It's time for some way too early looks at a couple of teams and situations that are surprising expectations. Nothing has to stay the way it is now, but some teams have started to give themselves some padding and others, like the Columbus Blue Jackets, are digging a watery graves from whence they may never return.
Three thoughts on our surprised expectations.
1. Goaltending Voodoo
Projecting who is going to be a great goaltender is nearly impossible. Yeah, Carey Price and Henrik Lundqvist are going to do their thing. But did you expect Ryan Miller and Mike Smith to be this good? Jonathan Quick and Sergei Bobrovsky to be this bad? It's maybe not a bad time to look at waivers and see what kind of goaltending help is out there.
2. The Habs Hab It
Montreal is getting a surprising amount of offense. They're beating good teams and not entirely leaning on Price to make it happen. They aren't blowing anyone out of the water, but they managed to shutout the Rangers and put three past Lundqvist. The points are pretty evenly distributed as well. Through five games, six players have at least four points. In a deep league, you could do a lot worse than gambling on a second or third line forward in Montreal.
3. Edmonton, SMH
It's an annual NHL tradition to be high on the Oilers before the start of the season. Some writers even had them hitting the playoffs this year. It's too early to say they won't make it, but it's tough to feel too optimistic right now. They're one of just two teams who have yet to win a game or grab any kind of standings points at all. It took until have way through the second period of their third game for a player on the Oilers to score a goal. (The first goal credited to the team of the season was an own goal against the Blues where the Oilers didn't even touch the puck on the play.)
If you're in the same deep league situation where you're looking at a depth player from the Habs, you may not want to look at the Oilers, despite the familiar names of young players who are likely to make a big impact one day. Where the Habs have six players with four points, the Oilers' leading scorer is a tie between eight players who have a single point. Depth pickups in Edmonton are a risky proposition at this point. This side of Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, I don't want much to do with anyone on the Oilers.
Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)
For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check our Projected Goalies Grid
Red Wings (Petr Mrazek) at Canadiens (Carey Price), 7:00 PM
Predators (Pekka Rinne) at Senators (Craig Anderson), 7:00 PM
Sabres (Chad Johnson) at Lightning (Ben Bishop), 7:00 PM
Stars (Kari Lehtonen) at Panthers (Roberto Luongo), 7:00 PM
Maple Leafs (Jonathan Bernier) at Penguins (Marc-Andre Fleury), 7:00 PM
Hurricanes (Eddie Lack) at Capitals (Braden Holtby), 7:00 PM
Sharks (Alex Stalock) at Islanders (Jaroslav Halak), 7:30 PM
Blue Jackets (Curtis McElhinney) at Blackhawks (Corey Crawford), 8:30 PM
Oilers (Cam Talbot) at Flames (Jonas Hiller), 10:00 PM
Bruins (Tuukka Rask) at Coyotes (Mike Smith), 10:00 PM
Injury News For Teams Playing Saturday
Detroit Red Wings
Pavel Datsyuk, C (ankle) - is on IR
Johan Franzen, RW (concussion) - was placed on IR Thursday with post-concussion symptoms
Darren Helm, LW (shoulder) - has an outside chance of playing Saturday
Danny DeKeyser, D (foot) - could return Saturday
Zack Kassian, RW (suspension) - remains away from the team
Michael Bournival, C (concussion) - is on IR
Chris Phillips, D (back) - has "turned a corner" but remains out
Clarke MacArthur, LW (upper body) - remains out
Cody McCormick, C (illness) - is out
Zach Bogosian, D (lower body) - missed practice again on Friday
Robin Lehner, G (ankle) - isn't expected back for over a month
Tampa Bay Lightning
Alex Killorn, C (upper body) - missed Thursday's game
Andrei Vasilevskiy, G (vascular surgery for blood clot) - remains out
Nikita Nesterov, D (suspension) - will serve the first of a two-game suspensions
Victor Hedman, D (undisclosed) - is said to be feeling better, but will be held out of Saturday's game
Patrick Eaves, RW (lower body) - will miss "a couple weeks"
Travis Moen, LW (undisclosed) - is questionable for Saturday
Brett Ritchie, RW (wrist) - remains out of the lineup
Curtis McKenzie, LW (lower body) - has left the hospital, but remains out
Healthy, healthy, healthy
Toronto Maple Leafs
Stephane Robidas, D (groin) - is on IR
Tyler Bozak, C (lower body) - left Friday's game with an injury and didn't return
Beau Bennett, RW (undisclosed) - is on IR
Eric Fehr, RW (elbow) - is without a timetable for return
Pascal Dupuis, RW (lower body) - has resumed skating, but is at least a couple weeks from a return
James Wisniewski, D (ACL) - will miss six months with a torn ACL
Riley Nash, C (shoulder) - is exepcted to miss a little less than two weeks
Joakim Nordstrom, C (undisclosed) - is questionable
In good shape.
San Jose Sharks
Raffi Torres, LW (suspension) - has been suspended for half of the season
Logan Couture, C (broken leg) - will miss significant time
Melker Karlsson, C (undisclosed) is still on the shelf
Joonas Donskoi, RW (lower body) - was held out of Friday's game, is questionable for Saturday
New York Islanders
Thomas Hickey, D (upper body) - has returned to practice
Columbus Blue Jackets
Alexander Wennberg, C (concussion) - is on injured reserve
Michal Rozsival, D - is expected to start skating again this week
Jordan Eberle, RW (shoulder) - remains on IR
Joe Colborne, C (thumb) - is out
Lance Bouma, C (broken leg) - will miss the next three months
T.J. Brodie, D (hand) - has been skating and is nearing a return
Ladislav Smid, D - Smid (neck) traveled with the Flames to Vancouver and skated in practice Saturday, Wes Gilbertson of the Calgary Sun reports. (10/10/2015)
Joe Morrow, D (illness) - was placed on IR this week
Seth Griffith, RW (knee) - is skating again
Dennis Seidenberg, D (back) - is still on IR
Brad Marchand, LW (concussion) - has been skating in a non-contact jersey
Antoine Vermette, C (lower body) - is day-to-day after leaving Thursday's loss to the Wild
Henrik Zetterberg, LW, DET — Zetterberg has been one of the hottest players in the league through the first week of play. He's grabbed at least one point in each of his four games, amassing two goals, six assists, and a plus-4 rating. Oddly, however, he only has four shots. Nonetheless, tales of his decline have been overstated.
Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, STL — Tarasenko is delivering. Last season, he was one of the league's most dangerous players when the puck was on his stick. That's carried over. When he's entering the offensive zone with the puck, anything can happen. He has three goals and four assists, plus a plus-4 rating and 20 shots in the season's first five games.
Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, RW/C/C, ANA — This trio, particularly Getzlaf and Perry, went high in many drafts and rightfully so. But things are going well four games into the 2015-16 season for Anaheim. These three players have combined for a grand total of zero points. Perry is a minus-2, while both Getzlaf and Kesler are a minus-3. Perry has taken just five shots, Kesler just nine. Getzlaf is ok there, putting 12 pucks on net so far. It's not time to panic, especially if you're an owner of Getzlaf or Perry, but it's an ugly situation so far.
Mark Stone, RW, OTT — After his 26-goal, 64-point rookie campaign most people should have had some confidence in drafting Stone. But with a rookie season you never know. He's proving he's the real deal and has some incredible vision when he's on the ice. Through five games he has a goal, five assists, six penalty minutes, a plus-2 rating, and nine shots. He's producing across categories and producing in ways, like the incredible assist below, that proves he could be a great player in this league for years to come.