In this week's Eastern Edge, we'll predict the most valuable fantasy hockey asset from each team in 2021. For the purposes of this article, fantasy hockey value is the difference between expectations and reality. If you're spending a high draft pick on a player, you expect a lot from them. With such lofty expectations, there isn't much room for the player's actual production to surpass their expected production. In contrast, if you steal someone in the later rounds of your draft or add them from the waiver wire, then there's more room for that player to outperform expectations. So, this isn't an article about each team's leading scorer, or conventional 'MVP'. Rather, it's a list of players who can be acquired at a relatively low cost given their projected production.
Boston Bruins – Matt Grzelcyk
Torey Krug's departure creates an opening on Boston's top power-play unit, which will be filled by either Charlie McAvoy or Matt Grzelcyk this year. It sounds like Grzelcyk has performed well on the top unit during training camp, sparking optimism around his fantasy outlook for 2021. Krug was tallying 25-30 power-play points in recent seasons as Boston's power-play quarterback. Even if Grzelcyk can't match that elite level of production, a prominent power-play role would certainly help boost his point totals. Considering he's currently available on the waiver wire in 70-percent of Yahoo leagues, there's great potential for Grzelcyk to outperform expectations this year.
Buffalo Sabres – Rasmus Dahlin
He scored at a 56-point pace last year on a Sabres team that wasn't exactly overflowing with offensive talent. The acquisitions of Eric Staal and Taylor Hall significantly improve Buffalo's scoring depth, increasing the amount of time that Dahlin shares the ice with competent offensive players at even strength. Staal and Hall should also make Buffalo more dangerous with the man advantage, which in turn helps Dahlin's power-play point totals. Aside from Hall and Staal's positive impact on the team, I think Dahlin takes a massive step forward this season, developing into the elite defenseman he was projected to be as the first overall pick of the 2018 draft.
Carolina Hurricanes – Jaccob Slavin
There was a time when Carolina's top players flew under the radar. A time when you could select Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen outside the first few rounds in your fantasy draft. Unfortunately, that's nothing more than a memory today – where you'd be forced to spend