By Neil Parker, RotoWire Hockey Writer
Special to Yahoo Sports
The first month of the season is nearly in the books, and while it’s probably still too early to make significant roster moves, clinging to a plummeting roster certainly isn’t advised. There are a number of deeper options included this week, so make sure to keep your league settings in mind and do your due diligence when exploring ways to improve your team.
Here’s the schedule for the next scoring period from Oct. 30 to Nov. 5:
Two games: Sabres, Flames, Hurricanes, Capitals
Four games: Coyotes, Canadiens, Flyers, Maple Leafs, Golden Knights
All other teams play three games next week.
(Yahoo ownership percentages as of Oct. 26.)
Derick Brassard, OTT (50 percent owned): Head coach Guy Boucher leans on Brassard in all situations, and the pivot has started the season with six goals, 10 points and a plus-9 rating through nine games. Brassard definitely isn’t going to score at this pace all season, but for the time being, he’s posting excellent numbers.
Tomas Hertl, SAN (22 percent owned): Now playing on the second line with scorching-hot Logan Couture, Hertl’s fantasy value is on the rise. The talented Czech has collected two goals, five points and 19 shots through his past six games, and Hertl should be able take a run at career-high offensive marks across the board.
J.T. Miller, NYR (43 percent owned): This week’s last-call grab, Miller is locked into a scoring role coming off a 56-point showing. He’s already recorded eight points through 10 games this season and has averaged 5:16 of power-play time through his past two contests.
Brock Boeser, VAN (20 percent owned): It would be shocking if Boeser didn’t progressively log more minutes as the season progresses. He’s recorded two goals, six points and 19 shots through seven games this season, and the rookie owns the shooting arsenal to flirt with a 25-goal campaign.
Anders Bjork, BOS (8 percent owned): After a three-point night against the Canucks, Bjork logged a season-high 18:20 of ice time and collected an assist against Buffalo on Saturday. He’s currently skating on the top line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, which positions Bjork for fantasy success.
Evgeny Dadonov, FLA (26 percent owned): After potting 30 goals and recording 36 assists through 53 KHL games last season, Dadonov has slotted into a top-line gig with the Cats and posted two tallies and seven points while averaging 4:52 of power-play time. He’s probably going to be an inconsistent scorer, but he’s skilled enough to produce over the long haul in his current go-to role.
Mikko Rantanen, COL (26 percent owned): The sophomore has found the scoresheet in six of nine games this season for a goal and seven points. Rantanen has also averaged a hefty 4:32 of power-play time and is in line to have a solid campaign. Maintaining his current game-to-game consistency is key.
Zach Hyman, TOR (17 percent owned): Playing with Auston Matthews and William Nylander is a cushy gig, Hyman has been on the ice for a whopping 19.1 high-danger scoring chances per 60 minutes at five-on-five this season. The third wheel has limited offensive upside, but Hyman projects to move the needle across most categories and should especially help in the plus-minus column.
Reilly Smith, VGK (12 percent owned): While a slump is likely looming for the Golden Knights, Smith is currently posting excellent offensive numbers with seven points and 12 shots while averaging 19:13 of ice time (3:31 on the power play) through his past six games. He is locked into a go-to role and has a history of being a strong offensive contributor.
Ondrej Kase, ANA (1 percent owned): The 21-year-old Czech is difficult to read because he was rushed to the NHL with limited professional experience. However, he’s marked the scoresheet in four of his five games for three goals and two helpers and skated with the No. 1 power-play unit Tuesday.
Adrian Kempe, LA (9 percent owned): Strictly a deep-league candidate, Kempe has exploded for five goals, seven points and 11 shots through his past four games. He’s currently centering an intriguing line with Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson on his flanks. However, his AHL track record (48 points through 104 games) doesn’t suggest Kempe’s current numbers are sustainable.
Mikhail Sergachev, TB (59 percent owned): There are clearly a few settings where Sergachev is kicking around, but he shouldn’t be. After posting four goals and seven points with a plus-5 rating through his past four games, the 2016 first-round pick checks out as a go-to option until proven otherwise.
Brandon Montour, ANA (11 percent owned): The elite skater has notched three goals and an assist with eight shots and seven blocked shots through his past four games. Montour is also skating with the No. 1 power-play unit, and his scoring track record at each stop of his career suggests his offensive production is legitimate.
Michael Del Zotto, VAN (12 percent owned): The 27-year-old defenseman checks out as a solid cross-category contributor in the majority of settings. He’s going to receive power-play time and has collected five assists, 21 shots, six PIM, 13 hits and 15 blocked shots through his past six games. Del Zotto is also going to continue logging big minutes with Alexander Edler (lower body) out.
Tim Heed, SAN (1 percent owned): After recording 14 goals and 56 points through 55 AHL games last season, Heed has climbed into an offensive role with the Sharks. He’s averaged 3:05 of power-play time per game this season and has begun 59.5 percent of his five-on-five shifts in the offensive zone. Most importantly, Heed has also recorded a goal and two helpers through his last four games.
Josh Manson, ANA (21 percent owned): A meat-and-potatoes defenseman, Manson is off to a solid start for the injury-depleted Ducks. He’s not going to post standout offensive numbers, but he should continue padding the peripheral columns. Through eight games, Manson has collected four assists, 20 shots, 19 hits, 11 blocked shots and a plus-7 rating.
Colin Miller, VGK (1 percent owned): As noted, the Golden Knights are likely to hit a roadblock at some point, but for the time being, they’re churning out serviceable fantasy assets. Miller has marked the scoresheet in three straight games for a goal and three assists — all with the man advantage — while averaging 4:18 of power-play time.
Michal Neuvirth, PHI (20 percent owned): Neuvirth continues to outplay Brian Elliott, who allowed six goals in losing fashion Tuesday. With a sterling .957 save percentage and 1.34 GAA and Thursday’s start already confirmed, Neuvirth has a shot to take over the lion’s share of starts for the immediate future. However, it’s likely that this will develop into a near 50-50 timeshare.
Oscar Dansk, VGK (10 percent owned): Another Golden Knight with a caveat of likely poor fortunes ahead, Dansk is the No. 1 netminder for Vegas with Marc-Andre Fleury (concussion) and Malcolm Subban (lower body) both shelved. Dansk checks out as a complete wild card, but he’s 6-foot-3 and athletic. Volume sometimes trumps all, especially when the luxury to be selective with matchups exists.
Anton Khudobin, BOS (25 percent owned): Even once Tuukka Rask returns from his concussion, Khudobin could also spell the No. 1 more often to keep him fresh (and healthy). Khudobin is a matchup-based option whenever he takes the crease, but it’s also important to note that Boston doesn’t have a back-to-back set until Nov. 10.
Casey DeSmith, PIT (1 percent owned): A long-shot flier, DeSmith was promoted to the Penguins after Antti Niemi was placed on waivers. The 26-year-old netminder has never started an NHL game, and while his AHL numbers are solid (.926 save percentage and 2.00 GAA), Pittsburgh hasn’t resembled a defensive juggernaut this season. Still, the Pens have three back-to-back sets over the next 15 days, so he should see some action.
Players to consider from past columns: Sean Couturier, Paul Stastny, Jakub Vrana, Elias Lindholm, Kevin Fiala, Jason Pominville, Kevin Labanc, Nick Schmaltz, Pavel Buchnevich, Bryan Rust, Mattias Ekholm, Nate Schmidt, Damon Severson ,Victor Mete, Jan Rutta, Peter Budaj, Philipp Grubauer, Joonas Korpisalo, Juuse Saros