Fantasy Hockey

2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 1 Planner

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Welcome to the 2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 1 Planner!

The NHL is back.

Professional hockey is back in Seattle for the first time since 1924.

Hockey is back on ESPN for the first time since 2004, sans Gary Thorne, of course.

And we too are back with the Week 1 Planner to kick off the 105th NHL season beginning Tuesday, October 12th.

2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 1 Planner

Weekly Streaming MVP

Philipp Grubauer, G, Seattle Kraken

Embed from Getty Images

Fantasy-worthy German-born players in the NHL used to be few and far between; including Marco Sturm in that conversation would be a stretch. Grubauer and Draisaitl have decidedly changed that of late as they have both become premier players at their respective positions.

In the Kraken’s inaugural preseason, Grubauer has allowed just five goals in four games including a 38-save shutout against the Canucks on Tuesday night.

Seattle has extracted from other NHL teams a competent group of blueliners in front of the net and Grubauer shouldn’t be as overworked this season as he was in Colorado; a 60-40 split with backup Chris Driedger should be expected.

Don’t be surprised if the Kraken repeat the Golden Knights’ success, especially in a relatively weak Pacific Division.

Preseason Honorable Mention:

Week 1 Most Games (3 GP – OCT. 12-17):

  • Chicago Blackhawks
  • Dallas Stars
  • Montreal Canadiens
  • New York Rangers
  • Ottawa Senators
  • Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Seattle Kraken
  • Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Vancouver Canucks

Week 1 Least Games (1 GP – OCT. 12-17):

  • Boston Bruins
  • Calgary Flames
  • New Jersey Devils
  • Philadelphia Flyers
  • San Jose Sharks
  • St. Louis Blues

Back-to-Back Road Games

via Left Wing Lock

Wednesday-Thursday

  • Montreal Canadiens (@TOR, @BUF)

Friday-Saturday

  • Chicago Blackhawks (@NJ, @PIT)
  • Minnesota Wild (@ANA, @LOS)
  • Vancouver Canucks (@PHI, @DET)

Saturday-Sunday

  • Dallas Stars (@BOS, @OTT)

Injury Alerts

Alex Ovechkin, LW, Washington Capitals

Ovechkin left Friday night’s preseason game with what seemed to be a benign knee knock, but it nonetheless kept him from playing the rest of the game. We’ll have to wait for medical updates, but knowing Ovechkin’s resistance to injury it would be surprising if he’s anything more than day-to-day.

Other notable players:

  • Jack Eichel, C, Buffalo Sabres: On IR for neck injury, may need surgery.
  • Sidney Crosby, C, Pittsburgh Penguins: On IR for wrist surgery, expected to miss start of season.
  • Evgeni Malkin, C, Pittsburgh Penguins: On IR for knee surgery, expected out for 2 more months.
  • Carey Price, G, Montreal Canadiens: On 30-day leave for mental health.
  • Nicklas Backstrom, C, Washington Capitals: On IR for hip injury, expected to miss start of season.

Week 1 Fantasy Implications

Jeff Carter, C, Pittsburgh Penguins

Traded from Los Angeles last season, Carter made a big impact in Pittsburgh with 11 points in 14 games, as well as four goals in six playoff appearances. With both Crosby and Malkin out to start the season, Carter will find himself on the Penguins’ top line, likely flanked by Bryan Rust and Jake Guentzel. Even when he’s not scoring goals, you can count on Carter for loading up on shots and even throwing around a hit per game.

Nick Ritchie, LW, Toronto Maple Leafs

It remains to be seen if Auston Matthews, who is day-to-day, will be in the lineup for the season opener, but Ritchie is expected to play with Mitch Marner on the top line just the same. Ritchie had streaks of brilliance in Boston last season, playing a crucial net-front presence on the first power play unit. Tuesday’s preseason game against the Canadiens saw Ritchie pot two goals, one from Marner, the other on the power play, not to mention eight shots on goal.

Ryan Suter, D, Dallas Stars

Both Carter and Suter are at the back end of their careers at age 36, but a change of pace should benefit Suter who certainly underperformed last season. He had a minimum 40 assists in four of the five seasons prior to last year and should easily be able to reclaim those Fantasy numbers as he’s playing with a premier offensive defenseman in John Klingberg. Suter, who has missed four games in the past six seasons, has high expectations for himself in Dallas, saying he “feels like he’s 27 again.”

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