The return of NHL hockey heralds a time of happiness among fans and players alike. It’s a joy to watch your favourite team prepare themselves for a long campaign that will involve the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. The return of hockey also signals the start of arguably the most fun part of any season. I’m talking about fantasy leagues.
Hockey pools are some of the most fun and competitive hockey related activities you can do. Whether it’s the drafting of your team or setting your weekly line-up, the pressure is a constant battle. When you win, you feel like you’re on top of the world. When you lose however, it’s a crushing defeat that leaves a sour taste in your mouth.
As the NHL season continues to steadily move on, let’s examine three players who have been dynamic and effective early on for their respective clubs.
Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens
The newly named captain of the Habs has been absolutely unstoppable so far. Proudly wearing the captain’s “C” seems to agree with the sniper as he has potted four goals and added two assists in only four games to date.
The Canadiens are off to a 4-0 start at the time of this writing, and Pacioretty’s play is a huge part of that. Many fans were worried about the leg injury he sustained that kept him out of the majority of the preseason. He has now effectively silenced those doubters with his blistering start. The last two seasons have seen the forward snipe 39 and 37 goals respectively. If he keeps up this current pace over a full 82 games, a career high may be well within reach.
Max Domi and Anthony Duclair, Arizona Coyotes
I know I said three players, but I’m going to cheat a little bit on this one. The Arizona Coyotes have been pretty abysmal the last few years. Doing that has allowed them to amass a stable of talented young prospects. Two of those, Max Domi and Anthony Duclair, have put the fans on notice with their early offensive outbursts.
Duclair, who was acquired from the New York Rangers in the Keith Yandle deal, was electrifying on the ice for the Yotes where he notched his first career hat-trick against the Anaheim Ducks. Domi has also been awesome and has notched a couple of goals to go along with his his two assists thus far.
The Coyotes are definitely a franchise on the up and up. Domi and Duclair look dominant and should continue to learn and grow together.
Martin Jones, San Jose Sharks
Martin Jones has been a revelation in net for the San Jose Sharks. The former Los Angeles King has started off the season by powering the Sharks to a 3-0 undefeated record. After he allowed a goal on the opening shot of the season, Jones buckled down and has been perfect ever since.
He recently made 31 saves against the Washington Capitals for his second straight shutout. The undrafted goalie currently owns a goals-aginst average of 0.33 and a save percentage of an astounding .987 to go along with his three wins and two shutouts. Jones was supposed to be battling Alex Stalock for the starters job, but it appears that debate can be put to rest.
If any of these players are available in your fantasy league, a pickup might be in your best interests. Pacioretty was most likely taken early, but the possibility exists that either one or both of the Coyotes young guns are still on the market. These players may not be the best the entire season, but right now they are some of the hottest in the NHL. Act accordingly and hopefully you’ll reap the benefits.
My name is Anthony Fusco. Through school, I completed a joint degree involving an Honours B.A. in Journalism from Wilfrid Laurier University and a Videography and Broadcasting degree through Conestoga College.
I currently work for the University of Toronto as a Varsity Sports Announcer and for the Toronto Maple Leafs as part of their game presentation squad.
I’m also the play by play voice of the Kelowna Falcons, a baseball team located in British Columbia.
My goal is to one day be a hockey broadcaster.