Frozen Tools Forensics: Bounce Back Candidates – Part 2

Grant Campbell


Well, that was an exciting July 1 weekend with a few trades, a few good signings, and the obligatory bad deals. We are now going to focus on our next group of potential bounce-back players for the 2019-2020 season.

P.K. Subban

Since Subban was traded to New Jersey, fantasy owners will be happy as he won’t have to share coveted power-play time with Roman Josi, Mattias Ekholm or Ryan Ellis any longer. I have to think that New Jersey wouldn’t have traded for Subban if they believed that Damon Severson or Ty Smith were capable of being the top PP quarterback right now. However for those with plus/minus in their pools, this might have an adverse effect on Subban short-term in New Jersey.

Subban had a career low of 31 points last season, with only 10 PP points. He has been injured in three of the past four seasons, missing 14 to 19 games in each of those three. The PP is where Subban needs to get his point production back up, and he should see more than the 2:35 min/GP than he played last year. It would be nice for fantasy owners to see New Jersey make Subban the lone defenseman on the PP and give him more than four min/GP like he saw in Montreal for a few years. Subban should easily get back up to 45 points and could match his career high of 60 if he stays healthy for more than 75 games.

Justin Schultz

Schultz will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of 2020. The last time he was on an expiring contract, he put up a 51-point season in 2016-2017. I don’t think he will match that this time, as he has struggled to remain healthy the past two seasons, only playing 92 regular season games over that span. He will never be used as an example of stellar defensive play, but he should put up good offensive numbers if he plays more than 70 games. Pittsburgh is not an improving team, but his plus/minus should be safe for this season and right now he is a PP lock to play 2 min/GP or more. He won’t give you hits or blocked shots, but he could be a very cheap addition for 35-45 points next year.

Nikolaj Ehlers

Ehlers has clearly been passed on the Winnipeg depth chart by Kyle Connor and it will be tough for him to get back above 60 points. He missed 20 games in 2018-2019 but should be motivated and healthy going into next season after struggling a little with 21 goals and 16 assists in 62 games. I think most fantasy owners had pegged Ehlers for a future 80-point player, but there should be some concern with that thought going forward as he would need first-line minutes combined with being on the first PP unit. That doesn’t look like it will happen in the short-term. Over the past three seasons, his shot metrics are above 2.49 shots/GP and his shooting percentage is very consistent, never dippin