East: Looking at the Power Play (2016)

Eric Daoust

2016-11-15

A closer look at the power plays of CBJ, TOR, MON, OTT, NYI and WAS.

The power play is one of the best sources for offense among the league’s more fantasy-relevant players. Not only do power plays put those players in advantageous offensive situations, they are also easy minutes to play which allows the league’s best players to be featured heavily. When players have career years they are generally aided by a potent power play.

Of course, each team’s power play will go through its ups and downs which can help fuel a hot streak or be the main cause of a disappointing stretch. With that said, we can look at teams starting the year red-hot and predict a future decline while teams starting unusually cold should get better over time. This can help us discover potential buy-low and sell-high opportunities.

Today we will examine six teams in the Eastern Conference – three with unexpectedly strong power plays to start and three that have been big disappointments thus far. On each team there will be players that will most likely not continue at their current pace which in turn will affect their overall point production in the coming months.

POWERFUL

Columbus (33.3%)

The Blue Jackets’ power play has been incredible thus far led by top-heavy production with the top unit finding great chemistry. Cam Atkinson, Alexander Wennberg, Nick Foligno, Zach Werenski and Sam Gagner have combined for 33 power-play points. Not surprisingly, all five are grossly exceeding preseason expectations and are providing some of the best value relative to their draft position.

All five are going to see their production suffer at some point as the hot streak plays out but the one most in danger fantasy-wise is Gagner. An afterthought outside of deep leagues, he has been a good depth producer thus far with eight points – four of them coming on the power play – through 12 games. An eventual slow-down could put Gagner in a slump which could push him down the depth chart in a hurry.

Meanwhile, the second unit has not been a factor with Brandon Dubinsky, Boone Jenner and Scott Hartnell getting a point each. This has played a role in Dubinsky and Jenner starting the year cold as both were in double-digits in power-play points last year. This unit is due for a few goals which will help this trio along with Brandon Saad and Seth Jones.

Toronto (23.8%)

The Leafs have benefited from more balanced scoring on the power play led by rookie William Nylander’s seven points. Even with a talented roster, such a young group will have trouble keeping up its sixth-best ranking all year. Nylander will be affected the most b