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Blue Line Buzz: Back in action

by | Rotowire.com
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We're back.

The Leafs are 2-0. Phil Kessel will be in Toronto until 2021 after signing an 8-year, $64 million contract. Stay tuned for news about the parade.

Meanwhile, in Washington, Toronto refugee Mikhail Grabovski is off to a red-hot start with five points through two games, including a hat trick on opening night in a loss to Chicago.

Marc-Andre Fleury was the first goaltender in the league to notch a shutout, stopping 27 shots on Thursday in the Pens' season-opening win against the Devils. Fleury, the netminder who was a sieve against the Islanders in the playoffs last year, denied New Jersey's collection of depth they call forwards.

Pekka Rinne, one of the first goalies taken in many drafts, lasted a mere 9:45 in the Predators' season-opener against St. Louis, surrendering three goals on six shots Thursday. St. Louis held on for a 4-2 win. There's some concern that Rinne's hip is still recovering from offseason surgery, but this was not a comforting sight for owners. Rinne was hung out to dry on at least one of the goals, but seeing the towering Finn wearing a baseball hat after barely 10 minutes of play is not a comforting sight. He's still potentially one of the league's best; now could be a time to dial up a panicked owner and get in on a goaltender who can anchor your roster if you believe Thursday was an aberration.

Troubador

Jacob Trouba of Winnipeg cemented his claim as the defenseman most fantasy leaguers ran to pick up on opening night. The Jets stormed back from a 4-2 deficit to defeat Edmonton 5-4. Yes, Edmonton had difficulty defending a lead. (Actually, you can just cut off the “a lead” part of that previous sentence.) Trouba played well in Team USA's run to the gold medal in last winter's World Junior Championships and seems poised to make an impact for the Jets.

Presently, he's on a blue line with two of the league's more productive-when-healthy blue liners in Tobias Enstrom and Dustin Byfuglien. Will there be enough pucks and points to go around in Winnipeg's system? Yes, it's a system that has allowed offensively-gifted defenders to flourish, but will Trouba get his chances? He won't see the same amount of power-play time which will be bestowed upon Enstrom or Byfuglien, but he won't be entirely shut out of man-advantage time or scoring chances. Expectations always need to be tempered with young blue liners, but Trouba could be making a name for himself.

Burning For You

One of the hot questions heading into this season was San Jose's bearded wonder, Brent Burns. Burns is listed as a forward to start the season and is seeing time on the wing, yet is still eligible as a defenseman on many sites. Burns finished last season with 20 points in 30 games, with the bulk of his scoring coming after the switch to forward. While Burns isn't expected to light up the Pacific Division like teammate Logan Couture, Burns could still clock in around 40-50 points with double-digit goals, tremendous value if he's eligible at both positions in your league. As just a forward, Burns has some value, but 40-50 point forwards are littered all over most leagues' waiver wires.

Not that analysis of Burns' positional eligibility is news to fantasy hockey poolies, but you might want to think about acquiring him via a trade if the owner who drafted him begins to sour on Burns. He's bound to play some games on defense this season, so he may end up being a blue liner as well in most formats.

He's a player who has never been shy about shooting the puck and figuring he can hit 15-20 goals is a good bet considering he used to register double-digit goals on the back end as a formality. Burns notched San Jose's opening goal in Thursday's win over Vancouver.

Surprises? Not Too Many

Through Thursday, most teams have played at least one game, with a handful already playing two. The defensemen scoring list has a list of the usual cast of characters on it: Mike Green, Dion Phaneuf, Byfuglien, Alex Pietrangelo and Brian Campbell. A handful of players have two points already while Green and Buff have three points. Expect Erik Karlsson to be atop this list by the end of Saturday.

Despite Dallas' loss on Thursday to Florida, their bruising sophomore Brenden Dillon had a goal and an assist. He's a potential value in multi-category leagues as he delivered 133 hits and 69 penalty minutes in 48 games last season. He already has a quarter of the eight points he delivered last year. Dllion's value drops a bit in leagues that do not count secondary categories such as penalty minutes, hits and blocked shots.

Ending Note

One of the more entertaining videos released in the weeks leading up to the NHL season featured Patrick Kane in an advertisement for Bauer sticks. The stickhandling is incredible -- Kane has a serious set of hands. However, his teammates weren't about to let him get away with showing off his skill and not making fun of him. Kane's teammate, Brandon Bollig, admittedly not as skilled on the puck as Kane, had some fun shooting this parody video.

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Player News
Matt Beleskey
Ducks' Beleskey Out Friday
Matt Beleskey, LW, ANA
12:22 AM
News: Matt Beleskey (lower body) will not play in Friday's game against the Stars.
Analysis: The nature and extent of Matt Beleskey's setback are uncertain, but whatever ailment he is dealing with will prevent him from taking the ice Friday. Consider him questionable for Monday's Game 3.

