Alexander Steen, C, STL (1GP-g-2a-2pts, with a +1 and 2 PIMs)
The St. Louis Blues have spread their offence out so much over the past few seasons it can be tough to commit to a single guy on their roster. Steen however, has emerged over the last year as a truly consistent breakout player. After registering just 4 points (2g-2a) in 19 games to start the year he tore off 43 points (22g-21a) over his final 49 games. It appears he hasn’t slowed down after an impressive opener against Philly where he tallied two assists, including an impressive play in overtime to hook up Carlo Colaiacovo for the game winner.
Shawn Horcoff, C, EDM (2GP-2g-0a-2pts, with a +2 and 2 PIMs)
The Oilers are riding high on a wave of youthful enthusiasm at the moment and there may be no one more in position to take advantage than their newly crowned captain. Horcoff has registered goals in two straight to start the season playing with highly regarded rookies Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle. Like the Oilers, Horcoff was a complete disaster last season, scoring just 13 goals and 36 points with a brutal (-29). Horcoff had scored at least 50 points in each of his last four seasons, so there may still be something there.
Jeff Skinner, RW, CAR (2GP-0g-1a-1pts)
There certainly is a huge crop of impressive rookies this year with potential to help a fantasy squad and possibly the most overlooked is Jeff Skinner of the Hurricanes. The seventh overall pick in last year’s entry draft is an extremely talented scorer as he proved with his shootout winner in the ‘Canes last contest with Minnesota. He also registered his first career point in that game; an assist, on the ‘Canes only regulation time goal. There has been a long history of inconsistent scoring from Carolina wingers, if Skinner can maintain any kind of offensive support with the team, he may find his way to the top line with Eric Staal relatively quickly.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, D, PHO (2GP-0g-1a-1pts)
The beginning of the season is a particularly tough time to find blueline help on the waiver wire, but if you’re desperate, Ekman-Larsson may be worth a look. Another underrated rookie, Ekman-Larsson played his way on to the Coyotes in the pre-season and appears to be holding down a significant role with the team for the time being. Even with an already deep Coyotes’ defensive core, he managed to rack up 23 minutes in the opener with substantial power-play time. He also tallied an assist on a Taylor Pyatt goal early in the second period.
Nikolai Khabibulin, G, EDM (2GP-2W-0L-0OTL)
Coming off back surgery and an offseason DUI, almost everyone was second-guessing the future of Khabibulin’s NHL career, but so far he can do no wrong between the pipes for a rejuvenated Oilers’ squad. After a 37-save shutout in the season opener against Calgary, Khabibulin continued his strong play leading the Oilers to a second straight win Sunday night against Florida. As long as he stays healthy, and the Oilers stay motivated, Khabibulin should remain a significant fantasy contributor.
Sergei Bobrovsky, G, PHI (1GP-1W-0L-0OTL)
With the recent news of Michael Leighton’s back surgery, the starting job in Philly is wide-open and ready for the taking. Bobrovsky getting the nod for the opener, and his subsequent strong play in the win versus the Penguins should lead to him getting the go-ahead for now. Be warned though, when Philly goalies fall, they fall hard. If the Flyers hit a rough patch you may want to pump the brakes on Bobrovsky.
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