Guide to the fast starters for a shortened season
As most NHL fantasy hockey fans are scrambling right now to figure out how to run their leagues and who to select, most are figuring it will be a crap-shoot as to who will be the guys you want on your roster for the shortened season.
The first thing we should be looking at is some of the factors, which could play a role into the type of start to the season players, with which players may have to deal.
The first would be a number of inactive players and union reps for teams, have not been playing organized hockey since last season ended for them anywhere between March and June last year. While some may have been steadily working out, and getting on the ice wherever possible, that compete level may not have been addressed enough to get them off to a good start.
Another factor to figure into the mix is the players who bolted for Europe and Asia to play during the lockout. While these players are likely better conditioned and more ready to step into the shortened training camp and quick turnaround for the season to start there’s a couple big factors why they may not be ideal candidates to get off to hot starts for their teams.
First off these players have been playing outside of their system in a more European style game, which will make a slight difference into their jump back into the NHL game. The ice surface is bigger, hitting not as fierce as in the NHL and the difference in officiating will all be things the players must adapt to getting back to their North American roots.
In addition, the fact Europe has a big time-zone difference than what they will face in the NHL should be a huge deterrent for anyone looking for early returns from guys who played in Europe. In the NHL there’s a four-hour time difference from the east to west coast, but Europe is more than that, meaning that these players have now grown accustomed to their days starting and ending at least 5-6 hours earlier than they will be in two weeks time. While they do travel in the North American game, the trips outside of their own time zone aren’t that long and they have found ways to adapt. Anyone who has travelled a great distance will point out, that getting your body adapted to the time change is a huge thing and most suffer from a prolonged feeling of jet lag, which could hurt the early season stats from any player in that situation.
Junior players are mostly guys, who haven’t had more than a cup of coffee in the game yet, and while they may be ready to go, a jump from the competition of the junior game to the professional leagues is pretty dramatic and may take some time to get accustomed to their new surroundings and faster and stronger competition around them.
The best bet on guys to get a quick-start to the season are those who have spent the lockout in the AHL.
These young stars are playing at the professional level and usually are already adapted to the NHL game and their NHL cities who own their rights and they are already just hitting stride while playing a North American style of game in the system their NHL club usually uses.
Also, these guys who may quickly mesh well into the lineup with other AHL teammates, where there’s already a chemistry being formed, while they played together waiting for the lockout to end.
Most of these players will be young NHL players and prone to a few hiccups, but their games will be more ready to jump right in and put stats on the board than many of their teammates in the big leagues.
Some of the guys who have been on a roll in the AHL and could get off to quick starts to the shortened NHL season could be:
Jordan Eberle – Oilers
Justin Schultz – Oilers
Taylor Hall – Oilers
Nino Niederreiter – Islanders
Brayden Schenn – Flyers
Jason Zucker – Wild
Zach Boychuk – Hurricanes
Gustav Nyquist – Red Wings
Brett Connolly – Lightning
Tomas Tatar – Red Wings
Peter Holland – Ducks
Jakob Silfverberg – Senators
Sean Couturier – Flyers
Marcus Foligno – Sabres
Robin Lehner – Senators
Jacob Markstrom - Panthers
Matt Hackett – Wild
Braden Holtby - Capitals
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