Poor offenses present opportunities
By Thomas J. Harrigan, Fantasy Sports Writer
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - For fantasy owners who like to stream goaltenders, Coyotes netminder Chad Johnson's shutout of the Nashville Predators Monday night is a perfect example of how to take advantage of a poor offensive team.
Johnson, 26, is Phoenix' third-string goaltender who had six NHL appearances under his belt prior to Monday's game. But he stopped all 21 shots in 60 minutes to send the feeble Preds away with a 4-0 loss.
Nashville has scored just 10 goals in its first six games this season despite having three games go to overtime, and it has been shut out twice.
The Predators have attempted 23 shots on goal per game, worst in the NHL. Last season's top power-play team has scored just four goals in 19 attempts this season, mainly due to the loss of defenseman Ryan Suter in free agency, as we covered Sunday. Suter and Shea Weber formed a lethal combination for the Predators over the last seven seasons, but without him the team has nobody to quarterback the power play.
Nashville's forwards -- Martin Erat, Mike Fisher, Sergei Kostitsyn, David Legwand -- don't jump off the page, and its top goal-scorer last season, Patric Hornqvist, is out for three-to-four weeks with a sprained left knee, so fantasy owners should be able to take advantage of the Predators all season.
Let's take a look at some of the other NHL clubs that are struggling offensively early this season.
Florida Panthers - Florida's eight goals ranks last in the NHL. Kris Versteeg and Stephen Weiss, two of the team's three 20-goal scorers from last season, missing time due to injuries hasn't helped, but even with those players the Panthers only ranked 27th in the NHL in goals in 2011-12. The Panthers generate a moderate amount of shots on goal but they have been the worst team in the NHL this season at actually converting on them after placing 24th in goal percentage last season. Plus, the Panthers are allowing 35 SOG per game, second-most in the league, so there's a good chance your goalie can come away with a win most nights against them.
Detroit Red Wings - The Wings are the surprise team on this list following a season in which they scored 239 goals (7th in the NHL). But they have only scored two goals per game this season despite taking 31 SOG per game. This team still has plenty of capable offensive talents with Johan Franzen, Valtteri Filppula, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Damien Brunner and Niklas Kronwall, so it should only be a matter of time before Detroit starts rolling. We wouldn't stream against them.
Colorado Avalanche - The Avs weren't a very good offensive team when it came to converting on shots on goal last season, and it has only gotten worse. Perhaps not signing RFA Ryan O'Reilly has something to do with that. Former Islander P.A. Parenteau has played well with three goals on nine shots, but the team's top three goal scorers from last season have combined for two in five games. Part of the problem is Colorado's atrocious power-play rate of 1-in-15. That will certainly improve, but even if it does there's still no reason to fear the Avalanche if you are streaming goaltenders.
Los Angeles Kings - Despite winning the 2012 Stanley Cup, this team's inability to score last season has carried over. Once again, the shots on goal are there but the Kings just aren't converting, and their power play has been an embarrassment -- 1-of-27. While the presence of Jonathan Quick could make picking up wins tough for opposing goaltenders, they should still be able to post solid GAA and SV% against Kings even when the PP% picks up.
Columbus Blue Jackets - Let's do some quick math. The team with the 26th-most goals in the NHL last season minus 30-goal scorer Rick Nash equals? Another abysmal season in Columbus. The Blue Jackets have scored 10 goals in six games while hitting on just 3-of-30 power-play opportunities. With Nash traded to the Rangers and Cam Atkinson dealing with a lower-body injury, there's nobody who can carry this offense on a given night.
Washington Capitals - Washington has 11 goals through five games and are 4- of-23 on the power play, but any team that boasts talents such as Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Alexander Semin and Dennis Wideman shouldn't be messed with by fantasy owners looking to stream.
Anaheim Ducks - The Ducks have converted on a ridiculous 13.7 percent of their shots on goal but they have only attempted 102 in four games. Anaheim's forwards are the same as last season besides the additions of Kyle Palmieri and Daniel Winnik to the top nine. Winnik himself has scored five goals on just 11 shots. The team only has 11 power play opportunities in four games, lowest in the NHL. Even last season, when they had the 12-most PPOs in the NHL, the Ducks had a below-average conversion rate. Once this unsustainable streak of scoring vanishes, the Ducks should be exposed as a lackluster offensive club once again.
01/29 19:05:48 ET