#1 Give 'em a Look
Milan Hejduk has been a very durable player over his career as he's played 80 or more games in seven of his 11 NHL seasons. But he struggled with injuries last year and while he was still producing (23+21=44 in 56 games) a lot of people seem to be down on him this year... but not us. Hejduk's no longer a 40 or 50 goal guy but in the five seasons since the lockout he's been remarkably consistent scoring at a 31 goal & 64 point pace per 82 games. He started slow this year with only one point in his first five games but is tearing it up right now with 3+5=8 in his last four games.
Others worth a look: Andrei Kostitsyn (Mtl – RW), Victor Hedman (TB - D), Michal Rozsival (NYR – D) and Brent Johnson (Pit – G)#2 Give 'em the Boot
Radim Vrbata is a streaky winger for the Coyotes who makes his hay by putting a lot of rubber on net and he was 19th in the league in shots on goal last year (266). He doesn't typically shoot a great percentage (8.8% career shooting %), so he really just relies on pure volume to get his goals... so when the shots start to dry up then you know there's a problem. Vrbata has seen his ice-time & PP time drop a little this year and he's not shooting the puck nearly as much with only 17 shots through eight games.
Others worth a boot: Nik Antropov (Atl – C), Kevin Bieksa (Van – D), Dmitry Kulikov (Fla – D) and Nikolai Khabibulin (Edm – G)#3 Injury Concerns
Colorado really worked Craig Anderson like a mule last year (71 appearances) and so it's a little ironic that they were trying to do the right thing by giving him a rest on Tuesday and he goes out and hurts his knee in the warm-up. The initial report is that he won't need surgery (good news) but that he's out indefinitely (vague news)... we're guessing that he's out a few weeks but that could change. Peter Budaj will try to hold down the fort while he's gone.#4 Crease Conflicts
Antti Niemi wasn't particularly great last year for the Blackhawks but he was in the right place at the right time and took home a Stanley Cup ring for his efforts. Good for him but that doesn't change our opinion of him and despite signing as a UFA this summer, we didn't consider him a shoe-in for the Sharks starting job. Niemi got the call on opening day and won but has since lost three straight and has given up 12 goals on the last 64 shots he's faced. Meanwhile, the other Finnish goalie in San Jose, Antero Niittymaki, has started very strong with a 3-0-1 record and 1.85 & .932 averages through his first five appearances. We don't think Niemi is done here but he's got a long way to go to if he wants to win this #1 job.#5 Hit the Links
Another great resource for fantasy hockey GMs is Fantasy Hockey 911... these guys are all over the starting goalies each day (and very accurate) and give you the breakdown of the line combinations & PP units after every game.
Fantasy Hockey Scouts