NHL Barometer: Risers and Fallers

NHL Barometer: Risers and Fallers

This article is part of our NHL Barometer series.

This week's article includes the return of David Krejci, a winger hot in his return to Big D, the new #1 netminder in the Desert, a pair of long-term injuries in Toronto and Columbus and a wilted Flower to start the season 

First Liners (Risers)

David Krejci, C, BOS – The Bruins got a good portion of the band back together this past offseason. Included in that population was the return of Krejci, who played last season for HC Olomouc in his native Czechia. Krejci racked up 20 goals and 46 points in 51 games back home before signing a team-friendly one-year, $1 million deal in August. Drafted in the second round in 2004, Krejci, 36 years old, made his return to Boston with a splash, notching a goal and a pair of assists Wednesday. 

Kevin Hayes, C, PHI – Hayes missed 34 games last year due to injury, the third straight campaign where his games played declined. A look beyond just his totals reveals a center who had a solid second half after returning from injury, finishing with 31 points in 48 outings to match his point total from 55 contests last season. With Sean Couturier (back) out, Hayes is skating on the Flyers' top line and has notched three helpers in Philly's first two contests.

Mason Marchment, LW – Marchment picked the perfect time to have a breakout campaign, scoring 18 goals with 29 assists in 54 games for the Panthers. He parlayed

This week's article includes the return of David Krejci, a winger hot in his return to Big D, the new #1 netminder in the Desert, a pair of long-term injuries in Toronto and Columbus and a wilted Flower to start the season 

First Liners (Risers)

David Krejci, C, BOS – The Bruins got a good portion of the band back together this past offseason. Included in that population was the return of Krejci, who played last season for HC Olomouc in his native Czechia. Krejci racked up 20 goals and 46 points in 51 games back home before signing a team-friendly one-year, $1 million deal in August. Drafted in the second round in 2004, Krejci, 36 years old, made his return to Boston with a splash, notching a goal and a pair of assists Wednesday. 

Kevin Hayes, C, PHI – Hayes missed 34 games last year due to injury, the third straight campaign where his games played declined. A look beyond just his totals reveals a center who had a solid second half after returning from injury, finishing with 31 points in 48 outings to match his point total from 55 contests last season. With Sean Couturier (back) out, Hayes is skating on the Flyers' top line and has notched three helpers in Philly's first two contests.

Mason Marchment, LW – Marchment picked the perfect time to have a breakout campaign, scoring 18 goals with 29 assists in 54 games for the Panthers. He parlayed that fine season into a four-year, $18 million contract with the Stars this past July. Marchment is skating on the second line — both at even strength and on the man advantage — in Big D, which could enable him to set a new career-high. He got off to a strong start with a pair of goals in his Dallas debut and added another tally Saturday.

Nino Niederreiter, RW, NAS – Other than in 2019, when he scored 11 goals, Niederreiter tallied between 18 and 25 markers from 2014-15 through 2021-22. He played the last three-plus years with the Hurricanes, but with Carolina up against the cap, he signed a two-year, $8 million contract with Nashville this July. Penciled into the second line, Niederreiter has gotten off to an extremely solid start with four goals in his first four games as a Predator. He will need to continue to produce to stave off youngsters like Eeli Tolvanen and Philip Tomasino. 

Erik Karlsson, D, SJ – With Brent Burns now in Carolina, Karlsson is the main alpha dog on the blue line for the Sharks. He was unable to crack the scoresheet the two games San Jose played in Prague, but he tallied a goal and two assists Friday and Saturday. Two key numbers to look at are time on ice and how much of that action is coming on the man advantage. Karlsson is seeing 1:10 more ice time overall so far, with all that time coming on the power play, boding well for possible future success. 

Hampus Lindholm D, BOS – Drafted sixth overall in 2012 by the Ducks, Lindholm spent his entire career in Anaheim until he was traded to the Bruins prior to the deadline last season. Boston immediately locked up the veteran blueliner to an eight-year, $52 million contract extension to keep him in the black and gold. Lindholm gets a short-term boost, as he's seeing top-pair and first-unit power play duty with Charlie McAvoy on long-term injured reserve following offseason shoulder surgery.

Logan Thompson, G, LV – Thompson, signed as an undrafted free agent, moved his way all the way up the ladder, spending copious time in the NHL last season due to injuries in Vegas. He acquitted himself nicely, finishing with a 10-5-3 record, a 2.68 GAA and a .914 save percentage. It was announced in August that Robin Lehner would undergo hip surgery and miss the entire 2022-23 season, pushing Thompson into starting duty for the Knights. Thompson posted a shutout in his second start of the season, and while Adin Hill is in the mix, look for Thompson to see most of the action between the pipes.

Jake Allen, G, MTL – With Carey Price sidelined, at least to start the season, Montreal has big skates and pads to fill between the pipes. Getting the first chance is Allen, who signed a two-year extension with the Canadiens worth $7.7 million in October. Allen had a tough season in 2021-22, going 9-20-4 with a 3.30 goals-against average (GAA) and a .905 save percentage (SV%) but he showed in St. Louis he can handle starting and the criticism that comes with the role. His GAA and SV% may leave a bit to be desired, but he should notch 20 or so wins, giving Allen some value.          

