Fantasy Hockey: Power Play Opportunities To Watch Out For
ESPN.com’s standard fantasy leagues award a 0.5 fantasy point bonus when a player scores a goal or assists in special teams. While shorthanded points are a nice little bonus when they do occur, they are more or less inconsequential. Power games are where you need to focus for the fantasy.
The last three seasons leader in shorthanded points is Brad Marchand with 17 of them. Sebastian Aho is next with 13, Patrice Bergeron has 12 and Mika Zibanejad has 11. This information does not help you fancy. Not only are the bonus points relatively insignificant for the leaders of the league, but you might also notice that all of these players are already held in high regard for fantasy.
Vladislav Namestnikov also has 11 shorthanded points over the past three seasons, so couldn’t he be a specialist? No. Namestnikov doesn’t have any fantastic value, and even in a rotisserie league in which shorthanded points are its own category, having Namestnikov on your squad for half a dozen shorthanded points just hurts you so much everywhere else. not worth it.
There are about 10 times as many power play points going around. Using active players from last season, they have totaled 10,500 points on the power play and only 1,055 points on the power play since 2018-19.
But what you need to look at when building your fantastic roster is whether players will retain or have the opportunity to improve their stats on their team’s power play.
When it comes to grabbing an opportunity, you want to avoid players who risk their fantastic value plummeting if they miss the power play. When a player gets too many points through special teams, there is a risk to his fantasy value. Take the example of Keith Yandle. He’s easily the league leader over the past three seasons thanks to power play, as more than 58 percent of his total points have been awarded to special teams. But that value dried up last season when he wasn’t effective as the team’s power play quarterback. Now, if he doesn’t get used to the Philadelphia Flyers‘ best powerplay unit this season, it’s a safe bet he won’t have any fancy value.
As for earning a points opportunity for special teams, you want to watch players in new situations or places that might offer that chance to shine. Take last season’s Tyson Barrie as an example here. A proven power play player in the past, he was reduced to a supporting role with the Toronto Maple Leafs – but a move to the Edmonton Oilers last season, coupled with an injury to Oscar Klefbom, meant Barrie was a new power play quarterback. Barrie is still heavily dependent on special teams, scoring 41 percent of his points over the past three seasons, but he’s well behind Yandle’s high water mark.
Barrie was 33rd in fantastic points among skaters last season, while Yandle was 243rd.
Speculate on special teams
Andre Burakovsky, F, Colorado Avalanche: What is different this season? Joonas Donskoi was taken away by the Seattle Kraken. Burakovsky and Donskoi took turns becoming the fourth striker in one of the league’s top power play units. With Donskoi out of sight, Burakovsky could take all the cake this season.
Mike Hoffman, F, Montreal Canadiens: What is different this season? Hoffman signed early and is part of his team’s plans for the season. He was deployed as an underdog last season after joining the Blues late. But Hoffman is an accomplished powerhouse asset, ranking 13th in the NHL for special teams points total over the past three seasons. He misses training camp but is planning as a member of the Canadiens’ power play plans.
Torey Krug, D, Blues de Saint-Louis: What is different this season? Like it or want it, Vladimir Tarasenko must play for the Blues and, if he wants to improve his future, he must play well. He’s a major improvement to the team’s power play, which is way better with him than without him. Krug fell short of expectations as a power play quarterback in his first season in St. Louis, but with Tarasenko in tow, we can hope for better. Even with his difficult season, he is 19th overall in special teams points in the past three years.
Jakub Voracek, F, Columbus Blue Jackets: What is different this season? The Flyers have lost Voracek as a key power-play contributor for more than a season. His new start with the Blue Jackets, who are badly in need of offensive help, could be mutually beneficial for the team and Voracek. Despite just eight power play points last season, Voracek is 75th in special teams points over the past three seasons.
Tony DeAngelo, D, Carolina Hurricanes: What is different this season? Off-track distractions aside, the Hurricanes are committed to giving DeAngelo a second chance and this is the perfect situation for him to take advantage. Without Dougie Hamilton to execute the offense on the power play, DeAngelo offers a solution to the Hurricanes. Ahead of his spiral with the taxi team last season, DeAngelo scored 15 goals and 53 points in 2019-20 – including 19 points on the men’s advantage.
Jamie Drysdale, D, Anaheim Ducks: What is different this season? Rather than wait for the next generation to be ready, the Ducks should start throwing their key future on fire. On the blue line, that means the talented offensive Drysdale. With only mediocre Cam Fowler and mercurial Kevin Shattenkirk on his way to the power play duties, his odds look good.
Jack Hughes, F, New Jersey Devils: What is different this season? A legitimate power-play quarterback for the Devils. Adding power play production to their repertoire is one of the most important things for a young prospect to break into the fantasy elite. There are other reasons to be excited about Hughes for this season, but having Dougie Hamilton on the spot where the Devils take a penalty is the main one.
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