Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Fantasy Football Today Blog
Gameday Inactives
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Scores
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
Fantasy Baseball Today Blog
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

Blue Line Buzz: Early season surprises

by | Rotowire.com
  •  

(all statistics through Saturday, October 12)

Jason Garrison. Mark Giordano. Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Jonas Brodin. Matt Niskanen.

These five players currently sit in the top 10 of defensemen scoring. Yes, it's early, but this is a bit on the surprising side. Many of these players, if drafted at all, are turning into huge values for owners who gambled on them late.

Also of note is the fact that Derek Morris is 11th in scoring among defenders through Saturday, reliving his glory days from the early 2000's in Calgary for the Desert Dogs. (He added an assist on Phoenix's first goal Sunday, a power-play helper, giving him five points).

Who's going to be there in a few weeks?

Mmmmkay, Mr. Garrison

Garrison already has two goals and six points and appears to be enjoying playing under John Tortorella. Garrison is living on the power play, seeing 3:27 of ice time there per contest, yet has just one point on the man-advantage. Given the frequency with which he fires the puck and his booming slap shot, Garrison likely will see those numbers increase. In Saturday's 4-1 loss to Montreal, the hard-shooting blue liner put 10 shots on goal and sits with an average of four shots per game. Garrison's career season in Florida from 2011-12 saw him finish with 16 goals, numbers he parlayed into his huge five-year contract with the Canucks prior to the lockout in 2012.

Garrison will see an uptick in power-play time the next two games as Vancouver is without Alexander Edler, who still has two games remaining on his three-game suspension.  However, Garrison saw 7:24 on the power play in the Canuck's game against Edmonton while Edler was in the lineup, so Edler's presence shouldn't limit Garrison's opportunities. Garrison is a streaky player but with his propensity to shoot and the opportunities he'll see on a power play with the Sedin twins, there's reason to believe that Garrison will continue producing.

Flame On

The Flames have been the season's biggest surprise. A hodgepodge of journeyman veterans, a 33-year old goaltender owning his first starting gig (Joey MacDonald) and a group of talented, energetic teenagers and twenty-somethings, the Flames are going to give opponents fits. Sean Monahan and Sven Baertschi are going to be fun to watch for years to come.

Leading their power play is the dynamic duo of Dennis Wideman and Mark Giordano. The latter of whom sits with six points through five games with half of those points on the man-advantage. Giordano hasn't been a stranger to production in his career, as he would quietly put up a healthy amount of points in southern Alberta. He saw 5:02 of power-play time in last Friday's win over New Jersey, grabbing a power-play goal and assist in that contest; he's playing close to three minutes on the man-advantage per game.

It's true that Giordano isn't blessed with the offensively talented teammates Jason Garrison has, but Giordano is going to be all but guaranteed regular power-play time in Calgary, not the 4:24 Wideman is seeing, but it will be a nice share.

Wideman is playing almost half the game for the Flames, seeing 26:24 through five contests and sits with a steady three points, all of which have come in Calgary's last two games. Wideman has 17 shots on goal through five games and should clock in around 35 points at season's end. The odds are that Calgary's winning ways will correct itself soon, so don't be surprised if there's a dip in production from these two.

Wideman and Giordano may even be kicking around on the waiver wire of shallower leagues. Both can be a value, as someone has to see power-play time on the blue line for Calgary. Those in keeper leagues will want to keep an eye on T.J. Brodie, thought to be one of the league's burgeoning stars on the blue line for the Flames. Brodie is seeing power-play time and playing 24 minutes a night.

Pickles

San Jose is off to a torrid start and Antii Niemi is proving himself to be one of the league's top netminders in the season's early going with five wins and a goals-against average of 1.40 and .939 save percentage. Those numbers are certainly frustrating to owners who took Henrik Lundqvist, Pekka Rinne and Jonathan Quick over Niemi. It hasn't hurt that the talented Finn is getting boatloads of goal support from the likes of rookie sensation Tomas Hertl and Jeremiah Johnson's long-lost cousin, Brent Burns (six points and a plus-9). San Jose is positioning to make another run at the Stanley Cup as one of the league's most balanced teams.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic is sparking the team's attack from the blue line with five points and an impressive plus-8 through five games. He has two goals on five shots, a pace which is screaming regression to the mean, but he's seeing enough ice time per game that he should see assists occasionally considering the offensive talent who is receiving them. Those running to the waiver wire to pick up Vlasic can feel safe knowing that Pickles won't hurt their plus-minus, but there should be a pause for concern as Vlasic is not shooting the puck and is seeing a scant 21 seconds of power-play time per contest.

