As we know, the first matchup of the season is rife with opportunities to panic. It’s important to keep some perspective – your goalie is going to make saves, your star winger will score a bunch of goals, and no, you shouldn’t drop that first line center to pick up *squints* Warren Foegele just because he had a 3 point night against the Rangers.
However, there are a few things that we’ve noticed already this season. The adjustment to the scoring has created more swings between games, with players hitting more dramatic highs and lows. Goalies especially are susceptible to these swings, as evidenced by Marc-Andre Fleury’s -4.3 stinker against Philadelphia to open the season. Overall the breakdown between skaters and goalies is a little wonky, but don’t forget that scoring is higher during the beginning of the season when teams haven’t tightened up their defensive schemes.
It was a nailbiter between Jace and Chris that came down to a single assist from Jake Muzzin late Sunday night to give Chris the victory. Brett, Sohayl, Steve and Rhys all won pretty convincingly over Brennan, Frank, Davin and Kyle/John respectively. Finally, we saw our defending champion Brock fall to our basement dweller Cal – could this be a sign that things are going to be shaken up this season?
Player of the Week
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We’re debuting a new segment this year, focussing on one high performing free agent from the week.
Jordan Martinook has taken a slow, methodical route to becoming an NHL regular. Hailing from Brandon, Manitoba, Martinook went from the Drayton Valley Thunder of the AJHL to the Vancouver Giants in the WHL, where he put up a surprising 64 points in the 2011-2012 season. Following that breakout season he was chosen in the late second round of the 2012 Draft by the Coyotes, and spent most of the next 3 seasons playing for Arizona’s AHL affiliate in Portland, Maine.
Martinook became a full-time NHLer in 2015-2016, and had two straight seasons of 3rd and 4th line work, playing a little over 15 minutes per night and collecting 24-25 points per year. His 2017-2018 season was a disappointment however, as his shooting percentage cratered and his icetime was cut, ending the season with a mere 15 points in 81 games. In the offseason we was traded to Carolina for Marcus Krueger, a trade that seemed like both teams looking to rid themselves of players that desperately needed a fresh start.
So far this has been a phenomenal move for Martinook, who has started the season with 2 goals and 1 assist in the first 3 games. He’s been moving up and down the lineup, getting playing time with Jordan Staal and Justin Williams, as well as with young Russian phenom Andrei Svechnikov.
He’s not likely to be a permanent piece of your team, but he’d be worth a look when you need to pick up a left winger to round out your roster.
With the Thanksgiving/Columbus Day starts, we’re already well into this week’s matchups. We’ve got Brock and Rhys facing off in a replay of last year’s championship series for bragging rights as well as Brennan-Sohayl, Jace-Cal, Steve-Brett and Davin-Frank. Finally, Kyle and John and looking for their first victory as they take on Chris, who just barely squeaked by Jace this week.