Crashing The Net: Modano, Zetterberg headline fantasy stars
Talk about an impressive early season performance. Having to prove himself all over again at the NHL level, Maxim decided to try and resurrect his career with the Thrashers. Consider the early returns to be exceedingly positive. Maxim is scoring at a point-per game clip (17 points in 17 games), a rather impressive total considering that one of his line mates, Ilya Kovalchuk, missed a few weeks with a broken foot. Afinogenov has lit the lamp in 3-straight games (four total goals), and he has posted six points in those three contests. Dating back a bit further he has points in seven of eight games as he has scored five goals while handing out six helpers. Maxim hasn't scored even 20-goals or recorded 60-points since 2006, but as long as he continues to skate on the top line with Kovalchuk, while remaining healthy, he looks to be in line to reach both of those totals this season.
Who on the Wings isn't hot? I was tempted to also list
One of the best American born skaters in NHL history (545 goals, 1,333 points), Modano has seen his level of production dwindle the past two years to the point where his name clearly outpaced his game. To make matters worse, Modano suffered a rib injury and was sidelined for a month (from October 3rd to Nov. 4), so when he was finally activated from the injured list its not like there was a stampede to add him to active duty. Modano has looked spry, like his old self actually, the past two contests as he recorded a goal and an assist in each of the past two games, his first points of the year after starting off with four scoreless outings. If you need a pick me up you can look Modano's way, but realize that he hasn't scored more than 22 goals or recorded 50 points in three years.
Burrows was a fantasy star last season with 28 goals, 150 PIM and a +23. Many pundits took a look at his amazing finishing kick (18g, 11a and a +23 in his final 34 games) and had visions of the next 30-goal, 150-PIM power forward. So far this season the plan hasn't gone as, well, planned. Burrows has four goals and eight assists in 21 games, well off his pace of last season. Add in the fact that he has only 28 PIMs on the year and that his plus/minus rating is just +1 and you have a skater who has failed to live up to expectations (the loss of frequent linemate Daniel Sedin hasn't helped). Burrows has been particularly cold of late with only one point in four games, and since Oct. 12, Alex has but one goal. Maybe things will improve when Daniel S. returns to the ice.
Gomez is one of those confounding players to own. At the end of the year the points are usually there, over 55 in each of the past six years, but you keep looking at that 84 point effort in 2005 and hope that you can strike lightning in a bottle. It hasn't gone that way so far in his first year in Montreal. Gomez has 11 points in 20 games, far from an atrocious total, but the guy has lit the lamp only twice putting him on pace for about eight goals this seasons. Clearly, Gomez isn't paid to score, he's paid to pass, but lately he hasn't been doing either as he has gone three games without a point, has only one assist in five games, and he hasn't beaten a goalie in 11 games for good measure. Might be a nice time to buy low, but the upside isn't anywhere near a point-per-game pace.
This Quebec-born skater registered 68 points in 2006 to vault himself into fantasy consideration. When he went for 80 points in 2007, Pominville owners became downright giddy. Unfortunately he slumped to just 20 goals and 66 points last season, with a (-4) rating, throwing some doubt on his ability to be a point-per-game guy. Based on early returns this season, it's pretty clear that he just isn't someone to count on for that level of offense. With a total of four goals and seven assists, through 17 games, Jason is on pace to fall just shy of 20 goals while recording fewer than 55 points, totals that certainly haven't been bolstered of late as he has been pointless in 3-straight contests while recording two points in seven games. Things should improve, though perhaps not significantly.
Based on his level of production (1g, 10a in 15 games) it's clear that two things are occurring with Spezza. (1) He is dealing with a back issue that is clearly limiting him somewhat on the ice. (2) He really misses
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After being left for dead by the Flyers, the Kings swooped in and claimed Jones off re-entry waivers at the end of October. Jones then spent a handful of games in the press box in civvies before finally cracking the lineup. Jones has seen action the past three games, and he has a game-winning goal and an assist to show for his efforts. He isn't someone to target, but if you need a hand on the backend, he could be a nice waiver-wire pickup.
Miller has lost only two games in regulation this season and three overall as he is 12-2-1 for Buffalo (he is tied for the league lead in victories). Miller also leads the league with a 1.77 GAA and his .939 save percentage is tied with that of
Price is 4-8 on the year, including 2-8 in his last 10 decisions, and that wouldn't play if you were eight years old let alone when you are being looked at to backstop the most illustrious team in the annals of the sport. Price has played better of late allowed two or fewer goals in three of four games, but his overall numbers (3.08 GAA, .904 save percentage) are slightly worse than Halak (2.62 GAA, .904 save percentage). Still, Halak has made only one appearance in November, Price has made five, so it's clear which direction the team hopes to go in.