What are the most fantasy relevant jobs still up for grabs?
Brian Rosenbaum: The Blackhawks are still looking for a winger to play alongside Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa on the team's first line. The Hawks has tried Andrew Shaw, Teuvo Teravainen, Viktor Tikhonov, Ryan Garbutt and Bryan Bickell without much success. Ultimately, the best bet may be Marko Dano, who is currently skating in the AHL with Rockford. In nine games, Dano has registered seven points and is a prime candidate for promotion. If he does get a call from the Hawks, he could be instantly inserted on the Toews line and flourish.
Ryan Dadoun: I think one of there's a lot of potential for whoever plays alongside Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin this season. For the most part Patrick Sharp has been occupying that third spot, but Cody Eakin has been tried there too and while it hasn't happened much yet, there's always the chance that Jason Spezza will be reunited with them should the Stars go cold and Lindy Ruff is tasked with shaking things up. The person that would interest me the most on that line though is Valeri Nichushkin. He has a lot of potential, but has been used sparingly so far this season. Still his role might grow as the campaign progresses and using him alongside Benn and Seguin is an idea they've toyed with in the past.
Michael Finewax: I think it's the goaltending situation in Tampa Bay. Ben Bishop has been only so-so and now Andrei Vasilevskiy is back from vascular surgery. Vasilevskiy is supposed to play on Sunday (this is being done on Sunday morning) and since there is nothing more important in standard leagues as a good starting goalie, this is where I think the most fantasy relevant job is.
Corey Abbott: I don't see Vasilevskiy taking the starting job, though. I think the plan for the Lightning going into the year was to give him around 20 starts to keep Bishop fresher for the playoffs. I do like Vasilevskiy as a depth option in the crease, but Bishop is still the number one netminder in Tampa Bay. I think the goaltending situation in St. Louis is much more of a battle even though it looks like Jake Allen is pulling ahead of Brian Elliott. I've been high on Dano since the summer and I agree that he is the answer to play with Toews and Hossa. Dallas likes to decide who plays with Benn and Seguin depending the match up. Sharp provides the most offensive punch of the bunch, but Eakin gets to play with them when they want more of a shutdown presence. Those are definitely highly-coveted spots.
Brian Rosenbaum: In Long Island, the plum assignment is playing on the Isles' top line alongside John Tavares. Anders Lee has pretty much been a staple with Tavares since the end of last season, but the other wing has been a bit of a revolving door. Ryan Strome started the season on the unit, but recently Nikolay Kulemin has been getting an opportunity. And although he has not played with Tavares this season, Kyle Okposo and Tavares formed quite the pair in 2014-15. Whoever snags this position on a permanent basis will have a considerable amount of fantasy value.
Ryan Dadoun: I agree that Vasilevskiy isn't likely to get the starting job, but I can buy into the idea that he spends a good chunk of the season splitting the games with Bishop almost evenly. I do think he has value beyond just being a handcuff to Bishop and simultaneously believe that Bishop is going to see his workload significantly decline now that Vasilevskiy's healthy. Another interesting goaltending situation is in St. Louis between Elliott and Allen. I'm not sold on the idea that either one of them is going to run away with the job, but Allen's strong play out of the gate has certainly made things interesting. I'm also starting to wonder more about Colorado. Semyon Varlamov has a 3.33 GAA through eight games while Reto Berra is at 1.79. However, the real X-Factor in all of that is Calvin Pickard, who was great with Colorado last season and is off to a hot start in the minors.
Michael Finewax: When it comes to Vasilevskiy, I agree to disagree, but we shall see. The one spot that may have already have been decided is the power play specialist in Columbus. It was up in the air under Todd Richards but it looks to be Ryan Murray. He has a lot of upside, was selected second overall in the 2012 Draft and has three assists on the pp while being on the ice for seven of the Blue Jackets eight power play goals. He has been hampered by injuries the last two seasons but is ready to roll a lot faster than most poolies anticipated.
Corey Abbott: I think it's still very much a work in progress as to who plays with Connor McDavid. Nail Yakupov and Benoit Pouliot have been occupying the winger spots lately, but the Taylor Hall experiment may not be over. I believe we could see a shake up when Jordan Eberle comes back from injury and his return is getting closer. If Leon Draisaitl is still around then he could factor into the top-six group as well. Whoever plays with the rookie phenom is sure to benefit.