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Blue Line Buzz: Back in action

by | Rotowire.com
  •  

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
Michael Bournival
Habs' Bournival Reassigned To AHL Hamilton
Michael Bournival, LW, MON
3/3/2015
News: Michael Bournival was reassigned to AHL Hamilton on Monday, TSN's John Lu reports.
Analysis: Forward P.A. Parenteau (concussion) will finally rejoin the lineup, and defenseman Jeff Petry was recently acquired in a trade. The Habs will thus reassign both Michael Bournival and Greg Pateryn, freeing up room for a pair of proven veterans. Bournival only has five points through 29 NHL appearances this season, but he does have eight points in just seven AHL games.

Maxime Talbot
Talbot Traded To Bruins
Maxime Talbot, C, COL
3/3/2015
News: The Avalanche traded Maxime Talbot and Paul Carey to the Bruins on Monday in exchange for Jordan Caron and a 2016 sixth-round draft pick, the team's official site reports.
Analysis: Maxime Talbot, who has notched five goals and 10 assists in 63 games with the Avs this season, gives the Bruins some added depth and experience up front, something that will come in handy, with centers Gregory Campbell and David Krejci currently sidelined.

P.A. Parenteau
Canadiens' Parenteau To Rejoin Lineup Monday
P.A. Parenteau, RW, MON
3/3/2015
News: P.A. Parenteau will rejoin the lineup for Monday's game against San Jose, NHL.com's Arpon Basu
Analysis: After missing six weeks of action due to a concussion, P.A. Parenteau was a healthy scratch for Saturday's game against the Maple Leafs. He may be limited to a spot on the fourth line in his first game since Jan. 15.

Jordan Caron
Caron Traded To Avs
Jordan Caron, LW, BOS
3/3/2015
News: The Bruins traded Jordan Caron and a 2016 sixth-round draft pick to the Avs on Monday in exchange for Maxime Talbot and Paul Carey, the team's official site reports.
Analysis: Jordan Caron, who has been held without a point in 11 games with the Bruins this season, was a first-round draft pick (25th overall) in 2009. After having recorded just 28 points in 134 career NHL contests with Boston, however, a change of scenery will probably do the 24-year-old winger some good, though a wait-and see approach is in order from a fantasy perspective.

James Wisniewski
Ducks Acquire Wisniewski In Late Deadline Deal
James Wisniewski, D, CLB
3/3/2015
News: James Wisniewski was traded to the Ducks on Monday along with a 2015 third-round draft pick in exchange for forwards William Karlsson and Rene Bourque and a 2015 second-round draft pick, Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reports.
Analysis: James Wisniewski will likely assume a top-four role on defense with his new organization, giving the Ducks an added dose of puck-moving ability on the blue line. The 31-year-old has predictably been unable to replicate last season's 51-point scoring outburst in 2014-15, but he's still been an above-average source of goals and assists for a defenseman. Assuming the foot injury he suffered in Saturday's game against the Penguins doesn't prove too problematic, Wisniewski's fantasy value figures to notice a small uptick with the move, as his placement on a superior Ducks squad should allow his plus/minus mark to recover from its current minus-10 standing.

Alexei Marchenko
Wings' Marchenko Sidelined
Alexei Marchenko, D, DET
3/3/2015
News: Alexei Marchenko is dealing with an oblique strain, Ansar Khan of MLive.com reports.
Analysis: The report suggests that Alexei Marchenko will be out for a week or so. The 23-year-old blueliner has two points in 12 games with the Wings to date, including a goal in his last outing, Saturday against the Preds.

Darren Helm
Wings' Helm Dealing With Oblique Injury
Darren Helm, C, DET
3/3/2015
News: Darren Helm is dealing with an oblique strain, Ansar Khan of MLive.com reports.
Analysis: Per the report, GM Ken Holland indicated that Darren Helm's injury is not considered serious, but it looks like the forward will be out a week or so.

Sven Baertschi
Flames Deal Baertschi To Canucks For Pick
Sven Baertschi, LW, CGY
3/3/2015
News: Sven Baertschi was traded to the Canucks on Monday in exchange for a 2015 second-round pick, TSN's Bob McKenzie reports.
Analysis: A former first-round selection by the Flames in 2011, Sven Baertschi made the NHL squad out of training camp in 2013-14 but wasn't able to maintain a spot after tallying 11 points over 26 games. He failed to break camp with the Flames this season and didn't make much of his opportunity when injuries resulted in his promotion to the big club. His pedigree still made him intriguing to many organizations, so the Flames decided to part with him before his value completely bottomed out. Still only 22 years old, Baertschi could unlock his full potential with the move to the Canucks, though he'll likely have to prove himself at AHL Utica first.

Simon Despres
Pens Deal Despres To Ducks
Simon Despres, D, PIT
3/3/2015
News: Simon Despres (head) was traded to the Ducks on Monday in exchange for defenseman Ben Lovejoy, Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
Analysis: The Penguins indicated the head injury that Simon Despres suffered in Sunday's win over the Blue Jackets appears to be minor, but that didn't prevent the team from seeking a veteran blueliner on deadline day. While Lovejoy possesses more NHL experience and might offer more present-day value than Despres, it appears the Ducks have added yet another intriguing young blueliner to a corps that also includes three under-25 talents in Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm, and Sami Vatanen. At 6-foot-4 with a willingness to hit and the ability to score, Despres could become a mainstay on the defense for the Ducks over the next several seasons.

Chris Stewart
Stewart Moves To Playoff Contender With Wild
Chris Stewart, RW, BUF
3/3/2015
News: Chris Stewart has been traded to the Wild in exchange for what is expected to be a 2017 second-rounder, WGR550.com reports.
Analysis: Even though this deal was snuck in just ahead of the deadline, Chris Stewart was as good of a bet as any player in hockey to get dealt Monday. He'll head to a playoff contender, which should immediately boost his plus-minus prospects. And Minnesota might start to be considered Buffalo West, with four former Sabres on the roster once Stewart gets settled. Stewart has a disappointing 25 points in 61 games this season, but he's been playing better lately with the potential to do more with better talent around him. Keep an eye on his line assignment, though it's worth noting that inconsistency has always been a part of his game.

 
 
 
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