#1 Give 'em a Look
When Flyers goalie Mike Leighton went down injured in the pre-season everyone assumed that this meant Brian Boucher would become the interim #1 goalie until Leighton recovered. But a little known 22-year-old Russian, Sergei Bobrovsky stepped up and after a great pre-season (3-0-1, 1.76 gaa & .939 sv%) he was handed the net for the Flyers opener. He's won both his starts so far and has looked solid in doing so. The Flyers were a stingy defensive team last year (allowing the 5th lowest shots against) and it should theoretically be even better this year with the addition of Meszaros, Walker & O'Donnell... so having their #1 goalie would be pretty sweet.
Others worth a look: Blake Comeau (NYI – LW), Valtteri Filppula (Det - C), Andrei Markov (Mtl – D) and Matt Taormina (NJ – D)#2 Give 'em the Boot
Alexei Kovalev was a regular in this space last year as we lamented that he seemed to be taking one of his patented season long vacations and looked disinterested (he finished with 18+31=49 in 77 games). Well those of you that were hoping that he'd flip the switch and turn in back on again look to be out of luck as he's been pretty invisible so far with no points and only three shots in his first three games... he's not worth waiting around for as he may never come around this year.
Others worth a boot: Vinny Prospal (NYR – LW), Antti Miettinen (Min – RW), Brian Rolston (NJ – LW) and Jonas Hiller (Ana – G)#3 Injury Concerns
The team hit the hardest by injuries so far this year has been the Islanders as they've had their top 3 scorers from last year knocked out of the lineup... Mark Streit went down with a shoulder injury in training camp and is out for six months, Kyle Okposo also has a shoulder injury that will keep him out 2-3 months and John Tavares suffered a concussion on opening night. Tavares should be back shortly but he's not going to have much help on the Island and this is shaping up to be a long season already.#4 Crease Conflicts
It surprised some people that the Capitals didn't sign a veteran goalie to replace Jose Theodore in the offseason, instead deciding to go with a pair of 22-year-olds in Semyon Varlamov & Michal Neuvirth. Varlamov would appear to have the edge as he has more NHL experience and was the Caps starter to close out the playoffs last year but Neuvirth is no slouch as he has won back-to-back championships in the AHL. Varlamov begins the year injured (as he is prone to do) and Neuvirth has started strong with a three wins and 2.22 & .924 averages through the first four games. Varlamov should return soon and then battle can really begin... given that there are likely 55+ wins available to the Caps goalies this year, it's a battle that everyone should be following closely.#5 Hit the Links
First link of the season is a reminder of one of the best tools out there from fantasy hockey GMs... the Forecaster.ca player profiles (here via The Hockey News). It has almost everything you need; news, injuries, game logs, depth charts... it's a fantastic resource.
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