Welcome to week 3 of fantasy hockey’s studs and duds. It was an eventful week around the league this past week, as some players remained on a steady pace, while others continued to stay cold as ice, as you will see in the “dud” section. A couple of noteworthy performances stood out this week that didn’t make the top five studs but still deserve some praise, Carey Price is one of them. Price continued his stellar start to the season by going 2-0 this week, letting in a single goal in each game, stopping 61 of 63 shots he faced in the games combined. That 70’s line also continued their dominant play this week, particularly on Sunday against the Blue Jackets, where Toffoli, Pearson and Carter combined for 4 of LA’s 5 goals on the night, combining for 10 points and a plus 7 rating. As for some notable duds of the week that didn’t make the list, surprisingly John Tavares cooled off from his fine start to the season, as the Islanders captain picked up only 2 points in 3 games this week. Most notably Tavares went pointless in his teams Saturday night 7-5 victory against the Stars. Speaking of the Stars, despite putting up strong numbers in the week, the “star” studded line of Benn, Seguin and Spezza combined for a staggering minus 11 rating during Saturday night’s loss to the Islanders, a major dud for the top line trio.
Finally, an alert to all fantasy hockey team owners, as Jonathan Drouin made his NHL debut this past week and he was placed on the Bolts top line alongside Steven Stamkos and Val Filppula. If you have this guy on your team, get ready for some magic.
For now, let’s check out who made this week’s list of 5 fantasy stud’s and 5 fantasy duds!
10 STUD: Frans Nielsen (4G, 1A, +2)
Coming off a career year where he scored 25 goals along with 58 points, the 30 year old center is beginning to enjoy some great chemistry with his new linemates (Nikolay Kulemin and Mikhail Grabovski). Nielsen powered his team to a victory over the Stars this past week, as Nielsen scored 3 goals, all in the third period, to lead his team to a thrilling 7-5 victory. Nielsen provided the Islanders with some much needed second line scoring depth for the week, as Tavares wasn't at peak performance. Nielsen’s contributions led the Islanders to a strong week picking up 2 wins in a row, which is definitely good enough for a stud week.
9 DUD: Gustav Nyquist (0G, 0A, -1)
Nyquist started off the season hot, picking a goal in each of the first 4 games of the regular season. This week, Gustav endured his first dud week of the season, shooting blanks in 3 games for the Wings. A big reason for his selection is the Wings power play situation, as not only has Gus been shifted to the second unit, but the power play as a whole is operating at a clip of 6.7%, the fourth worst percentage in the league. With all the talent on the team, this percentage is bound to change. As for Gus, if he wants to be discussed in the same breath as the Datsyuk’s and Zetterberg’s on the team, more consistency will be needed from the speedy Swede.
8 STUD: James Neal (4G, 0A, +2)
Despite scoring only 1 goal in his first 5 games as a Predator, James Neal has come to life in week 3, cashing in with 4 goals in true sniper fashion. Neal has aided his team, particularly in week 3, to a tremendous start of the season, as the team currently sits a top of the Central Division with a 5-1-2 record. Neal is beginning to settle in quite nicely with his linemates on the team’s top line, with Filip Forsberg on the left and Mike Ribeiro in the middle. Neal will be relied on heavily to score goals for the team this season, and fantasy owners who own James Neal will hope the Preds sniper can stay consistent for his new team.
7 DUD: Sergei Bobrovsky (1W, 2L, 4.00 GAA)
The trip of the California’s usually doesn’t end well for most teams, and this week no goalie felt that more than Bobrovsky. Sergei was dealt with some tough games, opening the California trip with a tough victory despite letting in 4 goals. After dropping the next game to the Ducks 4-1, Bobrovsky ended the trip with another tough game, letting in 5 to the defending cup champs. Despite the dud week, the Blue Jackets will continue to ride this goalie throughout the season, Bobrovsky will have plenty of time to make up for his recent disappointing performances.
6 STUD: LINE OF THE WEEK - Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins & Jordan Eberle (6G, 4A, +8)
Ladies and gentlemen, the Oilers have finally come to life. Failing to pick up a win in their first 5 games, the Oilers enjoyed a perfect week, going 3-0. A big part of this turnaround was the strong play of their first line featuring Hall, Hopkins and Eberle, who were mutually dominant in all of Edmonton’s victory’s this week. If the Oilers can manage to keep these three players consistent throughout the season, fantasy hockey team owners of these players will be quite pleased. Edmonton will enjoy a three game home stand this week, starting with a date against the Habs, so look for this line to potentially stay very hot for another week.
5 DUD: Alexander Semin (0G, 0A, -4)
No player on the Canes team has missed the services of star centers Eric and Jordan Staal more than Alex Semin. Semin is currently being centered by 25 year old Riley Nash and Semin has failed to score a single goal this season and is a minus 6. With the Canes failing to pick up a win all season and having a difficult time on their Canadian west coast swing, look for Semin’s difficulties to continue. Semin’s dud status may be staying for a while, if you haven’t already, you may need to seriously think about dropping him while it’s still early.
4 STUD: Jonathan Quick (3W, 0L, 1.5 GAA)
What a week for Quick and Kings, as the Kings just completed a sweep of a 6 game homestand going 6-0. Quick started in 5 out of the 6 victories, allowing a ridiculous 4 goals in 5 games during the team’s homestand. There is no goalie in the league better than Jonathan Quick right now, and our advice is to keep riding this guy as he is smoking hot! It will be interesting to see how Quick and the Kings react on the road starting in Philadelphia, followed by a difficult back to back with the Pens and Wings.
3 DUD: Nathan MacKinnon (0G, 1A, -2)
For the second week in a row, Nathan MacKinnon finds himself under dud status after failing to score a goal. MacKinnon is goalless on the season registering only 4 assists and a minus 6 rating. Fantasy hockey team owners of Nathan were disappointed to see MacKinnon only register a single assist in a 7-3 victory against the Canucks on home ice. Once again, this guy is too good to continue to go missing week in and week out, but with week four on the horizon, fantasy owners are beginning to become inpatient and may use Nathan as a bench player if production does not begin to occur. With a packed 4 game week for the Av’s, fantasy teams will be watching MacKinnon's week very closely.
2 STUD: Corey Perry & Ryan Getzlaf (5G, 6A, +8)
What more can you ask for from this pair early on in the season, as one player leads the league in goals with 9, while the other player leads the league in assists with 9. These two are money no matter who plays on their wing, as Perry has already recorded two hat-tricks on the season, scoring 3 to open the season against the Penguins and recording his second in week 3 against the Sabres. Perry’s set up man down the middle, and team captain, Ryan Getzlaf has played tremendously as well, with Getzlaf finding the point sheet in 7 of the teams first 9 games. These two players must continue to be starters for any fantasy team night in and night out, they are money!
1 DUD: Alex Ovechkin (0G, 0A, EVEN)
During this Canadian west coast trip for the Capitals, the concern for fantasy owners who drafted Ovie has come to life. With new head coach Barry Trotz preaching team defense, Ovie’s numbers took a hit in week 3. Alex has admitted he is spending a great amount of time paying attention to detail on defense, more so than any other year in his career. Despite having the best defensive record in the Metropolitan division, the Capitals have struggled to score as of late, averaging only 2 goals a game which is way off last season's totals. You have to admire Ovechkin for finally working hard to improve his defensive game, but fantasy coach’s who own Ovie hope this will not come with consequences.