It's always tough to know how much to read into the first week of the season. For some it's easy to panic or get overly excited after just a few games while others might completely need weeks' worth of games before they're ready to jump to any conclusions. Ultimately some of these hot and cold starts are the start of a trend, but predicting which ones is where it gets tricky.
Take Sergei Bobrovsky for example. His base statistics couldn't look uglier as he now has a 5.05 GAA and .830 save percentage in four contests. After his latest loss, Bobrovsky admitted that he has no confidence and that makes me worry a bit about the potential that this will continue to snowball. Meanwhile, some will point to the Blue Jackets' defense as the issue and while I'm not indifferent to that, it really doesn't matter from a fantasy hockey perspective, expect to say that it means that his recovery isn't entirely in his hands. Keep in mind that, regardless of who is at fault, it's his statistics that fantasy owners ultimately care about. I'm still not ready to recommend trying to trade off Bobrovsky if you already have him. You'd be settling for a discounted price at this point anyways, so it makes more sense to just hope that this is a rocky start to an otherwise serviceable season.
Related to that, take the Ottawa Senators' offensive numbers with a grain of salt. Their four games have included contests against Buffalo, Toronto, and the aforementioned Blue Jackets, so that sample is skewed heavily in their offense's favor. Right now they have six players averaging at least a point-per-game and by the end of the season, I don't think anyone on that roster will have that distinction.
The other extreme to Bobrovsky is Mike Smith, who has allowed just two goals in his first three starts. That's a stark contrast to 2014-15 when he posted a 3.16 GAA and .904 save percentage in 62 contests. I wasn't a big believer in Smith going into the season, but I'm warming up to him. Part of the reason for that is he's seeing a sports psychologist and while that might not seem like a drastic development - and to be fair it might not be - I'm of the mindset that there's an important mental component to goaltending and anything he can do to improve in that aspect is beneficial. It's also worth noting that he apparently started this following the 2015 All-Star Break and he did take a step forward after that, so you could argue that this hot start is part of a larger trend. Is he a safe bet? I wouldn't go that far, but he's looking better than I originally gave him credit for. I'm still not sold on Arizona as a whole though, so I'm not confident that he'll end up winning a lot of games.
With all the hype surrounding Connor McDavid, immediate results were naturally expected of him. He was held off the scoresheet in his first two games before netting his first goal on Tuesday, which puts 11 rookies ahead of him in the scoring race. I'm not reading much into his slow start though as he could and should still go on to have a great season. Right now I'd be far more concerned about Edmonton's offense as a whole.
There are still six teams searching for their first point of the season, including the Pittsburgh Penguins and Los Angeles Kings. Those two squads have combined for just five goals and when you consider the talent on those two squads, that's incredible. It's also not likely to last much longer. It's not as if Sidney Crosby - who hasn't recorded a point yet - is suddenly a 50-60 point player. It wouldn't be shocking if what he does over the next few weeks makes his season opening cold streak look irrelevant.
Speaking of Pittsburgh, Beau Bennett will miss Thursday's game because of an undisclosed injury. Not much else is known about the situation yet, but he's been one of the Penguins' few bright spots so far this season. Bennett entered the league with such promise, but he's had terrible luck when it comes to injuries. Hopefully this latest setback is a brief one and if it is, then fantasy owners should keep an eye on him going forward.
It might be unnecessary to plug other columns that appear on Rotoworld seeing as the fact that you're reading this suggests that you're probably at least aware of our other work. That being said, Gus Katsaros is doing a hockey analytics series on Wednesdays now (it debuted on Oct. 7) and you should read them if you have the time. It's not an attempt at humility when I say that he's smarter than me. I'm thrilled that he's started to do a regular column for us.