Week 3 Start 'Em and Sit 'Em
This week's article includes a center making sweet music in Nashville, a Rangers sniper rebounding from nightmarish 2013-14 season, several injuries in Tampa and a change of scenery doing little for the new top dog in Phoenix.
First Liners (Risers)
Adam Henrique , C, Devils: Henrique had a breakthrough campaign in 2011-12, helping lead New Jersey to the Stanley Cup Finals. He suffered a major sophomore slump in 2012-13. Then last year Henrique got off to a slow start from which he didn't rebound until after the Sochi Olympics. Since then, Henrique has 14 goals and nine assists in 24 games. It's early but Henrique could challenge his career-high of 51 points set in his rookie season.
Mike Ribeiro , C, Predators: Ribeiro is on his fourth team in four years after getting dumped by Phoenix and signing with Nashville this offseason. He has much to prove after getting shown the door due to a lack of production and reported "behavioral issues." Ribeiro signed a one-year, $1.05 million deal with the Predators and has notched a point in four straight after two scoreless games to open the season. He is skating on the top line next to James Neal and should be in line for a rebound campaign.
Alex Galchenyuk , LW, Canadiens: I profiled Galchenyuk in my preseason sleepers column, and to date fortunately I have been correct. Galchenyuk scored again Tuesday, giving him goals in consecutive games and points in six of his seven games played. What's been just as or more impressive is the increased physical play from Galchenyuk, who has 17 hits already after notching only 49 in 65 games last year.
Rick Nash , RW, Rangers: Last season, Nash spent much of the year in the "Fourth Line" side of the column, first suffering a concussion and then dealing with an up-and-down campaign. That roller coaster was punctuated by a difficult playoff, where he did everything but score. This offseason Nash cleared his mind and some extra weight, reporting to camp rejuvenated and in much better shape. So far, so good. Nash has eight goals through eight games. While that streak and unsustainable shooting percentage will regress, if Nash remains aggressive and keeps going to the dirty areas, he shouldn't see too much of a drop in production.
Joe Colborne , LW, Flames: Colborne was once a big-time prospect both with the Bruins, who selected him 16th in 2008, and Toronto, but that status faded. But Colborne has resurrected his game as a member of the Flames. Colborne showed signs last year but has taken another step this season. He has six assists in eight games, offset by just six shots while skating with Sean Monahan and Jiri Hudler .
Trevor Daley , D, Stars: Daley was expected to take on a bigger role in Dallas due to the loss of Stephane Robidas and injury to Sergei Gonchar . He has done that and more in Big D, putting him on pace for a career-year. Daley, who only had one power-play goal in 67 games in 2013-14, has already notched a career-high three while playing 3:11 on the man-advantage alongside Tyler Seguin , Jamie Benn and Jason Spezza . In addition, Daley has added three assists and is playing 25:06 nightly. He may be a bit under the radar now, but is unlikely to last much longer.
T.J. Brodie , D, Flames: Brodie had a breakthrough campaign last season, going from 14 to 31 points while playing alongside Marc Giordano. If last year was the breakthrough year, I don't know how to classify what Brodie has done to date. Maybe it's just building off what he did in '13-'14, but he already has seven points in eight games and was rewarded with a five-year, $23 million deal Monday. Like Daley, he is a bit under the radar, but those hardcore fans already knew how good he is and will be.
Frederik Andersen , G, Ducks: Andersen outplayed John Gibson this preseason, but ceded the Opening Night duties to Gibson. That is about the only thing he has lost to date, as Andersen is coming off a 28-save shutout against the Blues on Monday, and hasn't lost a game yet this season (5-0-0) while posting a .950 save percentage and a 1.31 GAA. Most Fantasy owners targeted and drafted Gibson first, then grabbed Andersen later on in their drafts. To date, the Andersen owners are reveling while the Gibson ones have been forced to bide their time and hope for a change in the pecking order in Anaheim.
Darcy Kuemper , G, Wild: Kuemper battled Niklas Backstrom this preseason to see who would be the No. 1 netminder in Minnesota to open the season. They battled basically to a draw but Kuemper got the opening night nod and has done little to relinquish that top spot. Last season, Kuemper was likely the third option, but posted a 12-8-4 record, 2.43 goals against average (GAA) and .915 save percentage to show he should be the top dog. He started three of Minnesota's first four games.
Others include: David Krejci , Tyler Johnson , Jeff Carter , Henrik Sedin , Logan Couture , John Tavares , Claude Giroux , Kevin Hayes , Mark Scheifele , Tyler Seguin , Hnerik Zetterberg, Andre Burakovsky , Chris Kreider , Milan Lucic , Patrick Marleau , Radim Vrbata , Jamie Benn , Brandon Saad , P.A. Parenteau , Daniel Sedin , Matt Beleskey , Nick Foligno , Max Pacioretty , Brock Nelson , Filip Forsberg , James van Riemsdyk , Tyler Toffoli , Tanner Pearson , Brent Burns , Aaron Ekblad , Jason Garrison , Anton Stralman , Johnny Boychuk , Nick Leddy , Damon Severson , Sami Vatanen , Pekka Rinne , Jarolsav Halak, Henrik Lundqvist , Robin Lehner , Braden Holtby , Niklas Svedberg and Ben Scrivens .
