A key to a successful NHL squad is a good power play. One could argue the same holds true for fantasy squads as well.
Many leagues count power play points in some capacity, but even general managers of points-only leagues should pay attention to the stat. It’s the difference between a 60-point Brad Marchand and an 81-point Brad Marchand.
Below are 10 players who are struggling with the power play production this season.
The 23-year-old Sabres defenseman is almost an honourable mention as he has three power play points in his last five games. Those three PPP has doubled his season total and now puts him on pace for 13 in 73 games. That’s still way below the 20-plus man-advantage points in his previous two seasons. The Sabres’ power play has slowly been getting better. They rank second last in power play percentage at 11.9 per cent, but have converted on 20.6 per cent of their chances in their last 10 games.
Hamilton is on pace for eight power play points after averaging 15 the last three seasons. It always feels like Hamilton should be getting plenty of power play time and racking up a ton of power play points, but that seems unlikely to ever happen at this stage. If anything, his usage of his team’s power plays is diminishing year after year.
It’s been a few years since Eberle provided good power play numbers. After back-to-back seasons with 21 PPP, Eberle had 11 and 13 power play points the last two seasons. This year, he has four PPP in 43 games and is on pace for eight. Don’t expect much of a change unless Josh Bailey is out long-term, allowing Eberle to get back on the top power play unit.
7. Corey Perry
Perry is on pace for nine power play points after back-to-back seasons of 20-plus. He’s gone 13 straight games without a power play point despite averaging about 3:00 a game during that stretch. Although 12 of those games came before Perry’s knee injury. Perry has been struggling this season, but there haven’t been many games when both he and Ryan Getzlaf have both been in the lineup. If that duo can recreate the chemistry of years past, Perry would be one of the bets on this list to turn it around.
Since Werenski is a sophomore, it’s hard to get a sense of what his baseline in when it comes to power play production. Is he as good as his 21 power play points a year ago? Or is this year’s pace of 10 power play points more the norm? Werenski is the top power play option in Columbus but Seth Jones is also an excellent power play quarterback who is having slightly more success despite less power play ice time. With the Jackets power play so awful, how long before Jones gets more ice time than Werenski?
5. Torey Krug
Krug has developed a bit of a reputation for being a slow starter. Last year he had four points and two power play points in his first 17 games before finishing with 51 points and 25 power play points. In 2014-15, he started with seven points and three power play points in his first 22 games before finishing with 39 points and 14 power play points. This year he started off hot for scoring but has only five power play points in 35 games. Even with Charlie McAvoy knocking on the doorstep, there is no danger of Krug losing his top power play billing. But it is a little worrying that he is only on pace for 167 shots when he normally hits 200-plus.
4. Cam Atkinson
A season ago, Atkinson picked up 21 points on the power play. The three years before that, he averaged 10. This year he has just one power play point in 32 games. That’s a special type of awful, especially when you remember he was consistently used on the top power play line before moving to the IR with a fractured foot. The good news for Atkinson owners is that the Columbus power play has been worse since Atkinson has been out (just one for 16, a 6.25 per cent rate). So, Atkinson should at least continue to get plenty of opportunities when he returns.
Much ink has been spilled writing about the woes of the Edmonton Oilers. Having a bottom-10 power play is a big reason for their depressing season. Draisaitl is one of the main reasons that power play is sputtering as he has one power play goal and four power play points in 38 games. Compare that to a year ago when he had 26 power play points. He’s still getting the same amount of power play time and is a fixture on that top unit. Draisaitl will have a big say on whether that power play reverses course.
2. Jack Eichel
Eichel has slowly been coming into form as the season progresses, but it’s no thanks to his power play work as the young Sabres superstar has only five PPP. That’s a far drop from 21 and 24 points in his first two years in the league. He’d be a point-per-game player if he could get back to his average production. As mentioned above, Buffalo has been turning it around lately but Eichel has strangely been left out of it.
Karlsson has eight man-advantage points this year and is on pace for 18. Which doesn’t sound too bad until you realize he’s averaged 28 PPP the previous four seasons. The most interesting fact is that Karlsson’s ice time is down significantly over the last few seasons.
2015-16: 4:39 (92.6 per cent of his team’s power play time)
2016-17: 3:42 (72.8 per cent)
2017-18: 3:29 (67.5 per cent)
Part of that decrease could be chalked up to his recovering from an ankle injury or simply trying to reduce his workload. He has only four PPP in his last 24 games. He won’t be continuing a streak like that for much longer.