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Livin' the Dream is written by Kevin Snow, the Buffalo Sabres Manager of Publications and Hockey Information. Kevin has always been fascinated by sports stats, but still found a way to fail math in high school.

Kevin can be reached at kevin.snow@sabres.com

LIVIN' THE DREAM: 73 GAMES YOUNG

Tuesday, 10.19.2010 / 3:50 PM / Blogs - Livin' the Dream
By Kevin Snow  - Sabres.com (@kwsnow)
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LIVIN\' THE DREAM: 73 GAMES YOUNG
The NHL schedule is just 73 games young, so it’s hardly fair to judge a players fantasy potential on such a limited body of work. There are an obvious group of players (see: Ovechkin, Alex) who are guaranteed to post consistent numbers throughout the year. But there are a few one-night wonders (see: Kontos, Chris) whose value can spike early based on a quick start out of the gate, then drop off quicker than the Price is Right’s yodeling mountain climber.  

A few names have jumped out at me so far, so let’s take a closer look at some players who will merit watching throughout the season:

Patrick Sharp: His OT winner last night was his third straight game-winning goal, and gives him 8 points (6+2) in Chicago’s first eight games. However, this is eerily reminiscent of Sharp’s quick start last season when he had 9 points in his first six games -- and then posted just five in his next 10. And don’t be fooled by his league-leading 30 shots on goal, because 20 of them came in two games.

John-Michael Liles: The Avs blueliner is tied for the league-lead with eight assists in six games – including one in each game to tie the franchise record for longest assist streak to start a season. Liles is due for a rebound campaign after posting a career-low 31 points last season, albeit in just 59 games. Watch his ice time though, because if it starts to drop, his point production normally follows suit.

Matt Cullen: Cullen has started fast with 6 points (2+4) in four games for his hometown team – after finishing last season with 8 points in 21 games after being dealt to Ottawa from Carolina. Cullen’s fantasy value is going to come from his assists, and those could come in bunches if he remains on a line with the enigmatic Martin Havlat.

Phil Kessel: If he plays all 82 games, this former first round pick could challenge for the league’s goal scoring title. Kessel scored 30 goals last season, despite missing the first 12 games following shoulder surgery. After a summer spent working on his overall fitness instead of concentrating on rehab, a more fit Kessel has jumped out of the gate with five goals in five games. Kessel has never met a shot opportunity he didn’t like, and should top 300 shots on goal for the first time in his career.

Kari Lehtonen: Lehtonen is enjoying new life in Dallas where he has backstopped the Stars to a 4-1 start. But it may be too early to jump on this bandwagon because been plagued by injuries (groin, back) that have limited him to 106 games over the last three seasons. Lehtonen will see his share rubber behind the shaky Stars defense. He’s faced the second-most shots in the league (190), and the Stars have allowed 40+ shots in three of his five starts.

My name is Kevin Snow, and I have a fantasy hockey problem.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Hodgson 72 20 24 -26 44
T. Ennis 80 21 22 -25 43
D. Stafford 70 16 18 -19 34
C. Ehrhoff 79 6 27 -27 33
C. Stewart 63 15 11 0 26
C. Conacher 79 7 19 1 26
T. Myers 62 9 13 -26 22
Z. Girgensons 70 8 14 -6 22
M. Foligno 74 7 12 -17 19
J. McBain 69 6 11 -13 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Neuvirth 4 8 2 .921 2.78
J. Enroth 4 17 5 .911 2.82