Running Down the Hottest Options in the Eastern Conference

Russ

2018-01-16

 

With much of Eastern Canada and United States recently experienced or still enduring a deep freeze, I thought it would be nice to look at who, from the Eastern Conference, might be heating up and if they might be available to help your fantasy roster.

 

The Blue Jackets are blessed with two young, talented blueliners. The one I’m going to talk about today is Seth Jones. After breaking out for a career year with 12 goals and 42 points last season, Jones is currently on pace for 14 goals and 53 points. He’s also on pace to smash his shots on goal best (157) by nearly 100 and he only needs four more power-play points to set a new career high (14).

Jones has been scoring at nearly a point-per game pace since December 2. He has 18 points in 20 games, recording at least one point in 15 of those 20 contests. Seven of those 18 points have been with the man advantage. Jones is averaging 2:29 minutes on the power play, good for fifth on the team and the second best amongst Blue Jacket defenders.

Can he continue to put up points at this torrid pace for the balance of the season? Not likely, but my money says he doesn’t fall far off this pace. He’s playing with an increased confidence and that’s often all it takes to take it to the next level.

 

One of my favourite players is seemingly back. Tampa Bay’s Tyler Johnson started the season with nine points in his first 22 matches. He followed that up with 26 points in the next 21 contests. That helps make this Lightning team more than just Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos. Johnson spends the majority of his even-strength shifts with Ondrej Palat and Brayden Point. He also receives the sixth most power play minutes.

After two sub-par seasons that saw Johnson record 45 and 38 points in 66 and 69 games respectively, the 27-year-old is on pace for 30 goals and 66 points. That would put him in the vicinity of his career best 29 goals and 72 points set back in the 2014-15 campaign.

While it’s hard to imagine Johnson staying healthy enough to challenge his career best this season, it’s believable that he finishes very close to the 60-point mark. He is still available in 36 per cent of Yahoo leagues.

 

The Capitals Lars Eller has been heating up with six points over his last seven games, including a goal in his each of his last four contests.  The 28-year-old Dane is having his best season to date, on pace for 17 goals and 39 points, which would better his previous highs of 16 goals and 30 points.

Of late, Eller has been lining up with T.J. Oshie and Brett Connolly while continuing to receive mop up power play minutes. He is about to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. If you’re in a deep league, whe