So about 1/5 of the games have been played so far and we've had some amazing starts, some expected lulls and quite a few goalie controversies.
I have to start off with Miller and Enroth over in Buffalo. I drafted a very solid fantasy team this year, the strength of my team EASILY being the goaltending. As you might have guessed, Miller was one of my starters. I expected Vezina finalist in the very least and I thought he would actually win it this year.
Enroth is posting Miller-like stats so far, going 5-0 with a 1.34 GAA. Meanwhile Miller is a very pedestrian 5-5 with a 2.74 GAA. He's still posting a .913 save percentage, which is respectable, but far below what we've come to expect from Miller. He's a gamer though and I fully expect him to turn it around. For my fantasy pool, I sure hope so.
My other goalie is Jaroslav Halak. STL was my "sleeper" pick in the West this year and I really thought they were going to do a lot of damage and perhaps make a deep playoff run. After their first line, Anaheim isn't very deep. Calgary still only has 2 great hockey players on their team. Vancouver will be suffering from a playoff hangover. Mike Smith (while playing solid so far) is not the answer in Phoenix. Nashville still has no scoring. I could go on, but the point is this: I thought STL had the right blend of scoring, goaltending and defense to have a strong year. They are a deep team and I thought they could make a surprise run for the Cup like the Blackhawks did a couple years back. Halak has struggled and STL hasn't elevated the scoring during his troubles. Elliott meanwhile, has gone 5-1 with 1.72 GAA.
Did anyone expect Enroth and Elliott to outshine Halak and Miller after 17 games?
Keeping with amazing goalie numbers, how about The Boulin Wall? Looks like someone found the fountain of youth in the offseason. I wonder if it was in a bottle of booze? The guy has been lights out, allowing 2 goals or less in every start except one (his last, versus Detroit when he let in 3). He's 7-1-2 with a 1.18 GAA. I don't expect this to keep up though. Edmonton still has no defense playing in front of him. It's a miracle they are doing so well IMO. They have a great young nucleous and have some talented scorers, but they're at their optimum level right now and I don't see them sustaining that level of play on both ends.
Out East, Pittsburgh is dominating thanks largely in part to Real Deal Neal finding his scoring touch again. If this team had a healthy Crosby and Malkin, I would be very scared of this team night in and night out. They're a formidable foe already and one has to wonder if they could get any better at all, even if Crosby comes back. A lot of hockey fans (outside of Pittsburgh) like to harp on Fleury and say that he's a good goalie on a great team. Well this "good" goalie has been quieting the naysayers this year so far. He's posting a 1.87 GAA with a .932 save % so you won't hear this guy bashing him.
And in closing, I have to touch on the Leafs. I mean hockey revolves around Toronto, right? That's sarcasm Argos, in case you didn't know. I bet Leafs nation is practically wetting themselves now that Kessel has finally emerged into a premier talent. He's leading the league with 12 goals and 23 points. Leafs fans everywhere are finally screaming "We won the trade with Boston" after years of keeping quiet. He still doesn't have a true #1 center feeding him the puck though. Sticking with Toronto, I wonder how (and when) Reimer will be coming back? I can't believe he has been out this long and I imagine many Toronto fans are a little worried about relying on The Monster and Scrivens to carry the workload in Optimus Reim's abscence.