Eastern Edge: Hot Starts and Power Play Ice Time

Cam Metz



The fun of a fantasy Sunday night was in full effect.  Thanks to a nice Rivalry Week to start the season I needed an assist and PPP to overcome a rather slow start to the season. Ryan Kesler to the rescue!  It’s a deep league and Kesler’s faceoff wins are much needed.

Now is not the time to overreact and drop players you’ve invested draft capital on – we’re talking about only a few games played!  That being said I think you can sell high on certain players and make sure you’re monitoring the waiver wire. I wrote about last week how Morgan Rielly had started the season hot; as you well know by now it’s a record-setting pace.  As an owner of Rielly given the way this Toronto team is clicking on the PP – I know it will calm down eventually but I can’t get myself to even attempt at selling high.

Patrice Bergeron and Sebastian Aho racked up the points over week 1 of the fantasy season. It has been impressive watching Bergeron become one of the most dominant pivots in the league.

Following up on the conversation of last week I’ll take a look at SOG rates and PP TOI rates compared to recent career averages. 



Sean Couturier makes this list because two years ago his PP TOI was not close to what it has been over the last year.  Noticeably there is a lot of Monteal, Ottawa, and Washington on this list.  Interestingly the big guns for Washington are getting even more PP TOI – this certainly could help pad totals of Ovechkin, Oshie, and Backstrom.  Again the sample size is small but it’s possible that Todd Reirden is looking to run the wheels of the PP1. 

Ottawa has been surprisingly efficient with their power play opportunities thus far, clicking at 31%.  This has helped prop up the value of Matt Duchene and Mark Stone. If both of those guys end up staying in Ottawa this year I have high hopes that they are able to turn their opportunity share into favorable numbers for poolies.  Of course if Ottawa attempts to trade them, it would not be surprising to see them receive less PP time.  If I were an owner of these two Ottawa players I would be looking to ride this wave through December and find someone willing to take them off your hands.

Montreal again has a high sample of players on this list thanks to new roles being established.  The PP unit has only converted on 11% of their chances but if anything that means there is room to grow as the league worst last season was the Edmonton Oilers.

Keep your eye on the wire for Artturi Lehkonen he seen his TOI overall increase into the mid 17 minutes per game. As a third-year player he certainly has the upside of 55 points this year.

The three most intriguing names on this list for monitoring are Nick Folingo, Cam Atkinson, Anthony Duclair.  It’s difficult to trust John Tortorella and we’ll have to see what happens when Seth Jones finally returns from injury.  Cam Atkinson has found himself rotating with Anthony Duclair a point that certainly needs to be monitored for Atkinson owners.  I can’t imagine how this is a trend that continues, C’est la vie.

Shot rate increase at 5v5 are starting to level out – as you can see from last week Brendan Gallagher has fallen off the list after two poor games of only one shot per game. 



 Delta 5v5 SOG


































Did I mention that Morgan Rielly is an absolute BEAST? Jordan Staal and the second line down in Carolina has been driving play consistently this year, as a result he’s seen an uptick in shots.  For those in leagues that count FW, his shot rate increase at 5v5 could help propel him towards a meaningful roster spot if you’re able to make room at the centre position.

On the PP side of shot generation, Dylan Larkin is shooting at about 0.5 SOG per game more, this isn’t what those of us who predicted a breakout envisioned.  In fact his 5% increase in ice time on the power play still is not reaching the upper echelon of elite power play specialists (65%+), instead he’s only still seeing about 55%.  If Larkin is going to become an elite playmaker he’s going to need more ice time.  I would monitor this deployment, if it doesn’t increase I’d start looking for a horizontal swap, because the ceiling of his point total that was presumably baked into his ADP isn’t like to materialize.


Notes from across the Eastern Conference that were surely covered in ramblings or elsewhere but are points I find interestingL

Travis Konecny has not been able to reproduce last season’s late magic and his unfavorable deployment should probably put him on your waiver wire.

Craig Anderson has a .913 save percentage through 4 games – not nearly as terrible as I would have suspected at this point.

Conor Sheary has three goals in five games. 

Kasperi Kapanen is making the most of William Nylander’s contract negotiations.

Keith Kinkaid is worth a pickup if you’re in need of a goalie – the Devils are forcing play against their opponents.

Perhaps you can chalk this up as a hot take but if I own Ryan Pulock I would be finding the first person to bite on a trade for him – the deployment is not where I’d like it to be.  See if someone else is interested in the lore of a booming shot. The caveat to this is that Nick Leddy has not produced thus far and may be at risk of the coach trying to switch things up sooner rather than later.

Looking to the future of this season the player in the East that I am most interested in acquiring would be Sebastian Aho. I think you’re looking at the breakout league-winning campaign if you can get him without paying an arm and leg.



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