Matt Cullen, C, MIN (7GP-3g-6a-9pts, with a (-2) and 8 pp points)
Cullen is a player who has been quietly productive for a while now, but his overall point totals have suffered due to his inability to collect quality power-play time. His offseason move to Minnesota seems to have remedied this for now. Cullen has been a fixture on the Wild man-advantage in the early going and as a result finds himself the early power play point leader (3g-5a). With that type of production expect Cullen to continue to play a key role for the Wild.
Mark Letestu, C, PIT (9GP-4g-3a-7pts, with a +4 and 25 SOG)
I’ll be the first to admit, I had no idea who this guy was entering the season, but his strong play early on with a team that boasts the likes of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin means he should be on your radar. Make no mistake, if the Penguins are going to make any type of run at the cup this year, a few guys are going to have make some major jumps in production. Letestu may not be the first guy you thought of, but he’s shown the most promise so far; continue to monitor this one.
Todd Bertuzzi, RW, DET (7GP-2g-7a-9pts, with a +5 and 2 PIMs)
Bertuzzi is another veteran, like Cullen, whose upside has taken a hit in recent years due to their roles with their respective teams finding them not in ideal offensive situations. Last year, injuries to players like Valtteri Filppula and Johan Franzen proved to be a serious blow to the Wings’ secondary scoring, and Bertuzzi ended up seeing a lot of ice with guys more suited to third and fourth-line minutes. As for now, the Wings are relatively healthy, and Bert is paying dividends. His presence on a line with super-scorer Franzen alone is enough to make him relevant in fantasy hockey.
Kyle Turris, C, PHO (4GP-2g-1a-3pts)
Was Saturday night finally the coming out party the Phoenix Coyotes have been waiting for from Kyle Turris? The 2007 third overall pick has had a bumpy road on his way to the NHL, but after a strong showing in the AHL last year and a solid pre-season with the big club, Turris may finally be ready to take the next step. He isn’t quite logging top-6 minutes yet, but his three point outburst in the third period against Carolina on Saturday night might be just the confidence boost he needed to take the next step. It also helps that the center position is the weakest area on the Phoenix depth charts, so if Turris can continue to produce his minutes should escalate quite quickly.
Dwayne Roloson, G, NYI (3GP-2W-1L-0OTL, with a 1.65 GAA and .942 SV%)
Roloson is the goalie that just won’t go away. At 41 years of age, he continues to out-compete any goalie he shares a roster with, in this case, former number one overall pick, and number one injury risk, Rick DiPietro. You may not consider the Island an ideal place to grab your goalie starts but they have shown a solid improvement in overall team defence in the early season and a strong determination to stay in games. If you need some help between the pipes, Roloson might be your best bet at the moment.
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