The first month of the NHL season is in the books and it brought its fair share of surprises, both pleasant and otherwise. There’s still plenty of hockey left to play, though, and if you’re looking to make a move, then we have a nice blend of surprises, overlooked veterans, and promising opportunities for you to consider.
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Torey Krug (BOS) – D – Owned in 48% of Yahoo! leagues
After dominating in the NCAA, Krug had 13 goals and 45 points in 63 AHL games last season before holding his own in the 2013 NHL playoffs. That helped him earn a regular spot with the Bruins for the 2013-14 campaign and he’s taken advantage of it by scoring four goals and seven points in 13 games this season. He’s already been grabbed in a good chunk of standard leagues, but if he’s still available in your league, now is the time to pick him up. He’s a legitimate offensive threat and should have at least 30 points despite his relative inexperience.
Clarke MacArthur (OTT) – LW – Owned in 8% of Yahoo! leagues
MacArthur had 62 points in 2010-11, but he fell in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ depth charts significantly as time went on. He averaged just 14:55 minutes per contest in the shortened campaign before he switched sides in the Battle of Ontario over the summer. The Senators were willing to give MacArthur a far bigger role and after some early season struggles, he seems to have adjusted to life in Ottawa. He has points in five of his last six games and eight points in 12 contests in 2013-14. If nothing else, he’s a guy to consider while he’s hot, but he has some long-term fantasy value in standard leagues as well.
Shane Doan (PHO) – LW/RW – Owned in 31% of Yahoo! leagues
Shane Doan has been nothing if not consistently solid over the course of his career. In the 12 seasons leading up to the shortened campaign, he recorded at least 49 points in every season while recording at least 47 penalty minutes. Obviously over the course of 48 contests in 2013, he didn’t maintain those streaks, but he’s picking right up where he left off in 2013-14. Even at the age of 37, he’s still providing fantasy owners with a decent blend of points and PIM. He has four goals, eight points, and eight penalty minutes in 14 games and if anything, we expect him to do better from here on.
Andrew Shaw (CHI) – C – Owned in 12% of Yahoo! leagues
Shaw was held to just 15 points in 48 games during his sophomore campaign, but he looked better in the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup-winning playoff run and he’s off to a strong start in his third season. He has three goals, five assists, and eight penalty minutes in 14 games while averaging 15:48 minutes per contest. Shaw also has a plus-five rating and that number is likely to continue to stay positive, given how strong the Blackhawks are. In standard leagues, he’s the type of guy that will do everything decently, but might not be strong enough in any one category to make him worth owning. But in leagues that use hits as a category, he’s significantly more valuable as he’ll get credited with 150-250 this season. He’s also not a bad guy to hold onto in keeper leagues because his blend of scoring ability and gritty play could eventually transform him into a David Backes-like fantasy asset.
Mikael Granlund (MIN) – C – Owned in 9% of Yahoo! leagues
The Minnesota Wild entered this season looking for some of their young players to step up into secondary scoring roles and Granlund is an example of that. He’s a highly regarded prospect who has just 41 NHL games under his belt, but has already been playing a big role. Lately he’s meshed well with Jason Pominville and has registered six assists in his last four games. Granlund’s inexperience makes him an obvious risk, but he’s an excellent pickup in keeper leagues and is worth a look in single-season leagues as well. A best-case scenario for Granlund would be 50-60 points in 2013-14.
Michael Bournival (MON) – LW – Owned in 5% of Yahoo! leagues
Bournival didn’t enter his rookie season amid a lot of fanfare like Nathan MacKinnon and Seth Jones and he hasn’t startled people with his play like Tomas Hertl and Sean Monahan. All the same, Bournival has quietly gotten off to a strong start to his first campaign with three goals, seven points, and a plus-five rating in 12 games. He’s averaging just 12:36 minutes per contest and players getting that little ice time usually aren’t worth grabbing in standard leagues unless they accumulate a ton of penalty minutes. However, when Bournival does play, it’s usually alongside Tomas Plekanec. The two have developed some on-ice chemistry and as long as that remains true, Bournival is worth taking a chance on.
Reto Berra (CAL) – G – Owned in 6% of Yahoo! leagues
Let’s start this one with a disclaimer: Only consider Berra if you’re desperate for starts. In many leagues, finding a number one goaltender in the free agent market isn’t doable, but that’s what Reto Berra might be. Keep in mind, the Flames decided to waive Joey MacDonald after he posted a 3.17 GAA and .885 save percentage in seven starts and the netminder that was left on the NHL squad, Karri Ramo, has been even worse. This is a team that desperately needs an alternative and that makes this a golden opportunity for Berra. That being said, Berra, 26, has never played in an NHL game, only has nine contests worth of AHL experience, and the team in front of him is mediocre at best. This is not a recipe for great numbers, but if you, like the Flames, are desperate for goaltending, Berra might be worth the roster spot in the hope that he surprises.
Jaromir Jagr (NJD) – RW – Owned in 45% of Yahoo! leagues
He’s been slowed down by age, but Jagr has still managed to score three goals and 10 points in 13 games this season. The Devils don’t have much in the way of offensive weapons, but that also means he doesn’t have a ton of competition for playing time. He leads all Devils forwards in power-play minutes per game and he regularly plays on the top line with Patrik Elias. If he can stay healthy, and admittedly that’s far from a certainty, then Jagr could flirt with the 60-point mark this season.