Fire on Ice

11/07/2010 9:35 PM -  Evan Reynar

Justin Williams, RW LA (13GP-6g-8a-14pts, with a +8 and 7 PIM)

The forgotten man in Los Angeles, Williams is quietly off to a torrid start for the Kings, and there’s no reason to think he can’t keep it going if he stays healthy. Of course it’s injuries that have made Williams the forgotten man since he hasn’t been able to string together more than 54 games in a season for over three years since coming off back-to-back 76 and 67-point efforts for the Hurricanes. He looks safe for now though. Williams has failed to find the scoresheet just twice in 13 contests for the Kings so far and he currently rides a seven-game point streak with four goals and five assists over that span.

Kevin Shattenkirk, D, COL (2GP-0g-0a-0pts, with a +1 and 2 PIM)

With a slow week on the waiver wire for d-men, here is one to keep an eye on. Shattenkirk, the Avs’ first round pick in 2007, has recently gotten the call up to the big club in the wake of some key injuries to the Avs’ back-end. Shettenkirk is the best prospect in the Avs’ system coming off an excellent college career for Boston University where he was a key part of the Terriers’ 2009 National Championship team. He has yet to register a point in his first two games, but he’s averaging over 20 minutes with power-play time. With the recent trend of young dominant d-men, Shattenkirk is definitely worth keeping on your radar.

Mathieu Garon, G, CBJ (6GP-4W-1L-0OTL, with a 1.28 GAA and .951 SV%)

Columbus isn’t exactly the hot bed for goaltending it once was under Ken Hitchcock, but when a goalie starts as hot as Garon has you have to take notice. After a stunning rookie year for Steve Mason in ’08-’09, the Jackets struggled mightily last year thanks in large part to some demoralizing injuries to their d-core early on that led to the firing of Hitchcock, and a write-off season. With a fresh start this year, there’s no doubt the Jackets were looking for Mason to regain the form of his rookie year but with his current 3.30 GAA and .894 SV%, it’s looking unlikely. Garon however, has been a revelation, going 4-1 to start the season including back-to-back shutouts over Montreal and Atlanta. Expect Garon to keep getting the starts for now, but tread carefully as both Garon and the Jackets have failed to show any kind of long-term consistency in the post-Hitchcock era.

Derick Brassard, C, CBJ (13GP-5g-4a-9pts, with a +2 and 6 PIM)

Garon isn’t the only Blue Jacket on a roll right now. After a slow start, the 2006 first-round pick is finally scoring at the pace the Jackets thought he would. Brassard is currently on a seven-game point streak while scoring goals in three of his last four games. Brassard scored 25 points in 31 games two seasons ago before a broken hand from a fight ended his season, so he has the potential to well surpass his nine goals and 36 points from last season.

Raffi Torres, LW, VAN (13GP-7g-2a-9pts, with a +3 and 23 PIM)

With Alex Burrows injured to start the season, Torres jumped up to a top-6 spot on the Canucks’ forward lines. He seemed to make the most of his opportunity, but the funny thing is that Torres turned it up a notch when Burrows returned. Torres is riding a four-game point streak and has scored six goals in his last six games, including a hat trick against Edmonton on Tuesday. The Canucks have finally found their stride, winning six consecutive games and receiving scoring from all three lines, meaning that Torres should make a run at 20 to 25 goals, even if he is on the Canucks’ third line.

Logan Couture, C, SJ (12GP-5g-1a-6pts, with a +3 and 9 PIM)

Looking for a one-day add for Tuesday? The Sharks’ 2007 first-round pick might be your guy. The Joe Thornton suspension bumped Couture up to the Sharks’ first unit on Saturday, where he scored a goal and added an assist. The Thornton-Dany Heatley-Patrick Marleau line is arguably the most potent unit in the league, and Couture could make big on his short audition. When Thornton returns, Couture may only be demoted to the second line, which is also a bona fide unit. Add him to your watch list if nothing else.

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