal 25 assist player at year end. He had a decent year with the Hartford Wolf Pack last year and that was 28 goals in 75 games.
5. Keep your eye on Kyle Turris. Years (and I mean YEARS) after being taken 3rd overall in 2007 he's finding his game and is playing very well alongside Mark Stone and Mike Hoffman. His SOG is VERY small (7 in 3 games) but he's in comfort mode on this line and it's showing. He's leading the league in Face-offs right now.
6. The Winnipeg "unpronounceable" line of Mathieu Perreault, Mark Scheifele and Nikolaj Ehlers is starting strong. Another hot hand to potentially ride but the second it gets cold jump off.
7. If I haven't shouted it enough - I'm very bullish on Dylan Larkin (33% owned) this season. The line of him Justin Abdelkader and Henrik Zetterberg has something for every category. Points - All three. Face-offs - Zetterberg, Hits and PIMs - Abdelkader, Shots on Goal - Dylan Larkin.
8. Francois Beauchemin has 5 points, 2 of them are power play. The trend to get power play points might continue but this pace is already at 1/5 of his whole 2014 place. He hasn't eclipsed 26 points in 8 years. IF he's fortunate he'll score 30 points but that is unlikely. If you want to pick him up for his Hits or Blocked Shots that is legitimate.
9. Nathan MacKinnon will have a strong bounce back season after his Sophomore slump, if you have him on your team, keep him in the lineup.
10. As of right now these players are the anomaly of someone who is on an incredibly talented lineup and therefore they will see a bump in points. They will remain at most 2/3 of the other stars points though so look at their situation with caution:
a. Jiri Sekac with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.
b. Michael Raffl with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek.
c. Ryan Garbutt with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa (Joel Quenneville is tinkering here, Garbutt likely won't stay in this spot for long).
d. Brett Connolly with Patrice Bergeron and Loui Eriksson
It's still very early in the season so if you are off to a slow start - don't panic. Players like Phil Kessel, Rick Nash, Jakub Voracek, Anze Kopitar, Mark Giordano, Taylor Hall, Connor McDavid, David Backes, Shea Weber and Kris Letang will be scoring soon enough.
A few good articles across the league.
Buffalos good attitude pays early dividends
Guess the Oilers first goal, win a prize
It's very early but one prospect that I'm watching this season to see how he develops just scored a hat trick last night - Frank Vatrano: