With three weeks in the books in the NHL season, it has been difficult to really get a grasp on what is real and what is not in such a short season. What looked to be a trend two weeks ago has reversed itself of late in a lot of cases. You get the feeling that is the way the rest of the season will play out, meaning staying up on trends in fantasy hockey will be huge in helping you have success with your teams this season. Let's take a look at some of the fantasy hockey trends you need to be aware of as the season continues to roll on.
Power outage: The Tampa Bay Lightning offense was one of the bigger surprises in the early part of the season. The Lightning led the league in scoring, led by their star players, and looked like an offense that would not be stopped. All that changed when the team went on the road last week. The five goals a game they were scoring turned into two and three goals a game and some of the bigger names on that roster are struggling to put the puck in the net. Do not give up on your Lightning stars, though; there is far too much talent on that roster for this to last.
Goaltender injuries: Injuries to goaltenders in Calgary and Toronto were big storylines this week. In Calgary, Miikka Kiprusoff went down with a Grade 2 medial collateral ligament sprain and is expected to miss about two weeks. As a result, it looks like there will be a split between Leland Irving and Joey MacDonald will split time in the Flames' net until Kiprusoff can return. In Toronto, James Reimer is expected to miss a week with his own medial collateral ligament injury. It is expected that Ben Scrivens will carry the load until Reimer can return.
More injuries: In a shortened season, with games being played in a shorter amount of time, injuries were bound to happen. In Toronto, the Maple Leafs will be without forward Matt Frattin for at least a week with a medial collateral ligament issue. In Tampa, the Lightning will be without forward Ryan Malone for up to a month with what is being called a lower-body injury. The moral of the story, this season, is to follow the official injury updates closely, because there will likely be many more ailments as a result of this schedule.
Hurricanes flying: The Carolina Hurricanes' offense has taken off in the past five games, accounting for 20 goals. The Hurricanes are led offensively by the Staal brothers, Eric and Jordan, and by Jeff Skinner, and are must starts in all situations. The Hurricanes also are getting strong contributions from forward Jiri Tlusty and defenseman Justin Faulk, who are sneaky fantasy hockey plays. Cam Ward is also a solid option to play in goal even if is goals against average is a bit higher than you may like. Basically, as long as the Hurricanes stay hot, you have to get as many of their players into your lineup as you can.
That will do it for this week's edition of the fantasy hockey trends. Make sure you check back later in the week for the Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire and at the beginning of each week for the Fantasy Hockey Weekly Planner to make sure you are up to date on the latest news and notes to help you win your fantasy hockey league.
About Mike Corcoran
Mike Corcoran joined KFFL in 2011 as their senior fantasy hockey writer. The Tarrytown, New York, native hosts a hockey radio show on ESPN Radio in Tampa, and covers the Tampa Bay Lightning professionally.
You can follow Mike on Twitter @MikeCorcoranNHL
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