RotoWire Partners

Shots on Goal: Real, Not Real

Peter Maingot

Peter has been covering fantasy sports for Rotowire for over 10 years. He's covered hockey, football and basketball over the past decade but now focuses strictly on the frozen game. From the Great White North, Peter is a strong proponent of physical, up tempo hockey.

In this week's edition we'll honor Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games trilogy with Peeta's game of "Real, not Real?" If you have no idea what that means, you will likely know eventually. The trilogy will come to film by next March, when the first installment is released.


Jason Blake's freak injury has allowed the Ducks to call up top prospect Kyle Palmieri.

Real, not Real?

Not Real. They called up Patrick Maroon, five inches taller and 32 lbs heavier than Palmieri while listed at 6-4, 225.


The Bruins are not a good team this year, based on their early season play.

Real, not Real?

Not real. The B's will be fine eventually but the current status quo with David Krejci at third line center has to change. Is it me or are too many teams spreading their top six forwards out over three lines this season? One can only hope it's a trend that soon dissipates.


Derek Roy, now the second line center in Buffalo, no longer projects to score 65-70 points this season.

Real, not Real?

Not Real. Roy remains the most talented forward in Buffalo and the points will come eventually.


Anton Babchuk, a 35-point D-man last season and key cog on the power play, is not worth owning right now in most leagues.

Real, not Real?

Real. Babchuk only played five minutes in their last game and he's been a healthy scratch for half their games. Until an injury afflicts their top six on defense, Babchuk is not worth owning.


The Avalanche are a playoff team this year, based on their early season play.

Real, not Real?

Not real. Yes, they are better than anticipated but they're still not a playoff team, especially in the deeper Western Conference. The Avs are put together very carefully. Their top goalie, Semyon Varlamov, has never played more than 33 games as a professional in any one season. Their team is extremely young and they lack much depth up front of/when injuries occur. Gabriel Landeskog has 42 shots on goal in just 10 games, impressive to say the least. Can he keep up the pace over 80 games? Impossible.


Columbus is a terrible hockey team whose goalies aren't worth owning.

Real, not Real?

Not Real, at least we won't know for sure until we see a healthy Jeff Carter playing on the first line and on the first power play unit with Rick Nash, James Wisniewski and Vaclav Prospal.

Steve Mason is safe for now but at some point the Blue Jackets may have to consider a trade for a goalie. To be fair to Mason they haven't played their full lineup yet and they've been decimated by injuries to their blue line, which wasn't a team-strength to begin with. Thankfully, the underrated Marc Methot (thumb) should to return to the lineup next week.

Goalie prospect Mark Dekanich, whom we discussed last week, may get a shot if/when he finally overcomes the high-ankle sprain that's currently keeping him on injured reserve. He's expected to return to practice sometime next week and then get a start in the minors about 10-14 days after his first practice. In case you're wondering, Manny Legace is currently 0-2 for their AHL farm team with a 3.02 GAA and .887 SV %.


Nikolai Khabibulin is back to the form that led Tampa Bay to the Stanley Cup in 2003. The Oilers could win their division and Khabby will play 60-65 games.

Real, not Real?

Not Real. The Oilers are the early season's biggest surprise but it would be foolish not to expect some sort of market correction. Moreover, Khabibulin is 38 and Devan Dubnyk should get in 30-35 games. The Oilers have played extremely well despite having missed top offensive D-man Ryan Whitney and top right wing Ales Hemsky for most of their games.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has proven many pundits wrong. As a result, the Oilers have more offensive depth than they've had in some time. If Hemsky's wobbly right shoulder could hold up for most of the season they could threaten for a playoff spot, as they would be able to roll three scoring lines.


Jacob Markstrom is the not only the future in goal for Florida but he's now the present. Markstrom will not relinquish the nets when Scott Clemmensen returns.

Real, not Real?

Not Real. Markstrom is the only goalie with a two-way contract and the Panthers aren't likely to send Jose Theodore down to the AHL and pay him $1.5 million, especially when they're $10.4 million under the salary cap. The Cats would need to trade Theodore or Clemmensen for Markstrom to usurp both.

New Jersey:

Johan Hedberg has played himself into a 50-50 platoon with Martin Brodeur, once Brodeur returns from injury.

Real, not Real?

Not Real. Expect Hedberg to play once for every three starts to Brodeur, once he returns to the lineup.

NY Rangers:

The Rangers won't know how good they are until Marc Staal returns and if/when Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik start to gel.

Real, not Real?

Real. For now they're one of six to eight teams vying for the 4-to-8 spots in the Eastern Conference. If they want to join the likes of Washington, Pittsburgh and Boston they'll need all hands on deck.

NY Islanders:

Evgeni Nabokov will continue to get regular starts as the Isles remain determined to move him once injuries in goal start to occur to other teams around the league.

Real, not Real?

Real. It's real and it's really annoying for Montoya owners. And as for Rick DiPietro's owners? As Clubber Lang said in Rocky 3, "I pity the fool." It's Al Montoya against Evgeni Nabokov in the daily duel for starts. Nabokov started three straight games then got hurt. With Nabokov out Montoya had a chance to start Saturday, though the Sharks are one of the tougher matchups in the league right now.

St. Louis:

Brian Elliott's projected starts for this season, between 10-15 games, need to be adjusted to 20-25.

Real, not Real?

Real. Jaroslav Halak is still the best goalie in St. Louis, despite his poor showing thus far, but Brian Elliott looks as though he'll get 20+ starts now. Halak has a 1-4 record with a 3.47 GAA and a .835 save percentage. I picked up Elliott for one of my experts league teams and even played him vs. Vancouver (only because I was also starting Vancouver backup Cory Schneider). Nevertheless, Halak will still start 55-60 games.

Tampa Bay:

Mathieu Garon's projected starts for this season, 30-35 games, have to be adjusted higher now that he's clearly outplaying Dwayne Roloson.

Real, not Real?

Not Real. Dwayne Roloson is still going to start close to 50 games. Meanwhile, count me among those who ignored the career numbers of Garon vs. Nashville, played him and subsequently paid for it. Teddy Purcell is playing well these days despite a drop in ice time, partly due to the solid play of rookie Brett Connolly. If he could just play a little meaner, his fantasy value would rise accordingly.


Jonas Gustavsson, a major flop since his much-hyped signing by Toronto three years ago, needs to go.

Real, not Real?

Real. The injury to James Reimer has shown one of Toronto's main weaknesses - depth in goal. Gustavsson's goals-against average has risen steadily over the last three seasons: 2.87, 3.29, and now 4.09. Going down each season has been his save percentage: .902 %, .890 % and now .876 %.


Cory Schneider will eventually assume the starting job in Vancouver this season.

Real, not Real?

Not Real. By now most of us know how poorly Roberto Luongo has played to begin each of the last five seasons and how divided the Canucks' Nation is regarding him. Count this writer among those who think Luongo will turn it around and finish the season with 55-60 starts.


Consider the Jets' nine-goal outburst vs. Philadelphia an aberration. Winnipeg will struggle to score most nights this season.

Real, not Real?

Real. The Jets are not blessed with an abundance of scoring forwards. One nine-goal game may favorably change their current "goals scored per game" stats, but that number will soon come down.

Meanwhile Chris Mason is out with a groin injury so Ondrej Pavelec owners have only the team's defense to worry about and not Mason.