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That was fun, wasn’t it? And comprehensively educational. There’s nothing like a complete NHL schedule of Frozen Frenzy action to offer a valuable hint of what everyone is up to, now that we’re a full two weeks into 2023-24. Using Tuesday’s bursting slate, plus the previous 14 days, as guide, we’re starting to get a sense of who’s contributing (or not) within our fantasy purview.
Following Wednesday’s near day of rest, when New Jersey hosts Washington in the league’s only matchup (please ensure all your New Jersey Devils are active), we’re back to a more standard rhythm of 11 games on Thursday and six to wrap up the work week Friday. Four teams compete both days – St. Louis Blues, San Jose Sharks, Minnesota Wild, and Carolina Hurricanes – while the Florida Panthers and Nashville Predators don’t play at all.
The most intriguing team’s schedule of that busier quartet belongs to the ‘Canes, who are poised to host the Kraken and Sharks. Tell you what, if Carolina can’t make some serious hay – fantasy and otherwise – against two of the league’s less dangerous teams then I don’t know what. The Sharks haven’t won yet. The Kraken are averaging 2.29 goals/game. Here presents two ripe opportunities for whoever starts in net – Frederik Andersen, Antti Raanta, or Pyotr Kochetkov – to come away with the ‘W’. Carolina’s offense should also manage just fine. I also like the Wild to continue to light it up against the Flyers and Capitals.
Lastly, there’s an excellent chance the NHL’s three undefeated teams could remain that way headed into Saturday. While the Bruins host the Ducks, the Avalanche visit the Penguins, and Vegas welcomes the Blackhawks.
Jake Sanderson, D, Ottawa Senators: The sophomore defender played 19:25 nine days ago versus the Lightning, then 20:17 last week opposing the Capitals, then 24:36 on the weekend against Detroit, before racking up 26:12 versus Buffalo Tuesday. Notice a pattern here? Oh, and Sanderson has three goals and four assists through six games. Also worth mentioning. This kid is going to be a star.
Ilya Mikheyev, F, Vancouver Canucks: He’s back healthy, he’s skating on a top line with Elias Pettersson and Andrei Kuzmenko, and he’s scoring. Including Tuesday’s opening goal in Vancouver’s eventual 3-2 win over Nashville.
Kyle Palmieri, F, New York Islanders: Competing on a scoring line and top power play with Brock Nelson, Palmieri has contributed to the scoresheet in all but one of the Islanders’ five games to open 2023-24. The veteran is also averaging nearly 18 minutes/contest.
Pavel Buchnevich, F, St. Louis Blues: After recovering from an early-season upper-body injury, the winger looked no worse for wear in his return to the Blues’ lineup, earning a goal and assist in Tuesday’s loss to the Jets. All the while logging 17:25 minutes on a scoring line and top power play with Brayden Schenn. Goodness know St. Louis could use a little more such scoring pop.
Alexandre Carrier, D, Nashville Predators: Does your fantasy league reward blocked-shots? If so, know that Carrier is sacrificing his body more than any other skater in the league, night in and out. With 26 already through seven contests, the selfless defender is on pace for a whopping 305 through a full season.
Joseph Woll, G, Toronto Maple Leafs: One Alex Ovechkin power-play goal short of perfection, Woll put in a second-straight outstanding effort for the Leafs against the Capitals Tuesday, stopping 36 shots for the 4-1 win. The 25-year-old – a reputedly chill character – was particularly fantastic in the first period, keeping his club in the game early. He has to be Sheldon Keefe’s go-to over Ilya Samsonov at present.
Darcy Kuemper, G, Washington Capitals: While the Capitals are slow and, thus far, nearly incapable of scoring (1.20 goals/game), Kuemper hasn’t been any great shakes himself between the pipes. Upcoming tilts versus the Devils (4.00) and Wild (4.17) appear a bit frightening, to be honest.
Tristan Jarry, G, Pittsburgh Penguins: His early analytics are lousy and his teammates out front aren’t helping either. Consider shelving Jarry against the Avalanche and Senators (Saturday), before looking ahead to potentially brighter days when the Penguins play the Sharks and Ducks (twice).
Jacob Markstrom, G, Calgary Flames: The Flames aren’t scoring, which is spoiling Markstrom – who isn’t playing badly at all – as a fantasy asset. Run with your other ‘tender options, at least until the offense figures it out. Except perhaps Thursday versus the Blues, should the club’s No. 1 earn the start over Dan Vladar. St. Louis is struggling as well.