Others include Matty Beniers, Wyatt Johnson, Jeff Carter, John Tavares, Mark Scheifele, Nicolas Roy, Dylan Larkin, Gabriel Vilardi, Travis Konecny, Valeri Nichushkin, Martin Necas, Yegor Chinakhov, Arthur Kaliyev, Cole Caufield, Anthony Mantha, Artturi Lehkonen, Andrew Copp, Janis Moser, Bowen Byram, Alexander Romanov (for leagues that use blocks and hits), Justin Schultz, Shayne Gostisbehere, Noah Dobson, Jake Oettinger and Alexandar Georgiev

Buy Low 

Kaapo Kakko, RW, NYR – When the 2022 playoffs ended, Kakko was sitting in the press box as a healthy scratch in Game 6 against the Lightning. Kakko said he would use this as motivation to make sure it never happened again. He had a strong training camp and opened the season on the Rangers' first line with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider. Kakko, who signed a two-year, $4.2 million deal this past July, could end up a bargain for the Rangers if he scores goals as he did Thursday when he mirrored his Traverse City tally from a few years ago. 

Training Room (Injuries) 

Matt Murray, G, TOR – In fantasy hockey — as in life — things move pretty quickly. Murray, profiled as a Riser last week, lands on the Training Room side of the ledger this week. He was placed on the Long-Term Injured Reserve on Saturday due to an adductor injury suffered during the morning skate that day. Murray will now miss at least 10 games or 24 days due to his placement on LTIR. With Murray sidelined, Ilya Samsonov will likely get the bulk of the Leafs' starts with Erik Kallgren, called up Saturday, serving as backup. 

Patrik Laine, LW, CLM – Laine was great last season, with 26 goals and 56 points in 56 games and was expected to have a big campaign while skating on a line with Johnny Gaudreau. He got off to a good start, scoring 11 seconds into the second period in Columbus' opener before suffering an elbow injury in that contest that will sideline him 3-4 weeks. The injury looked to be a lot worse, so that length of absence is almost a positive given that he could have been lost for a lot longer.

Others include Gabriel Landeskog (lower body, no timetable for return), Tyler Bertuzzi (undisclosed, injured Saturday while blocking a shot, leaving the game), Alexander Barabanov (lower body, yet to play this season but getting close), Vitali Kravtsov (upper body, injured in opener, day-to-day) and Sammy Blais (upper body, yet to play this season, should dress Monday). 

Fourth Liners/Press Boxers (Fallers) 

Shane Wright, C, SEA – Wright, projected to go first overall in the 2022 NHL Draft to Montreal, ended up sliding to four, where he was selected by Seattle. After a solid training camp, Wright made Seattle's Opening Night roster, but Coach Dave Hakstol played Wright just 6:14 in that contest, then made the young center a healthy scratch the past two games. Seattle could elect to send Wright back to juniors, though no decision has been made yet.

Jonathan Drouin, LW, MTL – Drouin, in the last season of the six-year, $33 million contract he signed with the Canadiens in June of 2017, was a healthy scratch the first two games of the season. Coach Martin St. Louis dressed the veteran winger Saturday, but he failed to post any fantasy stats in 15:18 of ice time. With Montreal in full rebound mode, Drouin could spend more time in the press box than on the ice and is a major candidate to be moved prior to the trade deadline.

Seth Jones, D, CHI – Jones, traded to Chicago between the 2021 draft, inked an eight-year, $76 million contract in the summer of 2021 with the Blackhawks. He rewarded the team with 51 points, 99 hits and a career-high 155 blocks in 78 games a season. Those numbers are the good news. Unfortunately, those stats are offset by an unsightly minus-37 rating. Chicago does not project to be much better this season, so while Jones should rack up stats, your appetite for his spot on your team may depend on if you can stomach another weak plus-minus. 

Others include Paul Stastny, Pius Suter, Sean Durzi and Petr Mrazek.

Sell High

Marc-Andre Fleury, G, MIN – Yucch. That's the only way to describe Fleury's first two games this season. Thursday, the Flower allowed seven goals on 35 shots in a 7-3 loss to the Rangers. If you thought that was bad, well, not even close. Saturday, Fleury followed that stinker up by allowing four lamplighters on 14 shots while lasting only a single period against the Kings. After a turn-back-the clock 2020-21 season in Vegas, Fleury saw his numbers crater in Chicago before rebounding slightly in Minnesota. Signed to a two-year, $7 million contract by the Wild in July, expectations were high for Fleury, but so far in a small sample size, he's failed to come even remotely close to meeting them. He should eventually turn it around, but right now, he and the Minny D have been ugly to watch.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jan Levine
Levine covers baseball and hockey for RotoWire. He is responsible for the weekly NL FAAB column for baseball and the Barometer for hockey. In addition to his column writing, he is master of the NHL cheat sheets. In his spare time, he roots for the Mets and Rangers.
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