Training Room (Injuries)
Jonathan Drouin , C, Lightning: Drouin fractured his thumb the third week of September and was expected to be out 3-4 weeks. He was able to begin what was supposed to be a two-week conditioning stint Oct. 16 and needed less than a week before joining the Lightning and suiting up Monday. As we wrote in our preseason outlook, Drouin has it all "… agility, vision, skill, hockey smarts, competitiveness, soft hands and patience." He likely could have played in the NHL last year but Tampa opted to have him spend the year in juniors. A year older, wiser, stronger and ready for the next level, Drouin is among the favorites to win the Calder Trophy.
Ryan Callahan , RW, Lightning: Callahan, who suffered a lower-body injury Monday against Edmonton, is being termed week-to-week by Lightning coach Jon Cooper. If Cally shows significant progress, his status will be upgraded, but that remains to be seen. Callahan, who came over to Tampa at the trade deadline last year for Martin St. Louis , signed a six-year, $34.8 million deal with the Lightning in June. He has been playing on a line with Steven Stamkos and Ondrej Palat ; a role that now will be filled by Tyler Johnson . Callahan has scored just 50-points once and missed time with injuries, which are two reasons why NY moved on from and didn't want to offer him a big deal, but he is a key component to the Tampa roster and rotation.
Nathan Horton , RW, Blue Jackets: Horton, who was placed on injured reserve before the start of the regular season, has been diagnosed with a degeneration of the entire lumbar region. The injury may not only threaten his season but could be career-ending. Horton, who signed a seven-year, $37.1 million deal with the Blue Jackets in July of 2013, has dealt with injuries the past three seasons, limiting him to just 89 games played. A decision on Horton's status won't be made for a few weeks, but this news could remove what was expected to be a key weapon down the stretch for Columbus.
Victor Hedman , D, Lightning: Hedman was off to a monster start, building off his breakthrough season last year and starting to garner early Norris Trophy consideration. Unfortunately, he will be sidelined for four-to-six weeks after breaking a bone in his hand while blocking a spot Oct. 20 against Vancouver, putting him out until December. In his stead, Jason Garrison and Anton Stralman get a boost in value.
Others include: Pavel Datsyuk (out since Sept. 22 with second-degree separation of his right shoulder, which was to sideline him 4-5 weeks but returned to action Tuesday), Derek Stepan (non-displaced fractured fibula, has yet to start skating, eligible to return Nov. 3), Evander Kane (out two more weeks with a knee injury), Eric Staal (out with an upper body, which may be a concussion, since October 11, he could be back October 28), Valeri Nichushkin (groin, placed on IR), Corey Crawford (UBI, out at least next two games) and Semyon Varlamov (groin, IR, returning to action Friday).
Fourth Liners/Press Boxers (Fallers)
Sam Gagner , C, Coyotes: A change of scenery was viewed as a possible catalyst in converting Gagner's potential into production. To date, that has yet to the case; the desert has proven no more beneficial than his time in oil country. Gagner has no points through five games, while his time on ice is less than last season. Eventually he may figure it out, but let someone else take that risk.
Matt Moulson , LW, Sabres: Moulson went from the Islanders to the Sabres and then to Minnesota last year. He struggled with the Wild, both in the regular season and playoffs, but that didn't prevent Buffalo from signing him to a five-year, $25 million deal. Maybe they and his Fantasy owners -- including me -- should have focused on him scoring just 23 goals last year, including 11 in 44 games with the Sabres, and only one in 10 playoff games rather then thinking he would get back to the 30-plus goals he scored for three straight years from 2009-10 through 2011-12.
Justin Faulk , D, Hurricanes: Faulk landing on this side of the ledger is due more to the lack of talent on Carolina than his own play. Last season, Faulk had 32 points, including 17 assists, which resulted in the 'Canes signing him to a six-year, $29 million deal. Faulk, Andrej Sekera and Ryan Murphy were expected to lead the Carolina D moving forward. While that has for the most part been the case, Faulk has just one assist in five games, despite similar numbers in ice time and shots compared to last year. Unfortunately, with the Staal brothers others and the remainder of the offense MIA, Faulk's production has been adversely impacted as well.
Steve Mason , G, Flyers: There were several goalies I could have highlighted here, but I opted to go with Mason, and no, it's not because I am a Rangers fan. Coming off a big season in which he went 33-18-7 with a 2.50 GAA and .917 save percentage, including 12-6-2 after the Olympics, much was expected of Mason entering 2014-15. Unfortunately, Mason, who signed a long-term deal with Philly during last season, has been brutal in his five games this season (0-3-1, 3.83 GAA, .878 save percentage) and sat for Ray Emery on Wednesday. It likely is just be a short-term bump in the road, but you want to bench Mason if you have a better option.
Others include: Calle Jarnkrok , Elias Lindholm , Brad Richards , Sam Reinhart , J.T. Miller , Nick Bjugstad , Olli Jokinen , Tomas Hertl , Matt Read , Gabriel Landeskog , Tomas Fleischmann , Devin Setoguchi , Mats Zuccarello , Daniel Alfredsson , Nikita Zadorov , Slava Voynov , Oscar Klefbom , Tyler Myers , Brian Campbell , Anton Khudobin , Jhonas Enroth , Tuukka Rask and Mike Smith .