Vlasic notched 36 points in the 2008-09 campaign, but has been unable to duplicate that type of offensive success in the years since. He managed seven points in 48 contests during the lockout-shortened season one year ago. Vlasic can have value in deeper leagues as a source of plus-minus production, but those expecting regular offensive numbers from him will want to temper their expectations. Dan Boyle is still guiding the Sharks' power play while Jason Demers and the young Matt Irwin are seeing the other half of San Jose's man-advantage time.

Feeling Minnesota

It might sound odd to be talking about a Minnesota defender not named Ryan Suter, but the (almost) $100 million man is off to a steady start with three assists through five games while essentially living on the ice, logging 28:45 per game. Suter's production is what owners can expect from the consistent veteran, but the Wild are breaking in one of their up-and-coming stars in 20-year old Jonas Brodin.

Brodin is playing almost 25 minutes a night and has an impressive five points through five games. The two points he has on the man-advantage are the same number he had through all 45 games played last season. This kid has long been rumored to be an elite talent and he's beginning to show it. Despite his two tallies, Brodin has just five shots on goal but it's the 2:29 of ice time on the power play that he's seeing which should keep the scoring opportunities coming.

Brodin should have received more consideration for the Calder Trophy last season, the award given annually to the player judged to be league's top rookie. Brodin is going to be a talent for quite some time in this league and couple that ice time with the likes of Suter, Zach Parise, Jason Pominville and budding stars Charlie Coyle and Nino Niederreiter, and Brodin could be a steal this season for owners. Those in keeper leagues will want to get their hands on Brodin quickly. The point-per-game pace will fall off, but expect Brodin to challenge 35 points this year.

Throw In

Known as the throw-in from the now infamous James Neal-Alex Goligoski trade, Matt Niskanen has had some decent stretches of production in his brief tenure with the Penguins. The veteran has five points and a plus-7 rating through five contests with one point on the man-advantage.

Niskanen's value at this point of the season is more situational than the other players on this list as the primary reason he is seeing 2:05 of power-play time per game is the fact that Kris Letang remains sidelined with a knee injury. The dynamic and utterly talented Letang has been practicing, but there is no word on whether he'll be back in the lineup this week. While Letang is out, expect Niskanen to keep seeing man-advantage time with the Pens' elite set of forwards. Niskanen should be an option in deeper leagues even after Letang returns, but his production is tied to the health of his teammates.

Other players to consider at this early juncture of the season:

Andrej Sekera, Carolina. Sekera has three points through five games (not including Sunday's afternoon tilt with Phoenix). He arrived in Carolina when the Sabres sent him there for Jamie McBain and has been seeing his share of power-play time, especially with Joni Pitkanen out for the season. Sekera is sharing time with fellow budding blue liner Justin Faulk and could be a decent waiver pickup in deeper leagues.

Brenden Dillon, Dallas: Owner of three points through four games, Dillon is seeing just nine seconds per-game on the power play, but this kid has value in leagues which count secondary categories such as hits and blocked shots.

Marek Zidlicky, New Jersey: Unfortunately, New Jersey doesn't have a better option offensively on the blue line than Zidlicky. A player prone to turn the puck over regularly and commit the glaring mistake in his own zone, Zidlicky is also second on the winless Devils in scoring, with four points through five games. All his points are assists and he's seeing plenty of power-play time, although the Devils have just one goal on 10 opportunities in the young season. Use Zidlicky if you're in a deeper league and need some support, but don't expect much consistency from the Czech veteran.

Jacob Trouba, Winnipeg: After his opening night stat line, Trouba has struggled, failing to register a point in four games with a minus-4 rating over that stretch. He has the talent to bounce back but remember the Winnipeg blue line is crowded.

Bonus Video Clip: There should be many more of these to come, but Seth Jones scored his first NHL goal on Saturday, blasting a slap shot past Evegeni Nabokov in Saturday's win over the Islanders. Meanwhile, Jones' teammate, Ryan Ellis, had a goal and an assist in the win.

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

  •  
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Rocco Grimaldi
Panthers Send Grimaldi Back To AHL
Rocco Grimaldi, C, FLA
11/24/2014
News: Updating an earlier report, Rocco Grimaldi was reassigned to the San Antonio Rampage on Sunday, Harvey Fialkov of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports.
Analysis: After scoring his first career goal Saturday, Rocco Grimaldi is being sent back because some of Florida's regulars are becoming healthy. The 21-year-old will be left down in the minors unless more injuries pop up, but knowing how Dale Tallon likes to take his time with his prospects, expect him to continue developing in the AHL.

