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Posted - 10/08/2019 :  16:10:18  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We finally have regular season hockey to talk about!! This week, weíll take a look at the biggest fantasy hockey news out of the Atlantic Division so far in this young season. Follow me on Twitter @BrennanDeSouza to get this kind of information throughout the 2019-2020 campaign!

- Boston

When I think about the Bruins in the context of fantasy hockey, that top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak is the first thing that comes to mind. However, through the teamís first two games, the big story has been goaltending Ė not offense. Tuukka Rask was stellar in Bostonís opener against the Stars, allowing just one goal on 29 shots. Jaroslav Halak watched that performance from the bench and displayed an ďanything you can do, I can do betterĒ attitude as he posted a 35-save shutout against the Coyotes two days later. I think this is one of very few situations where I would endorse owning two goalies who play for the same team. We saw last season how Halak and Rask thrived while sharing a pretty even distribution of the workload Ė which ultimately led to a sensational playoff showing from a rested Rask. Weíre just two games into the season but Iím expecting a similar situation to play out this year. Halak is owned in just 33% of Yahoo Leagues and makes for an excellent second or third goalie on your fantasy roster.

- Buffalo

All of the fantasy hockey talk in Buffalo has been about Victor Olofsson, and for good reason. Heís registered a point in each of his first three games and is in a great situation beside Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart on the top line. The thing that excites me most about his production going forward is the opportunity heís been given at both even strength and on the power play. Olofsson played 17 minutes in his season debut against the Penguins, 19 and a half minutes in game two against the Devils, and 20 and a half minutes in game three against the Blue Jackets. But you probably knew all of that already, so Iíll mention another story that isnít getting enough attention: Rasmus Dahlinís incredible start to the season. The sophomore leads the team with five points in three games and plays a prominent role on a dangerous top power-play unit that also features Jeff Skinner, Eichel, Reinhart and the aforementioned Olofsson. The Sabres have scored six times on 10 opportunities with the man advantage this season. While they wonít score on 60% of their chances all year, I expect them to improve on their 19.5% success rate from last season.

- Detroit

Anthony Mantha scored four goals against the Stars. Do you know who scored all of Detroitís goals in their 4-3 win over Dallas? Anthony Mantha. Would you happen to know who currently sits second in NHL scoring with seven points in two games? Anthony Mantha! My friends, Manthaís scorching start to the 2019-2020 campaign has been well documented, so Iíll avoid boring you with details youíve probably heard before. Instead, Iíll be the pessimist that reminds you how young the season is. This Red Wings roster Ė while full of promising young assets Ė is not going to win a lot of games this year. I know thatís hard to believe considering their 2-0 start has them on pace for an 82-win season, but Iím afraid that projection wonít become a reality. I hate to be such a Debby Downer because Detroit managed to take down a couple of tough opponents in Nashville and Dallas, but the sample size isnít big enough. Essentially, Iím trying to knock some sense into the 25% of you that currently own Jimmy Howard in your Yahoo fantasy league. Donít get me wrong, Iím all for riding the hot streak Ė as long as you know when to get off. After all that negativity, I think itís important to end on a high note. Tyler Bertuzzi has an impressive five points in two games and sophomore defenseman Filip Hronek has already tallied a couple of assists. Detroit may not be a playoff team, but they boast a surprisingly long list of valuable fantasy assets in Mantha, Bertuzzi, Hronek, Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou (who should make his season debut on Tuesday against the Ducks).

- Florida

The Panthers have played just two games and both of them were against the Lightning, so itís way too early to make any concrete conclusions about this team. I should note that Florida was able to defeat Tampa Bay in the second of those two games, thanks to great performances from Sergei Bobrovsky and Mike Hoffman. Expectations are understandably high for Bobrovsky as he was the second goalie drafted in most leagues, so some rookie fantasy managers will be disappointed with the 3.53 GAA and .891 SV% he has posted thus far. Obviously, more experienced managers will trust that those numbers will improve as Bob plays more games Ė against offenses that are less potent than Tampa Bayís.

