This week we take an in-depth look into a couple of lines and how they’ve produced recently. We also squeeze in a couple of quick thoughts on notable line changes that could make certain players more valuable going forward.
Jonathan Toews has always been a prime example of a player whose real-life value is much greater than his fantasy value. Despite a career-low point pace, Toews continues to display those intangibles that make him a number-one center. If you don’t believe me, maybe Auston Matthews’ words will be more impactful. As valuable as he is to the Blackhawks, you need him to be valuable for your fantasy team, so let’s take a look at his numbers. What really stands out is the fact that he’s seeing much more power-play time than last season, but is on pace for half the points. This really speaks to Chicago’s PP struggles, as their efficiency with the man advantage is fourth-worst in the league. Worse than Arizona! I fully expect Toews to improve his scoring pace as the season progresses, but the team has got to be better on the power play.
Richard Panik has four points in seven games with the Coyotes. Anthony Duclair has four points in six games with the Blackhawks. It looks like that trade provided a beneficial change of scenery for both parties involved. It’s easy to forget that Duclair is only 22-years-old when you see he’s on his third NHL team, but the reality is that he’s still developing his game. This is why playing alongside Jonathan Toews is so beneficial, because the opportunity to learn from Toews could really help Duclair grow into a more well-rounded player. It seems like forever ago that Duclair put up 44 points in his rookie season, but his best years are still ahead of him.
With all the attention Brock Boeser and Mathew Barzal have received this season, a lot of incredible rookies are being overlooked, one of which is Alex DeBrincat. Debrincat currently sits second in goal scoring among rookies, despite seeing much less ice-time than those around him. Unfortunately, that reality limits Debrincat’s value, as his 14:30 of ice time is substantially lower than Boeser’s 17:03 and Barzal’s 17:21. It’s fair to say that a rookie’s production tends to fall off in the latter stages of the season, as the tiring NHL schedule takes a toll on them. However, Debrincat might be a different case as he’s used to playing a lot of games. His sheltered minutes should also help minimize fatigue.
The New York Rangers have been in a bit of a slide recently, and with recent news that Kevin Shattenkirk will be out long-term, it looks like they might be sellers at the deadline. Fortunately, there have been a few bright spots on the season, most notably King Henrik’s stellar play at the tender age of 35. In recent games, they’ve also been getting some offensive production from their forwards, and this line has been particularly effective.
Mats Zuccarello has established himself as a 60-point player in the NHL, and this season has allowed him to add another year of consistency to his resume. Aside from his point production, most of Zuccarello’s other stats have remained constant over the years, most notably his ice-time and shot rates. It’s encouraging to see he has five points in his last four games, but concerning that 35% of his points have come on the power play. A power-play that will be without Kevin Shattenkirk and Chris Kreider for the foreseeable future.
J.T. Miller can provide value in Yahoo! fantasy leagues because of his ability to occupy the center, left-wing, or right-wing spot on your roster. Not only is it easy to incorporate him into your lineup, but there’s also a good chance he puts up some points for you. Miller’s production had been improving gradually over his career, but the upward trend hasn’t continued so far this season. While this line’s success might be a result of small sample size, Hayes’ defensive capabilities could allow Miller to take on a more offensive role going forward. Keep an eye out for Miller to push 60 points in future seasons, but maybe temper your expectations for this year.
If you’re looking for offensive production, you’re probably not going to find it from Kevin Hayes. The team relies on him as a defensive player, who is often deployed on the penalty kill but seldom on the power play. If you need further proof, take a look at his offensive zone start percentage in the past couple of seasons, which sits around 40%. But Hayes doesn’t need to score for this line to be successful, because Miller and Zuccarello are both offensively gifted. Having Hayes on this line takes even more pressure off of those two, allowing them to focus on scoring. I know it’s a small sample size, but the trio has also been creating more chances than the opposition (11 scoring chances for versus five against).
Brayden Schenn had 13 points in 20 games while Jaden Schwartz was out with an ankle injury, a 53-point pace. That’s a heck of a lot lower than the 98-point pace he was on with Schwartz in the lineup. Obviously, the real Brayden Schenn falls somewhere in between, but I think Schwartz’s return will be beneficial for the whole team.
With Nolan Patrick available in 93% of Yahoo! Leagues, he could provide some sneaky value after being promoted to the second line. With all due respect to Jordan Weal, playing beside the offensively gifted Jakub Voracek should give Patrick a better chance to put up some points.
Huge chance for Silfverberg beside the Ducks’ best offensive players. Coach Randy Carlyle isn’t afraid to promote and demote players, so Silfverberg is going to have to make the most of this opportunity if he wants to stay on the top line.