Ondrej Pavelec
Jets' Pavelec In Net Sunday
Ondrej Pavelec, G, WPG
11/24/2014
News: Ondrej Pavelec will start between the pipes against the Blues on Sunday, Brian Munz of TSN reports.
Analysis: Ondrej Pavelec continues to see nearly all of the starts in net for the Jets despite allowing four goals on 27 shots Thursday against the Red Wings. He enters Sunday's matchup with a 7-7-2 record with a .919 save percentage and 2.25 GAA over 18 games.

Jake Allen
Blues' Allen Starting Sunday
Jake Allen, G, STL
11/24/2014
News: Jake Allen will start in net against the Jets on Sunday, Brian Munz of TSN reports.
Analysis: Jake Allen allowed four goals on 30 shots Thursday against Montreal, ending his four-game winning streak. He will get a chance to start a new streak Sunday, facing the Jets in Winnipeg.

Andrej Nestrasil
Nestrasil Nabs Goal In Carolina Debut
Andrej Nestrasil, RW, CAR
11/24/2014
News: Andrej Nestrasil tallied a goal on one of his four shots in his Hurricanes debut Saturday against the Avalanche.
Analysis: The young forward was claimed off waivers from the Red Wings a couple days earlier and immediately played a vital role for this new team, skating for 13:41 as a member of the team's second line. His score capped a three-goal first period for the Hurricanes, chasing opposing goalie Reto Berra from the game before the Avs rallied for the comeback win.

Brett Bellemore
Canes' Bellemore Suffers Injury Saturday
Brett Bellemore, D, CAR
11/24/2014
News: Brett Bellemore left Saturday's game in the first period after he was checked into the boards and didn't return, the Associated Press reports.
Analysis: At the very least, it sounds like Brett Bellemore is experiencing some body soreness, if not something more severe. The Hurricanes figure to provide an update on his condition once they resume practicing, putting his status for Wednesday's game against the Panthers in question for the time being.

Kyle Clifford
Kings' Clifford Picks Up Two Points
Kyle Clifford, LW, LA
11/24/2014
News: Kyle Clifford assisted on two scores in Saturday's loss to the Stars.
Analysis: The 23-year-old still has only five points in 21 games this season, making it tough to get excited about Saturday's showing. He's worth a look in specialty formats only for those fishing for hits and PIM help.

Brian Campbell
Panthers' Campbell Tallies An Assist In Loss
Brian Campbell, D, FLA
11/24/2014
News: Brian Campbell was able to notch an assist in Saturday's 3-2 shootout loss to the Predators.
Analysis: The assist gives him seven points (1G,6A) in the first 18 games of the season. After only putting two assists on the board in the month of October, he has had a solid month of November collecting one goal and four assists. Averaging 23:53 minutes of ice time per game ranks him 23rd in the NHL this season. Brian Campbell will always produce the majority of his points on the power play which is good news for fantasy owners who are awarded extra points for special teams points. He is only owned in 17% of espn leagues, so if his play continues to improve don't be surprised to see him on someone else's roster instead of the waiver wire.

Jarret Stoll
Points Trickling In For Kings' Stoll
Jarret Stoll, C, LA
11/24/2014
News: Jarret Stoll set up two goals and attempted three shots in Saturday's loss to the Stars.
Analysis: After going without a point in the Kings' first 12 games, Jarret Stoll now has contributed two goals and four assists over the last nine contests. The minor scoring burst probably isn't worth getting to worked up about while Stoll remains outside of a top-six role, but it does at least indicate that he still has it in him to pitch in offensively for the Kings.

David Pastrnak
Bruins' Pastrnak Recalled From AHL
David Pastrnak, LW, BOS
3:58 PM
News: David Pastrnak was recalled from the AHL on Sunday, Boston.com reports.
Analysis: The 2014 first-round pick played 17 games for AHL Providence, recording five goals and 13 assists to go with 10 penalty minutes. The 18-year-old also recorded a plus-12 rating. In order to make room on the roster, the Bruins sent Jordan Caron and Matt Lindblad back to Providence.

Paul Carey
Avalanche's Carey Recalled
Paul Carey, C, COL
3:48 PM
News: Paul Carey was recalled from AHL Lake Erie on Sunday.
Analysis: The 26-year-old appeared in 12 NHL games last season but has, to date, spent all of 2014-15 in the AHL. In 15 games for Lake Erie, Paul Carey recorded four goals, five assists and eight penalty minutes.

 
 
 
Top Videos
Rankings