- Montreal

Jonathan Drouin has been spectacular in Montrealís first two games. Thatís a bold statement to make considering he has Ďjustí two points in his first two games, but heís been effective on each and every one of his shifts. There appears to be a fire inside Drouin that I didnít see at any point last season Ė even though he tallied 17 points in 20 games to open the 2018-2019 campaign. Any laziness that was observed in his play last year has been completely shed as he now approaches every puck battle with an incredible desire to win. Drouinís fantasy value might be limited as a result of Montrealís offensive system, where coach Claude Julien runs four solid lines in an attempt to spread out the scoring and maintain his teamís energy for the duration of the game. With that being said, Drouin appears to be a prominent piece of Montrealís top power-play unit so his production with the man advantage can help offset a lack of even-strength scoring considering heís not playing 20+ minutes a night like some other forwards around the league. That potential power-play production is contingent on Montreal icing a more successful unit this year, which appears likely as long as they avoid becoming too predictable. That means not deferring to Shea Weber for every single shot like we saw during overtime against the Leafs on Saturday nightÖ

- Ottawa

Brady Tkachuk has two points, eight hits and seven shots in the first two games of his sophomore season. Heís one of the few bright spots in Ottawa and is a really valuable fantasy hockey asset Ė especially if your league doesnít count plus/minus as a stat (which it really shouldnít).

Thomas Chabot has one point, four hits, three blocks and eight shots in his first two games of the 2019-2020 campaign. What really stands out to me is his ice-time so far Ė he played 30 minutes against the Rangers on Saturday and almost eight of those minutes were spent on the power play! Chabot is going to be given every opportunity to produce this season as heís Ottawaís best defenseman by a country mile (Erik Brannstrom has the potential to close that gap this season).

- Tampa Bay

The Tampa Bay Lightning have dropped two of their first three games this season! Somebody call 9-1-1! Trade Nikita Kucherov to the Oilers for Adam Larsson! Ship Steven Stamkos to Vancouver for Loui Eriksson! For the love of God can someone find Andrew Raycroft so Tampa can trade Andrei Vasilevskiy for him. In all seriousness, Tampaís 1-1-1 start is nothing to worry about. This team finished with 62 wins last season and the core of the roster hasnít changed. Newly acquired Kevin Shattenkirk has fit in nicely with three points in his first three games with the team, but Iím not rushing to grab him in any of my fantasy leagues until the sample size grows. I think this short stretch has allowed us to appreciate how important Brayden Point is to the team. Point missed the start of the campaign as he was recovering from offseason hip surgery but has been practicing and could return as early as Thursday against the Leafs.

- Toronto

The sample size is small, but so far Tyson Barrieís presence hasnít hampered Morgan Riellyís offensive production. Could it be that both players are capable of having strong fantasy seasons? Does this mean that oneís success doesnít necessarily spell disaster for the other? Well, I sure think so. As Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson showed us last year, two defensemen on the same team can both have strong offensive showings. While I expect Barrie to have a good year, I do think Rielly will put up more points as he is being given a greater opportunity. Rielly has five points through four games and Barrie has four in the same span. Rielly has been averaging 25 minutes of ice-time a night with over three and a half minutes on the power play. Barrie has seen a slightly smaller role Ė playing 22 and a half minutes per night and averaging about three minutes of power-play time each game. Rielly has the benefit of playing on the top PP unit alongside John Tavares, Andreas Johnsson, Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews. William Nylander plays on the second unit with Barrie, but itís a long season and those lines are always subject to change. Speaking of Nylander and Matthews, theyíve looked outstanding to start the season. If Matthews can stay healthy, I expect him to take home the Rocket Richard Trophy as the leagueís leading goal scorer.

Written by Brennan Des of

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