Another really busy night in the NHL preseason on Friday, as there were 10 games on the go and there was plenty of scoring to go around. I was keeping track of the players as they finished up their games and found quite a few notable players on the night, so you should be able to get your fill of good ideas for your fantasy team here this morning. I know that I may have found a couple names that have had their stock increase.
The Predators showed a fairly offensive side of their split squad by beating up on the Hurricanes on Friday night, 4-2. David Legwand led all Preds scorers with a goal and two assists, earning the first star of the game. Legwand is looking to bounce back from a sub-par season and a good preseason will get him going in the right direction. Rookie forward, Mike Santorelli, had a good night with a goal and an assist, which is the same scoreline that defenseman, Dan Hamhuis had. Also having a multiple point night was Martin Erat, who finished with a pair of assists in the win.
It was a bit of a low scoring affair in Tampa Bay, as the Lightning beat the Thrashers, 2-1 in overtime. Vincent Lecavalier led the way for th Bolts, registering a pair of assists in the win. Lecavalier claimed at the beginning of the month that he was fully healed from shoulder and wrist surgeries that he underwent in the summer, so he should be back to 100%, which means he could be a huge player in the coming year.
The strength of a lot of the Red Wings wins will come from their depth players, as their starters will be heavily marked in the coming year. It was those depth players in the team's win against the Rangers on Friday that made the difference. Justin Abdelkader and Jason Williams each had a goal and an assist in the game, while Ville Leino notched a pair of assists. Abdelkader is working really hard to earn the final roster spot on the team, while Williams should have a spot on the point on one of the power play units this year. Leino signed a one-way deal in the summer, so he'll have his spot locked this year as well. Good year for depth.
The Rangers ended up losing, 4-3, to the Red Wings on Friday night and they had a bright spot in one of their prospects, Artem Anisimov, who scored a pair of goals in the loss. Anisimov has been trying to crack the Rangers' line-up for the past couple seasons, without any luck, but it may appear that those seasons in the AHL have done him a lot of good and the Rangers could have another young Russian added to their arsenal.
On the same night that the Leafs acquired Phil Kessel from the Bruins, they ended up beating up on the Penguins in their preseason match-up. Jason Blake, Ian White and John Mitchell all figured into the scoring with a goal and an assist in the 4-3 win, while Jason Allison had his playmaking abilities on display with a couple of assists as well. The Leafs are going to be gunning for a playoff spot this year and it will help that some of their roster players are already on the scoresheet this season.
The Penguins scored three goals in their loss, but it was only Matt Cooke who came away with a multiple-point night for the Cup champs, even with Evgeni Malkin in the line-up. Cooke finished the night with a goal and an assist in the loss. The Penguins didn't dress many of their superstars in the game, which likely led to the Penguins loss.
The Blues showed that they mean business again this coming season with a 6-2 thrashing of the Avalanche on Friday night. Paul Kariya showed that he was healthy with a goal and an assist, while Derek Armstrong and Alex Steen also had a goal and an assist to help propel the team. Armstrong is doing his best to earn that spot with the team for the full season, as he's having a great preseason. Keith Tkachuk also figured into this post with a couple of assists in the game. The Blues are looking like a viable team to get fantasy players from this year.
Yes, the Avlanche got their butts whipped a little bit in their loss to the Blues, but there was some silver lining in the game, as Matt Duchene, the third overall pick in the draft, finally got on the scoresheet for Colorado, notching a goal and an assist. Duchene is tabbed to be the player of the future for the Avalanche and he'll need to do it from an early age to really turn some heads.
The Wild shutout the Blue Jackets, 2-0, on Friday night night, thanks to a tandem effort in goal and a big night for Cal Clutterbuck, who scored the game's only two goals of the night. Clutterbuck led the entire league in hits in 2009, so he wasn't really known for his scoring prowess, but it sure came out against the Blue Jackets. He did score 11 goals in 2009, so he may be due for a bit more of a break out season offensively.
If this was the regular season, it would have been a good fantasy night from the Oilers, as they shutout the Panthers at home on Friday night, 4-0. Nikolai Khabibulin made his Oilers debut, playing all 60 minutes and making 18 saves for the goose egg. Mike Comrie, the team's other summer re-acquisition, was in on all four Oilers goals, having an assist on each of them. It'll now be interesting to see if the Oilers have enough to go with to be a substantial contender in the Northwest Division.
The Ducks showed some real resiliency on Friday night in their game against the Coyotes. They were down 3-0 going into the third and managed to claw back to 3-3 to send it to overtime and eventually won it in the extra frame. Joffrey Lupul was the big hero on the night, scoring a pair of those goals and adding an assist. He'll be due for a big year, returning to Anaheim from Philly in the off-season. Also coming in that deal was Luca Sbisa, who scored the game-winner in overtime and added an assist for a big night. Good breakout candidate there. Also making the blog is a new name to the game, Maxime MacEnauer, a 3rd round pick in 2007, who picked up a pair of assists in the game. He was added to the player list with his good result last night.
The Coyotes really let that game slip away after going up 3-0. Matthew Lombardi was the best Coyotes player on the scoresheet, earning a pair of assists for the team in the loss. Lombardi will be leaned upon heavily in Phoenix to help keep the team floating with their heads above water in the standings, but it won't be easy. He did have a good finish to the year last season, so he may be the right man for the job.
In the last game of the night, the Canucks were in San Jose to take on the Sharks. It was a real coming out party for the newest possible combination for the first line in Vancouver. Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin and rookie Sergei Shirokov really put on a show in the 6-2 win for the Canucks. Henrik had 4 points (2G, 2A), Daniel had 3 points (G, 2A) and Shirokov had a pair of assists. Also touching the scoresheet twice in his return to San Jose was Christian Ehrhoff, who had a goal and an assist in the game.
Finally, the only big name forward on the ice for the Sharks last night, Patrick Marleau, didn't disappoint the coaching staff, as he helped orchestrate the only two goals the Sharks scored in their lacklustre display of hockey. Marleau, the subject of many trade rumours, may also have been showing his stuff off to potential suitors for a deal out of the Shark Tank to help the Sharks manage their cap numbers. Watch this situation carefully.