Ryan Miller
Despite Shaky Start, Blues' Miller Wins Game 1
Ryan Miller, G, STL
12:17 AM
News: After gifting the Blackhawks three goals on just seven first-period shots Thursday, Ryan Miller was perfect the rest of the way, turning aside the next 35 in a 4-3 triple overtime win in Game 1.
Analysis: The nightmarish start by Ryan Miller caused panic among the Scottrade Center faithful, but the veteran netminder settled in nicely to prevent a seventh straight Blues loss. He got a little help by Max Lapierre -- who prevented an overtime goal when he covered a gaping net to stone the Blackhawks' Kris Versteeg -- but sometimes you've gotta be good to be lucky. Miller and the Blues should tighten things up even further when Game 2 goes Saturday afternoon.

Andrew Cogliano
Ducks' Cogliano Scores To Help Keep Home Ice
Andrew Cogliano, C, ANA
4/18/2014
News: Andrew Cogliano scored a shorthanded goal during the third period of a 3-2 victory over the Stars in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup playoffs on Friday.
Analysis: Game 2's goal is Andrew Cogliano's first ever in the postseason. It is worth noting that Cogliano has scored more goals this season than any other in his career, so it would not be surprising to see him be more productive in the second playoff appearance of his career.

Corey Perry
Ducks' Perry Ends Playoff Goalless Streak
Corey Perry, RW, ANA
4/18/2014
News: Corey Perry scored an unassisted goal during the second period of a 3-2 victory over the Stars in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup playoffs on Friday.
Analysis: Friday's goal snaps a 10-game-long postseason goalless streak for Corey Perry. However, the last time he had a regular season like this one, had eight goals in 13 games. Either way, the Ducks will look for him to be a major offensive presence both to win this series and to go on a possible Stanley Cup Finals run.

Frederik Andersen
Ducks' Andersen Remains Unbeaten In Playoffs
Frederik Andersen, G, ANA
4/18/2014
News: Frederik Andersen stopped 34 of 36 shots on goal during a 3-2 defeat of the Stars in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup playoffs on Friday.
Analysis: Frederik Andersen continues to look solid in net in the postseason. He has a combined save percentage of .930 in these first two games of the opening series.

Ryan Getzlaf
Ducks' Getzlaf Amazing In Return
Ryan Getzlaf, C, ANA
4/18/2014
News: Ryan Getzlaf scored an unassisted goal and registered a shorthanded assist during a 3-2 victory over the Stars in Game 2 of the NHL playoffs on Friday.
Analysis: A goal and an assist in his first game back from taking a puck to the face. There's not much more to say, other than that Ryan Getzlaf is the man.

Patrik Berglund
Blues' Berglund Doubtful For Game 2
Patrik Berglund, C, STL
4/18/2014
News: Patrik Berglund (upper body) is doubtful to play in Saturday's Game 2 matinee against the Blackhawks, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Analysis: The versatile Swede -- who has played both at center and wing this season -- was also reported as "skating well and taking good shots" in the Blues' brief practice Friday. Fortunately for St. Louis, the absences of Patrik Berglund and T.J. Oshie, who also sat out Game 1 with an upper-body injury, were offset by the return of their 21-goal scorer Vladimir Tarasenko, playing in his first game since suffering a broken hand 15 games prior. It appears as though Oshie is closer to returning than Berglund, so while the Blues brass would no doubt like to see him back in action, their forward depth affords them the luxury to take their time with his ailment.

Steve Ott
Blues' Ott Receives Top Line Assignment
Steve Ott, C, STL
4/18/2014
News: Steve Ott spent Game 1 against the Blackhawks on the Blues' top line with captain David Backes and Alex Steen, the team's leading scorer. He was productive in his new role, setting up Steen's game-winner in triple OT and firing three shots on goal.
Analysis: Steve Ott, normally a bottom-six guy since arriving in St. Louis 24 games ago near the trade deadline, got the nod to fill in for the injured T.J. Oshie (upper body). The abrasive veteran actually saw the fourth most ice time (30:53) among Blues forwards in the triple OT marathon, and could get another shot with the big boys as Oshie is questionable to play in Game 2 on Saturday. His assist was just his fourth point as a member of the Blues.

Tuukka Rask
Rask, Bruins Drop Game 1
Tuukka Rask, G, BOS
4/18/2014
News: Tuukka Rask allowed one goal on 24 shots in Friday's 1-0 loss to Detroit in Game 1 of the teams' Atlantic Division semifinal series.
Analysis: Tuukka Rask was beaten late in the third period on a tremendous individual effort from Pavel Datsyuk he may not have seen completely. Rask played well in the game, but so did his counterpart, Jimmy Howard. Rask is the frontrunner for the Vezina Trophy and the Bruins will ride their star goalie every night of the playoffs.

Johan Franzen
Franzen On Scoresheet For Wings
Johan Franzen, LW, DET
4/18/2014
News: Johan Franzen assisted on the game's only goal Friday as Detroit beat Boston 1-0 in Game 1 of their Atlantic Division semifinal series.
Analysis: Johan Franzen is one of several experienced playoff performers on Detroit's roster and can be expected to fill a vital role until captain Henrik Zetterberg returns to action. Franzen's regular season was plagued with injury but he still managed 41 points in 54 games.

 
 
 
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