Hot / Not – Leht's Go!

The NHL season is less than two weeks old and there have been plenty of surprises. From the Hurricane’s struggles to the Panther’s and Thrasher’s early success the first 10 days of the season have certainly been interesting. I know its still really early, but there have already been some breakout performances and some player who have really struggled. As I said before, don’t panic yet, but this article will hopefully sell you either make a deal or two or pick up a hot young player while he’s still available. – HOT –

Kari Lehtonen – Atlanta Thrashers

I own him in my top fantasy league and so far I am very glad he was my third round pick there. His numbers so far are simply outstanding: 4 games played, 3 wins, 2 shutouts, 0.74 GAA and a gawdy .971 SV%. This guy has all the skills and just needs to stay healthy in order to post a monster season. I doubt his current pace will continue all year, but I certainly expect him to be a top fantasy goaltender.

Todd Bertuzzi – Florida Panthers

First off, I still don’t think Bertuzzi will return to his 2002/2003 numbers, but he is currently tied for the lead in NHL scoring with 7 points. He isn’t taking many shots, isn’t getting a ton of ice time and has a minus one rating, but so far all Bertuzzi’s fantasy owners certainly have to be happy with his production through 4 games.

Anze Kopitar – Los Angeles Kings

He’s very young and the first NHL player from Slovenia, but so far he has looked completely at home in the NHL. He is playing tons of minutes on the powerplay, penalty kill and near the end of the game and keep on putting up points. He currently has 2 goals and 4 assists in 4 games and although I doubt he will end up with more than 60 points this season, he has certainly lived up to his billing so far.

Alexander Semin – Washington Capitols

Yes, he has a funny name. He also didn’t post great numbers the last time he played in the NHL. After two years playing in Russia, Semin is back and has scored 5 goals in 3 games to start the season. Sure, he doesn’t have any assists yet, but with a plus three rating and a hatrick already under his belt, the 2nd best Russian sniper named Alex playing for the Caps should certainly be on your fantasy radar.

– NOT –

Tomas Vokoun – Nashville Predators

I know its still plenty early, but Vokoun has killed his fantasy owners through the first week and a half. No wins, a GAA of 6.65 and a SV% of slightly over 0.800. By all accounts, he hasn’t actually played that poorly, but his fantasy owners better hope the Preds young defense picks up their play quickly. He is a perfect buy low candidate right now, so stay patient with him and see if his owner will let him go cheap.

Henrik Lundqvist – New York Rangers

His numbers look much better than Vokoun’s (3.95 GAA and .857 SV%, 2 wins) but he certainly hasn’t played well over the last two games. He gave up 6 goals to the Penguins, which practically killed my fantasy goalie numbers for this week. He isn’t in danger of losing his starting job yet, so don’t worry about that, but I sure hope he picks up his play quickly and so do Rangers’ fans everywhere.

Gilbert Brule – Columbus Blue Jackets

Two games, no points, a minus one rating and the notion that he may be sent back to the CHL for the season? Yikes. Brule had a poor camp, fell to the fourth line and hasn’t made an impact this season. I would recommend dropping him from you fantasy team as even if he stays with the Jackets all season I doubt he will add much value to your team.

Eric Staal – Carolina Hurricanes

His whole team has been horrible to start the year and Staal’s early season numbers (1 goal, minus three rating) have been just as bad. I wouldn’t be too overly worried at this point if you own him, but if you’re expecting a 100 point season from this young centre, that might be a little optimistic. Hopefully the ‘Canes turn it around soon, or Staal’s numbers wont improve too much.

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