Anaheim's stunning third line production, Kadri gets his chance, Turris takes a step forward and more.
Perhaps the most surprising line, in terms of production, this early in the season is Anaheim's third line, comprised of Saku Koivu, Daniel Winnik and Andrew Cogliano. The trio has combined for 14 points in two games, but there's no reason to expect this prolific pace to continue.
Koivu is the most accomplished of the bunch, scoring 781 points in 1014 career games, but last season's 38 points in 74 games represented the lowest points-per-game output (0.51) of his career which, incidentally, is entirely reasonable for the now 38-year-old. If Koivu can provide complementary offence from the third line, that allows a young player -- currently Nick Bonino -- to take a shot at centering Bobby Ryan and Teemu Selanne on line No. 2.
Anaheim is Winnik's fourth team in the last four seasons (previous stops in Phoenix, Colorado and San Jose) and while he may not have great name recognition, he has been earning significant ice time, more than 16 minutes per game over the previous two seasons, because he's a sound two-way player who can play tough defensive minutes. He's also never scored more than 11 goals or 26 points in a season, so his current outburst (four goals, one assist in two games) is an aberration for a player that is among the lowest-percentage shooters in the league.
From 2008-2009 through 2011-2012, Winnik scored 26 goals on 500 shots (5.2%), the 11th lowest among all forwards to play at least 100 games and record at least 200 shots in that time.
Cogliano hasn't been able to live up to the promise created by his 45-point rookie season in 2007-2008, and that remains his career high. Last season, his first in Anaheim, Cogliano scored a career-low 26 points, so it's not as though he entered this season with expectations, but he has the speed to be an effective complementary player. It's just not easy to forecast a sudden offensive surge for a 25-year-old that has steadily regressed in that aspect of the game, even if he does have four points in two games.
GETTING HIS CHANCE
It has taken a while for the seventh overall pick in the 2009 draft to get a serious shot at the Maple Leafs lineup as he's been forced to watch several players taken after him play multiple full seasons in the league already.
Nevertheless, when Toronto traded Matthew Lombardi and waived Tim Connolly in training camp, it signified a bona fide chance for Kadri and he's scored goals in each of the first two games this season, both on the power play. Possibly more encouraging for Kadri is that he played more than 15 minutes in Game Two after just 9:53 in Toronto's opening night win at Montreal.
Kyle Turris found new life in Ottawa last season, getting more ice time and playing an increased offensive role. Through the first couple games this season, he has scored three goals, played a minute less per game than last season, but has also notched eight shots on goal and while he surely won't score on three of every eight shots he takes, if Turris could generate more than three shots per game, that would represent a notable improvement and likely lead to increased scoring totals.
A second-round pick in 2008, D Patrick Wiercioch had been underwhelming in his first couple pro seasons, scoring 38 points with a minus-28 rating in 124 games with Binghamton of the AHL, but the 22-year-old took a major step forward during the lockout, putting him in position to win a job on a Senators blueline that opened up due to Jared Cowen's hip surgery.
In 32 AHL games this season, Wiercioch scored 10 goals and 19 points and was plus-10, a marked improvement over his first two pro seasons, and he's put up a couple of assists in the first two NHL games this season. He doesn't play a lot (12:28 per game), but 6-foot-4 Wiercioch has size and skill to eventually move into a more significant role for the Senators.
With veteran Dennis Seideberg injured for Monday's game against Winnipeg, Bruins rookie D Dougie Hamilton stpped in and played a big role (23:27 TOI vs. WPG). Hamilton only played 13:40 in the season opener, so the increase in ice time was dramatic, but the fact that Hamilton handled the heavier workload should help him see more action as the season progresses, even if Seidenberg returns for Boston's next game.
After registering 10 hits against Winnipeg, Bruins LW Milan Lucic is the early league leader with 14 hits, two ahead of Buffalo C/RW Steve Ott and four ahead of Bruins D Zdeno Chara. Lucic led the Bruins, and ranked 26th in the league last year, with 201 hits in 81 games.
Speedy RW Michael Grabner was a great waiver wire find for the New York Islanders in 2010, scoring 34 goals and 52 points, with a plus-13 rating in 76 games, but then Grabner's performance tailed off last season (20 G, 32 PTS, -18, 78 GP).
Early indications are more positive this year, as Grabner has a goal and an assist in the first two games, but has registered eight shots on goal and averaged 19:40 of ice time per game (he played 15:33 per game last season).
More ice and more shots on goal definitely increase the odds of Grabner returning to his 30-goal form, the kind of complementary offence that the Islanders sorely need behind the No. 1 line.
SINGING THE BLUES
After an easy 14-save shutout in the season opener, Blues G Jaroslav Halak was pulled after allowing three goals on 11 shots against Nashville Monday. Halak is in a battle for playing time with Brian Elliott -- who didn't allow any goals in relief -- so anything that gives one of them the edge is a development that can affect fantasy owners.
Following back-to-back seasons with declining point totals, Predators RW Patric Hornqvist is off to a promising start this season, putting up a goal and four points in the first two games. Hornqvist also has six shots on goal, which is pretty standard.
Over the last three seasons, he has 3.28 shots on goal per game, which ranks 20th in the league in that span, but only three of those ranked higher have played fewer minutes than Hornqvist, who has yet to play 16 minutes per game for a full season with the Predators.
QUICK ON THE DRAW
Maple Leafs C Tyler Bozak was dominant in the faceoff circle against Buffalo Monday night, winning 22-of-26 (84.6%) draws, as Tyler Ennis (2-of-14) and Cody Hodgson (5-of-22) were lost at the dot.
Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.