Crashing the Net: Hossa's hot, Gagne's not, early observations

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Crashing the Net takes you around the league touching on hot and cold players, battles for ice-time and what's going on in net.

Marian Hossa, Blackhawks

Back to full health, Hossa has been a dynamo in the early going with five goals and nine points in six games this season, and he has recorded at least one point in each game. From 2002-08 he averaged 82 points a season, and in the 63 games since he joined the Blackhawks last year he has 60 points, so you can expect the scoring to continue at a high clip.

Clarke MacArthur, Maple Leafs

Drafted in the third round in 2003, this winger has bounced around over the past year, going from the Sabres to the Thrashers, and now to the Maple Leafs. Often a third liner, MacArthur has been working on the second line with Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin, and the results have been wondrous -- five goals in four games. MacArthur's has never scored more than 17 goals in a season, and he scored 16 times last season, so take his hot start with the proverbial grain of salt. Still, he is well on his way to recording his first 20-goal campaign, just don't think he is the second coming of Wendel Clark.

Brad Richards, Stars

Richards is an underrated scoring star who posted 91 points last season. However, Richards was overlooked in many drafts this season because he has always been a poor plus/minus contributor (-66 for his career) and because the Stars aren't exactly big on the national scene. Those who took a chance on the talented centerman have been rewarded with a tremendous nine points in four games (he's recorded at least two points in every game he has appeared). Oh, and that plus/minus? It's currently +7.

Dan Boyle, Sharks

In Boyle's first year in San Jose he had 16 goals and 57 points. In his second year in San Jose he had 15 goals and 58 points. This season he has no goals through three games and has generated only six shots on net. He is also a (-3) in the early going. Still show some patience with Boyle, one of the most offensively gifted men to patrol the blue line in the NHL. By the time the season is over his production should mirror what he has done the past two season with the Sharks -- count on it.

Simon Gagne, Lightning

This clearly isn't the start that Gagne was hoping for in his new home. The good news is that he is healthy, and that is always the major concern. Still, Gagne is paid to light the lamp, something he hasn't done this season as he has not produced a point in four games. Gagne has also been saddled with a (-5) rating, and given that he is also without a penalty minute, well, you would have been better off leaving your left wing spot vacant. Gagne will score goals, there is no doubt about that -- he has averaged 0.46 goals a game since the start of the 2003 season -- so remain patient with the Quebec-born native.

Tyler Myers, Sabres

The game just isn't that easy, despite the fact that this towering youngster made it look that way last season as he won the Calder Trophy. However, he has a (-7) plus/minus mark in the early going this year after posting a +13 as a rookie. He also has one assist in six games. Playing the blue line in the NHL might be the hardest gig to get down pat, so a slump isn't out of the ordinary for a young skater. Keep the faith with Myers if you own him. If you don't, try to convince his current owner that last year was a fluke and pick up the 6-foot-8 behemoth.

Danius Zubrus, Devils

The Devils opened the year with Zach Parise, Travis Zajac and Ilya Kovalchuk on a supremely talented offensive line. Alas, the early season return from that group has been virtually nil as Parise (two points in six games) and Zajac (three points in six games) failed to be their normal productive selves. As a result, Kovalchuk has been moved off the top line and replaced by Zubrus. It doesn't matter where Kovalchuk skates, he'll score at a point-per-game pace regardless, but this is great news for Zubrus, though you should keep your expectations muted since he hasn't recorded 20 goals or 50 points since 2006.

Matt Stajan, Flames

What were the Flames thinking? Olli Jokinen showed no chemistry with Jarome Iginla last year, so the Flames brought him back into the fold to center Iginla yet again. Great move, Flames. After seeing Jokinen, Iginla and Alex Tanguay struggle, the decision was made to remove Jokinen from the top line in favor of Stajan. Looking like a genius, Brent Sutter's new top line responded by recording eight points in a 5-3 victory over the archival Edmonton Oilers. Stajan isn't a star, but he has recorded 55 and 57 points the past two years, respectively, and is worth a pickup in most leagues if he remains on the top line.

Derek Stepan, Rangers

The Rangers are beat up, and the most devastating loss in the early going is the shoulder injury suffered by Marian Gaborik (he will miss 2-4 weeks). With Gaborik down, rookie Stepan will move up to the first scoring line alongside Alexander Frolov and Ruslan Fedotenko. Stepan has already made headlines by recording a hat trick in his first game, and now he will be given a chance to earn top-6 minutes.

• Six teams play four games this week: Calgary, Chicago, Nashville, NY Rangers, San Jose and Tampa Bay.

• Six teams play only two games this week: Detroit, Edmonton, Florida, Montreal, Philadelphia and Phoenix.

Ray Flowers is Managing Editor for Owners Edge and You can also follow the happenings of the game of hockey on our Twitter Page, as well as listen to his daily three hour radio show on Sirius 211 and XM 147. For more information on the show click on the link to the Fanball Fantasy Drive.