This week, the Eastern Edge will take a look at some Eastern Conference players who are very likely to help you win your league with a sweet second half.
I wrote in this year’s DobberHockey Fantasy Guide that the Flyers Travis Konecny was one of my Sleepers in the East. That prediction didn’t really look too good after his first 36 games, Konecny only had 10 points, a 22-point pace. Since December 28, a stretch of 13 games, he has a dozen points, a 76-point pace. He has a five-game point streak and is seeing an increasing amount of ice time, garnering a season high 18:22 minutes in his last contest.
His recent uptick in scoring is exactly what the Flyers had in mind when they dealt away Brayden Schenn to the Blues. Don’t forget, last season Konecny made the leap directly from junior to the NHL, recording 28 points in 70 games. In his final season of junior hockey, he scored 101 points in 60 contests and really impressed in last year’s World Championship, registering eight points in 10 matches.
He’s working his way back in the mix for top power play minutes and has recently been lining up with Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier at even strength. Konecny is regaining his confidence and owned in only 23 per cent of Yahoo leagues. If he is available in your league, I highly recommend jumping on board for what I believe will be an excellent second half.
The Detroit Red Wings future isn’t as bleak as some might believe. Andreas Athanasiou has been playing beside Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi. Over his 10 games in January, Athanasiou has registered five multi-point efforts for a total of 10 points.
Last season, he had 29 points in 64 NHL games, a 37-point pro-rated campaign and played an average of 13:27 minutes per contest, 1:12 of it with the man advantage. This year, he is up to 16:08 minutes per match, including 2:10 on the power play. In six of his last 12 games, AA has logged north of 20 minutes per contest.
He’ll need to start making better use of his power play time, his last power play point came 15 games ago. The good news is that he continues to get thrown out there, but if he doesn’t start producing, there is a risk of other players being given priority. That said, I like the way his ice time is trending and that he is able to record multi-point efforts, resulting in a point per game pace over the last 10 contests. Athanasiou is available in 81 per cent of Yahoo leagues.
The Sabres Kyle Okposo started the season with two points over his first 10 games. He followed that up with nine in 11 contests. Unfortunately, his next 13 matches saw him record only four points, but in his next (and most recent) 13 games, Okposo has 14 points, including 10 over the last seven contests.