It’s been just over one week since the shortened 2013 NHL season commenced. Some teams are playing nearly every night in order to slingshot themselves through the 48-game schedule and towards the Stanley Cup playoffs. It is somewhat hard to predict how some players will perform in such a short season. Getting off to a fast start is key for some, while others you may have to be patient with. Here are some players you should look to snag while their hot and some who’s slow starts may lead to underwhelming seasons.
Joe Thornton – C, San Jose Sharks
The Sharks' first line is on an absolute tear to begin this season and Thornton is once again a key player. Thornton is averaging over two points per game and the shortened season should help his overall fantasy value throughout 2013.
Andrei Markov – D, Montreal Canadiens
Welcome back, Andrei Markov! The 34-year old Russian defenseman is seeing his first hockey action in almost three full years due to serious injuries suffered in each of the past two seasons and he is starting right where he left off – as an offensive force for Montreal. Markov has four goals in four games already and, barring any injuries (cross your fingers) should continue his hot form throughout the season.
Kari Lehtonen – G, Dallas Stars
Lehtonen is by far the Stars' best goaltender and should start most of the games this season for his club. Through the Stars first five games, Lehtonen ranks fourth in the NHL with a .940 save percentage and is allowing just 2.19 goals per game. His statistics would be even better if the Stars offense decided to show up every once in a while to help their netminder out.
Sami Salo – D, Tampa Bay Lightning
This grizzled veteran Finnish defenseman has been a huge off-season pickup for the Lightning and GM Steve Yzerman. Salo has recorded five assists in five games this year and leads the NHL in plus/minus at +9. Salo is another prime example of a player who will benefit exponentially from the shortened schedule so pick him up if you can.
Vladimir Tarasenko – RW, St. Louis Blues
I mentioned Tarasenko in my last fantasy update and nothing has changed since then. He leads all rookies in total points with eight points through his first six games of the NHL season and at just 21 years old he should continue to get better and better. The young Russian is a fine all-around winger and it doesn’t look like he’s going to have any sort of drop off anytime soon.
Jakub Voracek – RW, Philadelphia Flyers
I thought for sure that this young Czech would come into 2013 as a more well-rounded product and show the continued progress in production that he did last season, but thus far that hasn’t happened. The Flyers are averaging just 2.2 goals per game thus far which is well below what was expected of such an offensive-minded team. Voracek has been a microcosm of that lack of production so far, scoring just two points in six games.
Braden Holtby – G, Washington Capitals
This young, promising netminder was thought to be a nice sleeper option for fantasy drafts in 2013 after showing flashes of brilliance late last season. However, Holtby has yet to follow up on that potential so far in this young season. Holtby ranks near the bottom of most goaltending categories in 2013, allowing 5.03 goals against in his two games started. For now, it seems that Michal Neuvirth will see the bulk of the action in goal for the Caps.
Tyler Myers – D, Buffalo Sabres
Myers came into this season as a huge young player for the Sabres - both literally and figuratively. The young 6’8” defenseman will eventually be good enough to pair with Christian Ehrhoff, but has gotten off to a slow start thus far with just a single point in five games played. There should be better options out there for now if you’re looking for productive defensemen.
Henrik Sedin – C, Vancouver Canucks
The Canucks have been pretty inconsistent thus far and so has Henrik Sedin. For the most part, Henrik and his brother Daniel have been the focal point of the Canucks offense for a majority of the last 10 or so years. Daniel continues to play well, but Henrik’s level has dropped off a bit from seasons past – he has just four points in six games this year. If you have his twin brother you may want to hold onto him for chemistry purposes, but if not then don’t waste a forward spot on him because there are plenty of other options out there.
Photo Credit: getty