The 2017/2018 NHL season has just eclipsed the quarter mark and there is plenty of surprises, with some being spectacular and some being down right awful. The quarterly fantasy hockey snapshot will look into the under the radar fantasy producers, as well as players trending up and down in regards to their respective fantasy value. The Good Portion of the article will exclude the blatant perennial fantasy superstars and will focus more so on the middle tier options. The Bad Portion will highlight the superstars who aren’t meeting fantasy expectations.
Anze Kopitar: After a quiet 2016/2017 campaign, Kopitar has turned the corner and has been a spectacular surprise. Kopitar has registered 23 points (9G, 14A) with 8 of those points coming on the power play. The only concern with Kopitar is that his shot volume is relatively low through 21 games. Kopitar has registered 50 shots on goal and is sporting a 18% shooting percentage which is likely unsustainable going forward. Kopitar is averaging 22:18 of ice-time which will guarantee Kopitar opportunities for production. He’s also averaging 2:36 of power play time a game which is 3rd highest amongst centers. Kopitar should be in your line-up at all times going forward unless you have superstar alternatives.
Brayden Point: When playing in the shadow of the likes of Stamkos it’s easy to be forgotten. Point has put up 20 points (8G, 12A) through 20 games. Point comfortably centers the Lightning’s second line and sees power play time on the secondary unit. He’s also been able to make the most of his power play time, registering 3 points. The center’s also been able to record 2 short handed points, which is always a pleasant surprise. Point has put 47 shots on net which is above average (39) for second line centers. If you can obtain him in your respective leagues, I highly recommend you attempt to pick him up whether its off the waiver wire or through a trade. Any player playing within the top 6 for Tampa’s high caliber offence holds and presents value no matter who they play on any given night.
Clayton Keller: Is it too early to crown a Calder winner? If Keller sustains even a third of his current production it’s going to be hard to say it isn’t. On top of that, Keller has the pleasure of playing on the worst team in the league which has to count for something right? Through 23 games Keller has picked up 20 points (11G, 9A) with 6 of those points coming on the power play. If your league accounts for +/- you must take the good with the bad as Keller sports a (-9) at the moment which can be unappealing. With that being said, Keller’s value is directly correlated to his 73 shots which puts him in the top 3 amongst centers. Keep an eye on Keller going forward, as he can be a strong fantasy asset from here on out.
Teuvo Teravainen: It’s hard to believe that Teuvo is only 1 or 2 points behind the likes of Ovi, Evander Kane, and Jamie Benn when it comes to left wingers. Teravainen has registered 19 points (8G, 11A) through 19 games; in addition, 5 of those points have come on the power play. Teuvo has also registered 43 shots on net despite only averaging 15:52 of ice time a game. There are very few wingers that can produce like Teuvo can given his average ice time. Teravainen is certainly worth a look if you’re after depth when it comes to wingers.
Brock Boeser: Like Keller, Boeser happens to be one of the few bright spots on his respective team. The rookie Canuck has put together a respectful stat line over his first 19 games. Boeser has posted 21 points (11G, 10A). In addition, Boeser has recorded 4 multi-point games in the month of November alone. Boeser has recorded 9 points on the power play while being bounced around the first and second power play unit. Something that makes Boeser intriguing is his shot volume; 76% of Boeser’s shots have come in the last 3 weeks as a result, Boeser’s point total has seen a boost. Boeser currently has 53 shots on goal, altogether Boeser has terrific fantasy upside and ultimately should be on your fantasy radar. Look for Boeser to give Keller a run for the Calder trophy if Boeser can sustain his production.
Evgenii Dadonov: Sticking with another upward trending rookie winger, Dadonov has found his stride in Florida. Dadonov has put up 17 points (7G, 10A) through 19 games so far and should continue to have plenty of opportunities to build off those numbers granted Dadonov stays healthy. Dadonov plays alongside Huberdeau and Barkov, which makes for a speedy and creative first line for the Panthers. With 6 power play points and 57 shots on goal Dadonov certainly covers every offensive category. If Dadonov’s line can start to produce on even strength, a 60+ point season isn’t too far fetched.
Mattias Ekholm: Ekholm doesn’t possess the offensive skill-set that Subban does, nor the defensive skill set that Josi possesses. This puts Ekholm in an awkward position when it comes to potential; however, he has still been able to produce both on even strength and on the power play. Ekholm has registered 13 points, 6 of them coming with the man advantage. It’s difficult to predict Ekholm’s future production as Ekholm, Subban, and Josi all share power play time which makes for some uncertainty. Until proven otherwise Ekholm is an excellent depth defenseman if you’re lacking options. Ekholm has also proven himself that he can contribute to other categories such as PIMs and hits if those apply.
Will Butcher: For a defenseman that only averages 16 minutes of ice time, Butcher makes every second of it count. Butcher has recorded 16 points with 8 of those points coming on the power play. Butcher doesn’t contribute much to peripheral categories such as PIM’s and hits but as a result, Butcher has a high offensive ceiling from a defenseman standpoint. Look for Butcher to gain more ice time going forward if he continues to produce.
