Eastern Edge: Low-owned players to target

Brennan Des

2021-03-02

In this week's Eastern Edge, we'll discuss a few players who aren't rostered in most fantasy leagues despite their high rates of production.

Nick Ritchie

With 14 points in 19 games, the 25-year-old forward is having the most productive season of his young career. But is this a flash in the pan, or a sign of what's to come?

As the 10th overall pick of the 2014 draft, Ritchie has the pedigree to justify his current scoring pace. At first glance, it seems like he's behind in his development because this is his sixth season in the NHL. However, he's only played 300 games, so the timing of this breakout makes sense. This year's increased output is largely a product of his new role on the power play. He's on the ice for 62-percent of Boston's total time with the man advantage and has made the most of it with nine power-play points already. To give you some perspective, coming into this season he had 17 points with the man advantage through 294 games. It's also encouraging to see that he's shooting more frequently than he has in previous years. He's getting 2.2 shots per game this year – a significant improvement from the 1.6 he averaged in recent seasons.

I'm excited for Ritchie and I think he can be a valuable fantasy asset going forward. However, I'm proceeding with caution because nine of his 14 points so far have come with the man advantage. In my eyes, Boston's power-play runs through the Perfection Line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak. As a result, I'm reluctant to trust Ritchie for such a high level of power-play production when I don't see him as an integral piece of the top unit. I don't think his offensive output will dry up altogether, I'd just like to see some more even-strength production from him before I get too optimistic.

Jack Roslovic

Despite an impressive 13 points in 16 appearances with the Blue Jackets, Roslovic is only rostered in 29-percent of Yahoo Leagues. His high level of production can be explained by a high volume of ice time. He's averaging 17 and a half minutes a night, with two and a half of those minutes spent on the power play. He's on the ice for 58-percent of Columbus' total time with the man advantage and has made the most of it – tallying five power-play points in 16 games. That's a huge step up from the seven power-play points he tallied through 180 games in Winnipeg, where he was limited to a minor power-play role. At even strength, Roslovic has spent the majority of his minutes alongside two offensively gifted wingers in Patrik Laine and Cam Atkinson. The trio is frequently put in a position to score as they start way more shifts in the offensive zone than the defensive zone – sporting an offensive zone faceoff percentage of 82-percent. As a line, they don't have the best stats in terms of shot share or goal differential, but they have created more high danger chances than their opponents (via NaturalSta