With Week 1 of the fantasy hockey season now officially in the books, it's time to briefly look back at what we saw, and also look ahead to some of the trends that are starting to develop. First, I give you my fantasy hockey stars of the week.
Corey Crawford, goaltender, Chicago Blackhawks: The Blackhawks goaltender led the way for the goaltending category with five wins, a 1.78 goals against average and a .933 save percentage. With goaltending counting for at least half of scoring categories in standard leagues, it is easy to see why Crawford is my No. 3 fantasy hockey star of the week.
Steven Stamkos, center, Tampa Bay Lightning: While the Lightning's star center may have gotten off to a slow start in terms of putting the puck in the back of the net, Stamkos still had no problem racking up the points, collecting seven assists to go along with three goals on the week, thus earning him my No. 2 fantasy hockey star of the week.
Patrick Marleau, center, San Jose Sharks: No one got off to a better, or more surprising start, in the fantasy hockey world than Marleau. His nine goals and four assists led all fantasy skaters this week, earning him my No. 1 fantasy hockey star of the week.
With a week behind us, we are starting to see some trends develop. These are just some things to keep in mind as you set your lineups moving forward.
Bolts lighting the lamp: No offense has been more potent than the one in Tampa this year, and it is not just the usual suspects. The Lightning had 12 players collect goals in the first week of the season. With the way the Lightning offense is rolling, if you have a chance to grab a player or two from their roster, you have to consider it as long as they keep scoring.
Florida struggles: As good as the Lightning have been in the first week, it has been just the opposite for their cross-state rivals in Sunrise, Fla. this year. The Panthers have only scored eight goals in games played through Tuesday night. If you are counting on the Panthers to contribute to your fantasy team, it may be time to start looking elsewhere.
Players thriving in new places: One of the biggest questions coming into this season was if a shortened season with basically no training camp and exhibition games would hurt players who changed teams this offseason? The answer to that question so far has been a resounding no. In Minnesota, forward Zach Parise has been off to a hot start with five goals and four assists in the first week of the season. Defenseman Ryan Suter has started to turn things around as he has become more familiar with the system. You should not hesitate to use a player still adjusting to new surroundings at this point.
Rookies contributing: The 2013 rookie class can't be ignored in fantasy hockey circles. Lightning forward Cory Conacher, St. Louis Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko, Edmonton Oilers defenseman Justin Schultz and Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk all have had terrific starts for their respective teams, becoming fantasy relevant. If one of these players have stayed under the radar in your league and is available, act now.
Make sure you check back later in the week for the KFFL Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire piece where we let you know who may help lead your squad to victory this week and beyond.