Devan Dubnyk: Dubnyk sports a 9-6-2 record which isn’t anything spectacular. The reasoning behind me choosing Dubnyk, is Dubnyk’s ability to string together monster performances. Dubnyk currently has 3 shut-outs to his name and they all came over the span of 3 games which is remarkable. Dubnyk sports a 2.66 GAA and a .915SV% which is respectable at this point in the season. The Wild have always been a defensive based squad which is another key point to Dubnyk’s potential. If Dubnyk continues to show promise there is a good chance Dubnyk can return to last years phenomenal form and challenge the elite fantasy goaltenders.
Roberto Luongo: Luongo and Reimer currently share the goaltending duties in Florida. Luo is starting to look like the better option after starting the 2017/2018 campaign 0-2. Luongo has been able to turn the poor start around and has posted a respectable 5-4-1 record. Luongo currently carries a .930SV% which is good for 11th amongst goalies as well as a 2.59GAA. The Panthers goaltender has also posted a shut out in the first 9 contests. It seems as if the Panthers give up a large volume of shots every game so the opportunities for Luongo to post strong fantasy stat-lines will be present even if Luongo may be credited with a loss.
Ryan Johansen: Despite Johansen’s strong fantasy performances over the past week, Johansen has been one of the biggest disappointments at center this season. Johansen plays both the first line and first power play unit and has no reason to be putting up the numbers he has. Johansen currently has 14 points through 21 games and has only registered 28 shots which puts Johansen in the bottom two amongst first line centers. In addition, Johansen sports a (+1) +/- rating and doesn’t contribute to any peripheral categories. Only time will tell if Johansen picks it up, but as of right now Johansen has been a disappointment. If you happen to be lacking centers, this could be an excellent opportunity to buy low on Johansen.
Sidney Crosby: Who in their right minds would have guessed that someone would consider Crosby a fantasy disappointment at this point in the season? Take this however you’d like but Crosby has been just that: A disappointment. Crosby is ranked 32nd in points amongst centers with 17 points through 23 games playing on a highly potent offense. Crosby has 75 shot on net but that’s about the only category Crosby consistently contributes to. With a (-13) +/- , Crosby’s production seems to be limited to the power play where Crosby has posted 8 points. From a fantasy stand point there is plenty of superior options. Provided Crosby’s production, this could be an excellent time to buy low or wait for Crosby to streak and sell high if you have the opportunity.
Max Pacioretty: The whole Habs squad has been downright terrible so far this season which doesn’t help Patches production. Through 23 games Patches has only posted 12 points which is atrocious considering Max’s shots (102). Patches has a tiny sparkle within his fantasy stat line thus far; It comes within special teams where Patches has posted 4 power play points and 2 short handed points but this comes with a (-12) +/- rating. With that being said, you can’t justify holding onto a player for that reason alone. I have been telling myself as well as others to hold onto Patches as there’s no way Patches can continue to slump but enough is enough.
Brandon Saad: When Chicago went out and traded Panarin for Saad there was massive expectations set seeing the super line back together (Saad, Kane, Toews). This trade clearly hasn’t panned out as Saad has been non-existent. Saad has only posted 10 points through 21 contests and only 1 power play point. There is 51 better options than Saad at this point and Tom Pyatt happens to be one of them… Let that sink in. Unless Saad picks it up before the month of December there shouldn’t be a reason to consistently start Saad unless you’re involved in a deeper league. The potential to buy low is here, but its a risk.
Brent Burns: You’d expect more than 8 points from a defenseman that averages just over 25 minutes of ice time a game right? I would hope so. Burns has recorded 60 points or more over the past 3 seasons so the potential is certainly there. The issues that Burns presents is that Burns was likely drafted in the early rounds of your respective leagues. Burns’ production isn’t there to warrant an early pick at this point in the season. Burns has registered 84 shots on net but has yet to find the back of the net. The fact that Burns plays on a lack-luster Sharks squad doesn’t help either as scoring has been an issue.
Other Underperformers: Dustin Byfuglien.
Tuukka Rask: Rask has been terrible this season which has resulted in Rask losing starts to Khudobin for the starting gig. This can possibly be the result of a banged up Bruins squad and lack of defensive support. Rask carries a 3-7-2 record and sports a .897SV% and a 2.89GAA which is concerning. If Rask continues to disappoint it’s likely that Khudobin will earn the majority of the starts. This is concerning because many leagues likely saw Rask drafted early when it came to goaltenders.
Carey Price: I hate kicking someone when they’re down but this is an exception. Sorry Habs fans, but Price isn’t the modern day Lord and Savior. Despite being injured, there’s no excuse for Price’s 3-7-1 record. On top of that, Price has a .877SV% and 3.77GAA which makes him the worst goaltender statistically in the league with 10 starts. Who knows, maybe when Price returns it may come with some revitalization but I personally highly doubt it seeing as how awful the Habs are this season.
Other Underperformers: James Reimer
This article’s statistics were retrieved from the likes of: https://nhl.com/stats, https://hockey.fantasysports.yahoo.com/, and https://draftkings.com. If you have any inquiries about fantasy hockey, whether its daily fantasy contests, or season long leagues, I can be reached through my twitter (@WCS_BFerg) or through the comment section. To any American readers, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!
Recent Fantasy Hockey Related Articles:
- Daily Fantasy Hockey Cheat Sheet: November 16th, 2017
- Daily Fantasy Hockey Cheat Sheet: November 18th, 2017